Gateway to the Classics: The Adventures of Sammy Jay by Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Sammy Jay by  Thornton W. Burgess

Sammy Jay Makes a Fuss

S AMMY JAY doesn't mind the cold of winter. Indeed, he rather likes it. Under his handsome coat of blue, trimmed with white, he wears a warm silky suit of underwear, and he laughs at rough Brother North Wind and his cousin, Jack Frost. But still he doesn't like the winter as well as he does the warmer seasons because—well, because he is a lazy fellow and doesn't like to work for a living any harder than he has to, and in the winter it isn't so easy to get something to eat.

And there is another reason why Sammy Jay doesn't like the winter as well as the other seasons. What do you think it is? It isn't a nice reason at all. No, Sir, it isn't a nice reason at all. It is because it isn't so easy to stir up trouble. Somehow, Sammy Jay never seems really happy unless he is stirring up trouble for some one else. He just delights in tormenting other little people of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest.

Dear, dear, it is a dreadful thing to say, but Sammy Jay is bold and bad. He steals! Yes, Sir, Sammy Jay steals whenever he gets a chance. He had rather steal a breakfast any time than get it honestly. Now people who steal usually are very sly. Sammy Jay is sly. Indeed, he is one of the slyest of all the little people who live in the Green Forest. Instead of spending his time honestly hunting for his meals, he spends most of it watching his neighbors to find out where they have their store-houses, so that he can help himself when their backs are turned. He slips through the Green Forest as still as still can be, hiding in the thick tree-tops and behind the trunks of big trees, and peering out with those sharp eyes of his at his neighbors. Whenever he is discovered, he always pretends to be very busy about his own business, and very much surprised to find any one is near.

It was in this way that he had discovered one of the store-houses of Chatterer the Red Squirrel. He didn't let Chatterer know that he had discovered it. Oh, my, no! He didn't even go near it again for a long time. But he didn't forget it. Sammy Jay never forgets things of that kind, never! He thought of it often and often. When he did, he would say to himself:

"Sometime when the snow is deep

And Chatterer is fast asleep,

When Mother Nature is unkind

And things to eat are hard to find,

I'll help myself and fly away

To steal again some other day."

The snow was deep now, and things to eat were hard to find, but Chatterer the Red Squirrel wasn't asleep. No, indeed! Chatterer seemed to like the cold weather and was as frisky and spry as ever he is. And he never went very far away from that store-house. Sammy Jay watched and watched, but never once did he get a chance to steal the sweet acorns that he had seen Chatterer store away in the fall.

"H-m-m!" said Sammy Jay to himself, "I must do something to get Chatterer away from his store-house."

For a long time Sammy Jay sat in the top of a tall, dark pine-tree, thinking and thinking. Then his sharp eyes twinkled with a look of great cunning, and he chuckled. It was a naughty chuckle. Away he flew to a very thick spruce-tree some distance away in the Green Forest, but where Chatterer the Red Squirrel could hear him. There Sammy Jay began to make a great fuss. He screamed and screeched as only he can. Pretty soon, just as he expected, he saw Chatterer the Red Squirrel hurrying over to see what the fuss was all about. Sammy Jay slipped out of the other side of the spruce-tree and without a sound hurried over to Chatterer's store-house.

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