Chapter IX: Paddy Plans a House.

Paddy the Beaver sat on his dam, and his eyes shone with happiness as he looked out over the shining water of the pond he had made. All around the edge of it grew the tall trees of the Green Forest. It was very beautiful and very still and very lonesome. That is, it would have seemed lonesome to almost anyone but Paddy the Beaver. But Paddy never is lonesome. You see, he finds company in the trees and flowers and all the little plants.

It was still, very, very still. Over on one side was a beautiful rosy glow in the water. It was the reflection from jolly, round, red Mr. Sun. Paddy couldn't see him because of the tall trees, but he knew exactly what Mr. Sun was doing. He was going to bed behind the Purple Hills. Pretty soon the little stars would come out and twinkle down at him. He loves the little stars and always watches for the first one.

Yes, Paddy the Beaver was very happy. He would have been perfectly happy except for one thing. Farmer Brown's boy had found his dam and pond that very afternoon, and Paddy wasn't quite sure what Farmer Brown's boy might do. He had kept himself snugly hidden while Farmer Brown's boy was there, and he felt quite sure that Farmer Brown's boy didn't know who had built the dam. But for this reason he might, he just might, try to find out all about it, and that would mean that Paddy would always have to be on the watch.

"But what's the use of worrying over troubles that haven't come yet, and may never come? Time enough to worry when they do come," said Paddy to himself, which shows that Paddy has a great deal of wisdom in his little brown head. "The thing for me to do now is to get ready for winter, and that means a great deal of work," he continued. "Let me see, I've got to build a house, a big, stout, warm house, where I will be warm and safe when my pond is frozen over. And I've got to lay in a supply of food, enough to last me until gentle Sister South Wind comes to prepare the way for lovely Mistress Spring. My, my, I can't afford to be sitting here dreaming when there is so much to be done!"

With that Paddy slipped into the water and swam all around his new pond to make sure of just the best place to build his house. Now, placing one's house in just the right place is a very important matter. Some people are dreadfully careless about this. Jimmy Skunk, for instance, often makes the mistake of digging his house (you know Jimmy makes his house underground) right where everyone who happens along that way will see it. Perhaps that is because Jimmy is so independent that he doesn't care who knows where he lives.

But Paddy the Beaver never is careless. He always chooses just the very best place. He makes sure that it is best before he begins. So now, although he was quite positive just where his house should be, he swam around the pond to make doubly sure. Then, when he was quite satisfied, he swam over to the place he had chosen. It was where the water was quite deep.

"There mustn't be the least chance that the ice will ever get thick enough too close up my doorway, said he, "and I'm sure it never will here. I must make the foundations strong and the walls thick. I must have plenty of mud to plaster with, and inside, up above the water, I must have the snuggest, warmest room where I can sleep in comfort. This is the place to build it, and it is high time I was at work."

With that Paddy swam over to the place where he had cut the trees for his dam, and his heart was light, for he had long ago learned that the surest way to be happy is to be busy.