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The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver

Cory Muscara






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The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver

Get comfortable and ready to be soothed to sleep as Cory reads one of his favorite stories, The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver by Thornton W. Burgess.

Let's settle in for a night of

deep sleep with one of my favorite

stories, The Adventures of

Paddy, the Beaver by Thornton W.


Work, work all the night while

the stars are shining bright.

Work, work all the day.

I have got no time to play.

This little rhyme, Paddy, the beaver

made up as he toiled at building the

dam, which was to make the pond he so

much desired deep in the Green Forest.

Of course it wasn't true, that

about working all night and all day.

Nobody could do that,

you know, and keep it up.

Everybody has to rest and sleep.

Yes, and everybody has to play a

little bit to be at their best.

So it wasn't quite true that Paddy

worked all day after working all night.

But it was true that

Paddy had no time to play.

He had too much to do.

He had had his play time during

the long summer, and now he had to

get ready for the long cold winter.

Now, of all the little workers in the

Green Forest, on the Green Meadows

and in the smiling pool, none can

compare with Paddy the Beaver, not

even his cousin, Jerry Muskrat.

Happy Jack Squirrel and Stripe

Chipmunk store up food for the

long, cold months when rough Brother

Northwind and Jack Frost rule.

And Jerry Muskrat builds a fine house

wherein to keep warm and comfortable.

But all this is as nothing to

the work of Paddy, the Beaver.

As I said before, Paddy had had a

long play time throughout the summer.

He had wandered up and

down the Laughing Brook.

He had followed it way up to

the place where it started.

And all the time he had been studying

and studying to make sure that he

wanted to stay in the Green Forest.

In the first place, he had to

be sure that there was plenty of

the kind of food that he likes.

Then he had to be equally sure

that he could make a pond near

where this particular food grew.

Last of all, he had to satisfy himself

that if he did make a pond and build a

home, he would be reasonably safe in it.

And all these things he

had done in his playtime.

Now he was ready to go to work.

And when Paddy begins work, he

sticks to it until it is finished.

He says that is the only way to succeed.

And, you know, and I

know that he is right.

Now Paddy the Beaver can see at

night just as Ready Fox and Peter

Rabbit and Bobby Raccoon can.

And he likes the night best

because he feels safest then.

But he can see in the daytime too.

And when he feels that he is

perfectly safe and no one is

watching, he works then too.

Of course.

The first thing to do was to build

a dam across the Laughing Brook,

to make the pond he so much needed.

He chose a low, open place deep in

the Green Forest and the edge of

which grew many young Aspen trees, the

bark of which is his favorite food.

Through the middle of this open

place flowed the Laughing Brook.

At the lower edge was

just the place for a dam.

It would not have to be very long.

And when it was finished and the water

was stopped in the Laughing Brook,

it would just have to flow over the

low, open place and make a pond there.

Paddy's eyes twinkled

when he first saw it.

It was right then that he made up

his mind to stay in the Green Forest.

So now that he was ready to begin his

dam, he went up, the Laughing Brook to

a place where alders and willows grew.

And there he began work.

That work was the cutting of a

great number of trees by means of

his big front teeth, which were

given him for just this purpose.

And as he worked, Paddy was happy.

For one can never be truly

happy who does no work?

Paddy the Beaver was busy, cutting down

trees for the dam he had planned to build.

Up in the woods of the north, from

which he had come to the Green

Forest, he had learned all about

tree cutting and dam building and

canal digging and house-building.

Paddy's father and mother had been

very wise in the beaver world and

Paddy had been quick to learn.

So now he knew just what to do

and the best way of doing it.

You know, a great many people

waste time and labor doing things

the wrong way so that they have

to be done over and over again.

They forget to be sure they are right.

And so they go ahead until they

find they are wrong and all

their work goes for nothing.

But Paddy the Beaver isn't this kind.

Paddy would never have leaped into

the spring with the steep sides without

looking as Grandfather Frog did.

So now he carefully picked

out the trees to cut.

He could not afford to waste time cutting

down a tree that wasn't going to be

just what he wanted when it was down.

When he was sure that the tree was

right, he looked up at the top to

find out whether, when he had cut it,

it would fall clear of other trees.

He had learned to do that when

he was quite young and heedless.

He remembered just how he had felt

when after working hard, oh, so hard to

cut a big tree, he had warned all his

friends to get out of the way so that

they would not be hurt when it fell.

And then it hadn't fallen at all because

the top had caught in another tree.

