Chapter V GRANDFATHER FROG’S COMMON-SENSE
There is nothing quite like common sense to smooth out troubles. People who have plenty of just plain common sense are often thought to be very wise. Their neighbors look up to them and are forever running to them for advice, and they are very much respected. That is the way with Grandfather Frog. He is very old and very wise. Anyway, that is what his neighbors think. The truth is, he simply has a lot of common sense, which after all is the very best kind of wisdom.
Now when Little Joe Otter found that Buster Bear had been too smart for him and that instead of spoiling Buster’s fishing in the Laughing Brook he had really made it easier for Buster to catch all the fish he wanted, Little Joe went off down to the Smiling Pool in a great rage.
Billy Mink stopped long enough to eat the fat fish Buster had left on the bank and then he too went down to the Smiling Pool.
When Little Joe Otter and Billy Mink reached the Smiling Pool, they climbed up on the Big Rock, and there Little Joe sulked and sulked, until finally Grandfather Frog asked what the matter was. Little Joe wouldn’t tell, but Billy Mink told the whole story. When he told how Buster had been too smart for Little Joe, it tickled him so that Billyhad to laugh in spite of himself. So did Grandfather Frog. So did Jerry Muskrat, who had been listening. Of course this made Little Joe angrier than ever. He said a lot of unkind things about Buster Bear and about Billy Mink and Grandfather Frog and Jerry Muskrat, because they had laughed at the smartness of Buster.
“He’s nothing but a great big bully and thief!” declared Little Joe.
“Chug-a-rum! He may be a bully, because great big people are very apt to be bullies, and though I haven’t seen him, I guess Buster Bear is big enough from all I have heard, but I don’t see how he is a thief,” said Grandfather Frog.
“Didn’t he catch my fish and eat them?” snapped Little Joe. “Doesn’t that make him a thief?”
“They were no more your fish than mine,” protested Billy Mink.
“Well, our fish, then! He stole our fish, if you like that any better. That makes him just as much a thief, doesn’t it?” growled Little Joe.
Grandfather Frog looked up at jolly, round, bright Mr. Sun and slowlywinked one of his great, goggly eyes. “There comes a foolish green fly,” said he. “Who does he belong to?”
“Nobody!” snapped Little Joe. “What have foolish green flies got to do with my–I mean our fish?”
“Nothing, nothing at all,” replied Grandfather Frog mildly. “I was just hoping that he would come near enough for me to snap him up; then he would belong to me. As long as he doesn’t, he doesn’t belong to any one. I suppose that if Buster Bear should happen along and catch him, he would be stealing from me, according to Little Joe.”
“Of course not! What a silly idea! You’re getting foolish in your old age,” retorted Little Joe.
“Can you tell me the difference between the fish that you haven’t caught and the foolish green flies that I haven’t caught?” asked Grandfather Frog.
Little Joe couldn’t find a word to say.
“You take my advice, Little Joe Otter,” continued Grandfather Frog, “and always make friends with those who are bigger and stronger and smarter than you are. You’ll find it pays.”
You take my advice, Little Joe Otter, continued
Go to chapter 6 here.