This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
Black is a fighter: brave, daring, sometimes foolhardy; but "Terror" is, and always will be, a hanger-on.
When all danger is past, and the owl has flown away, he sneaks forward and receives his usual share of the booty. He assists the angry warrior in every possible manner: licks his wounds, rubs him dry, and offers him his stomach as a nose-warmer.
Unfortunately for the little fellow, he does not understand in the least how to profit by the talents bestowed on him by Mother Nature; neither as humorist nor as weather-prophet can he earn his daily bread.
All the more desperately, therefore, he clings to his brother; seeking, by means of constant vigilance and servility, to make himself indispensable to the fighter.
A few days later they are both lying asleep under a hedge, when "Terror" hears a twittering and sits up. Raising his head, he peeps cautiously out over the grass, and sees a blackbird catching worms on the turf.
Just then another blackbird joins the first, forcing Tiny to duck down hurriedly.
While still in his hiding-place, he turns his head slowly to one side, pushing his ears at the same time, if possible, still farther forward. The slightest movement, he knows, is dangerous if done openly. . . .
Now he is ready to let his yellow orbs, like twin searchlights, sweep in a new direction; again he sticks up his head.
"Hurrah!" He almost jumps with joy at the sight that meets his eyes. The freshly harvested pea-field before him is literally carpeted with small hedge-sparrows! Oh, how his heart beats! He can feel its ticking in every toe-tip . . . small hedge-sparrows, the best of all! Um-m-m!
His sinews twist and stretch in sympathy with his mental exaltation, and his coat bulges with his expanding muscles. . . . Blackbirds on one hand, sparrows on the other—and now a little dike-chat just overhead! He can't resist craning his neck to watch the little dear. . . . How his stalking qualities are being tested to-day!
But it is too big a job for "Terror"; he must wake Black—and he touches the slumbering god gingerly with his paw.
"Madness' laboriously raises one sleep-laden eyelid; and at first is inclined to thrash the other for his supposed clumsiness. But upon catching sight of his assistant's strained expression he understands that something good to eat must be in the neighbourhood.
He jumps up and looks round.
Then, to Tiny's almost tearful amazement and disappointment, the great man, instead of holding a council of war, curls up again and goes to sleep.
Black is an old hand; he knows that birds are best stalked after dark!