Chapter XXIII: Blacky Calls Farmer Brown's Boy

Blacky awoke in the best of spirits. Late the afternoon before he had saved Dusky the Black Duck and his flock from a hunter with a terrible gun. He wasn't quite sure whether he was most happy in having saved those Ducks by warning them just in time, or in having spoiled the plans of that hunter. He hates a hunter with a terrible gun, does Blacky. For that matter, so do all the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows.

So Blacky started out for his breakfast in high spirits. After breakfast, he flew over to the Big

River to see if Dusky the Black Duck was feeding in the rushes along the shore. Dusky wasn't, and Blacky guessed that he and his flock had been so frightened by that warning that they had kept away from there the night before.

"But they'll come back after a night or so," muttered Blacky, as he alighted in the top of a tree, the same tree from which he had watched the hunter the afternoon before. "They'll come back, and so will that hunter. If he sees me around again, he'll try to shoot me. I've done all I can do. Anyway, Dusky ought to have sense enough to be suspicious of this place after that warning. Hello, who is that? I do believe it is Farmer Brown's boy. I wish he would come over here. If he should find out about that hunter, perhaps he would do something to drive him away. I'll see if I can call him over here."

Blacky began to call in the way he does when he has discovered something and wants others to know about it. "Caw, caw, caaw, caaw, caw, caw, caaw!" screamed Blacky, as if greatly excited.

Now Farmer Brown's boy, having no work to do that morning, had started for a tramp over the Green Meadows, hoping to see some of his little friends in feathers and fur. He heard the excited cawing of Blacky and at once turned in that direction.

"That black rascal has found something over on the shore of the Big River," said Farmer Brown's boy to himself. "I'll go over there to see what it is. There isn't much escapes the sharp eyes of that black busybody. He has led me to a lot of interesting things, one time and another. There he is on the top of that tree over by the Big River."

As Farmer Brown's boy drew near, Blacky flew down and disappeared below the bank. Fanner Brown's boy chuckled. "Whatever it is, it is right down there," he muttered.

He walked forward rapidly but quietly, and presently he reached the edge of the bank. Up flew Blacky cawing wildly, and pretending to be scared half to death. Again Farmer Brown's boy chuckled. "You're just making believe," he declared. "You're trying to make me believe that I have surprised you, when all the time you knew I was coming and have been waiting for me. Now, what have you found over here?"

He looked eagerly along the shore, and at once he saw a row of low bushes close to the edge of the water. He knew what it was instantly. "A Duck blind!" he exclaimed. "A hunter has built a blind over here from which to shoot Ducks. I wonder if he has killed any yet. I hope not." He went down to the blind, for that is what a Duck hunter's hiding-place is called, and looked about. A couple of grains of corn just inside the blind caught his eyes, and his face darkened. "That fellow has been baiting Ducks," thought he. "He has been putting out corn to get them to come here regularly. My, how I hate that sort of thing! It is bad enough to hunt them fairly, but to feed them and then kill them -- ugh! I wonder if he has shot any yet."

He looked all about keenly, and his face cleared. He knew that if that hunter had killed any Ducks, there would be tell-tale feathers in the blind, and there were none.