Blacky the Crow by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter VI: Hooty The Owl Doesn't Stay Still
Now what's the good of being smart When others do not do their part?
If Blacky the Crow didn't say this to himself, he thought it. He knew that he had made a very cunning plan to get the eggs of Hooty the Owl, a plan so shrewd and cunning that no one else in the Green Forest or on the Green Meadows would have thought of it. There was only one weakness in it, and that was that it depended for success on having Hooty the Owl do as he usually did when tormented by a crowd of noisy Crows, -- stay where he was until they got tired and flew away.
Now Blacky sometimes makes a mistake that smart people are very apt to make; he thinks that because he is so smart, other people are stupid. That is where he proves that smart as he is, he isn't as smart as he thinks he is. He always thought of Hooty the Owl as stupid. That is, he always thought of him that way in daytime. At night, when he was waked out of a sound sleep by the fierce hunting cry of Hooty, he wasn't so sure about Hooty being stupid, and he always took care to sit perfectly still in the darkness, lest Hooty's great ears should hear him and
Hooty's great eyes, made for seeing in the dark, should find him. No, in the night Blacky was not at all sure that Hooty was stupid.
But in the daytime he was sure. You see, he quite forgot the fact that the brightness of day is to Hooty what the blackness of night is to him. So, because Hooty would simply sit still and hiss and snap his bill, instead of trying to catch his tormentors or flying away, Blacky called him stupid. He felt sure that Hooty would stay right where he was now, and he hoped that Mrs. Hooty would lose her temper and leave the nest where she was sitting on those two eggs and join Hooty to help him try to drive away that noisy crew.
But Hooty isn't stupid. Not a bit of it. The minute he found out that Blacky and his friends had discovered him, he thought of Mrs. Hooty and the two precious eggs in the old nest of Redtail the Hawk close by.
"Mrs. Hooty mustn't be disturbed, " thought he. "That will never do at all. I must lead these black rascals away where they won't discover Mrs. Hooty. I certainly must."
So he spread his broad wings and blundered away among the trees a little way. He didn't fly far because the instant he started to fly that whole noisy crew with the exception of Blacky were after him. Because he couldn't use his claws or bill while flying, they grew bold enough to pull a few feathers out of his back. So he flew only a little way to a thick hemlock-tree, where it wasn't easy for the Crows to get at him, and where the light didn't hurt his eyes so much. There he rested a few minutes and then did the same thing over again. He meant to lead those bothersome Crows into the darkest part of the Green Forest and there -- well, he could see better there, and it might be that one of them would be careless enough to come within reach. No, Hooty wasn't stupid. Certainly not.
Blacky awoke to that fact as he sat in the top of a tall pine-tree silently watching. He could see Mrs. Hooty on the nest, and as the noise of Hooty's tormentors sounded from farther and farther away, she settled herself more comfortably and closed her eyes. Blacky could imagine that she was smiling to herself. It was clear that she had no intention of going to help Hooty. His splendid plan had failed just because stupid Hooty, who wasn't stupid at all, had flown away when he ought to have sat still. It was very provoking.