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Full Online Book HomeShort StoriesThe Tale Of Chirpy Cricket - XIX - IT WASN'T THUNDER
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The Tale Of Chirpy Cricket - XIX - IT WASN'T THUNDER Post by :findersfees Category :Short Stories Author :Arthur Scott Bailey Date :April 2012 Read :1882

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The Tale Of Chirpy Cricket - XIX - IT WASN'T THUNDER

XIX - IT WASN'T THUNDER

Quite often, during the nightly concerts in which Chirpy Cricket took part, he had noticed an odd cry, Peent! Peent! which seemed to come from the woods. And sometimes there followed from the same direction a hollow, booming sound, as if somebody were amusing himself by blowing across the bung-hole of an empty barrel.

Chirpy Cricket had a great curiosity to know who made those queer noises. He asked everybody he met about them. And at last Kiddie Katydid told him that it was Mr. Nighthawk that he had heard.

"He seems to think he's a musician," said Chirpy Cricket. "But I must say I don't care much for his music. He's not what you might call a steady player. And his notes are not shrill enough for my liking. Perhaps he lacks training. I'd be glad to take him in hand and see what I could do with him. Tell me! Does he ever visit our neighborhood?"

"Not often!" said Kiddie Katydid. "I met him here once. And that was enough for me. I never felt more uncomfortable in all my life." He shuddered as he spoke and looked over his shoulder.

Somehow Chirpy Cricket did not share Kiddie Katydid's uneasiness. The more he thought about Mr. Nighthawk the more he wanted to meet him.

"If you ever see Mr. Nighthawk again I wish you'd tell him I want to talk with him," Chirpy said.

"I'll do so," Kiddie Katydid promised. "And now let me give you a bit of advice. When you meet Mr. Nighthawk, keep perfectly still. He's a hungry fellow, always on the look-out for somebody to eat. But he has one peculiar habit: he won't grab you unless you're moving through the air. He always takes his food on the wing."

Chirpy thanked his friend Kiddie Katydid for this valuable bit of news. And he said he'd be sure to remember it.

"Well," Kiddie Katydid observed, "if you forget it when you meet Mr. Nighthawk you'll forget it only once. For he'll grab you quick as a flash."

Chirpy Cricket pondered a good deal over the talk he had with Kiddie Katydid. It was clear that Mr. Nighthawk was a dangerous person. "Perhaps"--Chirpy thought--"perhaps if I could get him to take a greater interest in his music he wouldn't be so ferocious. Yes! I feel sure that if I could only persuade him to practice that booming sound it would give Mr. Nighthawk something pleasant to think of. Who knows but that he might become as gentle as I am?"

Chirpy Cricket liked that notion so much that he thought of little else. He even began to consider making a journey to the woods where Mr. Nighthawk lived, in order to meet that gentleman and offer to train him to be a better musician. And at last Chirpy had even decided to go--as soon as the moon should be full. He spent much of his time listening for Mr. Nighthawk's Peent! Peent! which now and then came faintly across the meadow, and the dull, muffled boom that often followed.

While Chirpy waited for the moon to grow full, one night an odd thing happened. The stars twinkled overhead. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Yet all at once a loud boom startled Chirpy Cricket and made him leap suddenly towards home.

"Goodness!" he cried to Kiddie Katydid, who happened to be near him. "Did you hear the thunder?"

"That wasn't thunder," Kiddie said. "And you'd better not jump like that again. Mr. Nighthawk is here. He made that sound himself."

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