Chapter X: Farmer Brown's Boy And Hooty

Farmer Brown's boy had taken it into his head to visit the Green Forest. It was partly because he hadn't anything else to do, and it was partly because now that it was very near the end of winter he wanted to see how things were there and if there were any signs of the coming of spring. Blacky the Crow saw him coming, and Blacky chuckled to himself. He had watched every day for a week for just this thing. Now he would tell Farmer Brown's boy about that nest of Hooty the Owl.

He flew over to the lonesome corner of the Green Forest where Hooty and Mrs. Hooty had made their home and at once began to caw at the top of his voice and pretend that he was terribly excited over something.

"Caw, caw, caw, caw, caw!" shouted Blacky. At once all his relatives within hearing hurried over to join him. They knew that he was tormenting Hooty, and they wanted to join in the fun. It wasn't long before there was a great racket going on over in that lonesome corner of the Green Forest.

Of course Farmer Brown's boy heard it. He stopped and listened. "Now I wonder what Blacky and his friends have found this time, " said he. "Whenever they make a fuss like that, there is usually something to see there. I believe I'll so over and have a look."

So he turned in the direction of the lonesome corner of the Green Forest, and as he drew near, he moved very carefully, so as to see all that he could without frightening the Crows. He knew that as soon as they saw him, they would fly away, and that might alarm the one they were tormenting, for he knew enough of Crow ways to know that when they were making such a noise as they were now making, they were plaguing some one.

Blacky was the first to see him because he was watching for him. But he didn't say anything until Farmer Brown's boy was so near that he couldn't help but see that nest and Hooty himself, sitting up very straight and snapping his bill angrily at his tormentors. Then Blacky gave the alarm, and at once all the Crows rose in the air and headed for the Green Meadows, cawing at the top of their lungs. Blacky went with them a little way. The first chance he got he dropped out of the flock and silently flew back to a place where he could see all that might happen at the nest of Hooty the Owl.

When Farmer Brown's boy first caught sight of the nest and saw the Crows darting down toward it and acting so excited, he was puzzled.

"That's an old nest of Red-tail the Hawk, " thought he. "I found that last spring. Now what can there be there to excite those Crows so?"

Then he caught sight of Hooty the Owl. "Ha, so that's it!" he exclaimed. "Those scamps have discovered Hooty and have been having no end of fun tormenting him. I wonder what he's doing there."

He no longer tried to keep out of sight, but walked right up to the foot of the tree, all the time looking up. Hooty saw him, but instead of flying away, he snapped his bill just as he had at the Crows and hissed.

"That's funny, " thought Farmer Brown's boy. "If I didn't know that to be the old nest of Redtail the Hawk, and if it weren't still the tail-end of winter, I would think that was Hooty's nest."

He walked in a circle around the tree, looking up. Suddenly he gave a little start. Was that a tail sticking over the edge of the nest? He found a stick and threw it up. It struck the bottom of the nest, and out flew a great bird. It was Mrs. Hooty! Blacky the Crow chuckled.