XVIII. An Unlucky Number

As soon as old Mr. Crow pushed open the door of Mr. Frog's tailor's shop, Mr. Frog jumped up quickly. He had been sitting cross-legged upon a table, sewing. And when he leaped off the table he sprang so high that his head struck the ceiling.

"What's that noise?" Mr. Crow asked him nervously, when Mr. Frog had landed upon his feet. "It sounded like thunder; but there's not a cloud in the sky."

"It was my head," Mr. Frog explained. "It hit the ceiling, you know."

"Oh!" said Mr. Crow. "It made a very hollow sound. But I am not surprised. I have already learned that your head is quite empty."

"It's certainly not solid," Mr. Frog agreed pleasantly. No matter what happened, he never lost his temper.

But Mr. Crow was different. He was angry.

"You've got me into a pretty fix!" said he. "And now you must get me out of it."

"I suppose you want more buttons," Mr. Prog observed. "I noticed as you came in that you had lost every one."

"No!" Mr. Crow told him. "What I want is to get out of this coat. I've decided to spend the winter in the South, after all. And here you've been and gone and sewed the coat on me, and left me no way at all to slip out of it."

"I beg your pardon," the tailor replied politely. "Pardon me--but I think you are mistaken. I left four openings through which anyone could crawl out."

Old Mr. Crow looked puzzled.

"I should like to know where they are," he said.

"The neck, the skirts, and the two sleeves!" Mr. Frog told him.

At that Mr. Crow looked at him severely.

"How could you expect me to slip through any of those places?" he asked.

"Why--" said the tailor--"I thought it would be easy for you. I've always heard you were a very slippery customer."

When he said that, Mr. Crow made some queer noises in his throat, much as if he were choking.

"Are you ill?" the tailor cried.

"Just a frog in my throat!" Mr. Crow answered.

As he said that. Mr. Frog leaped toward the door. He was a jumpy sort of person. When anything startled him you could never tell in what direction he might spring. And he was now about to rush out of his shop when Mr. Crow caught him and dragged him back.

"You can't go," he shouted, "until you've taken the stitches out of the back of my coat."

"Oh, certainly!" Mr. Frog quavered. And he set to work at once to open the back seam of Mr. Crow's coat.

He was a spry worker--was Mr. Frog. In less time than it takes to tell it he had ripped the back of the coat from collar to hem.

And old Mr. Crow was no less spry in pulling the coat off and flinging it into a corner.

"There!" Mr. Crow cried. "There's your coat with the thirteen spots on it! I certainly don't want it, for it has caused me no end of trouble." Then he turned and hurried out of the shop, without stopping even to thank Mr. Frog for what he had done.

Before Mr. Crow was out of hearing, the tailor thrust his head through the doorway and called to the departing Mr. Crow.

"I told you--" said Mr. Frog--"I told you thirteen was an unlucky number."