Read CHAPTER XVIII - ENEMIES of The Tale of Jasper Jay Tuck-Me-In Tales , free online book, by Arthur Scott Bailey, on

JASPER JAY was not the only bird that liked beechnuts.  Reddy Woodpecker was fond of them, too.  And when he saw that the beechnut crop was going to be a big one he decided that he would stay in Pleasant Valley all winter.

Jasper and Reddy were not unlike in some other respects, too.  Both were noisy, quarrelsome ruffians, who did not hesitate to steal and devour the eggs and young of other birds.  Furthermore, both of them were gay-colored ­but in a very different way.  Jasper Jay always wore a brilliant blue suit, while Reddy Woodpecker made himself easily seen by donning a bright red cap, which came down to his shoulders and gave him an odd look.  Being so much alike (as far as manners were concerned), the two quarreled whenever they met.  And when Jasper Jay heard that Reddy had made up his mind to spend the winter in the North he was furious.

“It’s an outrage!” he declared to Jimmy Rabbit, who had told him about Reddy Woodpecker’s plan.  “He needn’t think he can stay in this neighborhood and eat most of the nuts ­for I know him and I know what he expects to do.”

Jimmy Rabbit saw at once that there was going to be some fun ­for him.  And he didn’t want to miss any of it.

“I suppose ­” he said to Jasper ­“I suppose you’d like to drive Reddy Woodpecker away from Pleasant Valley?”

Jasper laughed hoarsely.

“I’d not only like to ­I’m going to!” he said.

“How do you intend to do it?” Jimmy asked him.

“I’ll have to think a while before I decide,” Jasper Jay replied.

“You’ll find it pretty difficult,” Jimmy Rabbit said.  “Let me arrange the matter for you!  I’ll promise you to put Reddy Woodpecker where he can’t eat any beechnuts.  And so long as I do that for you, I suppose you don’t care what happens.”

“Certainly not!” said Jasper Jay.  “Though, of course, if you could arrange things so I didn’t have to see Reddy I’d like that.  His red cap is hideous.  It’s enough to make anybody ill, just to see it.”

“I think I can please you,” said Jimmy Rabbit.  “But you’ll have to do exactly as I say, or my plan won’t work.”

Now, Jasper Jay was really not at all eager to fight Reddy Woodpecker.  Reddy had a very sharp bill, which was even longer than Jasper’s, and just as strong.  And Reddy could strike a powerful blow with his bill.  So Jasper Jay was glad enough to accept help from a person like Jimmy Rabbit, who was always thinking of new schemes.

“I’ll leave everything to you,” said Jasper.

“Good!” cried Jimmy Rabbit.  “And now you must wait right where I tell you to, while I go to find Reddy Woodpecker.  Follow me!” he ordered.

And Jasper Jay followed him, while Jimmy skipped briskly through the woods.  He appeared to be looking for something.  And at last he seemed to have found it, in a swampy hollow where water stood here and there in pools.  Anyhow, he stopped beside a cedar tree and said to Jasper Jay: 

“You must stand beside this tree; and you mustn’t stir out of your tracks.”

Jimmy Rabbit pointed out the exact spot where he wanted Jasper Jay to station himself.  And since it happened that there was a puddle of water there, it was only to be expected that Jasper Jay should begin to grumble.