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Thornton W. Burgess

A Cheerful Worker

A cheery whistle or a song

Will help the daily work along.

T HE little feathered people of the Green Meadows, the Green Forest and the Old Orchard learned this long ago, and it is one reason why you will so often find them singing with all their might when they are hard at work building their homes in the spring. Most of them sing, but there is one who whistles, and it is such a clear and cheery whistle that it gladdens the hearts of all who hear it. Many and many a time has Farmer Brown's boy stopped to whistle back, and never has he failed to get a response.

A handsome little fellow is this whistler. He is dressed in brown, white and black, and his name is Bob White. Sometimes he is called a Quail and sometimes a Partridge, but if you should ask him he would tell you promptly and clearly that he is Bob White, and he answers to no other name. All the other little people know and love him well, most of them for the cheery sound of his whistle; but a few, like Reddy Fox and Redtail the Hawk, for the good meal he will make them if only they are smart enough to catch him.

Farmer Brown's boy loves him, not only for his cheerful whistle, but because he has found out that Bob White is a worker as well as a whistler, one of the best workers and greatest helpers on the farm. You see, a part of the work of Farmer Brown's boy is to keep down the weeds and destroy the insects that eat up the crops. Now weeds spring up from seeds. If there were no weed-seeds there would be no weeds. In the same way, if there were no insect-eggs there would be no insects. But there are millions and millions of both, and so all summer long Farmer Brown's boy has to fight the weeds and the insects. He is very thankful for any help he may get, and this is one reason he has become so fond of Old Mr. Toad, who helps him keep the garden clear of worms and bugs, and of Tommy Tit the Chickadee and others of the little feathered people who live in the Old Orchard and hunt bugs and their eggs among the apple-trees. You know the surest way of winning friends is to help others.

Bob White not only catches worms and bugs, but eats the seeds of weeds, scratching them out where they have hidden in the ground, and filling his little crop with them until he just has to fly to the nearest fence and tell all the world how happy he is to be alive and have a part in the work of the Great World. Not one of all the little people is of greater help to Farmer Brown's boy than Bob White. All the long day he works, and with him works Mrs. Bob and all the little Bobs, scratching up weed-seeds here, picking off bugs there, all the time so happy and cheerful that everybody in the neighborhood is happy and cheerful too. The best of it is Bob White is always just that way. You would think he never had a thing in the world to worry about. But he does have. Yes, indeed! Bob White has plenty to worry about, as you shall hear, but he never allows his troubles to interfere with his cheerfulness if he can help it.

"Bob White! Bob White!" with all his might

He whistles loud and clear.

Because no shame e'er hurt his name

He wants that all shall hear.

One day Peter Rabbit sat listening to it, and it reminded him that he hadn't called on Bob White for some time, and also that there were some things about Bob White that he didn't know. He decided that he would go at once to call on Bob and try to satisfy his curiosity. So off he started, lipperty-lipperty-lip.