“I believe they are down in the old bulrushes around the Smiling Pool,” said Peter Rabbit, as he stood listening with a hand behind one long ear.
So over to the Smiling Pool they hurried. The nearer they got, the louder became the voices singing:
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Spring!”
But look as they would, they couldn’t see a single singer among the brown bulrushes. It was very strange, very strange indeed! It seemed as if the voices came right out of the Smiling Pool itself!
When Peter Rabbit made a little noise, as he hopped out on the bank where he could look all over the Smiling Pool, the singing stopped. After he had sat perfectly still for a little while, it began again. There was no doubt about it this time; those voices came right out of the water.
Johnny Chuck stared at Peter Rabbit, and Peter stared at Johnny Chuck. Nobody was to be seen in the Smiling Pool, and yet there were those voices—oh, so many of them—coming right out of the water.
“How can birds stay under water and still sing?” asked Johnny Chuck.
“Ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha!”
Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck whirled around, to find Jerry Muskrat peeping up at them from a hole in the bank almost under their feet.
[Illustration: “Ho, ho, ho! That’s the best joke this spring!” shouted Jerry Muskrat.]
“Ho, ho, ho! That’s the best joke this spring!” shouted Jerry Muskrat, and laughed until he had to hold his sides. “Birds under water! Ho, ho, ho!”
JOHNNY CHUCK FINDS OUT WHO THE SWEET SINGERS ARE
Johnny Chuck couldn’t keep away from the Smiling Pool. No, Sir, Johnny Chuck couldn’t keep away from the Smiling Pool. Ever since he and Peter Rabbit had gone over there looking for the sweet singers, who every night and part of the day told all who would listen how glad they were that Mistress Spring had come to the Green Meadows and the Green Forest, Johnny Chuck had had something on his mind. And this is why he couldn’t keep away from the Smiling Pool.
You see it was this way: Johnny and Peter had thought that of course the sweet singers were birds. They hadn’t dreamed of anything else. So of course they went looking for birds. When they reached the Smiling Pool, the voices came right out of the water. Johnny knew that some birds, like many of the cousins of Mrs. Quack, can stay under water a long time, and so he didn’t know but some other birds might.
Jerry Muskrat was always watching for Johnny, whenever he came to the Smiling Pool, and his eyes would twinkle as he would gravely say:
“Hello, Johnny Chuck! Have you seen the birds sing under water yet?”
Johnny would smile good-naturedly and reply: “Not yet, Jerry Muskrat. Won’t you point them out to me?”