Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 17 of 19


Chapter 17

Jimmy Skunk is Surprised


Jimmy Skunk ambled along the Crooked Little Path down the hill. He didn’t hurry because Jimmy doesn’t believe in hurrying. The only time he ever hurries is when he sees a fat beetle trying to get out of sight. Then Jimmy does hurry. And yet just now he didn’t see any fat beetles, although he was looking for them. So he just ambled along as if he had all the time in the world, as indeed he had. He was feeling great. Summer had arrived to stay. On every side he heard glad voices. Bumble the Bee was humming a song. Best of all, Jimmy had found three beetles that very morning, and he knew that there were more if he could find them. All felt right with the world.

Jimmy’s sharp little eyes twinkled as he ambled along, and there wasn’t much that they missed. As he walked he talked, quite to himself of course, because there was nobody near to hear, and this is what he was saying:


“Beetle, beetle, smooth and smug,
You are nothing but a bug.
Bugs were made for Skunks to eat,
So come out from your retreat.”

Jimmy Skunk by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“Hello! There’s a nice big piece of bark over there that looks as if it ought to have a dozen fat beetles under it. It’s great fun to pull over pieces of bark and see fat beetles run all ways at once. I’ll just have to see what is under that piece.”

Jimmy tiptoed softly over to the big piece of bark, and then as he made ready to turn it over, he began again that little verse.

“Beetle, beetle, smooth and smug,
You are nothing but a bug.”

As he said the last word, he suddenly pulled the piece of bark over.

“Who’s a bug?” asked a funny voice, and it sounded rather cross. Jimmy Skunk nearly tumbled over backward in surprise, and for a minute he couldn’t find his tongue. There, instead of the fat beetles he had been so sure of, sat Old Mr. Toad, and he didn’t look at all pleased.

“Who’s a bug?” he repeated.

Instead of answering, Jimmy Skunk began to laugh. “Who’s a bug?” Old Mr. Toad asked again.

“There isn’t any bug, Mr. Toad, and I beg your pardon,” replied Jimmy, remembering his politeness. “I just thought there was. You see, I didn’t know you were under that piece of bark. I hope you will excuse me, Mr. Toad. Have you seen any fat beetles this morning?”

Toad

“No,” said Old Mr. Toad a little grumpily, and yawned and rubbed his eyes.

“Why,” exclaimed Jimmy Skunk, “I believe you have just woken up!”

“What if I have?” said Old Mr. Toad.

“Oh, nothing, nothing at all, Mr. Toad,” replied Jimmy Skunk, “only you are the second one I’ve met this morning who has just woken up.

“Who was the other?” asked Old Mr. Toad.

“Mr. Hognose,” replied Jimmy. “He inquired for you.”

Old Mr. Toad turned quite pale. “I–I think I best be moving along,” he said.

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