Chapter XXIV: Farmer Brown's Boy Does Some Thinking

Farmer Brown's boy sat on the bank of the Big River in a brown study. That means that he was thinking very hard. Blacky the Crow sat in the top of a tall tree a short distance away and watched him. Blacky was silent now, and there was a knowing look in his shrewd little eyes. In calling Farmer Brown's boy over there, he had done all he could, and he was quite satisfied to leave the matter to Farmer Brown's boy.

"A hunter has made that blind to shoot Black Ducks from," thought Farmer Brown's boy, "and he has been baiting them in here by scattering corn for them. Black Ducks are about the smartest Ducks that fly, but if they have been coming in here every evening and finding corn and no sign of danger, they probably think it perfectly safe here and come straight in without being at all suspicious. To-night, or some night soon, that hunter will be waiting for them.

"I guess the law that permits hunting Ducks is all right, but there ought to be a law against baiting them in. That isn't hunting. No, Sir, that isn't hunting. If this land were my father's, I would know what to do. I would put up a sign saying that this was private property and no shooting was allowed. But it isn't my father's land, and that hunter has a perfect right to shoot here. He has just as much right here as I have. I wish I could stop him, but I don't see how I can."

A frown puckered the freckled face of Farmer Brown's boy. You see, he was thinking very hard, and when he does that he is very apt to frown.

"I suppose," he muttered, "I can tear down his blind. He wouldn't know who did it. But that wouldn't do much good; he would build another. Besides, it wouldn't be right. He has a perfect right to make a blind here, and having made it, it is his and I haven't any right to touch it. I won't do a thing I haven't a right to do. That wouldn't be honest. I've got to think of some other way of saving those Ducks."

The frown on his freckled face grew deeper, and for a long time he sat without moving. Suddenly his face cleared, and he jumped to his feet. He began to chuckle. "I have it!" he exclaimed. "I'll do a little shooting myself!" Then he chuckled again and started for home. Presently he began to whistle, a way he has when he is in good spirits.

Blacky the Crow watched him go, and Blacky was well satisfied. He didn't know what Farmer Brown's boy was planning to do, but he had a feeling that he was planning to do something, and that all would be well. Perhaps Blacky wouldn't have felt so sure could he have understood what Farmer Brown's boy had said about doing a little shooting himself.

As it was, Blacky flew off about his own business, quite satisfied that now all would be well, and he need worry no more about those Ducks. None of the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows knew Farmer Brown's boy better than did Blacky the Crow. None knew better than he that Farmer Brown's boy was their best friend. "It is all right now," chuckled Blacky. "It is all right now." And as the cheery whistle of Farmer Brown's boy floated back to him on the Merry Little Breezes, he repeated it: "It is all right now."