XVI. Rowdy Runs Away

Rowdy Red-Squirrel jumped from one tree into another until he reached the beech tree in which Jasper Jay had caught sight of Sandy Chipmunk.

Now, Sandy had not seen Rowdy stealing upon him. And the first he knew about the fight was when he happened to turn around. Then he saw Rowdy Red-Squirrel right in front of him. And before Sandy could move, Rowdy had jumped straight at him.

Now, as you know, Sandy Chipmunk was not the most nimble of climbers. He was a ground-squirrel; and though he often climbed into the lower branches of trees, he always felt more comfortable on the top of a rail-fence or a stone wall.

But Rowdy Red-Squirrel could cling to the smallest branch. The more it swayed beneath his weight the better he liked it. His hardest battles had been fought in the tree-tops. You see, he was never the least bit afraid of falling.

Sandy Chipmunk was plucky--as you know. And at first he had no thought of running away, when Rowdy Red-Squirrel jumped at him. Even when Rowdy sank his sharp teeth into one of his ears, Sandy fought his hardest. But when Rowdy pulled on his ear, Sandy's feet almost slipped off the limb.

Then Sandy tried to get away. And at last he tore his ear out of Rowdy Red-Squirrel's mouth and scurried quickly to the ground.

Rowdy Red-Squirrel, dashing after him, shouted with glee.

"He's running away from me! I've whipped him!" he called to Jasper Jay, who had come nearer, to see the fight.

Sandy Chipmunk had reached the stone wall between the woods and the pasture. And he was still running. But the moment Rowdy Red-Squirrel sprang upon the wall, to his great surprise Sandy whisked around and jumped straight at him.

It was Rowdy's turn to be startled. And when Sandy gave his nose a cruel bite Rowdy turned tail and darted off as fast as he could go.

After him dashed Sandy Chipmunk. No longer was he afraid of falling. He was quite at home on the stone wall. He knew every stone in it, and every nook and cranny. He knew exactly the best way to run along that old wall. So all he had to think about now was catching Rowdy Red-Squirrel.

But Rowdy escaped. After he had run a long way he jumped into a tree and climbed to the very top of it, where Sandy Chipmunk did not care to follow him.

"Come down here, if you want to fight," Sandy called to him.

"You can't fool me," Rowdy answered. "The other six of you are hiding behind the wall. And the moment I came down you'd all jump at me again. I said I could whip six chipmunks. But seven are one too many."

Sandy Chipmunk didn't know what Rowdy was talking about. And he could not understand what made Jasper Jay laugh so loudly.

"You played a trick on me!" Rowdy told Jasper Jay. "You had six chipmunks hidden behind that wall. And as soon as I came down where they were, they all sprang at me. With Sandy Chipmunk, there were seven of them. And that's one too many."

"Ha! ha!" laughed Jasper Jay. "Yes! There's one too many for you. Sandy Chipmunk is one too many for you!" And he flew away to tell the joke to every one.

You see, Rowdy had been so frightened when Sandy turned and bit his nose that he actually thought there must be at least seven chipmunks chasing him.

Though he boasted just as much afterwards, Rowdy Red-Squirrel never wanted to fight Sandy Chipmunk again.