The Adventures of Johnny Chuck by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XI. The Greatest Thing in the World
Johnny Chuck had begun to think about his clothes. Yes, Sir, he spent a whole lot of time thinking about how he looked and wishing that he had a handsomer coat. For the first time in all his life he began to envy Reddy Fox, because of the beautiful red coat of which Reddy is so proud. It seemed to Johnny that his own coat was so plain and so dull that no one would look at it twice. Besides, it was torn now, because of the great fight Johnny had had with the old gray Chuck who came down from the Old Pasture. Johnny smoothed it down and brushed it carefully and tried to make himself look as spick and span as he knew how.
"Oh, dear!" he sighed. "I don't see why Old Mother Nature didn't give me as handsome a coat as she did Reddy Fox. And there are Jimmy Skunk and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel and--and--why, almost every one has a handsomer coat than I have!" Now this wasn't at all like Johnny Chuck. First he had been discontented with his house and had given it to Jimmy Skunk. Now he was discontented with his clothes. What was coming over Johnny Chuck? He really didn't know himself. At least, he wouldn't have admitted that he knew. But right down deep in his heart was a great desire--the desire to have Polly Chuck admire him. Yes, Sir, that is what it was! And it seemed to him that she would admire him a great deal more if he wore fine clothes. You see, he hadn't learned yet what Peter Rabbit had learned a long time ago, which is that
Fine clothes but catch the passing eye; Fine deeds win love from low and high.
So Johnny Chuck wished and wished that he had a handsome suit, but as he didn't, and no amount of wishing would bring him one, he just made the one he did have look as good as he could, and then went in search of Polly Chuck.
Sometimes she would not notice him at all. Sometimes he would find her shyly peeping at him from behind a clump of grass. Then Johnny Chuck would try to make himself look very important, and would strut about as if he really did own the Green Meadows.
Sometimes she would hide from him, and when he found her she would run away. Other times she would be just as nice to him as she could be, and they would have a jolly time hunting for sweet clover and other nice things to eat. Then Johnny Chuck's heart would swell until it seemed to him that it would fairly burst with happiness.
Instead of wanting to drive Polly Chuck away from the Green Meadows, as he had the old gray Chuck, Johnny began to worry for fear that Polly Chuck might not stay on the Green Meadows. Whenever he thought of that, his heart would sink way, way down, and he would hurry to look for her and make sure that she was still there.
When he was beside her, he felt very big and strong and brave and longed for a chance to show her how brave he was. She was such a timid little thing herself that the least little thing frightened her, and Johnny Chuck was glad that this was so, for it gave him a chance to protect her.
When he wasn't with her, he spent his time looking for new patches of sweet clover to take her to. At first she wouldn't go without a great deal of coaxing, but after a while he didn't have to coax at all. She seemed to delight to be with him as much as he did to be with her.
So Johnny Chuck grew happier and happier. He was happier than he had ever been in all his life before. You see Johnny Chuck had found the greatest thing in the world. Do you know what it is? It is called love.