XVII. The Strange Buttons

To Mr. Crow's delight, it did not occur to Fatty Coon that Mr. Crow might be playing a trick on him. You see, as was usually the case, Fatty was hungry. And he had no thought for anything except food. When Mr. Crow explained what a fix he was in, and asked Fatty to unbutton his coat for him, Fatty stepped up to him at once.

But he didn't try to unbutton the coat. He sniffed at the buttons, while his face wore a puzzled look. And then he began to smile.

"I'll tell you what I'll do!" Fatty said. "If you'll give me these buttons, I'll take them off for you. And then, of course, you'll have no more trouble with your coat. You can throw it off any time you please."

"Good!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. "The buttons shall be yours. I don't want them, for I shall never wear this coat again."

So Fatty Coon set to work to take off the buttons. He removed them in a very odd way, too. Instead of tearing them off he began eating them!

"Goodness!" Mr. Crow cried. "Aren't you afraid you'll be ill?"

But Fatty Coon never answered. He kept on nibbling the buttons and crunching them in his mouth. And he never stopped until he had swallowed the very last one.

Then he smacked his lips (for he knew no better).

"Those were the finest gingersnaps I ever tasted," he remarked. "It's a pity there weren't a baker's dozen of them, instead of only ten."

Old Mr. Crow nearly fell over, he was so surprised. He had never dreamed that those big brown buttons, which Mr. Frog had sewed upon his coat, were nothing but gingersnaps.

"If I'd known that I would have eaten them myself!" he exclaimed. "But I don't care. Now that I can get out of this heavy coat, I'm satisfied."

But to Mr. Crow's dismay, the coat clung round him as tightly as ever. He couldn't throw it open at all. And he turned the least bit pale.

"This is strange!" he murmured. "What can be the matter, I wonder!"

Fatty Coon looked at the coat again. And then he laughed.

"The trouble--" he said--"the trouble is, there are no buttonholes! Your coat doesn't open in front. And it doesn't open anywhere else, either. It's sewed on you, Mr. Crow."

Poor Mr. Crow began to feel faint. He leaned against a tree and did not speak for some time. But he was thinking deeply. And all at once he understood what had happened.

"It's all the fault of that silly tailor, Mr. Frog!" he groaned. "He made me stand still a long time. And that was when he sewed my coat up the back.... What can I do?" he asked helplessly.

"If I were you I'd go straight to Mr. Frog's shop and make him take the stitches out," Fatty Coon said. "And if he has any more of those gingersnaps, I wish you'd let me know."