"All 'Tommy Smith's Animals' take leave with joy,
For they know Tommy Smith is a different boy."
Tommy Smith had gone to sleep, the owl flew away,
and he flew to the same place where he had met the other animals before, and
found them all there again waiting for him (of course, it had been arranged).
Then all the animals began to tell each other about the conversations they had
had with Tommy Smith, and what a very much better boy he had become. They were
all so glad; and, of course, they all thanked the owl, because it had been his
Then the owl thanked all the animals for thanking him, and he said that
it was his idea, but that it might just as well have been the idea of any
other animal there, and he wished that it had been, because, then,
he could have called it clever, but now, of course, he couldn't,
for that would be praising himself,—which would never do. You see,
he wanted to be modest. One ought always to be modest when one makes a speech.
And now (the owl said) he was quite sure that Tommy Smith would never be unkind
to animals any more as long as he lived, because, just before he flew away, he
had asked him to promise that he wouldn't. But Tommy Smith had just gone off to
sleep then, and so he had had to promise it in his sleep. "And, you know," said
the owl, "that when a promise is made in that way, it is always kept."
Then all the animals clapped their—well, whatever they could clap, and said,
"Hurrah!" and the meeting broke up.
And the owl was right. As Tommy Smith grew older, and became a big boy, he found
that animals did not talk to him any more in the way they used to do. It seemed
as if they only cared to talk to little boys or girls. But there was one
way of having conversations with them, which he got to like better and better,
and that was to go out into the woods and fields and watch what
they were doing. He soon found that that was quite as interesting as really
talking to them. In fact, it was talking to them in another kind of way,
for they kept telling him all about themselves, only without speaking. And the
more Tommy Smith learnt about them, the more he liked them, until the animals
became his very best friends. Of course, one is never unkind to one's very best
friends, and, besides, Tommy Smith had given the owl a promise—in his sleep.