Chapter XXXI: An Egg That Wouldn't Behave
 
   If you had an egg and it wouldn't behave
    Just what would you do with that egg, may I ask?
   To make an egg do what it don't want to do
    Strikes me like a difficult sort of a task.

All of which is pure nonsense. Of course. Who ever heard of an egg either behaving or misbehaving? Nobody. That is, nobody that I know, unless it be Blacky. It is best not to mention eggs in Blacky's presence these days. They are a forbidden topic when he is about. Blacky is apt to be a little resentful at the mere mention of an egg. I don't know as I wholly blame him. How would you feel if you knew you knew all there was to know about a thing, and then found out that you didn't know anything at all? Well, that is the way it is with Blacky the Crow.

If any one had told Blacky that he didn't know all there is to know about eggs, he would have laughed at the idea. Wasn't he, Blacky, hatched from an egg himself? And hadn't he, ever since he was big enough, hunted eggs and stolen eggs and eaten eggs? If he didn't know about eggs, who did? That is the way he would have talked before his visit to Farmer Brown's henhouse. It is since then that it has been unwise to mention eggs

When Blacky saw the two eggs in the nest in Farmer Brown's henhouse how Blacky did wish that he could take both. But he couldn't. One would be all that he could manage. He must take his choice and go away while the going was good. Which should he take?

It often happens in this life that things which seem to be unimportant, mere trifles in themselves, prove to be just the opposite. Now, so far as Blacky could see, it didn't make the least difference which egg he took, excepting that one was a little bigger than the other. As a matter of fact, it made all the difference in the world. One was brown and very good to look at. The other, the larger of the two, was white and also very good to look at. In fact, Blacky thought it the better of the two to look at, for it was very smooth and shiny. So, partly on this account, and partly because it was the largest, Blacky chose the white egg. He seized it in his claws and started to fly with it, but somehow he could not seem to get a good grip on it. He fluttered to the ground just outside the door, and there he got a better grip. Just as old Dandy-cock the Rooster, with head down and all the feathers on his neck standing out with anger, came charging at him, Blacky rose into the air and started over the Old Orchard toward the Green Forest.

Never had Blacky felt more like cawing at the top of his lungs. You see, he felt that he had been very smart, and I suspect that he also felt that he had been very brave. He would have liked to boast a little. But he didn't. He wisely held his tongue. It would be time enough to do his boasting after he had reached a place of safety and had eaten that egg. He was halfway across the Old Orchard when he felt that egg beginning to slip. Now at best it isn't easy to carry an egg without breaking it. You know how very careful you have to be. Just imagine how Blacky felt when that egg began to slip. Do what he would, he couldn't get a better grip on it. It slipped a wee bit more. Blacky started down towards the ground. But he wasn't quick enough. Striped Chipmunk, watching Blacky from the old stone wall, saw something white drop from Blacky's claws. He saw Blacky dash after it and clutch at it only to miss it. Then the white thing struck a branch of an old apple tree, bounced off and fell to the ground. Blacky followed it.

Striped Chipmunk stole very softly through the grass to see what Blacky was doing. Blacky was standing close beside a white thing that looked very much like an egg. He was looking at it with the queerest expression.

Now and then he would reach out and rap it sharply with his bill, and then look as if he didn't know what to make of it. He didn't. That egg wasn't behaving

right. It should have broken when it hit the branch of the apple tree. Certainly it should have broken when he struck it that way with his bill. However was he to eat that egg, if he couldn't break the shell? Blacky didn't know.