T HESE spring days were beautiful days on the Green Meadows. It seemed to Johnny Chuck that the Green Meadows never had been so lovely or the songs of the birds so sweet. He had forgotten all about his old friends, Jimmy Skunk and Peter Rabbit and the other little meadow people.
You see, he couldn't think of anybody but Polly Chuck, and he didn't want to be with anybody but Polly Chuck. He had even forgotten that he had started out to see the world. He didn't care anything more about the world. All he wanted was to be where Polly Chuck was. Then he was perfectly happy. That was because Johnny Chuck had found the greatest thing in the world, which is love. But Johnny still had one great wish, the wish that he might show Polly Chuck just how brave and strong he was and how well he could take care of her.
One morning they were feasting in a patch of sweet clover over near an old stone wall. It was the same stone wall in which Johnny Chuck had escaped from old Whitetail the Marshhawk, when Johnny was a very little fellow.
Suddenly Polly gave a little scream of fright. Johnny Chuck looked up to see a dog almost upon her. Johnny's first thought was to run to the old stone wall. He was nearer to it than Polly was. Then he saw that that dreadful dog would catch Polly before she could reach the stone wall.
A great rage filled Johnny's heart, just as it had when he had fought the old gray Chuck. Every hair stood on end, not with fear, but with anger, and he sprang in front of Polly.
"Run, Polly, run!" he cried, and Polly ran.
But Johnny didn't run. Oh, my, no! Johnny didn't run. He drew himself together ready to spring. He showed all his sharp teeth and ground them savagely. Little sparks of fire seemed to snap out of his eyes. There was no sign of fear in Johnny Chuck then, not the least little bit. Just in front of him the dog stopped and barked. He was a little dog, a young and foolish dog, and he was terribly excited. He barked until he almost lost his breath. He didn't like the looks of Johnny Chuck's sharp teeth. So he circled around Johnny, trying to get behind him. But Johnny turned as the dog circled, and always the little dog found those sharp teeth directly in front of him. He barked and barked, until it seemed as if he would bark his head off.
Finally the little dog, who was young and foolish, grew tired of just dancing around and barking. "Pooh!" said he to himself. "He's nothing but a Chuck!" Then he stopped barking and sprang straight at Johnny with an ugly growl.
Johnny Chuck was ready for him and he was quicker than the little dog. His sharp teeth closed on one of the little dog's ears, and he held on while with his stout claws he scratched and tore.
The little dog, who was young and foolish and hadn't yet learned how to fight, couldn't get hold of Johnny Chuck anywhere. Then he tried to shake Johnny Chuck off, but he couldn't, because Johnny held on to that ear with his sharp teeth.
"Kiyi-yi-yi-yi!" yelled the little dog,
for those teeth hurt
Over and over they rolled and tumbled, the little dog trying to get away, and Johnny Chuck holding on to the little dog's ear. Finally Johnny had to let go to get his breath. The little dog sprang to his feet and started for home across the Green Meadows as fast as he could run.
Johnny Chuck shook himself and grinned, as he heard the little dog's
"My, how brave you are!" said Polly Chuck.
"Pooh, that's nothing!" replied Johnny Chuck.