A Great Fear on the Green Meadows
I T had been a bad day on the Green Meadows. Yes, Sir, it had been a very bad day, especially for the littlest folks who live there. From the time jolly, round, red Mr. Sun first began his long climb up the blue, blue sky until it was almost time for him to go to bed behind the Purple Hills there had been great fear on the Green Meadows. And it was all because of a black speck way, way up in the sky, a black speck that kept going round and round and round and round in circles.
Danny Meadow Mouse poked his head out of his doorway and nearly twisted his head off as he watched the black speck go round and round. He shivered and ducked back into his house, only to stick his head out a few minutes later and do it all over again.
Peter Rabbit stuck to the dear Old Briar-patch all that day. He was perfectly safe there, but there wasn't any sweet-clover and he didn't dare go out on the Green Meadows to get any. By noon Peter's neck seemed ready to break from being twisted so much to watch that black speck in the sky.
And it was strangely still on the Green Meadows. The little birds forgot to sing. Mrs. Redwing kept close hidden in the bulrushes on the edge of the Smiling Pool. Even Sammy Jay kept to the Green Forest. Only Blacky the Crow ventured out on the Green Meadows, but Blacky is so big that he is not much afraid of anything, and though once in a while he rolled an eye up at the black speck high in the sky, he went on about his business as usual.
Jimmy Skunk, who fears nothing and nobody, stopped to visit with Johnny Chuck. Johnny was sticking very close to his doorway that morning and every minute or two he rolled one eye up to see where the black speck was.
"I don't know what to make of it," said Johnny Chuck. "It isn't Old White-tail the Marsh Hawk, for he always flies close to the tops of the meadow grasses. It isn't fierce Mr. Goshawk, for he spends most of his time in the Green Forest. It isn't old King Eagle, for he never stays so long in one place. It isn't sharp-eyed old Roughleg, for he has gone back to his home in the Far North. And besides, none of them can fly round and round and round without flapping their wings as that fellow does. I wish he would go away."
But he didn't go away, only just kept sailing round and round over the Green Meadows and sometimes over the Green Forest. Every one was sure that it was a Hawk, and you know that most of the little meadow and forest folks are terribly afraid of Hawks, but no one could remember ever having seen such a wonderful flier among the Hawks. This big black fellow just sailed and sailed and sailed. Sometimes he shot down almost to the ground and then all the little meadow people scuttled out of sight. None was brave enough to stay and discover who the stranger was.
Now Unc' Billy Possum had been asleep all day and so he hadn't heard of the fright on the Green Meadows. It was just about the time that jolly, round, red Mr. Sun goes to bed when Unc' Billy came crawling out of his snug home in the hollow tree. Jimmy Skunk happened along just then. He had just seen the stranger glide down and settle for the night on a dead tree in the Green Forest, and he told Unc' Billy Possum all about it. Unc' Billy pricked up his ears as he listened. Then he grew very much excited.
"Ah reckons that that is mah ol' friend, Ol' Mistah Buzzard!" shouted Unc' Billy, as he started for the dead tree in the Green Forest.