Chapter XXI: Paddy and Sammy Jay Work Together.

Jerry Muskrat had been home at the Smiling Pool for several days. But he couldn't stay there long. Oh, my, no! He just had to get back to see what his big cousin, Paddy the Beaver, was doing. So as soon as he was sure that everything was all right at the Smiling Pool he hurried back up the Laughing Brook to Paddy's pond, deep in the Green Forest. As soon as he was in sight of it, he looked eagerly for Paddy. At first he didn't see him. Then he stopped and gazed over at the place where Paddy had been cutting aspen trees for food. Something was going on there, something queer. He couldn't make it out.

Jus then Sammy Jay came flying over.

"What's Paddy doing?" Jerry asked.

Sammy Jay dropped down to the top of an alder tree and fluffed out all his feathers in a very important way. "Oh," said he, "Paddy and I are building something!"

"You! Paddy and you! Ha, ha! Paddy and you building something!" Jerry laughed.

"Yes, me!" snapped Sammy angrily. "That's what I said; Paddy and I are building something."

Jerry had begun to swim across the pond by this time, and Sammy was flying across. "Why don't you tell the truth, Sammy, and say that Paddy is building something and you are making him all the trouble you can?" called Jerry.

Sammy's eyes snapped angrily, and he darted down at Jerry's little brown head. "It isn't true!" he shrieked. "You ask Paddy if I'm not helping!"

Jerry ducked under water to escape Sammy's sharp bill. When he came up again, Sammy was over in the little grove of aspen trees where Paddy was at work. Then Jerry discovered something. What was it? Why a little water-path led right up to the aspen trees, and there, at the end of the little water-path, was Paddy the Beaver hard at work. He was digging and piling the earth on one side very neatly. In fact, he was making the water-path longer. Jerry swam right up the little water-path to where Paddy was working. "Good morning, Cousin Paddy," said he. "What are you doing?"

"Oh," replied Paddy, "Sammy Jay and I are building a canal."

Sammy Jay looked down at Jerry in triumph, and Jerry looked at Paddy as if he thought that he was joking.

"Sammy Jay? What's Sammy Jay got to do about it?" demanded Jerry.

"A whole lot," replied Paddy. "You see, he keeps watch while I work. If he didn't, I couldn't work, and there wouldn't be any canal. Old Man Coyote has been trying to catch me, and I wouldn't dare work on shore if it wasn't that I am sure that the sharpest eyes in the Green Forest are watching for danger."

Sammy Jay looked very much pleased indeed and very proud.

"So you see, it takes both of us to make this canal; I dig while Sammy watches. So we are building it together," concluded Paddy with a twinkle in his eyes.

"I see," said Jerry slowly. Then he turned to Sammy Jay. "I beg your pardon, Sammy," said he. "I do indeed."

"That's all right," replied Sammy airily. "What do you think of our canal?"

"I think it is wonderful," replied Jerry.

And indeed it was a very fine canal, straight, wide, and deep enough for Paddy to swim in and float his logs out to the pond. Yes, indeed, it was a very fine canal.