CHAPTER I HAPPY JACK DROPS A NUT
Save a little every day, And for the future put away.
Happy Jack Squirrel sat on the tip of one of the highest branches of a big hickory tree. Happy Jack was up very early that morning. In fact, jolly, round, red Mr. Sun was still in his bed behind the Purple Hills when Happy Jack hopped briskly out of bed. He washed himself thoroughly and was ready for business by the time Mr. Sun began his climb up in the blue, blue sky.
You see, Happy Jack had found that big hickory tree just loaded with nuts all ripe and ready to gather. He was quite sure that no one else had found that special tree, and he wanted to get all the nuts before any one else found out about them. So he was all ready and off he raced to the big tree just as soon as it was light enough to see.
"The nuts that grow in the hickory tree— They're all for me! They're all for me!"
Happy Jack was humming that little song as he rested for a few minutes 'way up in the top of the tree and wondered if his storehouse would hold all these big, fat nuts. Just then he heard a great scolding a little way over in the Green Forest. Happy Jack stopped humming and listened. He knew that voice. It was his cousin's voice—the voice of Chatterer the Red Squirrel. Happy Jack frowned. "I hope he won't come over this way," muttered Happy Jack. He does not love his cousin Chatterer anyway, and then there was the big tree full of hickory nuts! He didn't want Chatterer to find that.
I am afraid that Happy Jack was selfish. There were more nuts than he could possibly eat in one winter, and yet he wasn't willing that his cousin, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, should have a single one. Now Chatterer is short-tempered and a great scold. Some one or something had upset him this morning, and he was scolding as fast as his tongue could go, as he came running right towards the tree in which Happy Jack was sitting. Happy Jack sat perfectly still and watched. He didn't move so much as the tip of his big gray tail. Would Chatterer go past and not see that big tree full of nuts? It looked very much as if he would, for he was so busy scolding that he wasn't paying much attention to other things.
Happy Jack smiled as Chatterer came running under the tree without once looking up. He was so tickled that he started to hug himself and didn't remember that he was holding a big, fat nut in his hands. Of course he dropped it. Where do you think it went? Well, Sir, it fell straight down, from the top of that tall tree, and it landed right on the head of Chatterer the Red Squirrel!
"My stars!" cried Chatterer, stopping his scolding and his running together, and rubbing his head where the nut had hit him. Then he looked up to see where it had come from. Of course, he looked straight up at Happy Jack.
"You did that purposely!" screamed Chatterer, his short temper flaring up.
"I didn't!" snapped Happy Jack.
Oh, dear, oh, dear, such a sight! two little Squirrels, one in a gray suit and one in a red suit, contradicting each other and calling names!...