The Tale of Old Mr. Crow by Arthur Scott Bailey
IV. Caught Napping
It was several days before Mr. Crow stopped sulking. He was very angry with Farmer Green for placing the giant in the cornfield. And he told his friends that he had about made up his mind he would move to some other neighborhood.
"Farmer Green will be sorry after I'm gone," he remarked. "He'll miss me when he finds that his crops are being eaten by mildreds of insects." Whether he meant millions or hundreds it would be hard to say. You see, Mr. Crow was not good at arithmetic. He always had trouble counting higher than ten.
And then, the very day before he had planned to move, Mr. Crow noticed something that made him change his mind. He was sitting in the top of a tall pine, looking mournfully across the cornfield, where he dared not go, when he saw a small bird drop down upon the giant's head and disappear.
"He's eaten her!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. But as he stared, the little bird appeared again and flew away.
Old Mr. Crow knew it was a mother wren; and he was not long in discovering that she had built a nest under the tin pan that the giant wore in place of a hat!
That was enough for Mr. Crow. The secret was out! The thing he had feared was nothing worse than a straw scarecrow, with a stick stuck over its shoulder to look like a gun.
The old gentleman felt quite foolish for a time. But he did not let that fact prevent his scratching up enough corn to make up for the meals he had lost.
After that he quickly recovered his spirits. And he forgot all about moving.
But if Mr. Crow felt merry, you may be sure that Farmer Green did not. It was his turn to feel foolish. And he vowed that he would get even with Mr. Crow, if it took him all summer.
Meanwhile, Mr. Crow grew careless. He really thought that Farmer Green wouldn't be able to think of any other way of keeping him out of the cornfield. And he spent so much of his time there that he grew quite fat. He became somewhat short-breathed, too. And his voice grew wheezier than ever. But Mr. Crow did not mind those things. He was getting all the corn he could eat. And he was happy.
Then there came a morning at last, as he soared down upon the cornfield, when he noticed that the huge scarecrow was gone. There was another--a shorter--figure in its place. But to careless Mr. Crow's glance it seemed no different from the scarecrows he had known all his life. He paid little or no attention to the image. It wore the big pan upon its head--he observed that much. And it made him laugh.
Then Mr. Crow began to scratch for his breakfast. But he had not eaten a single kernel when a terrible roar broke the early morning stillness. And there was a sound as of hail falling all around him.
Mr. Crow knew right away what had happened. The scarecrow had come to life and tried to shoot him! And if ever a bird hurried away from that field, it was old Mr. Crow.
It was almost night before he remembered that he had had nothing to eat all day. And so anybody can see how frightened he was....
Farmer Green walked home to his own breakfast with his gun resting upon his shoulder.
"I didn't get him," he told Johnnie. "But I must have scared him out of a year's growth."