Chapter IV: The Cunning Of Blacky
 

Now when Blacky the Crow discovered that the eggs in the old tumble-down nest of Redtail the Hawk in a lonesome corner of the Green Forest belonged to Hooty the Owl, he straightway made the best of resolutions; he would simply forget all about those eggs. He would forget that he ever had seen them, and he would stay away from that corner of the Green Forest. That was a very wise resolution. Of all the people who live in the Green Forest, none is fiercer or more savage than Hooty the Owl, unless it is Mrs. Hooty. She is bigger than Hooty and certainly quite as much to be feared by the little people.

All this Blacky knows. No one knows it better. And Blacky is not one to poke his head into trouble with his eyes open. So he very wisely resolved to forget all about those eggs. Now it is one thing to make a resolution and quite another thing to live up to it, as you all know. It was easy enough to say that he would forget, but not at all easy to forget. It would have been different if it had been spring or early summer, when there were plenty of other eggs to be had by any one smart enough to find them and steal them. But now, when it was still winter (such an unheard-of time for any one to have eggs!), and it was hard work to find enough to keep a hungry Crow's stomach filled, the thought of those eggs would keep popping into his head. He just couldn't seem to forget them. After a little, he didn't try.

Now Blacky the Crow is very, very cunning. He is one of the smartest of all the little people who fly. No one can get into more mischief and still keep out of trouble than can Blacky the Crow. That is because he uses the wits in that black head of his. In fact, some people are unkind enough to say that he spends all his spare time in planning mischief. The more he thought of those eggs, the more he wanted them, and it wasn't long before he began to try to plan some way to get them without risking his own precious skin.

"I can't do it alone, " thought he, "and yet if I take any one into my secret, I'll have to share those eggs. That won't do at all, because I want them myself. I found them, and I ought to have them." He quite forgot or overlooked the fact that those eggs really belonged to Hooty and Mrs. Hooty and to no one else. "Now let me see, what can I do?"

He thought and he thought and he thought and he thought, and little by little a plan worked out in his little black head. Then he chuckled. He chuckled right out loud, then hurriedly looked around to see if any one had heard him. No one had, so he chuckled again. He cocked his head on one side and half closed his eyes, as if that plan was something he could see and he was looking at it very hard. Then he cocked his head on the other side and did the same thing.

"It's all right, " said he at last. "It'll give my relatives a lot of fun, and of course they will be very grateful to me for that. It won't hurt Hooty or Mrs. Hooty a bit, but it will make them very angry. They have very short tempers, and people with short tempers usually forget everything else when they are angry. We'll pay them a visit while the sun is bright, because then perhaps they cannot see well enough to catch us, and we'll tease them until they lose their tempers and forget all about keeping guard over those eggs. Then I'll slip in and get one and perhaps both of them. Without knowing that they are doing anything of the kind, my friends and relatives will help me to get a good meal. My, how good those eggs will taste!"

It was a very clever and cunning plan, for Blacky is a very clever and cunning rascal, but of course it didn't deserve success because nothing that means needless worry and trouble for others deserves to succeed.