Chapter VIII: Hooty Comes To Mrs. Hooty's Aid
 

No one can live just for self alone. A lot of people think they can, but they are very much mistaken. They are making one of the greatest mistakes in the world. Every teeny, weeny act, no matter what it is, affects somebody else. That is one of Old Mother Nature's great laws. And it is just as true among the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows as with boys and girls and grown people. It is Old Mother Nature's way of making each of us responsible for the good of all and of teaching us that always we should help each other.

As you know, when Blacky the Crow called all his relatives over to the nest where Mrs. Hooty was sitting on her eggs, they at once stopped tormenting Hooty and left him alone in a thick hemlock-tree in the darkest part of the Green Forest. Of course Hooty was very, very glad to be left in peace, and he might have spent the rest of the day there sleeping in comfort. But he didn't. No, Sir, he didn't. At first he gave a great sigh of relief and settled himself as if he meant to stay. He listened to the voices of those noisy Crows growing fainter and fainter and was glad. But it was only for a few minutes.

Presently those voices stopped growing fainter. They grew more excited-sounding than ever, and they came right from one place. Hooty knew then that his tormentors had found the nest where Mrs. Hooty was, and that they were tormenting her just as they had tormented him. He snapped his bill angrily and then more angrily.

"I guess Mrs. Hooty is quite able to take care of herself, " he grumbled, "but she ought not to be disturbed while she is sitting on those eggs. I hate to go back there in that bright sunshine. It hurts my eyes, and I don't like it, but I guess I'll have to go back there. Mrs. Hooty needs my help. I'd rather stay here, but --"

He didn't finish. Instead, he spread his broad wings and flew back towards the nest and Mrs. Hooty. His great wings made no noise, for they are made so that he can fly without making a sound. "If I once get hold of one of those Crows!" he muttered to himself. "If I once get hold of one of those Crows, I'll --" He didn't say what he would do, but if you had been near enough to hear the snap of his bill, you could have guessed the rest.

All this time the Crows were having what they called fun with Mrs. Hooty. Nothing is true fun which makes others uncomfortable, but somehow a great many people seem to forget this. So, while Blacky sat watching, his relatives made a tremendous racket around Mrs. Hooty, and the more angry she grew, the more they screamed and called her names and darted down almost in her face, as they pretended that they were going to fight her. They were so busy doing this, and Blacky was so busy watching them, hoping that Mrs. Hooty would leave her nest and give him a chance to steal the eggs he knew were under her, that no one gave Hooty a thought.

All of a sudden he was there, right in the tree close to the nest! No one had heard a sound, but there he was, and in the claws of one foot he held the tail feathers of one of Blacky's relatives. It was lucky, very lucky indeed for that one that the sun was in Hooty's eyes and so he had missed his aim. Otherwise there would have been one less Crow.

Now it is one thing to tease one lone Owl and quite another to tease two together. Besides, there were those black tail feathers floating down to the snow-covered ground. Quite suddenly those Crows decided that they had had fun enough for one day, and in spite of all Blacky could do to stop them, away they flew, cawing loudly and talking it all over noisily. Blacky was the last to go, and his heart was sorrowful. However could he get those eggs?