The Tale of Sandy Chipmunk by Arthur Scott Bailey
I. Sandy's Name
In the first place, no doubt you will want to learn why he was known as Sandy. Many others, before you, have wondered how Sandy Chipmunk came by his name.
Whenever any one asked Sandy himself why he was so called, he always said that he was in too great a hurry to stop to explain. And it is a fact that of all the four-footed folk in Pleasant Valley--and on Blue Mountain as well--he was one of the busiest. He was a great worker. And when he played--as he sometimes did--he played just as hard as he worked.
In spite of his being so busy, there may have been another reason why he never would tell any one why he was named Sandy. Jimmy Rabbit was the first to suggest that perhaps Sandy Chipmunk didn't know.
Jimmy and some of his neighbors were sunning themselves in Farmer Green's pasture one day. And while they were idling away the afternoon Sandy Chipmunk scurried past on top of the stone wall, with his cheek-pouches full of nuts.
"There goes Sandy Chipmunk!" Jimmy Rabbit exclaimed. He called to Sandy. But Sandy did not stop. He made no answer, either, beyond a flick of his tail. You see, his mouth was so full that he couldn't say a word.
"I was going to ask him about his name," Jimmy Rabbit remarked. "I've almost made up my mind that he doesn't know any more about it than anybody else."
"Probably he doesn't," Fatty Coon agreed. "But it's easy to see why he's called Sandy. He likes to dig in the sandy soil in this pasture."
"I don't agree with you," Billy Woodchuck said. "I think he was named Sandy on account of his yellowish, reddish, brownish color."
Some of the others thought that Billy might have guessed the right answer. But Frisky Squirrel told them that that wasn't the reason at all.
"It's because he's plucky," he declared. "You know, gritty is the same as plucky. And sandy is the same as gritty. That's the reason," Frisky said. "It's plain as the nose on your face." He was looking straight at Tommy Fox as he said that.
Now, Tommy Fox had a very long nose. And he became angry at once. His face would have grown red, probably, if it hadn't been that color always.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" he snapped.
Old Mr. Crow, who sat in a tree nearby, nodded his head.
"You're all wrong," he told them. "The reason for calling that young Chipmunk boy Sandy is because his real name is Alexander. And everybody who knows anything at all knows that Sandy is just a short way of saying Alexander."
When they heard that, Fatty Coon and Billy Woodchuck and Frisky Squirrel looked foolish. People thought Mr. Crow was a wise old gentleman. And when he said a thing was so, that usually settled it.
"Here he comes again!" Mr. Crow said.
They all looked around. And sure enough! there was Sandy Chipmunk, hurrying along the top of the wall, to get more nuts to store away for the winter.
"Wait a moment!" Mr. Crow called to him. "I want to tell you something."
Sandy Chipmunk came to a halt and sat up on top of a stone, with his tail curled over his back.
"Talk fast, please!" he said. "I'm in a great hurry. Winter will be here before you know it. And I want to store away a great many nuts before somebody else gathers them all."
"I won't keep you long," Mr. Crow told him. "It's about your name--"
"I've no time to stop to explain," Sandy Chipmunk interrupted. "As I said, I'm very busy to-day." And he started to scamper along the wall again.
Once more Mr. Crow stopped him.
"You don't understand," he said. "I don't want to ask you anything. I want to tell you something."
"Oh!" said Sandy. "That's different. What is it?"
"It's quite a joke," Mr. Crow said. And he laughed loudly. "These young fellows here have been trying to tell one another why you're called Sandy. One of 'em says it's because you like to dig in the sandy soil; and another says it's because of your color; and still another claims it's because you're plucky. But I tell 'em it's because your real name is Alexander. And of course I'm right," said old Mr. Crow.
Sandy Chipmunk smiled. And then he started off again. And again Mr. Crow stopped him.
"Quite a joke on these youngsters--isn't it?" he inquired.
"You told me you didn't want to ask me anything," Sandy Chipmunk reminded him. "But I will say this--though I am in a great hurry: So far as I know, you are all of you right. And that's a joke on you, Mr. Crow."
Then Sandy Chipmunk scampered off. And everybody laughed--except Mr. Crow.
"Alexander Chipmunk is a very pert young man," he grumbled.