The little red squirrel’s heart

On Saturday afternoon Tiny and Winkie Weasel went out for a frolic in
the forest beyond the river. Reynard Redfox had almost recovered from
his severe cold, but he stayed at home, thinking of the golden summer
so near at hand with its red strawberries and wild grapes.

Winkie came from a family of very bloodthirsty and suspicious
character, but Miss Hare’s teachings had made him as gentle as Weenie
Mouse. Although Tiny had been taught to shun weasels, he had become
quite fond of Winkie, because he was bright and active.

Side by side they made their way through the deep forest. The birds
sang merrily and the sun shone brightly. Lady’s-slippers with
lemon-colored pouches and long slender leaves grew in the damp, low
grounds. Occasionally a rose-colored one nodded its fairy head at them.

“Summer will come soon,” said Tiny, his voice ringing with happiness.

“Yes,” replied Winkie, as he stopped to sniff at a fallen log. “How
glad I am that cold weather has passed away!”

A turn in the path brought them to a clump of hazel bushes, where a
queer spectacle met their gaze. An animal covered with mud and moss
was trailing along towards the creek. A striped gopher, a queer little
animal with bloated cheeks and no neck at all, was annoying the poor
creature by jumping upon its back.

[Illustration: A QUEER LITTLE ANIMAL WITH BLOATED CHEEKS AND NO NECK AT
ALL WAS TORMENTING THE POOR CREATURE BY JUMPING UPON ITS BACK.]

“It is a turtle,” said Tiny, who had seen creatures of its kind before.
“It has just awakened from its winter slumber. You know that a turtle
settles down in the mud as soon as the frost kills the insects, and
there it stays until warm weather comes again.”

“Stop teasing that turtle!” cried Winkie to the gopher. “If you do not
cease, you shall feel the points of my teeth. Come here.”

The gopher jumped from the turtle’s back, and, holding his head to one
side, said good-naturedly:

“I am tired of teasing the slothful turtle, but I am not too tired to
run a race with you. Let us see which of us three will beat in a race.”

Winkie readily consented; but, just as they had drawn up in line to
take a dash down the narrow pathway, a deep growl resounded through the
thicket. Quick as a flash Winkie darted into a hollow stump.

[Illustration: “FOLLOW ME,” SAID THE GOPHER, AS HE DISAPPEARED INTO A
HOLE IN THE GROUND.]

“Follow me,” said the gopher, quite self-possessed, as he disappeared
into a hole in the ground. Tiny did not like the idea of being under
ground, nor was he fond of animals that burrow; but he obeyed, for he
was frightened. He trembled violently.

They entered a dark hall, at the end of which was a little, round room
containing a comfortable bed of soft grasses and fur.

“This is a cozy place,” said Tiny, sinking down to rest.

“It is my home,” said the little animal. “I suppose you know that I
am Jolly Gopher. It is fortunate that you happened to be so near my
residence when the panther happened along. Panthers are rare in this
temperate zone, and I am glad of it. What if the savage beast had
attacked me while I was riding? I am glad that you like my humble home.”

“It is a restful place for lazy animals, but I should not like to dwell
here,” said Tiny, frankly. “I always distrusted creatures that burrow
in the ground away from the air and sunshine, until I went to Miss
Hare’s school.”

“What has Miss Hare’s school to do with it?” asked the gopher, his
mouth open.

“I learned that Mother Earth,” said Tiny, “is kind indeed to poor
little defenseless animals, whom she protects from savage animals and
hunters. Animals all live where they can have the greatest safety. The
fish lives in the depths of the water, the squirrel in the tree, the
cricket under a rock, and the gopher in the ground. How fortunate it is
that we do not all live in the same place!”

“I am fond of living down in the ground,” resumed the gopher after a
moment of silence. “No panther nor any other beast bigger than myself
can meddle with my affairs. I saunter forth early in the morning and
fill my pockets with fresh, green things. You see that my pockets hang
down from my cheeks. I hurry back and stow away my food. When it rains,
I stay indoors and sleep and eat. A gopher’s life is a very peaceful
one.”

“I wish I might have pockets,” said Tiny, wistfully. “We squirrels
don’t have them, you know. I believe I am the only squirrel that
carries a hunting bag. It was made for me by a tailor bird. She is
a rare and curious bird who makes a nest that looks like a bag. She
selects tough leaves and sews them together with long, firm strips of
growing plants. She uses her bill as a needle.”

“How remarkable!” exclaimed the gopher. “I think it would be nicer to
carry a hunting bag than to have pockets in my cheeks. Sometimes my
pockets are so full I can’t get inside my house.”

