Chapter XXVII: Sammy Jay Worries
 

It isn't often Sammy Jay worries about anybody but himself. Truth to tell, he doesn't worry about himself very often. You see, Sammy is smart, and he knows he is smart. Under that pointed cap of his are some of the cleverest wits in all the Green Forest. Sammy seldom worries about himself because he feels quite able to take care of himself.

But Sammy Jay was worrying now. He was worrying about Lightfoot the Deer. Yes, Sir, Sammy Jay was worrying about Lightfoot the Deer. For two days he had been unable to find Lightfoot or any trace of Lightfoot. But he did find plenty of hunters with terrible guns. It seemed to him that they were everywhere in the Green Forest. Sammy began to suspect that one of them must have succeeded in killing Lightfoot the Deer.

Sammy knew all of Lightfoot's hiding-places. He visited every one of them. Lightfoot wasn't to be found, and no one whom Sammy met had seen Lightfoot for two days.

Sammy felt badly. You see, he was very fond of Lightfoot. You remember it was Sammy who warned Lightfoot of the coming of the hunter on the morning when the dreadful hunting season began. Ever since the hunting season had opened, Sammy had done his best to make trouble for the hunters. Whenever he had found one of them he had screamed at the top of his voice to warn every one within hearing just where that hunter was. Once a hunter had lost his temper and shot at Sammy, but Sammy had suspected that something of the kind might happen, and he had taken care to keep just out of reach. Sammy had known all about the chasing of Lightfoot by the hounds. Everybody in the Green Forest had known about it. You see, everybody had heard the voices of those hounds. Once, Lightfoot had passed right under the tree in which Sammy was sitting, and a few moments later the two hounds had passed with their noses to the ground as they followed Lightfoot's trail. That was the last Sammy had seen of Lightfoot. He had been able to save Lightfoot from the hunters, but he couldn't save him from the hounds.

The more Sammy thought things over, the more he worried. "I am afraid those hounds drove him out where a hunter could get a shot and kill him, or else that they tired him out and killed him themselves," thought Sammy. "If he were alive, somebody certainly would have seen him and nobody has, since the day those hounds chased him. I declare, I have quite lost my appetite worrying about him. If Lightfoot is dead, and I am almost sure he is, the Green Forest will never seem the same."