Mr Crow Looks On





Nimble and his friend Dodger the Deer picked themselves up off the

ground where they had fallen after their collision in the air. They did

not feel any too pleasant. One of Dodger's sharp tines had given Nimble

a good prick. And one of Nimble's points had stung Dodger like a

hornet's sting.



If only one of them had been pricked the whole affair might have ended

differently. For then perhaps only one of them would have lost his

temper. As they drew apart they were growing more angry every instant.

And when they wheeled and glared at each other old Mr. Crow, who was

watching them from his perch in the pine tree, called out: "Don't stop!

Make it lively, now!"



Nimble gritted his teeth and stamped upon the ground.



"I'll teach you not to prick me!" he muttered.



"I'll make you wish you'd left those new antlers at home!" cried Dodger

the Deer.



"Don't stop!" old Mr. Crow urged them once more as he teetered on his

perch. "Let the fun go on!"



He squalled so loudly that his cousin Jasper Jay heard him half a mile

away and came hurrying up to see what was going on. He arrived just in

time to see Nimble and Dodger stagger back from another mad charge.



"What's this? A mock battle?" Jasper Jay inquired as he settled down

beside Mr. Crow.



"No!" Mr. Crow replied in muffled tones. "It is a real one--but they

don't know it yet."



Next to quarreling himself, old Mr. Crow loved to look on while others

wrangled. And though he had no taste himself for actual fighting, he

liked to see his neighbors pummel and peck and buffet and bounce one

another.



So Mr. Crow enjoyed watching the tilt between Nimble and Dodger the

Deer. Neither Mr. Crow, nor his rowdy cousin Jasper Jay, had ever seen

so furious a fracas as that one soon became. Sometimes Nimble and Dodger

rushed together with such force that it seemed to Mr. Crow their horns

must break off. Sometimes they reared and struck each other with their

front hoofs.



At first, whenever he felt a hurt Nimble only fought the harder. When

Dodger's horns gouged him and his hoofs cut him Nimble butted and thrust

and struck all the faster. But for every buffet he repaid Dodger, Dodger

gave him another that was heavier than ever.



It was no wonder that in time Nimble began to feel tired. But he didn't

let Dodger the Deer know that.



"This was easy to start," Nimble thought, "but it seems hard to stop. I

wish Dodger would run away."



In the meantime Mr. Crow and Jasper Jay agreed that the battle was

growing tamer every moment.



"Hustle it up!" Mr. Crow called to Nimble and Dodger, while Jasper Jay

jeered at them both and told them they were mollycoddles.



"I shouldn't call this a mock battle now," Mr. Crow told them. "It's

more like a game of tag."



"If only Dodger would run away!" Nimble said under his breath. "I'll

stop a minute and see if he won't." So he stood still, with his nose all

but touching the ground.



Dodger the Deer did not run. But he paused and stood exactly as Nimble

was standing.



So they eyed each other for a while. And neither of them said a word.



"Come!" cried old Mr. Crow. "This will never do. Give us more action!"



And then Dodger the Deer looked up at Mr. Crow and Jasper Jay and spoke.



"If you want more action why don't you two furnish it?" he asked.



"That's a good idea!" Nimble exclaimed. "Let's see a mock battle up in

the tree!"







But Mr. Crow replied hoarsely that he had to meet a friend down the

valley. "I must be flapping along," he said. And off he went.



Jasper Jay grinned and winked at Nimble and Dodger behind Mr. Crow's

back. And then with a loud squall--which might have meant almost

anything--he too flew away.



"That was the liveliest mock battle we ever had," Nimble remarked to his

friend Dodger.



Dodger agreed with what he said.



Nimble's mother gasped when she saw her son a little later.



"You're a terrible sight!" she told him severely. "What have you been

doing?"



"I've been having fun with Dodger the Deer," Nimble explained. "But to

tell the truth, it wasn't as much fun as I had expected."





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