Chapter III: Paddy Has Many Visitors.

Paddy the Beaver knew perfectly well that he would have visitors just as soon as he began to build his dam. He expected a lot of them. You see he knew that none of them ever had seen a Beaver at work unless perhaps it was Prickly Porky the Porcupine, who also had come down from the North. So as he worked he kept his ears open, and he smiled to himself as he heard a little rustle here and then a little rustle there. He knew just what those little rustles meant. Each one meant another visitor. Yes, Sir, each rustle meant another visitor, and yet not one had shown himself.

Paddy chuckled. "Seems to me that you are dreadfully afraid to show yourselves," said he in a loud voice, just as if he were talking to nobody in particular. Everything was still. There wasn't so much as a rustle after Paddy spoke. He chuckled again. He could just feel ever so many eyes watching him, though he didn't see a single pair. And he knew that the reason his visitors were hiding so carefully was because they were afraid of him. You see, Paddy was much bigger than most of the little meadow and forest people, and they didn't know what kind of a temper he might have. It is always safest to be very distrustful of strangers. That is one of the very first things taught all little meadow and forest children.

Of course, Paddy knew all about this. He had been brought up that way. "Be sure, and then you'll never be sorry" had been one of his mother's favorite sayings, and he had always remembered it. Indeed, it had saved him a great deal of trouble. So now he was perfectly willing to go right on working and let his hidden visitors watch him until they were sure that he meant them no harm. You see, he himself felt quite sure that none of them was big enough to do him any harm. Little Joe Otter was the only one he had any doubts about, and he felt quite sure that Little Joe wouldn't try to pick a quarrel. So he kept right on cutting trees, trimming off the branches, and hauling the trunks down to the dam he was building. Some of them he floated down the Laughing Brook. This was easier.

Now when the little people of the Smiling Pool, who were the first to find out that Paddy the Beaver had come to the Green Forest, had started up the Laughing Brook to see what he was doing, they had told the Merry Little Breezes where they were going. The Merry Little Breezes had been greatly excited. They couldn't understand how a stranger could have been living in the Green Forest without their knowledge. You see, they quite forgot that they very seldom wandered to the deepest part of the Green Forest. Of course they started at once, as fast as they could go, to tell all the other little people who live on or around the Green Meadows, all but Old Man Coyote. For some reason they thought it best not to tell him. They were a little doubtful about Old Man Coyote. He was so big and strong and so sly and smart that all his neighbors were afraid of him. Perhaps the Merry Little Breezes had this fact in mind, and knew that none would dare go to call on the stranger if they knew that Old Man Coyote was going too. Anyway, they simply passed the time of day with Old Mr. Coyote and hurried on to tell everyone else, and the very last one they met was Sammy Jay.