The Tale of Old Mr. Crow by Arthur Scott Bailey
XV. Mr. Crow's New Coat
When Mr. Crow decided, one fall, that he would stay in Pleasant Valley during the winter, instead of going South, he remembered at once that he would need a thick overcoat.
That was when he went to Mr. Frog's tailor's shop, for Mr. Frog, you know, was a tailor.
"I want you to make me a warm overcoat." Mr. Crow told him. "Can you do it?"
"Certainly!" said Mr. Frog. "You've come to the right place. Everybody says that I'm the best tailor in Pleasant Valley." And that was quite true--because he was the only one. "What'll you have--stripes, checks, or spots?" Mr. Frog asked briskly.
"What do you suggest?" Mr. Crow replied. He had not thought much about his new coat--except that he wanted it to be warm.
"Spots, by all means!" said Mr. Frog. "I always wear 'em myself. They're the best, to my mind. For if you happen to get a spot on your coat, what's one spot more?"
"That's a good idea," Mr. Crow said. "And how much will you ask to make me a spotted coat?"
"I charge by the spot," said Mr. Frog. "The more spots, the more the coat will cost. So I'd advise you to take a coat with large spots, because there'll be fewer of 'em and the price will be less."
"That's a good idea, too," said old Mr. Crow. "You may make my coat of this!" He pointed to a piece of blue cloth with yellow spots about the size of a dollar and a quarter.
"Good!" said Mr. Frog. Then he measured Mr. Crow. And then he measured the cloth. And then he scratched some figures on a flat stone. "There'll be thirteen spots on your coat and that'll make just thirteen that you'll owe me."
"Thirteen what?" asked Mr. Crow.
"Ah! That's the question!" said Mr. Frog, mysteriously. "I'll tell you when your coat's finished. And you can pay me then. It's what is known as 'spot cash,'" he added.
"Very well!" Mr. Crow answered. "And I'll come back--"
"To-morrow!" said the tailor.
When to-morrow came, Mr. Crow flew over to the pond where Mr. Frog had his tailor's shop. And that spry gentleman slipped Mr. Crow's new coat upon him. While Mr. Crow stood stiffly in the middle of the floor Mr. Frog pulled the coat here and patted it there. He backed away and looked at it, with his head on one side; and then he stood on his head and looked at it, with his legs dangling in the air.
"It's a perfect fit," he assured Mr. Crow, finally. And then he caught up a needle and thread and busied himself behind Mr. Crow's back for a long time.
"What are you doing?" Mr. Crow inquired at last. "I'm getting tired of standing still."
"Just fixing it!" answered Mr. Frog. "It'll be finished in a minute."
And it was. He stuck his needle into Mr. Crow, to let him know it was done.
Mr. Crow jumped half way across the room. "Why did you do that?" he asked hotly.
"I wanted to break my thread," Mr. Frog explained pleasantly. "It's the quickest way of breaking a thread that I know of."
"You look out, or I'll break something else for you," Mr. Crow squawked, for he was thoroughly enraged. "And now," he added, "I'll pay you what I owe before leaving. I owe thirteen of something."
Then Mr. Frog surprised him.
"I've decided not to take any pay," he announced. "I hear that thirteen is an unlucky number."
"Is that so?" Mr. Frog exclaimed. "Perhaps it is. If you had stuck your needle into me thirteen times it certainly would have been unlucky for you."
On the whole Mr. Crow was well pleased with his bargain. He was glad that he had asked Mr. Frog to make a coat for him. Indeed, if only the tailor had not stabbed him with his needle, he would have returned to the shop at once and ordered Mr. Frog to make him a pair of trousers--with thirteen spots on them.