Chapter XXV: Blacky Gets A Dreadful Shock
 
   When friends prove false, whom may we trust?
   The springs of faith are turned to dust.
    - Blacky the Crow.

Blacky the Crow was in the top of his favorite tree over near the Big River early this afternoon. He didn't know what was going to happen, but he felt in his bones that something was, and he meant to be on hand to see. For a long time he sat there, seeing nothing unusual. At last he spied a tiny figure far away across the Green Meadows. Even at that distance he knew who it was; it was Farmer Brown's boy, and he was coming toward the Big River.

"I thought as much," chuckled Blacky. "He is coming over here to drive that hunter away."

The tiny figure grew larger. It was Farmer Brown's boy beyond a doubt. Suddenly Blacky's eyes opened so wide that they looked as if they were in danger of popping out of his head. He had discovered that Farmer Brown's boy was carrying something and that that something was a gun! Yes, Sir, Farmer Brown's boy was carrying a terrible gun! If Blacky could have rubbed his eyes, he would have done so, just to make sure that there was nothing the matter with them.

"A gun!" croaked Blacky. "Farmer Brown's boy with a terrible gun! What does it mean?"

Nearer came Farmer Brown's boy, and Blacky could see that terrible gun plainly now. Suddenly an idea popped into his head. "Perhaps he is going to shoot that hunter!" thought Blacky, and somehow he felt better.

Farmer Brown's boy reached the Big River at a point some distance below the blind built by the hunter. He laid his gun down on the bank and went down to the edge of the water. The rushes grew very thick there, and for a while Farmer Brown's boy was very busy among them. Blacky from his high perch could watch him, and as he watched, he grew more and more puzzled. It looked very much as if Farmer Brown's boy was building a blind much like that of the hunter's. At last he carried an old log down there, got his gun, and sat down just as the hunter had done in his blind the afternoon before. He was quite hidden there, excepting from a place high up like Blacky's perch.

"I -- I -- I do believe he is going to try to shoot those Ducks himself," gasped Blacky. "I wouldn't have believed it if any one had told me. No, Sir, I wouldn't have believed it. I -- I -- can't believe it now. Farmer Brown's boy hunting with a terrible gun! Yet I've got to believe my own eyes."

A noise up river caught his attention. It was the noise of oars in a boat. There was the hunter, rowing down the Big River. Just as he had done the day before, he came ashore above his blind and walked down to it.

"This is no place for me," muttered Blacky. "He'll remember that I scared those Ducks yesterday, and as likely as not he'll try to shoot me."

Blacky spread his black wings and hurriedly left the tree-top, heading for another tree farther back on the Green Meadows where he would be safe, but from which he could not see as well. There he sat until the Black Shadows warned him that it was high time for him to be getting back to the Green Forest.

He had to hurry, for it was later than usual, and he was afraid to be out after dark. Just as he reached the Green Forest he heard a faint "bang, bang" from over by the Big River, and he knew that it came from the place where Farmer Brown's boy was hiding in the rushes.

"It is true," croaked Blacky. "Farmer Brown's boy has turned hunter." It was such a dreadful shock to Blacky that it was a long time before he could go to sleep.