The Adventures of Johnny Chuck  by Thornton Burgess

Sammy Jay Finds the New Home

J OHNNY CHUCK was missed from his old home on the Green Meadows. If he had known how much he was missed, he certainly would have tried to go back for at least a call on his old neighbors. There had been great surprise when it had been discovered that Jimmy Skunk was living in Johnny's old house, and at first some of the little meadow people were inclined to look at Jimmy a wee bit distrustfully when he told how Johnny Chuck had given away his house.

When Johnny sent back word by the Merry Little Breezes that it was true, they believed Jimmy Skunk and forgot the unpleasant things that they had begun to hint at about him. But they one and all thought that Johnny Chuck must be crazy. Yes, Sir, they thought that Johnny Chuck must be crazy. They were sure of it when the Merry Little Breezes brought word of how Johnny had started out to see the world.

But everybody was so busy about their own affairs in the beautiful bright spring-time that they couldn't spend much time wondering about Johnny Chuck. They missed him every time they passed his old house and then forgot him; that is, most of the little meadow people did.

Peter Rabbit didn't. Peter used to stop every day to gossip with Johnny Chuck and tell him all the news, and now that Johnny Chuck was no longer there, Peter missed him greatly. Jimmy Skunk was always asleep or off somewhere. Besides, he was such a traveler that he knew all the news almost as soon as Peter himself.

The Merry Little Breezes told Peter that Johnny Chuck was still on the Green Meadows, hunting for a new home, so Peter made up his mind that just as soon as Johnny got settled, Peter would hunt him up and call. You see, he never dreamed that Johnny would leave the Green Meadows, and he thought that of course the Merry Little Breezes would tell him just where Johnny Chuck's new house was, whenever it was built. But there is where Peter made a mistake.

The Merry Little Breezes are the friends of all the little meadow and forest people, but they wouldn't be very long if they told everything that they find out.

Their merry tongues they guard full well

And things they shouldn't never tell,

For long ago they learned the way

To keep a secret night and day.

And so when they found Johnny Chuck's new house in the corner of Farmer Brown's old orchard, they promised Johnny that they wouldn't tell anybody, and they didn't. So it was a long time before any one else found out what had become of Johnny Chuck, for no one thought of looking in the corner of the old orchard.

The Merry Little Breezes used to come every day and bring Johnny Chuck the news, and he and Polly Chuck would laugh and tickle, as they thought of Peter Rabbit hunting and hunting and never finding them.

Then one morning, as Johnny Chuck sat on his door-step, half dozing in the sun with his heart filled with contentment, he happened to look up straight into two sharp eyes peering down at him from among the leaves of the apple-tree under which he had built his house. He knew those eyes. They were such sharp eyes that they were unpleasant. He didn't even have to look for the blue and white coat of the owner to know who had found his snug home. But he pretended to keep right on dozing, and pretty soon the owner of the eyes disappeared without making a sound.

"Oh, dear," sighed Johnny Chuck, "now the whole world will know where we live, for that was Sammy Jay." Then his face brightened as he added: "Anyway, he didn't see Polly Chuck, and he doesn't know anything about her, so I'll keep twice as sharp a watch as before."