Chapter XXVII: The Hunter Gives Up

Blacky The Crow didn't know what to think. He couldn't make himself believe that Farmer Brown's boy had really turned hunter, yet what else could he believe? Hadn't he with his own eyes seen Farmer Brown's boy with a terrible gun hide in rushes along the Big River and wait for Dusky the Black Duck and his flock to come in? And hadn't he with his own ears heard the "bang, bang" of that very gun?

The very first thing the next morning Blacky had hastened over to the place where Farmer Brown's boy had hidden in the rushes. With sharp eyes he looked for feathers, that would tell the tale of a Duck killed. But there were no feathers. There wasn't a thing to show that anything so dreadful had happened. Perhaps Farmer Brown's boy had missed when he shot at those Ducks. Blacky shook his head and decided to say nothing to anybody about Farmer Brown's boy and that terrible gun.

You may be sure that early in the afternoon he was perched in the top of his favorite tree over by the Big River. His heart sank, just as on the afternoon before, when he saw Farmer Brown's boy with his terrible gun trudging across the Green Meadows to the Big River. Instead of going to the same hiding place he made a new one farther down.

Then came the hunter a little earlier than usual. Instead of stopping at his blind, he walked straight to the blind Farmer Brown's boy had first made. Of course, there was no one there. The hunter looked both glad and disappointed. He went back to his own blind and sat down, and while he watched for the coming of the Ducks, he also watched that other blind to see if the unknown hunter of the night before would appear. Of course he didn't, and when at last the hunter saw the Ducks coming, he was sure that this time he would get some of them.

But the same thing happened as on the night before. Just as those Ducks were almost near enough, a gun went "bang, bang," and away went the Ducks. They didn't come back again, and once more a disappointed hunter went home without any.

The next afternoon he was on hand very early. He was there before Farmer Brown's boy arrived, and when he did come, of course the hunter saw him. He walked down to where Farmer Brown's boy was hiding in the rushes. "Hello!" said he. "Are you the one who was shooting here last night and the night before?"

Farmer Brown's boy grinned. "Yes," said he.

"What luck did you have?" asked the hunter.

"Fine," replied Farmer Brown's boy.

"How many Ducks did you get?" asked the hunter.

Farmer Brown's boy grinned more broadly than before. "None," said he. "I guess I'm not a very good shot."

"Then what did you mean by saying you had fine luck?" demanded the hunter.

"Oh," replied Farmer Brown's boy, "I had the luck to see those Ducks and the fun of shooting," and he grinned again.

The hunter lost patience. He tried to order Farmer Brown's boy away. But the latter said he had as much right there as the hunter had, and the hunter knew that this was so. Finally he gave up, and muttering angrily, he went back to his blind. Again the gun of Farmer Brown's boy frightened away the Ducks just as they were coming in.

The next afternoon there was no hunter nor the next, though Farmer Brown's boy was there. The hunter had decided that it was a waste of time to hunt there while Farmer Brown's boy was about.