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The Tale of Timothy Turtle by Arthur Scott Bailey, II. An Old-Timer

It was pleasant for Timothy Turtle that he lived in Black Creek, for he was very fond of fishing. If he had happened to make his home among the rocks on the top of Blue Mountain he would have had to travel a long way to find even a trout stream. But in Black Creek there were fish right in his dooryard, one may say.

It was lucky for him, too, that he liked fish to eat. And whenever he wanted a change of food the creek was a good place in which to find a frog, or perhaps a foolish duckling who had not learned to be careful.

It was no wonder that all the mother birds in the neighborhood used to warn their children to beware of Timothy Turtle. Did not Long Bill Wren, who lived among the reeds on the bank of Black Creek, have a narrow escape when he was only a few weeks old?

He had just learned to fly. And although his mother had told him not to leave the bank, he disobeyed her. When she was not watching him he sailed over the water for the first time in his life and alighted on a flat object on top of a rock.

Bill supposed it was a stone that he was sitting on. And he felt so proud of what he had done that he cried, "Look! Oh, look!"

His poor mother was dreadfully frightened when she saw him.

"Come back!" she shrieked. "You're in great danger!"

So Bill flew back to the bank as fast as he could go.

"What have I told you about Timothy Turtle?" his mother asked him sharply.

"You've said to keep away from him, or he might eat me," young Bill faltered.

"Exactly!" his mother cried. "And the moment I glance away, here you go and sit right on his back! It's a wonder you're alive."

Her son hung his head. And never again did he pick out a perch until he was sure it wasn't old Mr. Turtle.

When he was older, and had children of his own, Long Bill often remarked that it was too bad Mr. Turtle didn't live in some other place. "He makes my wife so nervous!" he used to exclaim. "With a new brood of at least a half-dozen youngsters to take care of every summer one has to watch sharp for Mr. Turtle whenever the children play near the water." And Long Bill always took pains to tell his children of his own adventure with Timothy Turtle and warn them not to make such a mistake.

"Luckily I sat exactly in the center of Mr. Turtle's shell, so he couldn't reach me," Long Bill was explaining to his family one day. "But if I had happened to perch on his head I certainly wouldn't be here now."

"Oh, Mr. Turtle is too slow to catch me," one of the youngsters boasted. "I saw him on the bank to-day; and he only crawled."

"Ah! You don't know him," Long Bill Wren replied. "When he wants to, he can stand up on his hind legs as quick as a wink. And he can dart his head out just like a snake."

"Ugh!" Long Bill's small son shivered as he spoke. "I wish Mr. Turtle would go away from our creek."

"He thinks it's his creek," Long Bill Wren observed. "He has lived in it years and years and years. We'll have to get on with him as best we can, for there's no doubt that Timothy Turtle is here to stay."



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It was pleasant for Timothy Turtle that he lived in Black Creek, for he was very fond of fishing. If he had happened to make his home among the rocks on the top of Blue Mountain he would have had to travel a long way to find even a trout stream. But in Black Creek there were fish right in his dooryard, one may say.

It was lucky for him, too, that he liked fish to eat. And whenever he wanted a change of food the creek was a good place in which to find a frog, or perhaps a foolish duckling who had not learned to be careful.

It was no wonder that all the mother birds in the neighborhood used to warn their children to beware of Timothy Turtle. Did not Long Bill Wren, who lived among the reeds on the bank of Black Creek, have a narrow escape when he was only a few weeks old?

He had just learned to fly. And although his mother had told him not to leave the bank, he disobeyed her. When she was not watching him he sailed over the water for the first time in his life and alighted on a flat object on top of a rock.

Bill supposed it was a stone that he was sitting on. And he felt so proud of what he had done that he cried, "Look! Oh, look!"

His poor mother was dreadfully frightened when she saw him.

"Come back!" she shrieked. "You're in great danger!"

So Bill flew back to the bank as fast as he could go.

"What have I told you about Timothy Turtle?" his mother asked him sharply.

"You've said to keep away from him, or he might eat me," young Bill faltered.

"Exactly!" his mother cried. "And the moment I glance away, here you go and sit right on his back! It's a wonder you're alive."

Her son hung his head. And never again did he pick out a perch until he was sure it wasn't old Mr. Turtle.

When he was older, and had children of his own, Long Bill often remarked that it was too bad Mr. Turtle didn't live in some other place. "He makes my wife so nervous!" he used to exclaim. "With a new brood of at least a half-dozen youngsters to take care of every summer one has to watch sharp for Mr. Turtle whenever the children play near the water." And Long Bill always took pains to tell his children of his own adventure with Timothy Turtle and warn them not to make such a mistake.

"Luckily I sat exactly in the center of Mr. Turtle's shell, so he couldn't reach me," Long Bill was explaining to his family one day. "But if I had happened to perch on his head I certainly wouldn't be here now."

"Oh, Mr. Turtle is too slow to catch me," one of the youngsters boasted. "I saw him on the bank to-day; and he only crawled."

"Ah! You don't know him," Long Bill Wren replied. "When he wants to, he can stand up on his hind legs as quick as a wink. And he can dart his head out just like a snake."

"Ugh!" Long Bill's small son shivered as he spoke. "I wish Mr. Turtle would go away from our creek."

"He thinks it's his creek," Long Bill Wren observed. "He has lived in it years and years and years. We'll have to get on with him as best we can, for there's no doubt that Timothy Turtle is here to stay."


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