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What Brownie Wanted

from The Tale Of Nimble Deer





Nimble Deer had stopped at Brownie Beaver's pond to get a drink. Just as
he raised his head from the water he spied Brownie a little way off, on
the bank, gnawing at a box alder tree.

"Good evening!" Nimble called to him.

"Good evening!" Brownie Beaver answered.

"I see you're busy, as usual," Nimble remarked.

"Yes!" Brownie replied. "And what are you doing--if I may ask?"

"Oh! I'm just rambling about," Nimble explained.

"Then you're not doing much of anything," said Brownie Beaver.

Nimble admitted that he wasn't.

"Since you're not working, perhaps you'll be willing to help me,"
Brownie suggested.

"Certainly!" Nimble cried. He liked Brownie Beaver. Everybody liked
him--unless it was Timothy Turtle, who had a grudge against the whole
Beaver tribe.

"Maybe I can make arrangements with you to----" Brownie began.

"Of course you can!" Nimble interrupted.

"That's very kind of you," Brownie said. "I'm sure I'm much obliged to
you."

"You're quite welcome," Nimble assured him.

"You're sure you won't mind!" Brownie Beaver inquired.

"Not at all! No, indeed! What is it you want me to do for you? Do you
want me to help you roll a log into the water, when you've finished
cutting down that tree? I might use my horns for a cant hook, such as
the lumbermen have."

"No! It's not that--thank you!" Brownie Beaver mumbled. He had not
stopped working, while he talked. And having some chips in his mouth he
did not speak any too clearly.

"Maybe you'd like me to walk back and forth along the top of your dam
and make it firmer," Nimble suggested.

"No, it's not that," Brownie told him. "The dam is firm. It has been
here a great many years, ever since my great-great-grandfather's
time.... You've noticed my house, I dare say," he went on.

"I have," Nimble answered. "It's a good one, though the chimney looks a
bit lopsided, to me. Shall I give it a push and see if I can straighten
it?"

"No, indeed--thank you!" said Brownie hurriedly. "For mercy's sake,
don't touch my chimney! I worked a long time to make it. And if I do say
so, it's the best one in the whole village."

Well, Nimble Deer couldn't guess what it was that Brownie Beaver wanted
him to do. He couldn't think of any other way in which he might help.

"Then what--" he demanded--"what is it you want?"

"There's something I need for my house," Brownie explained.

"Shingles!" Nimble cried.

"No!" Brownie said, as he shook his head.

"I hope you don't want a pair of antlers to fasten over your chimney
piece!" Nimble exclaimed. "I shouldn't care to part with my
antlers--not just at present!"

"No!" Brownie said once more.

"I'm glad of that," Nimble replied. For a moment he had been worried.

And then Brownie Beaver told him what he had in mind: "I need a flag to
fly over my house."

"That would be fine," Nimble observed. "But I don't see how I could help
you with that."

"I've heard that you have a flag. I thought perhaps you'd let me have
it--or borrow it, at least," Brownie Beaver told him.

Nimble Deer looked puzzled.

"I haven't any flag," he said. And then he cried, "Yes! Yes, I have
one!"

"Ah! I was told you had," said Brownie Beaver.

"Who told you?"

"Old Mr. Crow!" Brownie Beaver said.

"I might have known it," Nimble muttered. "He has played a joke on you.
It's true that I have a flag; but it's not the kind of flag you want.
Some people call my tail a flag, on account of the way I wave it in the
air when I'm startled. Of course you wouldn't care to have my tail on
the top of your house."

And Brownie Beaver admitted that he shouldn't.

"But I can't help being disappointed," he confessed.





Next: The Muley Cow

Previous: Mr Crow Looks On



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