Timid Danny Meadow Mouse
D ANNY MEADOW MOUSE is timid. Everybody says so, and what everybody says ought to be so. But just as anybody can make a mistake sometimes, so can everybody. Still, in this case, it is quite likely that everybody is right. Danny Meadow Mouse is timid. Ask Peter Rabbit. Ask Sammy Jay. Ask Striped Chipmunk. They will all tell you the same thing. Sammy Jay might even tell you that Danny is afraid of his own shadow, or that he tries to run away from his own tail. Of course this isn't true. Sammy Jay likes to say mean things. It isn't fair to Danny Meadow Mouse to believe what Sammy Jay says.
But the fact is Danny certainly is timid. More than this, he isn't ashamed of it—not the least little bit.
"You see, it's this way," said Danny, as he sat on his door-step one sunny morning talking to his friend, old Mr. Toad. "If I weren't afraid, I wouldn't be all the time watching out, and if I weren't all the time watching out, I wouldn't have any more chance than that foolish red ant running across in front of you."
Old Mr. Toad looked where Danny was pointing, and his
tongue darted out and back again so quickly that Danny
wasn't sure that he saw it at all, but when he looked
for the ant it was nowhere to be seen, and there was a
satisfied twinkle in
"No, Sir," said he, "I wouldn't stand a particle more
chance than that foolish ant did. Now if I were big and
strong, like Old Man Coyote, or had swift wings, like
Skimmer the Swallow, or were so homely and ugly looking
that no one wanted me, like—
Old Mr. Toad looked up sharply when Danny mentioned homely and ugly looking people, but Danny was gazing far out across the Green Meadows and looked so innocent that Mr. Toad concluded that he couldn't have had him in mind.
"Well," said he, thoughtfully scratching his nose, "I suppose you may be right, but for my part fear seems a very foolish thing. Now, I don't know what it is. I mind my own business, and no one ever bothers me. I should think it would be a very uncomfortable feeling."
"It is," replied Danny, "but, as I said before, it is a
very good thing to keep one on guard when there are so
many watching for one as there are for me. Now there's
"Where?" exclaimed old Mr. Toad, turning as pale as a Toad can turn, and looking uneasily and anxiously in every direction.
Danny turned his head to hide a smile. If old
"No," replied old Mr. Toad. "No, I don't wonder that you are afraid. It must be dreadful to feel hungry eyes are watching for you every minute of the day and night, too."
"Oh, it's not so bad," replied Danny. "It's rather
exciting. Besides, it keeps my wits sharp all the time.
I am afraid I should find life very dull indeed if,
like you, I feared nothing and nobody. By the way, see
how queerly that grass is moving over there. It looks
as if Mr.
"I've just remembered an important engagement with my cousin, Grandfather Frog, at the Smiling Pool," shouted old Mr. Toad over his shoulder, as he hurried so that he fell over his own feet.
Danny chuckled as he sat alone on his door-step. "Oh,