Chapter XXII BUSTER BEAR HAS A FIT OF TEMPER
A temper is a bad, bad thing
When once it gets away.
There’s nothing quite at all like it
To spoil a pleasant day.
Buster Bear was in a terrible temper. Yes, Sir, Buster Bear was having the worst fit of temper ever seen in the Green Forest. And the worst part of it all was that all his neighbors of the Green Forest and a whole lot from the Green Meadows and the Smiling Pool were also there to see it. It is bad enough to give way to temper when you are all alone, and there is no one to watch you, but when you let temper get the best of you right where others see you, oh, dear, dear, it certainly is a sorry sight.
Now ordinarily Buster is one of the most good-natured persons in the world. It takes a great deal to rouse his temper. He isn’t one tenth so quick tempered as Chatterer the Red Squirrel, or Sammy Jay, or Reddy Fox. But when his temper is aroused and gets away from him, then watch out! It seemed to Buster that he had had all that he could stand that day and a little more. First had come the fright back there in the Old Pasture. Then the pail had slipped down behind his ears and held fast, so he had run all the way to the Green Forest with it hanging about his neck. This was bad enough, for he knew just how funny he must look, and besides, it was very uncomfortable. But to have Sammy Jay call everybody within hearing to come and see him was more than he could stand. It seemed to Buster as if everybody who lives in the Green Forest, on the Green Meadows, or around the Smiling Brook, was sitting around his hiding place, laughing and making fun of him. It was more than any self-respecting Bear could stand.
With a roar of anger Buster Bear charged out of his hiding place. He rushed this way and that way! He roared with all his might! He was very terrible to see. Those who could fly, flew. Those who could climb, climbed. And those who were swift of foot, ran. A few who could neither fly nor climb nor run fast, hid and lay shaking and trembling for fear that Buster would find them. In less time than it takes to tell about it, Buster was alone. At least, he couldn’t see any one.
Those who could fly, flew. Those who could
Then he vented his temper on the tin pail. He cuffed at it and pulled at it, all the time growling angrily. He lay down and clawed at it with his hind feet. At last the handle broke, and he was free! He shook himself.
Then he jumped on the helpless pail. With a blow of a big paw he sent it clattering against a tree. He tried to bite it. Then he once more fell to knocking it this way and that way, until it was pounded flat, and no one would ever have guessed that it had once been a pail.
Then, and not till then, did Buster recover his usual good nature. Little by little, as he thought it all over, a look of shame crept into his face. “I–I guess it wasn’t the fault of that thing. I ought to have known enough to keep my head out of it,” he said slowly and thoughtfully.
“You got no more than you deserve for stealing Farmer Brown’s boy’s berries,” said Sammy Jay, who had come back and was looking on from the top of a tree. “You ought to know by this time that no good comes of stealing.”
Buster Bear looked up and grinned, and there was a twinkle in his eyes. “You ought to know, Sammy Jay,” said he. “I hope you’ll always remember it.”
“Thief, thief, thief!” screamed Sammy, and flew away.
Go to Chapter 23 here.