Gateway to the Classics: The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk by Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk by  Thornton W. Burgess

A Little Something about Eggs

"An egg," says Jimmy Skunk, "is good;

It's very good indeed to eat."

"An egg," says Mrs. Grouse, "is dear;

'Twill hatch into a baby sweet."

S O in the matter of eggs, as in a great many other matters, it all depends on the point of view. To Jimmy Skunk and Unc' Billy Possum eggs are looked on from the viewpoint of something to eat. Their stomachs prompt them to think of eggs. Eggs are good to fill empty stomachs. The mere thought of eggs will make Jimmy and Unc' Billy smack their lips. They say they "love" eggs, but they don't. They "like" them, which is quite different.

But Mrs. Grouse and most of the other feathered people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows and the Old Orchard really do "love" eggs. It is the heart instead of the stomach that responds to the thought of eggs. To them eggs are almost as precious as babies, because they know that some day, some day very soon, those eggs will become babies. There are a few feathered folks, I am sorry to say, who "love" their own eggs, but "like" the eggs of other people—like them just as Jimmy Skunk and Unc' Billy Possum do, to eat. Blacky the Crow is one and his cousin, Sammy Jay, is another.

So in the springtime there is always a great deal of matching of wits between the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows and the Old Orchard. Those who have eggs try to keep them a secret or to build the nests that hold them where none who like to eat them can get them; and those who have an appetite for eggs try to find them.

When Unc' Billy Possum suddenly changed the subject by asking Jimmy Skunk if he had found any nice fresh eggs lately, he touched a subject very close to Jimmy's heart. I should have said, rather, his stomach. To tell the truth, it was a longing for some eggs that had brought Jimmy to the Green Forest. He knew that somewhere there Mrs. Grouse must be hiding a nestful of the very nicest of eggs, and it was to hunt for these that he had come.

"No," replied Jimmy, "I haven't had any luck at all this spring. I've almost forgotten what an egg tastes like. Either I'm growing dull and stupid, or some folks are smarter than they used to be. By the way, have you seen Mrs. Grouse lately?" Jimmy looked very innocent as he asked this.

Unc' Billy chuckled until his sides shook. "Do yo' suppose Ah'd tell yo' if Ah had?" he demanded. "Ah reckons Mrs. Grouse hasn't got any mo' aiggs than Ah could comfortably take care of mahself, not to mention Mrs. Possum." Here Unc' Billy looked back over his shoulder to make sure that old Mrs. Possum wasn't within hearing, and Jimmy Skunk chuckled. "Seems to me, Brer Skunk, yo' might better do your aigg hunting on the Green Meadows and leave the Green Forest to me," continued Unc' Billy. "That would be no mo' than fair. Yo' know Ah never did hanker fo' to get far away from trees, but yo' don't mind. Besides there are mo' aiggs for yo' to find on the Green Meadows than there are fo' me to find in the Green Forest. A right smart lot of birds make their nests on the ground there. There is Brer Bob White and Brer Meadowlark and Brer Bobolink and Brer Field Sparrow and Brer—"

"Never mind any more, Unc' Billy," interrupted Jimmy Skunk. "I know all about them. That is, I know all about where their eggs are. Didn't I just tell you I haven't had any luck at all? That's why I'm over here."

"Well, yo' won't have any mo' luck here unless yo' are a right smart lot sharper than your Unc' Billy, and when it comes to hunting aiggs, Ah don't take mah hat off to anybody, not even to you', Brer Skunk," replied Unc' Billy.

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