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TIMID DANNY MEADOW MOUSE
ANNY MEADOW MOUSE is timid. Everybody says so, and what everybody says
ought to be so. But just as anybody can make a mistake
sometimes, so can everybody. Still, in this case, it is
quite likely that everybody is right. Danny Meadow
Mouse is timid. Ask Peter Rabbit. Ask Sammy Jay.
Ask Striped Chipmunk. They will all tell you the same
thing. Sammy Jay likes to say mean things. It isn't
fair to Danny Meadow Mouse to believe what Sammy Jay
But the fact is Danny certainly is timid. More than
this, he isn't ashamed of it—not the least little
"You see, it's this way," said Danny, as he sat on his
door-step one sunny morning talking to his friend, old
Mr. Toad. "If I weren't afraid, I wouldn't be all the
time watching out, and if I weren't all the time
watching out, I wouldn't have any more chance than that
foolish red ant running across in front of you."
Old Mr. Toad looked where Danny was pointing, and his
tongue darted out and back again so quickly that Danny
wasn't sure that he saw it at all, but when he looked
for the ant it was nowhere to be seen, and there was a
satisfied twinkle in Mr. Toad's eyes. There was an
answering twinkle in Danny's own eyes as he continued.
"No, Sir," said he, "I wouldn't stand a particle more
chance than that foolish ant did. Now if I were big and
strong, like Old Many Coyote, or had swift wings, like
Skimmer the Swallow, or were so homely and ugly looking
that no one wanted me, like—like—" Danny
hesitated and then finished rather lamely, "like some
folks I know, I suppose I wouldn't be afraid."
Old Mr. Toad looked up sharply when Danny mentioned
homely and ugly looking people, but Danny was gazing
far out across the Green Meadows and looked so innocent
that Mr. Toad concluded that he couldn't have had him
"Well," said he, thoughtfully scratching his nose, "I
suppose you may be right, but for my part fear seems a
very foolish thing. Now, I don't know what it is. I
mind my own business, and no one ever bothers me. I
should think it would be a very uncomfortable feeling."
"It is," replied Danny, "but, as I said before, it is a
very good thing to keep one on guard when there are so
many watching for one as there are for me. Now there's
Mr. Blacksnake and—"
"Where?" exclaimed old Mr. Toad, turning as pale as a
Toad can turn, and looking uneasily and anxiously in
Danny turned his head to hind a smile. If old Mr. Toad
wasn't showing fear, no one ever did. "Oh," said he, "I
didn't mean that he is anywhere around here now. What I
was going to say was that there is Mr. Blacksnake and
Granny Fox and Reddy Fox and Redtail the Hawk and Hooty
the Owl and others I might name, always watching for a
chance to make a dinner from poor little me. Do you
wonder that I am afraid most of the time?
"No," replied old Mr. Toad. "No, I don't wonder that
you are afraid. It must be dreadful to feel hungry eyes
are watching for you every minute of the day and night,
"Oh, it's not so bad," replied Danny. "It's rather
exciting. Besides, it keeps my wits sharp all the time.
I am afraid I should find life very dull indeed if,
like you, I feared nothing and nobody. By the way, see
how queerly that grass is moving over there. It looks
as if Mr. Blacksnake— Why, Mr. Toad, where are
you going in such a hurry?"
"I've just remembered an important engagement with my
cousin, Grandfather Frog, at the Smiling Pool," shouted
old Mr. Toad over his shoulder, as he hurried so that
he fell over his own feet.
Danny chuckled as he sat alone on his doorstep. "Oh,
no, old Mr. Toad doesn't know what fear is!" said he.
"Funny how some people won't admit what everybody can
see for themselves. Now, I am afraid, and I'm
willing to say so."