Chapter XVII: Sammy Jay Arrives
 

When Reddy Fox arrived at the pond of Paddy the Beaver, the hunter who was hiding there saw him instantly. So did Lightfoot. But no one else did. He approached in that cautious, careful way that he always uses when he is hunting. The instant he reached a place where he could see all over Paddy's pond, he stopped as suddenly as if he had been turned to stone. He stopped with one foot lifted in the act of taking a step. He had seen Mr. and Mrs. Quack.

Now you know there is nothing Reddy Fox likes better for a dinner than a Duck. The instant he saw Mr. and Mrs. Quack, a gleam of longing crept into his eyes and his mouth began to water. He stood motionless until both Mr. and Mrs. Quack had their heads under water as they searched for food in the mud in the bottom of the pond. Then like a red flash he bounded out of sight behind the dam of Paddy the Beaver.

Presently the hunter saw Reddy's black nose at the end of the dam as Reddy peeped around it to watch Mr. and Mrs. Quack. The latter were slowly moving along in that direction as they fed. Reddy was quick to see this. If he remained right where he was, and Mr. And Mrs. Quack kept on feeding in that direction, the chances were that he would have a dinner of fat Duck. All he need do was to be patient and wait. So, with his eyes fixed fast on Mr. and Mrs. Quack, Reddy Fox crouched behind Paddy's dam and waited.

Watching Reddy and the Ducks, the hunter almost forgot Lightfoot the Deer. Mr. and Mrs. Quack were getting very near to where Reddy was waiting for them. The hunter was tempted to get up and frighten those Ducks. He didn't want Reddy Fox to have them, because he hoped some day to get them himself.

" I suppose," thought he, "I was foolish not to shoot them when I had the chance. They are too far away now, and it looks very much as if that red rascal will get one of them. I believe I'll spoil that red scamp's plans by frightening them away. I don't believe that Deer will be back here to-day anyway, so I may as well save those Ducks."

But the hunter did nothing of the kind. You see, just as he was getting ready to step out from his hiding-place, Sammy Jay arrived. He perched in a tree close to the end of Paddy's dam and at once he spied Reddy Fox. It didn't take him a second to discover what Reddy was hiding there for. "Thief, thief, thief!" screamed Sammy, and then looked down at Reddy with a mischievous look in his sharp eyes. There is nothing Sammy Jay delights in more than in upsetting the plans of Reddy Fox. At the sound of Sammy's voice, Mr. and Mrs. Quack swam hurriedly towards the middle of the pond. They knew exactly what that warning meant. Reddy Fox looked up at Sammy Jay and snarled angrily. Then, knowing it was useless to hide longer, he bounded away through the Green Forest to hunt elsewhere.