“The bee also has pockets–six little pockets,” said Tiny, reflectively.

“And the opossum and several other animals have pockets in which they
carry their children,” added the gopher wisely.

“You seem to observe things as much as I do,” said Tiny, admiringly.

“Yes, I travel a great deal and have seen many queer things,” replied
the gopher, proudly.

[Illustration: SHE IS ABOUT THE ONLY ANIMAL THAT DOES NOT FEAR THE
STING OF A BEE.]

“Once I burrowed down into a badger’s home,” he went on. “I saw the
nursery with the little badgers playing about in their bed of moss and
grass. The mother badger was very civil to me. She is about the only
animal that does not fear the sting of a bee, because her skin is so
tough and her hair is so thick. It seems to me that of all animals, the
badger is treated with the greatest cruelty. When the hunters catch
her, they permit their dogs to torture her to death. The harder the
poor creature fights to get away, the worse they abuse her, and the
greater it pleases the cruel hunters. Sometimes the poor animal endures
this brutal treatment for a full day.”

“I have often heard that the verb _to badger_ means _to tease_, or _to
torment_,” said Tiny.

“I do not know anything about verbs,” replied the gopher, “but I do
know that some hunters are very cruel.”

“Have you ever seen a mole’s nest?” asked Tiny.

“Oh, yes, when I was quite small, I had the privilege of visiting one,”
replied the gopher enthusiastically. “You may think that the mole is a
very stupid animal, but I assure you that he is not.”

“An animal that lives in the dirt all the time couldn’t be very
intelligent,” interrupted Tiny. “Besides, his eyes and ears are so
small, he surely cannot see and hear well.”

“Little eyes and ears are often more keen than larger ones,” quickly
replied Jolly Gopher. “Do you suppose that a giraffe can see or hear
better than you can? It is fortunate that the mole has such tiny eyes
and ears, otherwise they would catch a great deal of dirt, as the
little animal burrows through the earth. The mole is very clean in
appearance. He sleeps three hours and then he works three hours as
long as he lives. He is a great builder; he sinks wells to quench his
thirst; he can run fast; he can swim; and he can fight. He loves his
home in the ground. He seldom comes out.”

“Does he have a nice bed like yours?” asked Tiny, much interested.

“Indeed, he has,” said the gopher. “His home is one of the most
wonderful things I have ever seen. It is reached by passing through one
of several long, straight halls. The walls are so solid that the rain
seldom leaks through. I went into one of these halls, and with some
difficulty made my way into another one, which was circular. From this
hall five passages led to another hall above my head. I stopped at the
foot of the nearest passage to rest. Then I went up. The upper hall was
circular, but not so large as the lower one. I knew that I was at the
summit of the mole hill, for I could plainly hear the birds singing
overhead. From this upper circular hall three more passages led down to
the main room. I went down into this room and sat very quietly there
for a few moments. I wondered why the mole had made it so difficult to
get into his house.”

“I suppose he wants to make his house as safe as possible,” suggested
the squirrel.

“Precisely so,” said the gopher. “If he and his family hear some
vicious animal coming through one of the long halls, they have a chance
to escape. The central room is a kind of fortress where they seek
protection.”

“Did you ever see any of the little moles?” asked Tiny, excitedly.

“No. I learned afterwards that their nursery was built at a point where
two or more of the long halls cross one another. It was situated in an
out of the way place with many avenues of escape. Their bed was made of
blades of grass and other soft material. I am sure that the nest of a
mole is safer than that of a goldfinch hanging high up in a tree. Why
does the goldfinch usually build her nest at the end of a branch?”

“Because she likes to have her nest dance up and down and sway about
in the breeze,” said Tiny. “The goldfinch builds very well. Her nest
is made of lichens and moss and sheep’s wool, and is so fashioned that
the little birds cannot roll out. What jolly times the goldfinches must
have teetering up and down in a roomy nest on a starlit night!”

“Yet they surely suffer when it storms, while the little moles are
never bothered by lightning and thunder,” quickly interposed the
gopher. “I suppose it is fortunate that all animals do not have the
same ideas about things.”

“I should like to hear something about prairie dogs,” said Tiny, after
a while.

“I will gladly tell you,” returned the gopher, settling himself more
comfortably. “Sometimes hundreds of prairie dogs live together in one
city. It is interesting to watch the round towers of their dwellings.
Most prairie dogs have small brown eyes and grayish-red fur. Although
they are agile little animals, they do not work much. You would laugh
to see them when they bark, for they shake their stumpy tails and jerk
to and fro. They yelp like dogs. Some of them act as guards and sit out
upon their roofs all day long, looking about the horizon. When an enemy
approaches, they bark loudly and rush into their houses, and all the
chattering ceases. For a while the city is as quiet as night; but, in
a few minutes, many inquisitive, dark eyes peep out to see if danger
still threatens them.”

