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HOME > Children's Novel > The Curlytops in the Woods > CHAPTER XI TROUBLE IN THE STORE
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 “Caw! Caw! Caw!” came a hoarse1 cry, as the black bird fluttered up off the log, carrying away Ted2’s bright and glittering knife, for crows like to take bright things, you know.  
“Caw! Caw! Caw!” again sounded the cry.
Then Ted and Trouble noticed that it was not the crow that had the knife that was doing the cawing. It was some other crow farther off in the woods. For if the crow that had flown down and picked up Ted’s knife from the log had opened its mouth to caw, it would have had to drop the knife. A crow must open its beak3 to call, just as you have to open your mouth to sing, or as a dog opens its mouth to bark.
“drop my knife! drop my knife, you funny black crow!” cried Ted.
“Frow suffin’ at him! Frow suffin’!”[125] cried Trouble, so eager and excited that he forgot to talk straight. “Frow suffin’!”
“I’ll throw something all right!” shouted Ted.
“Don’t frow my whistle,” begged Trouble.
Ted had been about to do this, forgetting that the stick he held in his hand was the one on one end of which he had started the whistle for his small brother.
“I’ll throw a stone!” cried the Curlytop boy.
Off in the woods sounded the caw of that other crow. And, just as Ted threw a stone at the black bird that had picked up his knife, though Ted did not hit the crow, the feathered thief with the knife in his beak opened his mouth and sent out an answering:
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”
Of course as soon as it opened its mouth down fell the knife, and away the crow flew.
“You made him drop it!” cried Trouble.
“I guess he had to drop it to caw,” said Ted, which was more like the truth, for the stone he had thrown did not come anywhere near the crow. “I hope I find my knife,” Teddy went on.
[126]He ran toward the place where he had seen it fall from the crow’s beak, and as the bird circled overhead, crying and cawing in answer to the other, which the boys did not see, Ted and his brother searched amid the leaves for the missing knife.
After poking4 about for some time they picked it up, and Ted looked at it carefully to see if it might be damaged. But it was none the worse from having been nearly carried off by the crow.
“What made him want it?” asked Trouble, as the whistle-making started again.
“Oh, I guess maybe he wanted to give it to his little boy,” Ted answered, with a laugh, as he carefully whittled5 away at the whistle.
“Has crows got little boys?” Trouble wanted to know.
“Yes, I guess so; and little girls, too,” explained Teddy.
“But how can a crow boy cut with a knife?” persisted William. “How can he?”
“Well, I guess maybe he doesn’t, except in fairy stories,” said Ted.
“What makes crows caw?” was Trouble’s next question.
[127]“That’s the way they talk.”
“Oh, does crows talk?” eagerly cried Trouble. He listened a moment. Over the trees floated a cry of:
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”
“What’s him crow sayin’?” he demanded.
“Oh, I don’t know!” Ted had to confess. “You ask too many questions, Trouble! I can’t answer half of ’em. Crows must talk among themselves same’s dogs talk when they rub noses and wag their tails. Now there’s your whistle. Blow on it and then you can’t ask so many questions.”
He shut his knife and put it in his pocket, while Trouble put the blowing end of the whistle in his lips. It gave forth6 a shrill7, clear sound.
“’At’s a fine whistle!” Trouble said. “Thanks you, Ted.”
“All right, boysie! I’m glad you like it. That’s it—toot away!”
As Trouble blew harder on the whistle several birds in the trees seemed to sing in answer. And again, over the trees, came the hoarse voices of the crows.
“Caw! Caw! Caw-aw-aw!” they cried.
“Maybe they wants a whistle,” suggested Trouble.
[128]“Maybe,” agreed Ted, with a laugh. “Well, I’m not going to make them any. That was a bold fellow to come down and take my knife like that!”
And when Ted and Trouble reached the bungalow8 and told what had happened, Janet said:
“Oh, Ted! Maybe that was Mr. Jenk’s tame crow.”
“What, the one that tried to fly away with my knife?”
“Yes, maybe that was Jim, the lame9 crow, and if you could have caught him we’d get ten dollars.”
Teddy shook his head.
“That wasn’t Jim crow,” he said.
“How do you know?” asked Janet.
“’Cause he wasn’t lame,” answered her brother. “I watched him walk along on the log ’fore he picked up my knife and he didn’t limp a bit.”
“Maybe it was Mr. Jenk’s lame, tame crow,” persisted Janet, “but maybe he got well after he flew off to the woods, and maybe he’s here now.”
Ted shook his head in doubt.
“This is too far away for Mr. Jenk’s crow to come,” he said. “And he couldn’t get[129] well. He was lame from a broken leg and Mr. Jenk said Jim would always be lame like he was ’cause one leg was shorter than the other.”
“Oh,” murmured Janet. “Well, anyhow, I’m glad he didn’t take your knife.”
“So’m I,” agreed Teddy.
There were now busy times at Mount Major; at least for Mr. Martin, as he must watch over and tell the two men, Jack10 and Henry, as they called themselves, about putting the groceries and merchandise away on the shelves. In another day or two the lumbermen would arrive and there would be more busy scenes in the woods where the Curlytops were spending their vacation.
By the time the boxes and barrels of supplies had been unpacked12 and placed on the shelves, some of the lumbermen arrived. There were men who chopped down the great trees, other men who piled them on skids13 and wagons15 and hauled them to the lake or river, where they were sent down long slides, or chutes, then to be floated to the mill.
In parts of the woods too far from the water, the logs were carted to the mill on[130] wagons and piled up outside to wait for the sawmill to cut them into lumber11.
There was a special “gang” of men to operate the sawmill, and this was the place Ted best liked to linger near. He was much interested in machinery16. Trouble was, too, and went with his brother each time Ted started for the mill.
As Mr. Martin had said, some of the lumber workers brought their famili............
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