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 With a still tongue and a waving tail Watch back from the ’ Roost, Bobby flitting along beside him. They were hunting trouble, and that was the very wisest way in the world to hunt it. Because the very trouble they were hunting was peering through a crack between two big stones on the bank of Doctor ’s Pond. It was a little bit of a crack—so little you wouldn’t think a garter snake could much more than squeeze into it. But it held a lot of trouble. Because trouble is brains—not size.  
Trouble was the meanest of all the things from under-the-earth who came up to spoil Mother Nature’s nice plans in the far-back, First-Off Beginning of Things. Trouble was the Weasel, with his snaky head and his cruel beady eyes and his smile. And he was peering through that crack to see how the Woodsfolk behaved before he tried a very funny trick the wife of the Bad Little had whispered to him.
The first thing he saw was Watch the Dog bounding along with his tail in the air as though he hadn’t a care in the world. “Ho,” said the wicked weasel to himself, “that clumsy beast would carry his tail between his legs if he knew I was here!” I told you he was conceited.
The next thing he saw was Bobby Robin flitting past as careless as a butterfly in a breeze. “A-ha!” said the weasel to himself, “that foolish bird would set up a fine squawking if he knew I was here.” Wasn’t he just conceited?
Then he laid his ear to the crack to hear if they were talking about him. But they weren’t—not a single word. It really hurt his feelings. That’s how conceited he was!
All he heard was Chaik Jay waking up in the bottom of the bush where he’d crept the night before. “What a place to sleep!” thought the wicked weasel. “It’s a pity I didn’t see him.”
Chaik gave himself a little shake; then he tried to stretch. “Ye-a-a-ak!” he squawked. “Ow, my sore wing! Oh, my claws! Whee! my stiff feathers!”
“What a noise to make!” the wicked weasel to himself. “I don’t believe he can fly a little bit. Now that dog will make a quick meal of him.”
But the dog didn’t at all. He just said: “Here, Chaik, let me lick the soreness out, the way we dogs do.”
“No, thanks,” Chaik almost , because the idea was really funny. “I’d never find head nor tail of myself again if you mussed me up with your great wet tongue. I’d much rather have Doctor Muskrat bring me a if he can find one.”
And the wicked weasel didn’t know what to make of that. Chaik was sitting on the lowest branch where anybody could have caught him, and Watch wasn’t even trying to eat him!
Instead of that, he went down by Doctor Muskrat’s big flat stone and barked. And instead of diving down to the deepest bottom of the pond and hiding beneath the water lilies, up swam Doctor Muskrat himself, and he on his stone. “What’s the matter?” he asked. “Did any one want me?”
“Ye-ah,” called the bird. “I’ve hurt my wing. And I’m sore all over. I feel like a mouse after a cat has been playing with it.”
“You do, do you?” said the good old muskrat, over to him. “Well, you look as if you’d been caught in a hailstorm. Let’s see what’s the matter with your flapper. M-m-m. It isn’t broken. Just give it a day’s rest.”
“How about a blister beetle?” asked Chaik. “I feel scary here on the ground. I want to get to flying again.”
“Fine for fur, but no good at all for feathers,” the doctor explained. “There, there! Don’t flutter yourself. I guess you had too much party last night by the looks of you. You’d better be careful about eating. I recommend a little acid. Try an ant or two. Or perhaps you’d like a nice red sumach berry from the Quail’s . I’ll cut down a branch so you can reach them.” Sumach berry, indeed! You know how Chaik loves them. Off he , dragging his wing.
“Queerer and queerer,” thought the bad beast hiding under the stone.
The next thing he saw was Nibble’s bunnies trooping down to drink—my, but they made his mouth water! And he could hear all the birds spluttering and splashing at the edge of the sand where it would be easy to catch them! Still, he stayed hidden.
But when Stripes came strolling down with his three fat kittens behind him and the bunnies actually began playing with them he made up his mind. “That little told the truth!” said the weasel to himself. “She said the Woodsfolk were all friends, but I couldn’t believe her. Well, if they’ve made friends with my cousin Stripes Skunk, they’ll make friends with me. How nice that will be. They’ll walk right into my . I’ll do exactly what the owl told me to. Her advice is worth having!” And he began to up his ears and carefully slick back his whiskers.
He didn’t have very much elbow room in that narrow crack between the two big stones but the way he managed to fix himself up was surely surprising. The wife of the Bad Little Owl would never in the world have known he was the bristly whiskered ruffian with red in his eye she found a robin in the door of his .
When he squeezed through the crack and shook himself he was really a very elegant-looking creature. His little ears were up as pert as he could prick them. His tail didn’t stick straight out behind; it was all fluffed out and he cocked it up the way Squirrel does. He didn’t slink along like a snake through the bushes; he arched his neck and he arched his back and he hopped as as a rabbit. I won’t say he was comfortable, but he really did look handsome.
Well, the first beast he met was that very bunny who had been locked up in the cage in Louie Thomson’s cellar. “Good morning, Miss Rabbit,” said he in his politest voice. “Can you tell me where I can find my cousin, Tad Coon? I’ve come to visit him.” He said that because he wanted to find out where Tad was. He was the least little bit scared he might have to be careful about Tad.
The bunny opened her eyes very wide. You remember Tad Coon was the fellow who taught her how foolish she was to trust strangers. He told her that his family ate little rabbits. If this was a cousin of Tad’s she wasn’t going to risk being eaten. She didn’t even stop to answer; she just her white tail in his very face and made for the Pickery Things.
“That’s funny,” thought the weasel. “But maybe she’s only young and foolish.” So he edged along by some tall grass to where Stripes Skunk was some . “Good morning, Cousin Stripes,” he said. “I’m your cousin Slick.” (He thought maybe he could fool even Stripes, just a little, because he looked so different.) “Won’t you introduce me to your friends? I’m tired of living in the Deep Woods. I want to be good and happy like the rest of you.” (That’s what the Bad Little Owl had told him to say.)
Stripes was most as scared as the bunny. But he could see something the bunny didn’t see—something the wicked weasel didn’t see, either. For that good old dog Watch was right behind him. And he looked different, too. He wasn’t and good-tempered any more. He was red-eyed and bristly, thinking about what the weasel had done to the poor robins. He didn’t take a step, or Killer’s sharp ears would have heard him. He crouched for a great big spring, and then——

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