He was so mortified that he didn't

get over it for a long time.

So now he made sure that a tree was going

to fall clear and just where he wanted it.

And he sat up on his hind legs, and

with this great broad tail for a

brace, began to make the chips fly.

You know, Paddy has the most

wonderful teeth for cutting.

They are long and broad and sharp.

He would begin by making a deep bite.

And then another, just a little way below.

Then he would pry out the

little piece of wood between.

When he had cut very deep on one side

so that the tree would fall that way,

he would work around to the other side.

Just as soon as the tree began to

lean and he was sure that it was

going to fall, he would scamper

away so as to be out of danger.

He loved to see those tall trees lean

forward slowly then faster and faster

till they struck the ground with a crash.

Just as soon as they were down, he

would trim off the branches until

the trees were just long poles.

This was easy work for he could take off

a good size branch with just one bite.

On many, he left their bushy tops.

When he had trimmed them to suit him

and had cut them into the right lengths,

he would tug and pull them down to the

place where he meant to build his dam.

There he placed the poles side by side,

not across the Laughing Brook like a

bridge, but with the big ends pointing

up the Laughing Brook, which was

quite broad, but shallow right there.

To keep them from floating away, he rolled

stones and piled mud on the bushy ends.

Clear across on both sides, he laid those

poles until the water began to rise.

Then he dragged more poles and piled

them on top of these and wedged

short sticks crosswise between them.

And all the time, the Laughing Brook was

having harder and harder work to run.

It's merry laugh grew less merry

and finally almost stopped.

Because as you see, the water

could not get through between all

those poles and sticks fast enough.

It was just about that time that

the little people of the Smiling

Pool decided that it was time to

see just what Paddy was doing.

And they started up the Laughing Brook,

leaving only Grandfather Frog and the

tadpoles in the Smiling Pool, which

for a little while would smile no more.

Paddy the Beaver knew perfectly well

that he would have visitors just as

soon as he began to build his dam.

He expected a lot of them.

You see, he knew that none of them ever

had seen a beaver at work, unless perhaps

it was Prickly Porky the Porcupine

who also had come down from the north.

So as he worked, he kept his ears

open and he smiled to himself as

he heard a little rustle here and

then, and a little rustle there.

He knew just what those

little rustles meant.

Each one meant another visitor.

Yes, sir.

Each russle meant another visitor

and yet not one had shown himself.

Paddy chuckled.

"Seems to me that you are dreadfully

afraid to show yourselves," said he

in a loud voice, just as if he were

talking to nobody in particular.

Everything was still.

There wasn't so much as a

rustle after Paddy spoke.

He chuckled again.

He could just feel ever so

many eyes watching him, though

he didn't see a single pair.

And he knew that the reason his

visitors were hiding so carefully

was because they were afraid of him.

You see, Paddy was much bigger than most

of the little meadow and forest people.

And they didn't know what

kind of temper he might have.

It is always safest to be

very distrustful of strangers.

That is one of the very first

things taught all little

meadow and forest children.

Of course, Paddy knew about this.

He had been brought up that way.

Be sure, and then you'll never be sorry,

had been one of his mother's favorite

sayings and he had always remembered it.

Indeed, it had saved him

a great deal of trouble.

So now he was perfectly willing to go

right on working and let his hidden

visitors watch him until they were

sure that he meant them no harm.

You see, he himself felt quite

sure that none of them was

big enough to do any harm.

Little Joe Otter was the only

one he had any doubts about.

And he felt quite sure that Little

Joe wouldn't try to pick a quarrel.

So he kept right on cutting trees,

trimming off the branches and hauling the

trunks down to the dam he was building.

Some of them he floated

down the Laughing Brook.

This was easier.

Now when the little people of the

Smiling Pool, who were the first to

find out that Paddy the Beaver had

come to the Green Forest, had started

up the Laughing Brook to see what he

was doing, they had told the Merry

Little Breezes where they were going.

The Merry Little Breezes

had been greatly excited.

They couldn't understand how a stranger

could have been living in the Green

Forest without their knowledge.

You see, they quite forget that

they very seldom wandered to the

deepest part of the Green Forest.

Of course, they started at once as fast

as they could go to tell all the other

little people who live on or around the

Green Meadows, all but Old Man Coyote.

For some reason, they thought it

would be best not to tell him.

They were a little doubtful

about Old Man Coyote.

He was so big and strong and

so sly and smart that all his

neighbors were afraid of him.