“Their city must be a very lively place,” observed Tiny.

“Many other animals visit there,” said the gopher. “All kinds of
vicious creatures flock to a great city, you know. The prairie dogs
are often molested by hawks, burrowing owls, and coyotes. I believe I
prefer to live in the country.”

“I am quite satisfied with my mode of living, as we all should be,”
said Tiny. “I have been greatly benefited by learning about these
animals. If one should get blue or homesick or discouraged, it would
pay him to visit a gopher and find out how other less fortunate animals
live. Then he would return home quite contented with his lot. I thank
you for teaching me so much.”

“You are welcome,” replied the gopher. “I, too, have learned from you,
so we have been mutually helped. I never knew before that it is wrong
to engage in any kind of sport that gives pain to another. Henceforth I
will never tease a turtle or take a ride on his back.”

“I must go,” declared Tiny, rising from his downy couch.

“Stay longer,” pleaded the gopher. “The moon rises early, and–”

“That is no reason why I should go to bed late,” interrupted Tiny. “My
teacher may worry about me. Goodby, Mr. Gopher.”

“Goodby. You must come back,” replied the gopher sleepily.

Before Tiny could reach the door, his acquaintance with the pockets in
his cheeks was fast asleep.

The little red squirrel’s heart beat with joy and thankfulness when the
dewy air, laden with the sweet fragrance of early summer, again greeted
his nostrils. With nimble leaps he made his way through the leaf-strewn
pathway to the edge of the crystal stream. Before him lay the quaint
beaver houses that had become so dear to him, while beyond, the pink
western skies faded softly into gray, like the happy days of his youth.

About two weeks before the close of school, Miss Hare met with a
misfortune. Because of the great amount of work she had to do, grading
examination papers, her eyes became so weak that she scarcely could
use them. Tiny felt sorry for the patient, hard-working teacher, and
offered to be of assistance to her.

“You may come into the schoolroom and help me,” she said to him one
Saturday morning. “I have a number of important letters to write. You
are very painstaking, and I shall be glad to have your assistance.”

Tiny followed her into the room and sat down beside the desk, very
happy to be of some use to one he so thoroughly respected. The material
upon which he wrote was not so white and smooth as the paper used in
schoolrooms nowadays. It was simply birch bark that could be rolled
up and tied with heavy grass. The ink he used was the juice of the
pokeberry, and his pen was a goose quill.

[Illustration: AS SOON AS HE HAD WRITTEN A LETTER, HE ROLLED IT NEATLY,
ADDRESSED IT CAREFULLY, AND GAVE IT TO BILLY BEAVER, WHO CALLED A
CARRIER PIGEON.]

As soon as he had written a letter, he rolled it neatly, addressed it
carefully, and gave it to Billy Beaver, who called a carrier pigeon to
take it to its place of destination.

During the hour that Tiny spent in the schoolroom that morning, he
learned about money orders and drafts, for it is said that at one time
the more enlightened residents of Animal Kingdom made use of them.

Here are a few letters that Tiny either wrote or read for Miss Hare:

1. BUSINESS LETTER.

Beaver Creek, Joy Co., Animal Kingdom,
May 25,—-

Messrs. Sheep, Goat & Co.,
63, 65, 67 Bleat Street,
Herd City, Animal Kingdom.

Gentlemen:

Please send at your earliest convenience the following articles for
use in my boarding school:

2 quarts milk.
15 pounds wool.
1 dozen quills.

I enclose money order for three dollars.

Yours respectfully,
(MISS) MOLLY HARE.

2. BUSINESS LETTER.

Beaver Creek, Joy Co., Animal Kingdom,
May 25,—-

Messrs. Fido, Carlo & Co.,
Dogtown, Animal Kingdom.

Gentlemen:

Please send by Pony Express:

1 uniform for janitor, size No. 3.
2 yards horsehair cloth, as per sample.
1 school bench, as per catalogue.

Enclosed find draft for ten dollars ($10).

Respectfully,
(MISS) MOLLY HARE.

3. BUSINESS LETTER.

118 Hill Avenue,
Rolling City,
May 16,—-

Miss Molly Hare,
Principal, Beaver Creek School,
Beaver Creek, Animal Kingdom.

Dear Madam:

For the enclosed money order ($1.25) please send to my address “The
Beaver Creek School Journal” for one year, beginning next month.

