Chapter IX: Blacky Thinks Of Farmer Brown's Boy

"Such luck!" grumbled Blacky, as he flew over to his favorite tree to do a little thinking. "Such luck! Now all my neighbors know about the nest of Hooty the Owl, and sooner or later one of them will find out that there are eggs in it. There is one thing about it, though, and that is that if I can't get them, nobody can. That is to say, none of my relatives can. I've tried every way I can think of, and those eggs are still there. My, my, my, how I would like one of them right now!"

Then Blacky the Crow did a thing which disappointed scamps often do, -- began to blame the ones he was trying to wrong because his plans had failed. To have heard him talking to himself, you would have supposed that those eggs really belonged to him and that Hooty and Mrs. Hooty had cheated him out of them. Yes, Sir, that is what you would have thought if you could have heard him muttering to himself there in the tree-top. In his disappointment over not getting those eggs, he was so sorry for himself that he actually did feel that he was the one wronged, -- that Hooty and Mrs. Hooty should have let him have those eggs.

Of course, that was absolute foolishness, but he made himself believe it just the same. At least, he pretended to believe it. And the more he pretended, the angrier he grew. This is often the way with people who try to wrong others. They grow angry with the ones they have tried to wrong. When at last Blacky had to confess to himself that he could think of no other way to get those eggs, he began to wonder if there was some way to make trouble for Hooty and Mrs. Hooty. It was right then that he thought of Farmer Brown's boy. Blacky's eyes snapped. He remembered how, once upon a time, Farmer Brown's boy had

delighted to rob nests. Blacky had seen him take the eggs from the nests of Blacky's own relatives and from many other feathered people. What he did with the eggs, Blacky had no idea. Just now he didn't care. If Farmer Brown's boy would just happen to find Hooty's nest, he would be sure to take those eggs, and then he, Blacky, would feel better. He would feel that he was even with Hooty.

Right away he began to try to think of some way to bring Farmer Brown's boy over to the lonesome corner of the Green Forest where Hooty's nest was. If he could once get him there, he felt sure that Farmer Brown's boy would see the nest and climb up to it, and then of course he would take the eggs. If he couldn't have those eggs himself, the next best thing would be to see some one else get them.

Dear me, dear me, such dreadful thoughts! I am afraid that Blacky's heart was as black as his coat. And the worst of it was, he seemed to get a lot of pleasure in his wicked plans. Now right down in his heart he knew that they were wicked plans, but he tried to make excuses to himself.

"Hooty the Owl is a robber, " said he. "Everybody is afraid of him. He lives on other people, and so far as I know he does no good in the world. He is big and fierce, and no one loves him. The Green Forest would be better off without him. If those eggs hatch, there will be little Owls to be fed, and they will grow up into big fierce Owls, like their father and mother. So if I show Farmer Brown's boy that nest and he takes those eggs, I will be doing a kindness to my neighbors."

So Blacky talked to himself and tried to hush the still, small voice down inside that tried to tell him that what he was planning to do was really a dreadful thing. And all the time he watched for Farmer Brown's boy.