Professor Jim Crow and his family lived in the Tall Pine Tree.
"Now, Mrs. Crow," he said to his wife one morning, "as I shall be away almost all day teaching the Little People of the Shady Forest and the Sunny Meadow to read and write, you will have your hands full with the children. Be very careful, my dear, for they haven't yet learned to fly!"
"Don't worry," answered Mrs. Crow, "you have troubles enough with the schoolhouse full of children. I'll take good care that ours come to no harm."
Professor Jim Crow had been gone only a few minutes when who should call but Grandmother Magpie.
"Good morning," she said, perching on a branch near at hand so as to look into the nestful of little crows.
"I'm dreadfully busy," answered Mrs. Crow. "Now that the Professor is teaching school, I have all the care of the children. It's no easy matter, for each little crow thinks he knows how to fly."
"Well, perhaps he does!" said Grandmother Magpie. "If you don't let them try how are they ever going to learn?"
"They are not old enough," replied Mrs. Crow.
"Not old enough?" repeated that meddlesome old lady bird. "Stuff and nonsense! Of course they are!" Then off she flew, leaving Mrs. Crow dreadfully upset and the little crows very discontented.
After making sure that Grandmother Magpie was out of sight, Mrs. Crow flew over to the Sunny Meadow for worms for her hungry children, but first she told them to be careful not to fall out of the nest while she was gone.
"Botheration!" said little Jimmy Crow after a few minutes. "Every word Grandmother Magpie says is true. We are kept like prisoners in this old nest. I'm going to fly!"
"Oh, don't!" cried all his brothers and sisters. "You can't fly even across the Shady Forest Path."
"Well, then, I can walk," said the naughty little crow, and he hopped out of the nest and fluttered down to the ground.
But, Oh dear me! Just then along came the Farmer's Boy. In a twinkling, he caught poor Jimmy Crow and cut off the tips of his wing feathers with a big jack-knife.
"Now, my little black beauty, you won't fly far," he laughed, and turned his steps toward the Old Farm.
"So, you're caught, Jimmy
Sang gay Billy Breeze,
'Mid the tall forest trees.
"Don't you wish you'd obeyed
What your kind mother said?
But, no, you were stubborn,
And had a swelled head."