Chapter XX: Blacky Drops A Hint
 
   When you see another's danger
   Warn him though he be a stranger.
    - Blacky the Crow.

Every day for a week a man came in a boat to scatter corn in the rushes at a certain point along the bank of the Big River, and every day Blacky the Crow watched him and shook his black head and talked to himself and told himself that he didn't like it, and that he was sure that it was for no good purpose. Sometimes Blacky watched from a distance, and sometimes he flew right over the man. But never once did the man have a gun with him.

Every morning, very early, Blacky flew over there, and every morning he found Dusky the Black Duck and his flock in the rushes and wild rice at that particular place, and he knew that they had been there all night, He knew that they had come in there just at dusk the night before, to feast on the yellow corn the man had scattered there in the afternoon.

"It is no business of mine what those Ducks do," muttered Blacky to himself, "but as surely as my tail feathers are black, something is going to happen to some of them one of these days. That man may be fooling them, but he isn't fooling me. Not a bit of it. He hasn't had a gun with him once when I have seen him, but just the same he is a hunter. I feel it in my bones. He knows those silly Ducks come in here every night for that corn he puts out. He knows that after they have been here a few times and nothing has frightened them, they will be so sure that it is a safe place that they will not be the least bit suspicious. Then he will hide behind those bushes he has placed close to the edge of the water and wait for them with his terrible gun. That is what he will do, or my name isn't Blacky."

Finally Blacky decided to drop a hint to Dusky the Black Duck. So the next morning he stopped for a call. "Good morning," said he, as Dusky swam in just in front of him. "I hope you are feeling as fine as you look."

"Quack, quack," replied Dusky. "When Blacky the Crow flatters, he hopes to gain something. What is it this time?"

"Not a thing," replied Blacky. "On my honor, not a thing. There is nothing for me here, though there seems to be plenty for you and your relatives, to judge by the fact that I find you in this same place every morning. What is it?"

"Corn," replied Dusky in a low voice, as if afraid some one might overhear him. "Nice yellow corn."

"Corn" exclaimed Blacky, as if very much astonished. "How does corn happen to be way over here in the water?"

Dusky shook his head. "Don't ask me, for I can't tell you," said he. "I haven't the least idea. All I know is that every evening when we arrive, we find it here. How it gets here, I don't know, and furthermore I don't care. It is enough for me that it is here."

"I've seen a man over here every afternoon," said Blacky. "I thought he might be a hunter."

"Did he have a terrible gun?" asked Dusky suspiciously.

"No-o," replied Blacky.

"Then he isn't a hunter," declared Dusky, looking much relieved.

"But perhaps one of these days he will have one and will wait for you to come in for your dinner," suggested Blacky. "He could hide behind these bushes, you know."

"Nonsense," retorted Dusky, tossing his head. "There hasn't been a sign of danger here since we have been here. I know you, Blacky; you are jealous because we find plenty to eat here, and you find nothing. You are trying to scare us. But I'll tell you right now, you can't scare us away from such splendid eating as we have had here. So there!"