Johnny Chuck in "Sammy Jay Understands"



Sammy Jay Understands


It was a beautiful morning. Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had thrown his bedclothes off very early and started to climb up the sky, smiling his broadest. Old Mother West Wind had swept his path clear of clouds. The Merry Little Breezes, who, you know, are Mother West Wind's children, had danced across the Green Meadows up to the old orchard, where they pelted each other with white and pink petals of apple blossoms until the ground was covered. Each apple-tree was like a huge bouquet of loveliness. Yes, indeed, it was very beautiful that spring morning.


Sammy Jay had gotten up almost as early as Mr. Sun and Old Mother West Wind. As soon as he had swallowed his breakfast, he flew up to the old orchard and hid among the white and pink apple blossoms to watch for Johnny Chuck. You see, he knew that Johnny Chuck had some sort of a secret which filled Johnny with very great pride; but what it was Sammy Jay couldn't even guess, and nothing troubles Sammy Jay quite so much as the feeling that he cannot find out the secrets of other people. So he sat very, very still among the apple blossoms and waited and watched.


By and by Johnny Chuck appeared on his doorstep. He seemed very much excited, did Johnny Chuck. He sat up very straight and looked this way and looked that way. He looked up in the apple-trees, and Sammy Jay held his breath, for fear that Johnny would see him. But Sammy was so well hidden that, bright as Johnny Chuck's eyes are, they failed to see him. Then Johnny Chuck actually climbed up on the old stone wall so as to see better, and he sat there a long time, looking and looking.


Sammy Jay grew impatient. "He seems to be terribly watchful this morning. I never knew him to be so watchful before. I don't understand it," muttered Sammy to himself.
After a while Johnny Chuck seemed quite satisfied that there was no one about. He hopped down from the old stone wall and scampered over to the doorway of his new house, and there he began to chatter. Sammy Jay stretched his neck until it ached, trying to hear what Johnny Chuck was saying, but he couldn't because Johnny's head was inside his doorway.


Pretty soon Johnny Chuck backed out and sat up, and he looked very proud and important. Then Sammy Jay saw something that nearly took his breath away. It was the head of Polly Chuck peeping out of the doorway. It was the first time that he had seen Polly Chuck.
"Why," gasped Sammy Jay, "it must be that Johnny Chuck has a mate, and I didn't know a thing about it! So that's his secret and the reason he has appeared so proud lately!"


Polly Chuck came out on the doorstep. She looked just as proud as Johnny Chuck, and at the same time she seemed terribly anxious. She sat up beside Johnny Chuck, and she looked this way and that way, just as Johnny had. Then she put her head in at the doorway and began to call in the softest voice.
In a minute Sammy Jay saw something more. It surprised him so that he nearly lost his balance. It was another head peeping out of the doorway, a head just like Johnny Chuck's, only it was a teeny-weeny one.


Then there was another and another! Polly kept talking and talking in the softest voice, while Johnny Chuck swelled himself up until he looked as if he would burst with pride.
Sammy Jay understood now why Johnny Chuck had been so proud for the last few days. It was because he had a family! Sammy looked down at the three little Chucks sitting on the doorstep, trying to sit up the way Johnny Chuck sat, and they looked so funny that Sammy forgot himself and laughed right out loud.


In a flash the three little Chucks and Polly Chuck had disappeared inside the house, while Johnny Chuck looked up angrily. He knew that his secret was a secret no longer.

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