Chapter XI A VERY SHORT FIGHT
JOLLY ROBIN told his wife how he swooped down over Reddy Woodpecker’s head. And he assured her that he had no doubt that Mr. Woodpecker would not be seen among the raspberry bushes again.
Jolly had felt quite pleased with himself. His threatened attack on Reddy had seemed to him to be very daring. So he was disappointed when his wife did not
“You ought to have stuck that rascal with your bill,” Mrs. Robin complained. “If he’s the sort of person I think he is he’ll pay no heed to your warning.”
As usual, Mrs. Robin proved to be right. That very day she herself beheld Reddy Woodpecker eating more raspberries. He had stolen every ripe berry. Though Mrs. Robin had hoped to find four (one for each of her nestlings) she didn’t pick even one. They were all too hard and sour.
“It’s a pity,” she said to Jolly. “Everybody knows now-a-days that children need fruit. The day is past when you can bring them up on nothing but angleworms. You’ll have to go back there to the raspberry patch and fight Reddy. You can’t escape a fight any longer.”
Well, what could he do? What could Jolly Robin do but obey his wife? He asked himself that question. And he could find only one answer. It was “Nothing!” There was nothing he could think of that would satisfy Mrs. Robin except a real battle. So he went forth.
Yes! Jolly Robin went forth very bravely to find Reddy Woodpecker. He meant to surprise him. But it was Jolly who received the surprise.
Reddy Woodpecker attacked first! The moment he spied Jolly Robin Reddy hurled himself at him. He skimmed so near to Jolly’s head that that astonished little fellow ducked and hurried away. Yes! Jolly Robin retreated. It wasn’t that Reddy Woodpecker was bigger than he was. To tell the truth, Reddy wasn’t quite so big. But he liked to fight. And Jolly Robin loved peace.
Jolly hid in the midst of a thick hedge that grew beyond the fence. “Well,” he muttered, “that fight was soon over. There’s no use of telling Mrs. Robin about it. She would only worry.” He sat there a long time. He didn’t want to go home. He didn’t know what to do. So he thought and thought; until at last a happy idea popped into his head. “I’ll get help!” he exclaimed. “I’ll get my friends from the other side of the meadow to come and help me fight Reddy.”
Mrs. Robin was worrying terribly when Jolly reached home.
“You’ve been gone a long time,” she complained. “Did you chase that Woodpecker person out of the valley?”
“No!” said Jolly. “But I expect to tomorrow.”
“I thought I told you to fight him today,” said his wife somewhat tartly.
“Yes! Yes!” he replied hastily. “We had a set-to Mr. Woodpecker and I. But the real fight will take place tomorrow.”
“I’m glad to hear you talk that way at last,” she told him. “It’s high time something was done.”