Happy Jack in "Happy Jack's Run For Life"
Happy Jack's Run
"A coward he who runs away
When he should stay and fight,
But wise is he who knows when he
Should run with all his might."
It isn't cowardly to run away when it is quite useless to stay and fight. So it wasn't so cowardly of Happy Jack Squirrel to turn tail and run the instant he caught sight of Shadow the Weasel. No, Sir, it wasn't cowardly at all, although it might have looked so to you had you been there to see, for Happy Jack is bigger than Shadow. But when it comes to a fight, Happy Jack is no match at all for Shadow the Weasel, and he knows it. Shadow is too quick for him, and though Happy Jack were ever so brave, he would have no chance at all in a fight with Shadow.
And so the very instant he saw the cruel face of Shadow with its fierce red eyes glaring at him from his own doorway, Happy Jack turned tail and ran. Yes, Sir, that is just what he did, and it was the wisest thing he could have done. He hoped with a mighty hope that Shadow would not follow him, but he hoped in vain. Shadow had made up his mind to dine on Squirrel, and he didn't propose to see his dinner run away without trying to catch it.
So the instant Happy Jack started, Shadow started after him, stopping only long enough to snarl an ugly threat at Tommy Tit the Chickadee, because Tommy had warned Happy Jack that Shadow was waiting for him.
But Tommy didn't mind that threat. Oh, my, no! Tommy didn't mind it at all. He can fly, and so he had no fear of Shadow the Weasel. But he was terribly afraid for Happy Jack. He knew, just as Happy Jack knew, that there wasn't a single place where Happy Jack could hide into which Shadow could not follow him.
So Tommy flitted from tree to tree behind Happy Jack, hoping that in some way he might be able to help him.
From tree to tree raced Happy Jack, making desperately long leaps. Shadow the Weasel followed, and though he ran swiftly, he didn't appear to be hurrying, and he took no chances on those long leaps. If the leap was too long to take safely, Shadow simply ran back down the tree, across to the next one and up that. It didn't worry him at all that Happy Jack was so far ahead that he was out of sight.
He knew that he could trust his nose to follow the scent of Happy Jack. In fact, it rather pleased him to have Happy Jack race away in such fright, for in that way he would soon tire himself out.
And this is just what Happy Jack did do. He ran and jumped and jumped and ran as fast as he could until he was so out of breath that he just had to stop for a rest. But he couldn't rest much. He was too terribly frightened. He shivered and shook while he got his breath, and never for a second did he take his eyes from his back trail.
Presently he saw a slim white form darting along the snow straight towards the tree in which he was resting. Once more Happy Jack ran, and somehow he felt terribly helpless and hopeless.
He had to rest oftener now, and each rest was shorter than the one before, because, you know, Shadow was a less and less distance behind. Poor Happy Jack! He had tried every trick he knew, and not one of them had fooled Shadow the Weasel. Now he was too tired to run much farther. The last little bit of hope left Happy Jack's heart. He blinked his eyes very fast to keep back the tears, as he thought that this was probably the last time he would ever look at the beautiful Green Forest he loved so.
Then he gritted his teeth and made up his mind that anyway he would fight his best, even if it was hopeless. It was just at that very minute that he heard the voice of Tommy Tit the Chickadee calling to him in great excitement, and somehow, he didn't know why, a wee bit of hope sprang up in his heart.