Chapter II: Blacky Makes Sure
 
   "As true as ever I've cawed a caw
    That was a new-laid egg I saw."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Sammy Jay, coming up just in time to hear the last part of what Blacky the Crow was mumbling to himself.

"Oh nothing, Cousin, nothing at all," replied Blacky. "I was just talking foolishness to myself." Sammy looked at him sharply. "You aren't feeling sick, are you, Cousin Blacky?" he asked. "Must be something the matter with you when you begin talking about new-laid eggs, when everything's covered with snow and ice. Foolishness is no name for it. Whoever heard of such a thing as a new-laid egg this time of year"

"Nobody, I guess, " replied Blacky. "I told you I was just talking foolishness. You see, I'm so hungry that I just got to thinking what I'd have if I could have anything I wanted. That made me think of eggs, and I tried to think just how I would feel if I should suddenly see a great big egg right in front of me. I guess I must have said something about it."

"I guess you must have. It isn't egg time yet, and it won't be for a long time. Take my advice and just forget about impossible things. I'm going over to Farmer Brown's corncrib. Corn may not be as good as eggs, but it is very good and very filling. Better come along, " said Sammy.

"Not this morning, thank you. Some other time, perhaps, " replied Blacky.

He watched Sammy disappear through the trees. Then he flew to the top of the tallest pine-tree to make sure that no one was about. When he was quite sure that no one was watching him, he spread his wings and headed for the most lonesome corner of the Green Forest.

"I'm foolish. I know I'm foolish, " he muttered. "But I've just got to have another look in that

old nest of Redtail the Hawk. I just can't get it out of my head that that was an egg, a great, big, white egg, that I saw there yesterday. It won't do any harm to have another look, anyway."

Straight toward the tree in which was the great tumble-down nest of Redtail the Hawk he flew, and as he drew near, he flew high, for Blacky is too shrewd and smart to take any chances. Not that he thought that there could be any danger there; but you never can tell, and it is always the part of wisdom to be on the safe side. As he passed over the top of the tree, he looked down eagerly. Just imagine how he felt when instead of one, he saw two white things in the old nest. -- two white things that looked for all the world like eggs! The day before there had been but one; now there were two. That settled it in Blacky's mind; they were eggs! They couldn't be anything else.

Blacky kept right on flying. Somehow he didn't dare stop just then. He was too much excited by what he had discovered to think clearly. He had got to have time to get his wits together. Whoever had laid those eggs was big and strong. He felt sure of that. It must be some one a great deal bigger than himself, and he was of no mind to get into trouble, even for a dinner of fresh eggs. He must first find out whose they were;

then he would know better what to do. He felt sure that no one else knew about them, and he knew that they couldn't run away. So he kept right on flying until he reached a certain tall pine-tree where he could sit and think without being disturbed.

"Eggs!" he muttered. "Real eggs! Now who under the sun can have moved into Redtail's old house? And what can they mean by laying eggs before Mistress Spring has even sent word that she has started? It's too much for me. It certainly is too much for me."