Chapter XVIII: Blacky Becomes Very Suspicious
 
   Of things you do not understand,
      Beware!
   They may be wholly harmless but--
      Beware!
   You'll find the older that you grow
   That only things and folks you know
    Are fully to be trusted, so
      Beware!
      - Blacky the Crow.

That is one of Blacky's wise sayings, and he lives up to it. It is one reason why he has come to be regarded by all his neighbors as one of the smartest of all who live in the Green Forest and on the Green Meadow. He seldom gets into any real trouble because he first makes sure there is no trouble to get into. When he discovers something he does not understand, he is at once distrustful of it.

As he watched a man scattering yellow corn in the water from the shore of the Big River he at once became suspicious. He couldn't understand why a man should throw good corn among the rushes and wild rice in the water, and because he couldn't understand, he at once began to suspect that it was for no good purpose. When the man left in a boat, Blacky slowly flew over the rushes where the man had thrown the corn, and presently his sharp eyes made a discovery that caused him to exclaim right out.

What was it Blacky had discovered? Only a few feathers. No one with eyes less sharp than Blacky's would have noticed them. And few would have given them a thought if they had noticed them. But Blacky knew right away that those were feathers from a Duck. He knew that a Duck, or perhaps a flock of Ducks, had been resting or feeding in there among those rushes, and that in moving about they had left those two or three downy feathers.

"Ha!" exclaimed Blacky. "Mr. and Mrs. Quack or some of their relatives have been here. It is just the kind of a place Ducks like. Also some Ducks like corn.

If they should come back here and find this corn, they would have a feast, and they would be sure to come again. That man who scattered the corn here didn't have a terrible gun, but that doesn't mean that he isn't a hunter. He may come back again, and then he may have a terrible gun. I'm suspicious of that man. I am so. I believe he put that corn here for Ducks and I don't believe he did it out of the kindness of his heart. If it was Farmer Brown's boy I would know that all is well; that he was thinking of hungry Ducks, with few places where they can feed in safety, as they make the long journey from the Far North to the Sunny South. But it wasn't Farmer Brown's boy. I don't like the looks of it. I don't indeed. I'll keep watch of this place and see what happens."

All the way to his favorite perch in a certain big hemlock-tree in the Green Forest, Blacky kept thinking about that corn and the man who had seemed to be generous with it, and the more he thought, the more suspicious he became. He didn't like the looks of it at all.

"I'll warn the Quacks to keep away from there. I'll do it the very first thing in the morning," he muttered, as he prepared to go to sleep. "If they have any sense at all, they will stay in the pond of Paddy the Beaver. But if they should go over to the Big River, they would be almost sure to find that corn, and if they should once find it, they would keep going back for more. It may be all right, but I don't like the looks of it."

And still full of suspicions, Blacky went to sleep.