The Patience Of Longlegs The Blue Heron by Thornton W. Burgess

Patience for Longlegs the Blue Heron can mean the difference between dinner or going hungry. Read this entertaining short story for children.

Patience often wins the day
When over-haste has lost the way.
If there is one virtue which Longlegs the Heron possesses above another it is patience. Yes, Sir, Longlegs certainly has got patience. He believes that if a thing is worth having, it is worth waiting for, and that if he waits long enough, he is sure to get it. Perhaps that is because he has been a fisherman all his life, and his father and his grandfather were fishermen. You know a fisherman without patience rarely catches anything. Of course Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter laugh at this and say that it isn’t so, but the truth is they sometimes go hungry when they wouldn’t if they had a little of the patience of Longlegs.

Now Grandfather Frog is another who is very, very patient. He can sit still the longest time waiting for something to come to him. Indeed, he can sit perfectly still so long, and Longlegs can stand perfectly still so long, that Jerry Muskrat and Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter have had many long disputes as to which of the two can keep still the longest.

“He will make a splendid breakfast,” thought Longlegs, as very, very carefully he walked along the edge of the Smiling Pool so as to get right opposite Grandfather Frog. There he stopped and looked very hard at Grandfather Frog. Yes, he certainly must be asleep, for his eyes were closed. Longlegs chuckled to himself right down inside without making a sound, and got ready to wade out so as to get within reach.

Now all the time Grandfather Frog was doing some quiet chuckling himself. You see, he wasn’t asleep at all. He was just pretending to be asleep, and all the time he was watching Longlegs out of a corner of one of his big goggly eyes. Very, very slowly and carefully, so as not to make the teeniest, weeniest sound, Longlegs lifted one foot to wade out into the Smiling Pool. Grandfather Frog pretended to yawn and opened his big goggly eyes. Longlegs stood on one foot without moving so much as a feather. Grandfather Frog yawned again, nodded as if he were too sleepy to keep awake, and half closed his eyes. Longlegs waited and waited. Then, little by little, so slowly that if you had been there you would hardly have seen him move, he drew his long neck down until his head rested on his shoulders.

“I guess I must wait until he falls sound asleep again,” said Longlegs to himself.

But Grandfather Frog didn’t go to sleep. He would nod and nod and then, just when Longlegs would make up his mind that this time he really was asleep, open would pop Grandfather Frog’s eyes. So all the long morning Longlegs stood on one foot without moving, watching and waiting and growing hungrier and hungrier, and all the long morning Grandfather Frog sat on his big green lily-pad, pretending that he was oh, so sleepy, and all the time having such a comfortable sun-bath and rest, for very early he had had a good breakfast of foolish green flies.

Over in the bulrushes on the other side of the Smiling Pool two little scamps in brown bathing suits waited and watched for the great fright they had planned for Grandfather Frog, when they had sent Longlegs to try to catch him. They were Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter. At first they laughed to themselves and nudged each other at the thought of the trick they had played. Then, as nothing happened, they began to grow tired and uneasy. You see they do not possess patience. Finally they gave up in disgust and stole away to find some more exciting sport. Grandfather Frog saw them go and chuckled harder than ever to himself.