The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter VI: Farmer Brown's Boy Grows Curious.
Now it happened that the very day before Paddy the Beaver decided that his pond was big enough, and so allowed the water to run in the Laughing Brook once more, Farmer Brown's boy took it into his head to go fishing in the Smiling Pool. Just as usual he went whistling down across the Green Meadows. Somehow, when he goes fishing, he always feels like whistling. Grandfather Frog heard him coming and dived into the little bit of water remaining in the Smiling Pool and stirred up the mud at the bottom so that Farmer Brown's boy shouldn't see him.
Nearer and nearer drew the whistle. Suddenly it stopped right short off. Farmer Brown's boy had come in sight of the Smiling Pool or rather, it was what used to be the Smiling Pool. Now there wasn't any Smiling Pool, for the very little pool left was too small and sickly looking to smile. There were great banks of mud, out of which grew the bulrushes. The lily pads were forlornly stretched out toward the tiny pool of water remaining. Where the banks were steep and high, the holes that Jerry Muskrat and Billy Mink knew so well were plain to see. Over at one side stood Jerry Muskrat's house, wholly out of water.
Somehow, it seemed to Farmer Brown's boy that he must be dreaming. He never, never had seen anything like this before, not even in the very driest weather of the hottest part of the summer. He looked this way and looked that way. The Green Meadows looked just as usual. The Green Forest looked just as usual. The Laughing Brook--ha! What was the matter with the Laughing Brook? He couldn't hear it and that, you know, was very unusual. He dropped his rod and ran over to the Laughing Brook. There wasn't any brook. No, sir, there wasn't any brook; just pools of water with the tiniest of streams trickling between. Big stones over which he had always seen the water running in the prettiest of little white falls were bare and dry. In the little pools frightened minnows were darting about.
Farmer Brown's boy scratched his head in a puzzled way. "I don't understand it," said he. "I don't understand it at all. Something must have gone wrong with the springs that supply the water for the Laughing Brook. They must have failed. Yes, Sir, that is just what must have happened. But I never heard of such a thing happening before, and I really don't see how it could happen. He stared up into the Green Forest just as if he thought he could see those springs. Of course, he didn't think anything of the kind. He was just turning it all over in his mind. "I know what I'll do, I'll go up to those springs this afternoon and find out what the trouble is," he said out loud. "They are way over almost on the other side of the Green Forest, and the easiest way to get there will be to start from home and cut across the Old Pasture up to the edge of the Mountain behind the Green Forest. If I try to follow up the Laughing Brook now, it will take too long, because it winds and twists so. Besides, it is too hard work."
With that, Farmer Brown's boy went back and picked up his rod. Then he started for home across the Green Meadows, and for once he wasn't whistling. You see, he was too busy thinking. In fact, he was so busy thinking that he didn't see Jimmy Skunk until he almost stepped on him, and then he gave a frightened jump and ran, for without a gun he was just as much afraid of Jimmy as Jimmy was of him when he did have a gun.
Jimmy just grinned and went on about his business. It always tickles Jimmy to see people run away from him, especially people so much bigger than himself; they look so silly.
"I should think that they would have learned by this time that if they don't bother me, I won't bother them, he muttered as he rolled over a stone to look for fat beetles. "Somehow, folks never seem to understand me."