Lightfoot the Deer by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XXXVI: Sammy Jay Takes A Hand
Sammy Jay was bubbling over with excitement as he flew about through the Green Forest, following Lightfoot the Deer. He was so excited he wanted to scream. But he didn't. He kept his tongue still. You see, he didn't want Lightfoot to know that he was being followed. Under that pointed cap of Sammy Jay's are quick wits. It didn't take him long to discover that the big stranger whom Lightfoot was seeking was doing his best to keep out ofLightfoot's way and that he was having no difficulty in doing so because of the reckless way in which Lightfoot was searching for him. Lightfoot made so much noise that it was quite easy to know just where he was and so keep out of his sight.
"That stranger is nearly as big as Lightfoot, but it is very plain that he doesn't want to fight," thought Sammy. "He must be a coward."
Now the truth is, the stranger was not a coward. He was ready and willing to fight if he had to, but if he could avoid fighting he meant to. You see, big as he was, he wasn't quite so big as Lightfoot, and he knew it. He had seen Lightfoot's big footprints, and from their size he knew that Lightfoot must be bigger and heavier than he. Then, too, he knew that he really had no right to be there in the Green Forest. That was Lightfoot's home and so he was an intruder. He knew that Lightfoot would feel this way about it and that this would make him fight all the harder. So the big stranger wanted to avoid a fight if possible. But he wanted still more to find that beautiful young visitor with the dainty feet for whom Lightfoot had been looking. He wanted to find her just as Lightfoot wanted to find her, and he hoped that if he did find her, he could take her away with him back to the Great Mountain. If he had to, he would fight for her, but until he had to he would keep out of the fight. So he dodged Lightfoot and at the same time looked for the beautiful stranger.
All this Sammy Jay guessed, and after a while he grew tired of following Lightfoot for nothing. "I'll have to take a hand in this thing myself," muttered Sammy. "At this rate, Lightfoot never will find that big stranger!"
So Sammy stopped following Lightfoot and began to search through the Green Forest for the big stranger. It didn't take very long to find him. He was over near the pond of Paddy the Beaver. As soon as he saw him, Sammy began to scream at the top of his lungs. At once he heard the sound of snapping twigs at the top of a little ridge back of Paddy's pond and knew that Lightfoot had heard and understood.