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 Chaik Jay didn’t need to whisper. The Bad Little weren’t there to overhear him, as he’d overheard them while he was hidden in their very own hole. When Watch pawed the lady , who was mouse hunting right under his nose in the black dark, he spoiled more than her feathers; he ruined the last of her temper. And her temper is ’most as short as her tail at the best of times, as you know.  
She her wings so spitefully that she ’most took out what feathers she had left (they get very loose long before the leaves begin to fall), and set right off to find the Weasel.
Right straight into the Deep Woods she flew, her scary little mate flapping along behind her. Pretty soon she heard a sound; it was a faint squawk, choked in the middle. She circled to listen. There came another squawk, exactly like the first. Then there was an uneasy stirring and fluttering in the secret depths of a thick, leafy tree. Dark deeds were being done there. “What? What? Who called?” said a scared bird voice. No answer. The silence was more terrible than any words.
A minute passed, another. She perched softly to listen. Her mate didn’t dare to speak, though he was ’most bursting with questions; yes, and something more. He was still afraid. He circled and lit beside her, with the least little scratching of a ; she gave him a vicious peck. Poor little fellow, he didn’t even dare to the spot for fear he’d make another sound and get something worse. Then the first bird voice said at last: “Some youngster had a bad dream. You should always own up to it, little stubby wings, and not frighten the rest of us.” But still no one answered.
All the same the birds began to settle down again and all was quiet. “Ah-h!” came the very same choked cry; then a word. “Help! Kil——” and that was all. All but a soft . In a moment the tree was an of fluttering and screaming.
“I knew he was there,” said the bad little lady owl . “Killer’s been raiding the ’ roost.” And she was right. After they finish nesting, all the robins fly to sleep in the same secret hiding place, in the loneliest they can find. And there they make friends with each other and talk over their fall trip and decide where they’ll go when the snow comes to cover up the ground, and hide the worms, and when, and which party they want to join. And Killer the Weasel and the hooter owls try to find it, because it’s such easy hunting.
“Don’t speak to him to-night. Please don’t!” begged her husband. “Do take a day to sleep on it. Something awful always happens if you lose your temper.” You see even the owls know that. But they won’t always believe it. She wouldn’t.
“It’s terrible!” he . “Killer has more birds already than he’ll eat in a week.”
“That’s what I’m waiting for,” she answered grimly. “We’ll take care of the extra ones.”
“Oh, don’t! Don’t you dare touch them!” he protested. “The robins will find it out, and we’ll never hear the end of it. Just think what the jays did to us. We haven’t been able to fly decently since they picked on us, way last spring. And there are so many more robins. We’d never have a day’s rest. They’ll pluck us bare. Do let’s go home!”
“Oh, do shut up!” she snapped angrily. “You can fly back and good riddance. I’m not keeping you. I can mind my own business without you. It doesn’t concern you.”
“It does, too,” he whimpered. “Nobody ever knows us apart. If those robins get just a glimpse of you they’ll never believe I wasn’t eating them, too. Won’t you please listen?”
But his wife wasn’t paying any attention to him at all. She was leaning over, craning out her neck, cocking her ear. All she answered was: “There he goes now.” After a second she added to herself: “My, but he’s little. I don’t believe he can do it, ever in this world.”
“Do what?” he wanted to know.
“Kill——” she hesitated; “kill any one bigger than Tad Coon.” She didn’t want him to know it was Watch the Dog and Tommy Peele and Louie Thomson she wanted to get rid of for good and all. She thought to herself: “If only those boys were gone, and the Woodsfolk hadn’t any one to give those nice feasts to them so they’d never get hungry, they’d fight each other again.” She didn’t know they really liked living together the way Mother Nature meant them to in the First-Off Beginning. But she knew he’d be scared if she told him that. He was simply foolish about men.
“If he can’t kill them, why are they all so afraid?” he asked.
“That’s so,” she agreed. “I don’t see how he ever fights them, but I s’pose he knows some tricks he doesn’t tell. You wait for me right here.” And down she flew to follow Killer the Weasel to his .
She lit above Killer’s head while he was busy eating the he’d carried home—only one out of all those he left lying dead on the ground beneath the roost. She squirmed out to the very tip end of the branch and watched him every moment while she was talking. “Good morning,” she said, for the east was growing light. “I don’t need to ask you how the hunting goes. I see you’ve had a fine night with plenty of robins.”
He raised his flat, three-cornered, snaky-head, and his eyes gleamed red in the shadows. “Not so bad,” he answered, and she could hear his tongue rasp his prickly whiskers. “It’s a great game. But I make the most of it, because when the robins nest in a flock it’s a sign they’ll soon be gone. I try to see how many I can kill before they wake up. I’d have broken my record to-night if a piece of bark I was on hadn’t broken. Did you hear that last youngster squall out? The whole flock began stirring; the fun is over then.”
The owl’s claws trembled so she had to clamp them tight. To kill when he wasn’t hungry, just for fun! It was enough to make even an owl’s blood run cold. But she kept her from and remarked: “Very clever. You’re quieter than I am. I couldn’t help admiring you because I find them almost too big to manage.”
“Size is nothing,” said Killer. “It’s all just a matter of brains.”
“Do you really think so?” she asked in a flattering tone. “Because I know a wonderful hunting ground if you can manage that awful coon.”
“Coon!” exclaimed Killer. “I’ll show you how I can handle him. Fft! for a coon.”
You ought to have heard the wicked little bird tell him about Rabbit’s delicious little bunnies. M-m-m! Didn’t his mouth just water for them? But she never said a word about Watch the Dog, or Tommy Peele, or Louie Thomson. She knew if he made trouble for the Woodsfolk he’d just have to fight their friends. But—she didn’t know that these little boys had ever and ever so much more brains than a weasel!

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