Happy Jack in "Farmer Brown's Boy Takes A Prisoner"
Farmer Brown's Boy Takes
"The craftiest and cleverest, the strongest and the bold
Will make mistakes like other folks, young, middle-aged, and old."
Happy Jack Squirrel was happy once more. He liked his new house, the house that Farmer Brown's boy had made for him and fastened in the big maple tree close by the house in which he himself lived. Happy Jack and Farmer Brown's boy were getting to be greater friends than ever. Every morning Happy Jack jumped over to the window-sill and then in at the open window of the room of Farmer Brown's boy. There he was sure to find a good breakfast of fat hickory nuts. When Farmer Brown's boy overslept, as he did sometimes, Happy Jack would jump up on the bed and waken him.
He thought this great fun. So did Farmer Brown's boy, though sometimes when he was very sleepy he pretended to scold, especially on Sunday mornings when he did not have to get up as early as on other days.
Of course, Black Pussy had soon discovered that Happy Jack was living in the big maple tree, and she spent a great deal of time sitting at the foot of it and glaring up at him with a hungry look in her eyes, although she wasn't hungry at all, for she had plenty to eat. Several times she climbed up in the tree and tried to catch him.
At first he had been afraid, but he soon found out that Black Pussy was not at all at home in a tree as he was. After that, he rather enjoyed having her try to catch him. It was almost like a game. It was great fun to scold at her and let her get very near him and then, just as she was sure that she was going to catch him, to jump out of her reach. After a while she was content to sit at the foot of the tree and just glare at him.
Happy Jack had only one worry now, and this didn't trouble him a great deal. It was possible that Shadow the Weasel might take it into his head to try to surprise him some night. Happy Jack knew that by this time Shadow must know where he was living, for of course Sammy Jay had found out, and Sammy is one of those who tells all he knows. Still, being so close to Farmer Brown's boy gave Happy Jack a very comfortable feeling.
Now all this time Farmer Brown's boy had not forgotten Shadow the Weasel and how he had driven Happy Jack out of the Green Forest, and he had wondered a great many times if it wouldn't be a kindness to the other little people if he should trap Shadow and put him out of the way. But you know he had given up trapping, and somehow he didn't like to think of setting a trap, even for such a mischief-maker as Shadow. Then something happened that made Farmer Brown's boy very, very angry.
One morning, when he went to feed the biddies, he found that Shadow had visited the henhouse in the night and killed three of his best pullets. That decided him. He felt sure that Shadow would come again, and he meant to give Shadow a surprise. He hunted until he found the little hole through which Shadow had got into the henhouse, and there he set a trap.
"I don't like to do it, but I've got to," said he. "If he had been content with one, it would have been bad enough, but he killed three just from the love of killing, and it is high time that something be done to get rid of him."
The very next morning Happy Jack saw Farmer Brown's boy coming from the henhouse with something under his arm. He came straight over to the foot of the big maple tree and put the thing he was carrying down on the ground. He whistled to Happy Jack, and as Happy Jack came down to see what it was all about, Farmer Brown's boy grinned. "Here's a friend of yours you probably will be glad to see," said he.
At first, all Happy Jack could make out was a kind of wire box. Then he saw something white inside, and it moved. Very suspiciously Happy Jack came nearer. Then his heart gave a great leap. That wire box was a cage, and glaring between the wires with red, angry eyes was Shadow the Weasel! He was a prisoner! Right away Happy Jack was so excited that he acted as if he were crazy. He no longer had a single thing to be afraid of. Do you wonder that he was excited?