Chapter XXX. Blacky the Crow is All Pity
 
    People who think that they are fooling others very often
    discover that they have been fooling themselves.

    Bowser the Hound.

To have seen and heard Blacky the Crow as he talked to Reddy Fox, you would have thought that there was nothing under the sun in his heart or mind but pity. "Yes, Sir," said he, "I certainly would be tempted to show you where those fat hens are if you were not too weak. I just can't bear to see an old friend starve. It is too bad that those fat hens are so far away. I feel sure that one of them would make you quite yourself again."

"Don't--don't talk about them," said Reddy feebly. "If I could have just one fat hen that is all I would ask. Are they so very far from here?"

Blacky nodded his head vigorously. "Yes," said he, "they are a long way from here. They are such a long way that I'm afraid you are too weak to make the journey. If you were quite yourself you could do it nicely, but for one in your condition it is, I fear, altogether too long a journey."

"It wouldn't do any harm to try it, perhaps," suggested Reddy, in a hesitating way. "It is no worse to starve to death in one place than another, and I never was one to give up without trying. If you don't mind showing me the way, Brother Blacky, I would at least like to try to reach that place where the fat hens are. Of course I cannot keep up with you. In fact, I couldn't if I were feeling well and strong. Perhaps you can tell me just how to find that place, and then I needn't bother you at all."

Blacky pretended to be lost in thought while Reddy watched him anxiously. Finally Blacky spoke. "It certainly makes my heart ache to see you in such a condition, Brother Reddy," said he. "I tell you what I'll do. You know Crows are famous for flying in a straight line when we want to get to any place in particular. I will fly straight towards that farm where the fat hens are. You follow along as best you can. In your feeble condition it will take you a long time to get anywhere near there. This will give me time to go hunt for my own dinner, and then I will come back until I meet you. After that, I will show you the way. Now I will start along and you follow."

Reddy got to his feet as if it were hard work. Then Blacky spread his wings and started off, cawing encouragement. All the time inside he was laughing to think that Reddy Fox should think he had fooled him. "He forgot to ask again if there is a dog there," chuckled Blacky to himself.

As for Reddy, no sooner was Blacky well on his way than he started off at his swiftest pace. There was nothing weak or feeble in the way Reddy ran then. He was in a hurry to get to those fat hens.