Chapter X. Why Johnny Chuck Didn't Fight
 
     Anger is an awful thing;
     It never stops to reason.
     It boils right over all at once,
     No matter what the season.

It was so with Johnny Chuck. The minute he caught sight of the strange Chuck over by the lone elm-tree, anger filled his heart and fairly boiled over, until he was in a terrible rage. Of course it was foolish, very foolish indeed. The strange Chuck hadn't said or done anything to make Johnny Chuck angry, not the least thing in the world, excepting to come down on to the Green Meadows. Now the Green Meadows are very broad, and there is room for many Chucks. It was pure selfishness on the part of Johnny Chuck to want to drive away every other Chuck.

But anger never stops to reason. It didn't now. Johnny Chuck hurried as fast as his short legs could take him towards the lone elm-tree, and in his mind was just one thought--to drive that strange Chuck off the Green Meadows and to punish him so that he never, never would dare even think of coming back. So great was Johnny's anger that every hair stood on end, and as he ran he chattered and scolded.

"I'll fix him! These are my Green Meadows, and no one else has any business here unless I say so! I'll fix him! I'll fix him!"

Then Johnny would grind his teeth, and in his eyes was the ugliest look. He wasn't nice to see, not a bit nice. The Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind didn't know what to make of him. Could this be the Johnny Chuck they had known so long, the good-natured, happy Johnny Chuck whom everybody loved? They drew away from him, for they didn't want anything to do with any one in such a frightful temper. But Johnny Chuck didn't even notice, and if he had he wouldn't have cared. That is the trouble with anger. It crowds out everything else, when it once fills the heart.

When Johnny had first seen the stranger, he had thought right away that it was the old gray Chuck with whom he had had such a terrible fight the day before and whom he whipped. Perhaps that was one reason for Johnny Chuck's terrible anger now, for the old gray Chuck had tried to drive Johnny Chuck off the Green Meadows.

But when he had to stop for breath and sat up to look again, he saw that it wasn't the old gray Chuck at all. It was a younger Chuck and much smaller than the old gray Chuck. It was smaller than Johnny himself.

"He'll be all the easier to whip," muttered Johnny, as he started on again, never once thinking of how unfair it would be to fight with one smaller than himself. That was because he was so angry. Anger never is fair.

Pretty soon he reached the lone elm-tree. The stranger wasn't to be seen! No, Sir, the stranger wasn't anywhere in sight. Johnny Chuck sat up and looked this way and looked that way, but the stranger was nowhere in sight.

"Pooh!" said Johnny Chuck, "He's afraid to fight! He's a coward. But he can't get away from me so easily. He's hiding, and I'll find him and then---" Johnny didn't finish, but he ground his teeth, and it wasn't a pleasant sound to hear.

So Johnny Chuck hunted for the stranger, and the longer he hunted the angrier he grew. Somehow the stranger managed to keep out of his sight. He was almost ready to give up, when he almost stumbled over the stranger, hiding in a little clump of bushes. And then a funny thing happened. What do you think it was?

Why, all the anger left Johnny Chuck. His hair no longer stood on end. He didn't know why, but all of a sudden he felt foolish, very foolish indeed.

"Who are you?" he demanded gruffly.

"I--I'm Polly Chuck," replied the stranger, in a small, timid voice.