J OHNNY CHUCK couldn't keep away from the Smiling Pool. No, Sir, Johnny Chuck couldn't keep away from the Smiling Pool. Ever since he and Peter Rabbit had gone over there looking for the sweet singers, who every night and part of the day told all who would listen how glad they were that Mistress Spring had come to the Green Meadows and the Green Forest, Johnny Chuck had had something on his mind. And this is why he couldn't keep away from the Smiling Pool.
You see it was this way: Johnny and
Peter had thought that of course
the sweet singers were birds. They hadn't dreamed of anything else. So
of course they went looking for birds. When they reached the Smiling
Pool, the voices came right out of the water. Johnny knew that some
birds, like many of the cousins of
Jerry Muskrat was always watching for Johnny, whenever he came to the Smiling Pool, and his eyes would twinkle as he would gravely say:
"Hello, Johnny Chuck! Have you seen the birds sing under water yet?"
Johnny would smile good-naturedly and reply: "Not yet, Jerry Muskrat. Won't you point them out to me?"
Then Jerry would reply:
"Two eyes you have, bright as can be;
Perhaps some day you'll learn to see."
Then Johnny Chuck would sit as still as ever he knew how, and watch and watch the Smiling Pool, but not a bird did he see in the water, though the singers were still there. One day a sudden thought popped into his head. Perhaps those singers were not birds at all! Why hadn't he thought of that before? Perhaps it was because he was looking so hard for birds that he hadn't seen anything else. Johnny began to look, not for anything in particular, but to see everything that he could.
Almost right away he saw some tiny little dark spots on the water. They didn't look like much of anything. They were so small that he hadn't noticed them before. One of them was quite close to him, and as Johnny Chuck looked at it, it began to look like a tiny nose, and then—why, just then, Johnny was very sure that one of those singing voices came right from that very spot!
He was so surprised that he hopped to his feet and excitedly beckoned to Jerry Muskrat. The instant he did that, the voices near him stopped singing, and the little spots on the water disappeared, leaving just the tiniest of little rings, just such tiny little rings as drops of rain falling on the Smiling Pool would make. And when that tiny spot nearest to him that looked like a tiny nose disappeared, Johnny Chuck caught just a glimpse of a little form under the water.
"Why—why-e-e! The singers are Grandfather Frog's children!" cried Johnny Chuck.
"No, they're not, but they are own cousins to them; they are the grandchildren of old Mr. Tree Toad! and they are called Hylas!" said Jerry Muskrat, laughing and rubbing his hands in great glee. "I told you that if you used your eyes, you'd learn to see."
"My, but they've got voices bigger than they are!" said Johnny Chuck, as he started home across the Green Meadows. "I'm glad I know who the singers of the Smiling Pool are, and I mustn't forget their name—Hylas. What a funny name!"
But Farmer Brown's boy, listening to their song that evening, didn't call them Hylas. He said: "Hear the peepers! Spring is surely here."