Yours truly,
JUMPINGTON PRAIRIEDOG.

4. INFORMAL NOTE.

Dear Miss Hare:

Please excuse Glossy Marten from school all next week on account of
illness in the family.

Will you kindly tell her to travel via Central Route to avoid danger?

Very respectfully yours,
MRS. BEAUTY MARTEN.

5. INFORMAL NOTE.

Dear Miss Turkey:

Will you lay aside your work for a short time and dine with me
Wednesday at 5 o’clock?

Sincerely yours,
MOLLY HARE.

6. FORMAL NOTE.

Miss Pet Pheasant requests the pleasure of Miss Hare’s company on
Tuesday evening, May thirtieth, from four to seven o’clock.

13 Forest Edge Street.

7. NOTE OF ACCEPTANCE.

Miss Molly Hare is pleased to accept Miss Pet Pheasant’s kind
invitation for Wednesday evening, May thirtieth.

Beaver Creek, May twenty-fifth.

8. INVITATION.

Miss Brownie Mink
at home
Thursday evening, June first
from six to eight o’clock

14 Water Front

9. NOTE OF REGRET.

Miss Molly Hare regrets that a previous engagement prevents her from
accepting Miss Brownie Mink’s kind invitation for Thursday evening,
June first.

Beaver Creek, May twenty-fifth.

* * * * *

“This has been a very pleasant task, I assure you,” said Tiny, when
his work was done. “I have learned how to write a business letter,
which is an important thing to know. I never before had heard of money
orders and drafts. You know we do not have those things, nor money, nor
stores, at Squirreltown.”

“Only a few of the more intelligent animals know anything about
business,” replied Miss Hare. “I know of only two large department
stores and three banks in Animal Kingdom. I have heard that the
ancient human beings used shells for money; but, finally, they
established the use of coins, because they were valued by all classes
of people. If the hunters would not molest us, Animal Kingdom would
imitate the human race and become very much enlightened. Some day I
hope you may visit the department store of Sheep, Goat & Co., and see
for yourself how animals are advancing in knowledge. I understand that
this great store employs almost a dozen clerks.”

“I have also learned how to write an invitation and notes of regret and
acceptance. They seem to be very simple in their construction,” said
Tiny, placing the quill in a shell filled with sand.

“No self-respecting animal should neglect his correspondence, no matter
how busy he may be,” said Miss Hare. “As a rule, one who hates to write
letters is one who cannot write them well. It is necessary that one
should write social and business letters, and learn how to make them
clear and forceful. Now you may rest. I thank you for your services,
Tiny.”

The red squirrel, with a polite bow, returned to his room, much pleased
because he had pleased some one else.

Continue Reading

ALMOST EVERY DAY A MESSENGER PIGEON BROUGHT HIM A LETTER

When Tiny learned to write letters, he spent many happy hours
corresponding with his mother and his friends at Squirreltown. Almost
every day a messenger pigeon brought him a letter, which he read with
great pleasure. Here are a few of these letters that passed between
Beaver Creek and Squirreltown:

Beaver Creek, Joy Co.,
Animal Kingdom,
May 1, —-.

My Dear Mother:

While you were sleeping away the long, cold winter, I was studying
with all my might, trying to keep at the head of my class.

I like Beaver Creek very much. Miss Hare is a good and capable
teacher. I shall be sorry to graduate from here in June, and yet I am
anxious to get back to Squirreltown again.

The spring flowers are blooming all about Beaver Creek. I wish you
could see how beautiful they are. The daisy, which is like a white
star, opens with the morning sun. The morning glory shuts up its
sweet petals before noon. The dandelion opens early, but closes when
the heat becomes too great. The anemone, so blue and so fragile,
sleeps at the approach of a storm; while the water lily curls up and
hides itself in the mud at the bottom of the pond. The marsh marigold
is a hardy little flower. It drinks, drinks, drinks, from morning
till night, pleased with any kind of weather.

I will tell you more about the beauties of Beaver Creek, one of
these days. In the meantime, please write and tell me about dear old
Squirreltown.

Your affectionate son,
TINY.

Mrs. Jane Redsquirrel,
124 Oak Avenue,
Squirreltown,
Animal Kingdom.

* * * * *

124 Oak Avenue,
Squirreltown,
Animal Kingdom,
May 8, —-.

My Dear Son:

I was very glad to hear from you and to learn that you are well and
happy.

Dr. Flyingsquirrel, the mayor, and many of your friends inquire about
you each day. Peggy and Bushy Graysquirrel, who have grown quite
large since you saw them, are planning to give a party for you when
you return.