Perhaps the Merry Little Breezes had this

fact in mind and knew that none would

dare go to call on the stranger if they

knew that Old Man Coyote was going to.

Anyway, they simply pass

the time of day with Old Mr.

Coyote and hurried on

to tell everyone else.

And the very last one

they met was Sammy Jay.

When Sammy Jay reached the place deep in

the Green Forest, where Paddy the Beaver

was so hard at work, he didn't hide

as had the little four-footed people.

You see, of course, he had no reason

to hide because he felt perfectly safe.

Paddy had just cut a big tree and it fell

with a crash as Sammy came hurrying up.

Sammy was so surprised that for a

minute, he couldn't find his tongue.

He had not supposed that anybody but

Farmer Brown or Farmer Brown's boy

could cut down so large a tree as that.

And it quite took his breath away.

But he got it again in a minute.

He was boiling with anger anyway, to think

that he should have been the last to learn

that Paddy had come down from the north

to make his home in the Green Forest.

And here was a chance to speak his mind.

"Thief, thief, thief!"

he screamed in the harshest voice.

Paddy the Beaver looked up

with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Hello, Mr.


I see you haven't any better

manners than your cousin who lives

up where I come from," said he.




screams Sammy, hopping up and down.

He was so angry.

"Meaning yourself, I suppose," said

Patty, "I never did see an honest

Jay and I don't suppose I ever will."

"Hahaha," laughed Peter Rabbit who had

quite forgotten that he was hiding.

"Oh, how do you do Mr.


I'm very glad you have called on me this

morning," said Paddy, just as if he hadn't

known all the time just where Peter was.


Jay seems to have gotten out on the

wrong side of the bed this morning."

Peter laughed again.

"He always does," said he, "if

he didn't, he wouldn't be happy.

You wouldn't think it to look at

him, but he is happy right now.

He doesn't know it, but he is.

He always is happy when he can

show what a bad temper he has."

Sammy Jay glared down at Peter.

Then he glared at Paddy.

And all the time he still shrieked,

"Thief," as hard as he ever could.

Paddy kept right on working,

paying no attention to Sammy.

This made Sammy more angry than ever.

He kept coming nearer and nearer

until at last he was in the very tree

that Paddy happened to be cutting.

Paddy's eyes twinkled.

"I'm no thief," he explained suddenly.

"You are.

You are.



shrieked Sammy.

"You're stealing our trees."

"They're not your trees," retorted Paddy.

"They belong to the Green Forest and the

Green Forest belongs to all who love it.

And we all have a perfect right

to take what we need from it.

I need these trees and I've just as much

right to take them as you have to take

the fat acorns that drop in the Fall."

"No such thing!"

screamed Sammy.

You know he can't talk without

screaming and the more excited

he gets, the louder he screams.

"No such thing.

Acorns are food.

They are meant to eat.

I have to have them to live, but

you are cutting down whole trees.

You are spoiling the Green Forest.

You don't belong here.

Nobody invited you and nobody wants you.

You're a thief!"

Then up spoke Jerry Muskrat, who you

know is cousin to Paddy the Beaver.

"Don't you mind him," said

he pointing at Sam Jay.

"Nobody does.

He's the greatest troublemaker in the

Green Forest or on the Green Meadows.

He would steal from his own relatives.

Don't mind what he says, Cousin Paddy."

Now, all this time, Paddy had been

working away just as if no one was around.

Just as Jerry stopped speaking,

Paddy thumped the ground with his

tail, which is his way of warning

people to watch out and suddenly

scurried away as fast as he could run.

Sammy Jay was so surprised that

he couldn't find his tongue for

a minute and he didn't notice

anything peculiar about the tree.

Then suddenly he felt himself falling.

With a frightened scream, he spread

his wings to fly, but branches of

the tree swept him down with them

right into the Laughing Brook.

You see, while Sammy had been speaking

his mind, Paddy the Beaver had cut down

the very tree in which he was sitting.

Sammy wasn't hurt, but he was wet

and muddy and terribly frightened.

The most miserable looking

Jay that ever was seen.

It was too much for all the

little people who were hiding.

They just had to laugh and

they all came out to pay their

respects to Paddy the Beaver.

Paddy the Beaver kept right on working

just as if he hadn't many visitors.

You see, it is a big

undertaking to build a dam.

And when that was done, there was a

house to build and a supply of food

for the winter to cut and store.

Oh, Paddy the Beaver had

no time for idle gossip.

You may be sure.

So he kept right on building his dam.

