Paddy The Beaver in "Paddy Finishes His Harvest"
Paddy Finishes His Harvest
"Sharp his tongue and sharp his eyes—
Sammy guards against surprise.
If 'twere not for Sammy Jay
I could do no work today."
When Sammy overheard Paddy the Beaver say that to Jerry Muskrat, it made him swell up all over with pure pride. You see, Sammy is so used to hearing bad things about himself that to hear something nice like that pleased him immensely. He straightway forgot all the mean things he had said to Paddy when he first saw him—how he had called him a thief because he had cut the aspen trees he needed. He forgot all this. He forgot how Paddy had made him the laughingstock of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows by cutting down the very tree in which he had been sitting.
He forgot everything but that Paddy had trusted him to keep watch and now was saying nice things about him. He made up his mind that he would deserve all the nice things that Paddy could say, and he thought that Paddy was the finest fellow in the world.
Jerry Muskrat looked doubtful. He didn't trust Sammy, and he took care not to go far from the water when he heard that Old Man Coyote had been hanging around. But Paddy worked away just as if he hadn't a fear in the world.
"The way to make people want to be trusted is to trust them" said he to himself. "If I show Sammy Jay that I don't really trust him, he will think it is of no use to try and will give it up. But if I do trust him, and he knows that I do, he'll be the best watchman in the Green Forest."
And this shows that Paddy the Beaver has a great deal of wisdom, for it was just as he thought. Sammy was on hand bright and early every morning.
He made sure that Old Man Coyote was nowhere in the Green Forest, and then he settled himself comfortably in the top of a tall pine tree where he could see all that was going on while Paddy the Beaver worked.
Paddy had finished his canal, and a beautiful canal it was, leading straight from his pond up to the aspen trees. As soon as he had finished it, he began to cut the trees. As soon as one was down he would cut it into short lengths and roll them into the canal. Then he would float them out to his pond and over to his storehouse.
He took the larger branches, on which there was sweet, tender bark, in the same way, for Paddy is never wasteful.
After a while he went over to his storehouse, which, you know, was nothing but a great pile of aspen logs and branches in his pond close by his house. He studied it very carefully. Then he swam back and climbed up on the bank of his canal.
"Mr. Jay," said he, "I think our work is about finished."
"What!" cried Sammy, "Aren't you going to cut the rest of those aspen trees?"
"No," replied Paddy. "Enough is always enough, and I've got enough to last me all winter. I want those trees for next year. Now I am fixed for the winter. I think I'll take it easy for a while."
Sammy looked disappointed. You see, he had just begun to learn that the greatest pleasure in the world comes from doing things for other people. For the first time since he could remember, someone wanted him around land it gave him such a good feeling down deep inside! Perhaps it was because he remembered that good feeling that the next spring he was so willing and anxious to help poor Mrs. Quack. What he did for her and all about her terrible adventures I will tell you in the next book.