XII. Sandy Gets a Letter

After Sandy Chipmunk, with the letter in his mouth, escaped from Farmer Green, he ran home and showed his letter to everybody he met. He felt very proud.

"See!" he said. "There was a letter for me in the mail-box. It's lucky I found it when I did, for I believe Farmer Green would have taken it if I hadn't reached the box before him."

Old Mr. Crow laughed mockingly when Sandy called to him that he had a letter.

"I see you have one," Mr. Crow said. "But the question is, to whom does it really belong? If the truth were known, I guess that letter rightfully belongs to a farmer named Green."

That remark made Sandy angry.

"The letter belongs to me!" he told Mr. Crow. "Here's my picture on it. You can see for yourself."

Now, Mr. Crow could not read either--for all he was so old. And when he saw the picture of a chipmunk on the envelope, exactly like Sandy, he was very much surprised.

"Why don't you open your letter?" he asked.

"I hadn't thought of that," Sandy replied. So he tore open the envelope and pulled out a paper.

"It's certainly for me," he said, "for here's my picture again. But I'd like to know why these other people have their pictures in my letter. They've no business in my letter!"

Mr. Crow looked over Sandy's shoulder--which was not at all a polite thing to do.

"That's queer!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. "There's one of the Red-Squirrel boys and Mrs. Mouse's son. And this young chap here looks a lot like Rinaldo Rat. ... I'd be pretty angry if anybody sent me a letter like that," Mr. Crow then said.

Now, the real trouble with Mr. Crow was that he was jealous because Sandy Chipmunk had a letter, while he had none.

"I'd throw that letter away, if it was mine," remarked Mr. Crow. And he said so much that at last Sandy Chipmunk tossed the letter away and went off to hunt for birds' eggs.

As soon as Sandy was out of sight, Mr. Crow picked up the letter and flew home with it.

He felt better--because at last he had a letter, while Sandy Chipmunk no longer had one.

That very afternoon Farmer Green drove to the village. And on his way he stopped at the houses of several of his neighbors, to talk about the weather and the crops. And each one of them showed him a letter that had come that day, telling all about a new kind of poison, to rid a farmer of chipmunks and red squirrels and rats and mice.

"Sprinkle our powder around your corn-crib," the letter said, "and these little rodents will trouble you no longer."

"I declare!" cried Farmer Green at last. "I seem to be the only person in the neighborhood that didn't get one of those letters." Then he happened to remember the letter Sandy Chipmunk had carried away in his mouth. "It must have been that letter that the chipmunk stole out of my mail-box!" Farmer Green said. And that night, when he reached home and told his family about the letter, his son Johnnie laughed harder than ever.

"That must be a wise chipmunk!" Johnnie Green exclaimed. "I wish I could catch him and put him in my squirrel cage."

"I wish he'd leave my mail alone," said Farmer Green. "The next thing we know, he'll be taking my newspaper to read. And maybe he'll come right into the house and borrow my spectacles."

Johnnie Green seemed to think his father was joking. And perhaps he was.

What do you think about it?