Chapter XV THE REDCAPS
REDDY WOODPECKER knew that Mr. Crow would come back to the orchard to ask him another question. The old gentleman simply had to learn more about Reddy’s club.
“I’d like to know,” said Mr. Crow. “I’d like to know why you are the president of The Redcaps.”
“That’s easily answered,” Reddy replied. “It’s because I wear the biggest and reddest cap of all the birds in the neighborhood.”
Mr. Crow puzzled over the matter for a time.
“I don’t understand what difference your cap makes,” he said at last. “I’ve been thinking about joining the club. And I have no red cap.”
“That’s true, Mr. Crow,” Reddy agreed. “And that’s the reason why you can’t join my club. Nobody that doesn’t wear a red cap can be a member of The Redcaps.”
Mr. Crow looked daggers at him.
“Humph!” cried the old gentleman. “I’ve been thinking about joining the club. But I’ve decided not to do it.”
Reddy Woodpecker smiled at him. And for some reason Mr. Crow became angry.
“How many members has your club?” he squawked.
“One!” Reddy told him.
“Ha!” the old fellow exclaimed. “You can’t have a club with only one member.”
“I expect that several of the neighbors will join The Redcaps tomorrow,” said Reddy Woodpecker. “They’re only waiting for an invitation.”
“Let me see,” Mr. Crow murmured. “There’s your cousin Mr. Flicker. He wears a red patch on the back of his head. But you can’t call it a cap.”
“I call it a cap,” Reddy Woodpecker told him. “Mr. Flicker is going to get an invitation.”
Mr. Crow then muttered something about cousins, and added something more about birds of a feather flocking together. And then he said, “There’s the Downy Woodpecker and there’s the Hairy Woodpecker both cousins of yours, too. They’ve only what you might call a touch of red on the backs of their necks; but I suppose…”
“Yes! I’m going to invite them to join The Redcaps,” Reddy interrupted.
Mr. Crow looked terribly upset, though he claimed it was no more than he had expected. “That will be about all the members you will get,” he added.
“Oh, no!” Reddy exclaimed. “You forget Mr. Sapsucker. He has a scarlet crown. I’ll want him.”
Mr. Crow swallowed hard a few times but said nothing.
“Then there’s the Ruby-crowned Kinglet,” Reddy went on. “He’s going to have an invitation. And so is Mr. Kingbird.”
“Not Mr. Kingbird!” spluttered old Mr. Crow. “His crown is orange-colored.”
“It’s red enough for me,” Reddy retorted. “And of course I’ll ask little Mr. Chippy to join us.”
“Nonsense!” cried Mr. Crow. “His cap is only chestnut-colored.”
“It’s red enough for me,” Reddy Woodpecker repeated in a firm voice.
“My goodness!” Mr. Crow squalled. “I suppose you’ll ask the whole Wood Thrush family too and their cousin Mr. Veery. Their heads are reddish.”
“No! They’re too brown for me,” Reddy Woodpecker decided, to Mr. Crow’s great relief.
“What about Buddy Brown Thrasher?” Mr. Crow inquired. “What about his head?”
“Well,” said old Mr. Crow, “I’m glad to see you have a little sense. But on the whole these Redcaps are going to be a queer lot.”