Chapter VII FARMER BROWN’S BOY HAS NO LUCK AT ALL
Farmer Brown’s boy tramped through the Green Forest, whistling merrily. He always whistles when he feels light-hearted, and he always feels light-hearted when he goes fishing. You see, he is just as fond of fishing as is Little Joe Otter or Billy Mink or Buster Bear. And now he was making his way through the Green Forest to the Laughing Brook, sure that by the time he had followed it down to the Smiling Pool he would have a fine lot of trout to take home. He knew every pool in the Laughing Brook where the trout love to hide, did Farmer Brown’s boy, and it was just the kind of a morning when the trout should be hungry. So he whistled as he tramped along, and his whistle was good to hear.
When he reached the first little pool he baited his hook very carefully and then, taking the greatest care to keep out of sight of any trout that might be in the little pool, he began to fish. Now Farmer Brown’s boy learned a long time ago that to be a successful fisherman one must have a great deal of patience, so though he didn’t get a bite right away as he had expected to, he wasn’t the least bit discouraged. He kept very quiet and fished and fished, patiently waiting for a foolish trout to take his hook. But he didn’t get so much as a nibble. “Either the trout have lost their appetite or they have grown very wise,” muttered Farmer Brown’s boy, as after a long time he moved on to the next little pool.
There the same thing happened. He was very patient, very, very patient, but his patience brought no reward, not so much as the faintest kind of a nibble. Farmer Brown’s boy trudged on to the next pool, and there was a puzzled frown on his freckled face. Such a thing never had happened before. He didn’t know what to make of it. All the night before he had dreamed about the delicious dinner of fried trout he would have the next day, and now–well, if he didn’t catch some trout pretty soon, that splendid dinner would never be anything but a dream.
“If I didn’t know that nobody else comes fishing here, I should think that somebody had been here this very morning and caught all the fish or else frightened them so that they are all in hiding,” said he, as he trudged on to the next little pool. “I never had such bad luck in all my life before. Hello! What’s this?”
There, on the bank beside the little pool, were the heads of three trout. Farmer Brown’s boy scowled down at them more puzzled than ever. “Somebody has been fishing here, and they have had better luck than I have,” thought he. He looked up the Laughing Brook and down the Laughing Brook and this way and that way, but no one was to be seen. Then he picked up one of the little heads and looked at it sharply. “It wasn’t cut off with a knife; it was bitten off!” he exclaimed. “I wonder now if Billy Mink is the scamp who has spoiled my fun.”
Thereafter he kept a sharp lookout for signs of Billy Mink, but though he found two or three more trout heads, he saw no other signs and he caught no fish. This puzzled him more than ever. It didn’t seem possible that such a little fellow as Billy Mink could have caught or frightened all the fish or have eaten so many. Besides, he didn’t remember ever having known Billy to leave heads around that way. Billy sometimes catches more fish than he can eat, but then he usually hides them. The farther he went down the Laughing Brook, the more puzzled Farmer Brown’s boy grew. It made him feel very queer. He would have felt still more queer if he had known that all the time two other fishermen who had been before him were watching him and chuckling to themselves. They were Little Joe Otter and Buster Bear.
Go to Chapter 8 here.