Chapter XIX WHO WAS GREEDY?
REDDY WOODPECKER was very angry with Cuffy Bear. He thought that when they hunted grubs together it was only fair that they should divide the game. So far Cuffy had taken all but one. And that was one that he had overlooked.
“I don’t believe I’ll hunt with you any more,” Reddy Woodpecker told Cuffy.
That news surprised Cuffy Bear. “Why, what’s the matter?” he inquired. “Haven’t we had good luck?”
Reddy Woodpecker sniffed.
“You have had fine luck,” he replied.
“But I certainly haven’t. When you asked me to hunt grubs with you I expected we would divide the grubs.”
Cuffy Bear shook his head doubtfully.
“It’s not easy to divide a grub,” he said. “That’s why I let you have all of that one that you found a while ago.”
“You don’t understand me,” Reddy went on. “What I mean is this: If we find two dozen grubs in a stump you should have one dozen and I should have one dozen.”
“I’ve never hunted in that way before,” Cuffy told him. “But since you insist, I’m willing to try it. And maybe it would be only fair if I found the next stump and let you open it.”
Now, this was a much better offer than Reddy Woodpecker had expected, so he made haste to accept it.
Then Cuffy Bear went wandering away into the woods. He was gone a long time. But at last he came back and said gruffly, “Follow me!”
They reached, after a while, a spot where Cuffy Bear stopped and pointed a paw towards an old stump. “There it is,” he said. “Now you tear it open.”
Reddy Woodpecker alighted upon the stump and clung to it while he drilled into it with his bill, tap, tap, tap!
Meanwhile Cuffy Bear watched him impatiently.
“My goodness!” he muttered. “That fellow is slow! I’ll never get another grub if I wait for him.”
At last, however, Reddy pulled out a grub and ate it.
“My turn next!” growled Cuffy Bear as Reddy Woodpecker promptly went after another.
Well, very soon Reddy thrust his tongue into another hole that he drilled and drew out another grub.
“That’s mine!” cried Cuffy Bear.
Reddy Woodpecker tried to let it fall upon the ground. He did not find it easy to drop the grub. His horny tongue had pierced it. And in trying to let go of it he had a mishap. He swallowed the grub.
When Cuffy Bear saw what had happened he let out a frightful roar.
“That was an accident,” Reddy explained over his shoulder.
To Cuffy Bear’s dismay the same accident happened over and over again. Finally Cuffy couldn’t wait another moment. With a terrible growl he rushed up to the stump, while Reddy Woodpecker slipped out of his way just in time. In another instant Cuffy had split the old stump wide open and had his head buried in it.
“Here!” cried Reddy Woodpecker. “How many grubs do you want?”
“Only about a hundred dozen!” Cuffy Bear mumbled.
When he heard that, Reddy Woodpecker shrieked. “One hundred dozen would feed my
whole family,” he declared. “I shall never hunt grubs with you again.”
“That’s a pity,” said Cuffy Bear. “But won’t you join me tonight? I’m going after different game.”
“What’s that?” Reddy asked him.
“Pigs!” Cuffy replied.
He couldn’t understand why Reddy Woodpecker went off without saying another word. “He’s a queer one,” Cuffy muttered. “I don’t care if he doesn’t hunt with me. He’s too greedy.”