Chapter XXXII: What Blacky Did With The Stolen Egg

Blacky was puzzled. He didn't know what to make of that egg he had stolen from Farmer Brown's henhouse. It wasn't like any egg he ever had seen or even heard of. It was a beautiful-looking egg, and he had been sure that it would taste as good, quite as good as it looked. Even now he wasn't sure that if he could only taste it, it would be all that he had hoped. But how could he taste it, when he couldn't break that shell? He never had heard of such a shell. He doubted if anybody else ever had, either. He had hammered at it with his stout bill until he was afraid that he would break that, instead of the egg. The more he tried to break into it and couldn't, the hungrier he grew, and the more certain that nothing else in all the world could possibly taste so good. But the Old Orchard was not the place for him to work on that egg. In the first place, it was too near Farmer Brown's house. This made Blacky uneasy. You see, he had something of a guilty conscience. Not that he felt at all a sense of having done wrong. To his way of thinking, if he were smart enough to get that egg, he had just as much right to it as any one else, particularly Farmer Brown's boy. Yet he wasn't at all sure that Farmer Brown's boy would look at the matter quite that way. In fact, he had a feeling that Farmer Brown's boy would call him a thief if he should be discovered with that egg. Then, too, there were too many sharp eyes in the Old Orchard. He wanted to get away where he could be sure of being alone. Then if he couldn't break that shell, no one would be the wiser. So he picked up the egg and flew straight over to the Green Forest, and this time he managed to get there without dropping it.

Now you would never suspect Blacky the Crow, he of the sharp wits and crafty ways, of being amused by bright things, would you? But he is. In fact, Blacky is quite like a little child in this matter. Anything that is bright and shiny interests Blacky right away. If he finds anything of this kind, he will take it away to a certain secret place, and there he will admire it and play with it and finally hide it. If I didn't know that it isn't so, because it couldn't possibly be so, I should think that Blacky was some relation to certain small boys I know. Always their pockets are filled with all sorts of useless odds and ends which they have picked up here and there. Blacky has no pockets, so he keeps his treasures of this kind in a secret hiding-place, a sort of treasure storehouse. He visits this secretly every day, uncovers his treasures, and gloats over them and plays with them, then carefully covers them up again. First Blacky took this egg over near his home, and there he once more tried and tried and tried to break the shell. But the shell wouldn't break, not even when Blacky quite lost his temper and hammered at it for all he was worth. Then he gave the thing up as a bad matter and flew up to his favorite roost in the top of a tall pine-tree, leaving the egg on the ground. But from where he sat on his favorite roost in the tall pine-tree he could see that provoking egg, a little spot of shining white. When a Jolly Little Sunbeam found it and rested on it, it was so very bright and shiny that Blacky couldn't keep his eyes off it.

Little by little he forgot that it was an egg. At least, he forgot that he wanted to eat it. He began to find pleasure in just looking at it. It might not satisfy his stomach, but it certainly was very satisfying to his eyes. He forgot to think of it as a thing to eat, but began to think of it wholly as a thing to look at and admire. He was glad he hadn't been able to break that shell.

Once more he spread his black wings and flew down to the egg. He cocked his head to one side and looked at it. He cocked his head to the other side and looked at it. He walked all around it, chuckling and saying to himself, "Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty and all mine, mine, mine, mine! Pretty, pretty, and all mine!"

Than he craftily looked all about to make sure that no one was watching him. Having made quite sure, he rolled the egg over and turned it around and admired it to his heart's content. At last he picked it up and carried it to his treasure-house and covered it over very carefully. And there that china nest-egg, for that is what he had stolen, is still his chief treasure to this day, and Blacky still sometimes wonders what kind of a hen laid such a hard-shelled egg.

Blacky has had very many other adventures, but it would take another book to tell about all of them. That would be hardly fair to some of the other little people who also have had adventures and want them told to you. One of these is a beautiful little fellow who lives in the Green Forest, and so the next book will be Whitefoot the Wood Mouse.