Now Sammy Jay dearly loves to hunt for things. Whenever he knows that one of his neighbors in the Green Forest has hidden something, he likes to hunt for it. It isn’t so much that he wants what has been hidden, as it is that he wants to feel he is smart enough to find it. When he does find it, he usually steals it, I’m sorry to say. But it is the fun of hunting that Sammy enjoys most. So now Sammy thoroughly enjoyed hunting for Mr. Quack. He peered into every likely hiding-place and became so interested that he quite forgot about the hunters who might be waiting along the bank.
So it happened that he didn’t see a boat drawn in among the bushes until he was right over it. Sitting in it was a man with a terrible gun, very intently watching Mrs. Quack out in the middle of the Big River. Sammy was so startled that before he thought he opened his mouth and screamed “Thief! thief! thief!” at the top of his lungs, and flew away with all his might. Mrs. Quack heard his scream and understood just what it meant.
A little later Blacky the Crow discovered another hunter hiding behind the bushes on his side. “Caw! caw! caw!” shouted Blacky, flying out over the water far enough to be safe from that terrible gun he could see.
“Quack! quack!” replied Mrs. Quack, which meant that she understood. And so the hunt went on without a sign of poor Mr. Quack.
SAMMY JAY SEES SOMETHING GREEN
For all their peeking and peering among the broken-down rushes and under the bushes along the banks of the Big River, and no sharper eyes ever peeked and peered, Sammy Jay and Blacky the Crow had found no sign of the missing Mr. Quack.
“I guess Mrs. Quack was right and that Mr. Quack was killed when he was shot,” muttered Sammy to himself. “Probably one of those hunters had him for dinner long ago. Hello! There’s another hunter up where the Laughing Brook joins the Big River! I guess I won’t take any chances. I’d like to find Mr. Quack, but Sammy Jay is a lot more important to me than Mr. Quack, and that fellow just might happen to take it into his head to shoot at me.”
So Sammy silently flew around back of the hunter and stopped in a tree where he could watch all that the man did. For some time Sammy sat there watching. The hunter was sitting behind a sort of fence of bushes which quite hid him from any one who might happen to be out on the Big River. But of course Sammy could see him perfectly, because he was behind him. Out in front of that little fence, which was on the very edge of the water, were a number of what Sammy at first took to be some of Mrs. Quack’s relatives. “Why doesn’t he shoot them?” thought Sammy. He puzzled over this as he watched them until suddenly it came into his head that he hadn’t seen one of them move since he began watching them. The man changed his position, and still those Ducks didn’t move, although some of them were so near that they simply couldn’t have helped knowing when the hunter moved unless they were more stupid than any one of Sammy’s acquaintance.