It didn't look much like a dam at first.

And some of Paddy's visitors turned

up their noses when they first saw it.

They had heard stories of what a

wonderful dam builder Paddy was.

And they had expected to see something

like the smooth, grass-covered bank with

which Farmer Brown kept the big river

from running back on his low lands.

Instead, all they saw was a great

pile of poles and sticks, which

looked like anything but a dam.


exclaimed Billy Mink, "I guess we

needn't worry about the Laughing

Brook and the Smiling Pool.

If that is the best Paddy can do,

why the water of the Laughing Brook

will work through that in no time.

Of course Paddy heard him,

but he had said nothing.

Just kept right on working.

"Just look at the way he has laid

those sticks," continued Billy Mink.

"Seems as if anyone would know enough

to lay them across the Laughing

Brook instead of just the other way.

I could build a better dam than that."

Paddy said nothing.

He just kept right on working.

"Yes, sir," Billy boasted.

"I could build a better dam than that.

Why that pile of sticks

will never stop the water."

"Something the matter with

your eyesight, Billy Mink?"

inquired Jerry Muskrat.

"Of course not!"

retorted Billy indignantly.


"Oh, nothing much.

Only you don't seem to notice that

already the Laughing Brook is over

its banks above Paddy's dam," replied,

Jerry, who had been studying the

dam with a great deal of interest.

Billy looked a wee bit foolish, for

sure enough there was a little pool just

above the dam and it was growing bigger.

Sammy was terribly put out to think

that anything should be going on

that he didn't know about first.

You know he is very fond of prying into

the affairs of other people and he loves

dearly to boast said there is nothing

going on in the Green Forest or on the

Green Meadows that he doesn't know about.

So now his pride was hurt and he was

in a terrible rage as he started after

the Merry Little Breezes for the place

deep in the Green Forest, where they

said Paddy the Beaver was at work.

He didn't believe a word of it,

but he would see for himself.

Patty's still kept at

work, saying nothing.

And the mud and grass he dug up, he

stuffed in between the ends of the sticks

and patted them down with his hands.

He did this all along the front

of the dam and on top of it too,

wherever he thought it was needed.

Of course, this made it harder

for the water to work through.

And the little pond above

the dam began to grow faster.

It wasn't a great while before

it was nearly to the top of the

dam, which at first was very low.

Then Paddy brought more sticks.

This was easier now because he could

float them down from where he was cutting.

He would put them in place on top

of the dam and hurry for more.

Wherever it was needed,

he would put in mud.

He even rolled a few stones

in to help hold the mass.

So the dam grew and grew, and

so did the pond above the dam.

Of course it took a good many days to

build so big a dam and a lot of hard work.

Every morning, the little people

of the Green Forest and the

Green Meadow would visit it.

And every morning they would find that it

had grown a great deal in the night, for

that is when Paddy likes best to work.

By this time, the Laughing

Brook had stopped laughing.

And down in the Smiling Pool,

there was hardly enough water for

the minnows to feel safe a minute.

Billy Mink had stopped

making fun of the dam.

And all the little people who

live in the Laughing Brook and

Smiling Pool were terribly worried.

To be sure, Paddy had warned them

of what he was going to do and had

promised that as soon as his pond

was big enough, the water would

once more run in the Laughing Brook.

They tried to believe him, but they

couldn't help having just a wee bit of

fear that he might not be wholly honest.

You see, they didn't know

him for he was a stranger.

Jerry Muskrat was the only one

who seemed absolutely sure that

everything would be all right.

Perhaps that was because Paddy

is his cousin and Jerry couldn't

help feeling proud of such a big

cousin and one who was so smart.

So day by day, the dam grew and pond grew.

And one morning, Grandfather Frog, down in

what had once been the Smiling Pool, heard

a sound that made his heart jump for joy.

It was a murmur that kept growing and

growing until at last it was the merry

laugh of the Laughing Brook, and he knew

that Patty had kept his word and water

would once more fill the Smiling Pool.

Now it happened that the very day before

Paddy the Beaver decided that his pond

was big enough and so allowed the water

to run in the Laughing Brook once more,

Farmer Brown's boy took it into his

head to go fishing in the Smiling Pool.

Just as usual, he went whistling

down across the Green Meadows.

Somehow when he goes fishing,

he always feels like whistling.

Grandfather Frog heard him coming down

and dived into the little bit of water

remaining in the Smiling Pool and

stirred up the mud at the bottom so that

Farmer Brown's boy shouldn't see him.

