Chapter XVII BUSTER BEAR GOES BERRYING
Buster Bear is a great hand to talk to himself when he thinks no one is around to overhear. It’s a habit. However, it isn’t a bad habit unless it is carried too far. Any habit becomes bad, if it is carried too far. Suppose you had a secret, a real secret, something that nobody else knew and that you didn’t want anybody else to know. And suppose you had the habit of talking to yourself. You might, without thinking, you know, tell that secret out loud to yourself, and some one might, just might happen to overhear! Then there wouldn’t be any secret. That is the way that a habit which isn’t bad in itself can become bad when it is carried too far.
Now Buster Bear had lived by himself in the Great Woods so long that this habit of talking to himself had grown and grown. He did it just to keep from being lonesome. Of course, when he came down to the Green Forest to live, he brought all his habits with him. That is one thing about habits,–you always take them with you wherever you go. So Buster brought this habit of talking to himself down to the Green Forest, where he had many more neighbors than he had in the Great Woods.
“Let me see, let me see, what is there to tempt my appetite?” said Buster in his deep, grumbly-rumbly voice. “I find my appetite isn’t what it ought to be. I need a change. Yes, Sir, I need a change. There is something I ought to have at this time of year, and I haven’t got it. There is something that I used to have and don’t have now. Ha! I know! I need some fresh fruit. That’s it–fresh fruit! It must be about berry time now, and I’d forgotten all about it. My, my, my, how good some berries would taste! Now if I were back up there in the Great Woods I could have all I could eat. Um-m-m-m! Makes my mouth water just to think of it. There ought to be some up in the Old Pasture. There ought to be a lot of ’em up there. If I wasn’t afraid that some one would see me, I’d go up there.”
Buster sighed. Then he sighed again. The more he thought about those berries he felt sure were growing in the Old Pasture, the more he wanted some. It seemed to him that never in all his life had he wanted berries as he did now. He wandered about uneasily. He was hungry–hungry for berries and nothing else. By and by he began talking to himself again.
“If I wasn’t afraid of being seen, I’d go up to the Old Pasture this very minute. Seems as if I could taste those berries.” He licked his lips hungrily as he spoke. Then his face brightened. “I know what I’ll do! I’ll go up there at the very first peep of day to-morrow. I can eat all I want and get back to the Green Forest before there is any danger that Farmer Brown’s boy or any one else I’m afraid of will see me. That’s just what I’ll do. My, I wish tomorrow morning would hurry up and come.”
Now though Buster didn’t know it, some one had been listening, and that some one was none other than Sammy Jay. When at last Buster lay down for a nap, Sammy flew away, chuckling to himself. “I believe I’ll visit the Old Pasture to-morrow morning myself,” thought he. “I have an idea that something interesting may happen if Buster doesn’t change his mind.”
Sammy was on the lookout very early the next morning. The first Jolly Little Sunbeams had only reached the Green Meadows and had not started to creep into the Green Forest, when he saw a big, dark form steal out of the Green Forest where it joins the Old Pasture. It moved very swiftly and silently, as if in a great hurry. Sammy knew who it was: it was Buster Bear, and he was going berrying. Sammy waited a little until he could see better. Then he too started for the Old Pasture.
Go to Chapter 18 here.