Johnny Chuck in "Johnny Chuck's Pride"



Johnny Chuck's Pride


Ever since Farmer Brown's boy and Reddy Fox had found his new house in the far corner of the old orchard, Johnny Chuck had been worried. It was not that he was afraid for himself. Oh, my, no! Johnny Chuck felt perfectly able to take care of himself. But there was Polly Chuck! He was terribly afraid that something might happen to Polly Chuck. You see she was not big and strong like him, and then Polly Chuck was apt to be careless. So for a while Johnny Chuck worried a great deal.


But Reddy Fox didn't come again in daytime. You see Bowser the Hound had given him such a scare that he didn't dare to. He sometimes came at night and sniffed hungrily at Johnny Chuck's doorway, but Johnny and Polly were safe inside, and this didn't trouble them a bit. And Farmer Brown's boy seemed to have forgotten all about the new house. So after a while Johnny Chuck stopped worrying so much. The fact is Johnny Chuck had something else to think about. He had a secret. Yes, Sir, Johnny Chuck had a secret.


Sammy Jay came up to the old orchard almost every morning. His sharp eyes were not long in finding out that Johnny Chuck had a secret, but try as he would he could not find out what that secret was. Whatever it was, it made Johnny Chuck very happy. He would come out on his doorstep and smile and sometimes give a funny little whistle of pure joy.

It puzzled Sammy Jay a great deal. He couldn't see why Johnny Chuck should be any happier than he ever was. To be sure it was a happy time of year. Everybody was happy, for it was spring-time, and the Green Forest and the Green Meadows, even the Old Pasture, were very lovely. But somehow Sammy Jay felt sure that it was something more than this, a secret that Johnny Chuck was keeping all to himself, that was making him so happy. But what it was, Sammy Jay couldn't imagine. He spent so much time thinking about it and wondering what it could be, that it actually kept him out of mischief.

One morning Johnny Chuck came out, looking happier than ever. He chuckled and chuckled as only a happy Chuck can. Then he did foolish things. He kicked up his heels. He rolled over and over in the grass. He whistled. He even tried to sing, which is something no Chuck can do or should ever try to do. Then suddenly he scrambled to his feet, carefully brushed his coat, and tried to look very dignified. He strutted back and forth in front of his doorway, as if he was very proud of something. There was pride in the very way in which he took each step. There was pride in the very way in which he held his head. It was too much for Sammy Jay.


"What are you so proud about, Johnny Chuck?" he demanded, in his harsh voice, "If I didn't have a better looking coat than you've got, I wouldn't put on airs!
"You know Sammy Jay is very proud of his own handsome blue and white coat and dearly loves to show it off.
"It isn't that," said Johnny Chuck.


"Well, if it is because you think yourself so smart to hide yourself up here in the old orchard, let me tell you that I found you out long ago, and so did Reddy Fox, and Bowser the Hound, and Farmer Brown's boy," sneered Sammy Jay in the most disagreeable way.
"It isn't that," said Johnny Chuck.
"Well, what is it, then?" snapped Sammy Jay.


"That's for you to find out," replied Johnny Chuck.
"There's foolish pride and silly pride and pride of low degree;
A better pride is honest pride, and that's the pride for me."
And with that, Johnny Chuck disappeared in his new house.

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