The Adventures of Johnny Chuck by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter V. Johnny Chuck Becomes Dissatisfied
Johnny Chuck was unhappy. Here it was the glad springtime, when everybody is supposed to be the very happiest, and Johnny Chuck was unhappy. Why was he unhappy? Well, he hardly knew himself. He had slept comfortably all the long winter. He had awakened very, very hungry, but now he had plenty to eat. All about him the birds were singing or busily at work building new homes. And still Johnny Chuck felt unhappy. It was dreadful to feel this way and not have any good reason for it.
One bright morning Johnny Chuck sat on his door-step watching Drummer the Woodpecker building a new home in the old apple-tree. Drummer's red head flew back and forth, back and forth, and his sharp bill cut out tiny bits of wood. It was slow work; it was hard work. But Drummer seemed happy, very happy indeed. It was watching Drummer that started Johnny Chuck to thinking about his own home. He had always thought it a very nice home. He had built it just as he wanted it. From the doorstep he could look in all directions over the Green Meadows. It had a front door and a hidden back door. Yes, it was a very nice home indeed.
But now, all of a sudden, Johnny Chuck became dissatisfied with his home. It was too near the Lone Little Path. Too many people knew where it was. It wasn't big enough. The front door ought to face the other way. Dear me, what a surprising lot of faults a discontented heart can find with things that have always been just right! It was so with Johnny Chuck. That house in which he had spent so many happy days, which had protected him from all harm, of which he had been so proud when he first built it, was now the meanest house in the world. If other people had new houses, why shouldn't he? The more he thought about it, the more dissatisfied and discontented he became and of course the more unhappy. You know one cannot be dissatisfied and discontented and happy at the same time.
Now dissatisfied and discontented people are not at all pleasant to have around. Johnny Chuck had always been one of the best natured of all the little meadow people, and everybody liked him. So Jimmy Skunk didn't know quite what to make of it, when he came down the Lone Little Path and found Johnny Chuck so out of sorts that he wouldn't even answer when spoken to.
Jimmy Skunk was feeling very good-natured himself. He had just had a fine breakfast of fat beetles and he was at peace with all the world. So he sat down beside Johnny Chuck and began to talk, just as if Johnny Chuck was his usual good-natured self.
"It's a fine day," said Jimmy Skunk.
Johnny Chuck just sniffed.
"You're looking very fine," said Jimmy.
Johnny just scowled.
"I think you've got the best place on the Green Meadows for a house," said Jimmy, pretending to admire the view.
Johnny scowled harder than ever.
"And such a splendid house!" said Jimmy. "I wish I had one like it."
"I'm glad you like it! You can have the old thing!" snapped Johnny Chuck.
"What's that?" demanded Jimmy Skunk, opening his eyes very wide.
"I said that you can have it. I'm going to move," replied Johnny Chuck.
Now he really hadn't thought of moving until that very minute. And he didn't know why he had said it. But he had said it, and because he is an obstinate little fellow he stuck to it.
"When can I move in?" asked Jimmy Skunk, his eyes twinkling.
"Right away, if you want to," replied Johnny Chuck, and swaggered off down the Lone Little Path, leaving Jimmy Skunk to stare after him as if he thought Johnny Chuck had suddenly gone crazy, as indeed he did.