Nearer and nearer drew the whistle.

Suddenly it stopped right short off.

Farmer Brown's boy had come inside

of the Smiling Pool or rather it was

what used to be the Smiling Pool.

Now there wasn't any Smiling Pool,

for the very little pool left was too

small and sickly looking to smile.

There were great banks of mud

out of which grew the bulrushes.

The lily pads were forlornly stretched out

toward the tiny pool of water remaining.

Where the banks were steep and high,

the holes that Jerry Muskrat and Billy

Mink knew so well, were plain to see.

Over at one side, stood Jerry

Muskrat's house, wholly out of water.

Somehow it seemed to Farmer Brown's

boy that he must be dreaming.

He never, never had seen

anything like this before.

Not even in the very driest weather

at the hottest part of the summer.

He looked this way and looked that way.

The Green Meadows look just as usual.

The Green Forest look just as usual.

The Laughing Brook - ha!

What was the matter

with the Laughing Brook?

He couldn't hear it.

And that, you know, was very unusual.

He dropped his rod and ran

over to the Laughing Brook.

There wasn't any brook.

No, sir.

There wasn't any brook, just pools

of water with the tiniest of streams

trickling between big stones over

which he had always seen the water

running in the prettiest of little

white falls were bare and dry.

In the little pools, frightened

minnows were darting about.

Farmer Brown's boys scratched

his head in a puzzled way.

"I don't understand it," said he.

"I don't understand it at all.

Something must've gone wrong

with the springs that supply the

water for the Laughing Brook.

They must have failed.

Yes, sir.

That is what must have happened,

but I never heard of such

a thing happening before.

And I really don't see

how it could happen."

He stared up in the Green Forest just as

if he thought he could see those Springs.

Of course, he didn't think

anything of the kind.

He was just turning it

all over in his mind.

"I know what I'll do.

I'll go up to those springs this

afternoon and find out what the

trouble is," he said out loud.

"They are way over, almost on the

other side of the Green Forest and

the easiest way to get there will be

to start from home and cut across the

old pasture, up to the edge of the

mountain, behind the Green Forest.

If I try to follow up the Laughing

Brook now, it will take too long

because it winds and twists so.

Besides it's too hard work."

With that Farmer Brown's boy

went back and picked up his rod.

Then he started for home

across the Green Meadows.

And for once he wasn't whistling.

You see, he was too busy thinking.

In fact, he was so busy thinking

that he didn't see Jimmy Skunk

until he almost stepped on him.

And then he gave a frightened jump

and ran, for without a gun he was

just as much afraid of Jimmy as Jimmy

was of him when he did have a gun.

Jimmy just grinned and

went on about his business.

It always tickles Jimmy to see

people run away from him, especially

people so much bigger than himself.

They look so silly.

"I should think that they would

have learned by this time that if

they don't bother me, I won't bother

them," he muttered as he rolled over

a stone to look for fat beatles.

"Somehow folks never

seem to understand me."

Across the old pasture, to the foot

of the mountain, back of the Green

Forest tramped Farmer Brown's boy.

Ahead of him trotted Browser the Hound.

Sniffing and snuffing for the

tracks of Reddy or Granny Fox.

Of course, he didn't find them for

Reddy and Granny hadn't been up

in the pasture for a long time.

But he did find Old Jed Thumper,

big, gray Rabbit, who had made things

so uncomfortable for Peter Rabbit

once upon a time and gave Old Jed,

such a fright that he didn't look

where he was going and almost ran

head first into Farmer Brown's boy.

"Hi there, you old cottontail,"

yelled Farmer Brown's boy.

And this frightened off Jed still more so

that he actually ran right past his own

castle of bullbriars without seeing it.

Farmer Brown's boy kept on his way,

laughing at the fright of Old Jed Thumper.

Presently, he reached the springs from

which came the water that made the

very beginning of the Laughing Brook.

He expected to find them dry, for

way down on the Green Meadows, the

Smiling Pool was nearly dry and

the Laughing Brook was nearly dry.

And he had supposed that, of

course, the reason was at the

springs where the Laughing Brooks

started were no longer bubbling.

But they were!

The clear, cold water came bubbling up

out of the ground just as it always had.

And ran off, down into the Green Forest in

a little stream that would grow and grow

as it ran and became the Laughing Brook.

Farmer brown's boy took off his ragged

old straw hat and scowled down at

the bubbling water just as if it had

no business to be bubbling there.

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