You will be glad to learn that Chatty Chipmunk returned home just
before winter set in. He had been wandering for a long, long time.
Once he thrust his inquisitive nose into a nest of yellow-jackets,
and it took him a long time to recover.

I feel so sorry for the Chipmunks. They are all, with the exception
of Chatty, such active, industrious creatures. I fear he will never
outlive the bad habits formed in his early youth. He does little but
sleep in his round room at the end of the long hall, and eat large
quantities of beechnuts.

Now, my son, learn all you can. Do not eat too many acorns, and be
sure to keep your fur clean and smooth.

Your devoted mother,
JANE REDSQUIRREL.

Mr. Tiny Redsquirrel,
Beaver Creek, Joy Co., Animal Kingdom.

* * * * *

Beech Hotel,
Squirreltown, Animal Kingdom,
May 14, —-.

Dear Friend:

I received your jolly letter, and I am going to show my appreciation
by sending an early reply.

Sister Peggy and I are spending a few days with our friend, Polly
Blacksquirrel. We are all well, after our long winter’s nap, and are
enjoying ourselves greatly.

The other day, Polly took Peggy and me down to the pond to hear a
famous orchestra. We sat upon a mossy seat close to the blue water,
and patiently waited until all the musicians had come out of the
water and had taken their seats on the green lily pads. The leader
of the band was very pompous, and his white vest was covered with
medals. I had to laugh at the airs he put on.

The musicians, of course, were frogs, and they all wore green coats
and white vests. They looked so odd with their bulging eyes and
swelling throats! One large bull frog played a bass viol. He was a
savage fellow, and, frequently, he would go down into the water to
eat poor little tadpoles.

Now you know that gray squirrels are more fond of music than are any
other kind of squirrel; but, so far as I am concerned, I do not like
to be too close to a frog orchestra.

Is it not queer that frogs and fishes, both of which live in the
water, are so unlike? Polly’s father said that if a frog keeps his
mouth open very long, he will die; while a fish has to keep his mouth
open most of the time to permit his breathing organs to act properly.

Peggy and Polly join me in sending you our kindest regards.

Your true friend,
BUSHY GRAYSQUIRREL.

Tiny Redsquirrel, Esq.,
Beaver Creek,
Animal Kingdom.

* * * * *

Beaver Creek, Joy Co., Animal Kingdom,
May 18, —-.

My Dear Dr. Flyingsquirrel:

Mother told me that you would appreciate a letter from me; so, on
this beautiful morning, I have decided to write to you.

Yesterday, Miss Hare and we pupils were out in the thicket and on the
great moor east of Beaver Creek. We were studying nature, by which to
test the books that we read.

My companion was Winkie Weasel. He has a long, lean body, and a
short, black tail. He is very good-natured most of the time, but,
occasionally, he gets very angry over small things. Then his nose
seems to grow pointed, and his eyes turn green. He wears a yellow
coat now. Later he will change it for a dark brown one, while in
winter he wears white. Although Winkie takes things that do not
belong to him and tries to act innocent, I like him because he is so
bright and shrewd.

Such a glorious day as it was! The birds were chattering all about
us, building nests in which to rear their broods. Miss Hare said I
was fortunate to be able to climb so well, for it gave me such good
opportunities to inspect birds and their nests.

Once we were startled by a loud thump! thump! thump! Then we heard
a chorus of piping voices, and saw a covey of partridges running
through the tall grass. They are peculiar little creatures, and they
never try to run until some one almost steps upon them. They were out
hunting for seeds, buds, and insects. Miss Hare told us that the
partridge wears bristles that serve as snowshoes in winter, so it can
walk on the soft snow without sinking.

We saw pigeons fluttering about in the blue sky, while swallows, with
graceful, slender wings, flitted by, busily building their nests.

The sweet scent of spring had brought the cuckoos to the north. I
could see one of them flying in a very straight line, his long tail
steadying his flight. I have always loved the voice of the cuckoo;
but I do not admire the bird, since Miss Hare has told me how very
unprincipled she is.

I should like to tell you about some of the other birds I saw, but I
fear you would think my letter too long. Busy people like you do not
like to waste so much time reading letters.

Wishing you health and success, I am,

Yours very respectfully,
TINY REDSQUIRREL.

Dr. Airy Flyingsquirrel,
64 Hickory Ave.,
Squirreltown, Animal Kingdom.

* * * * *

64 Hickory Ave.,
Squirreltown, Animal Kingdom,
May 25, —-.

Dear Tiny:

Your letter filled my heart with delight. We old squirrels appreciate
letters from our young friends, and we are glad to be remembered in
our declining years. The young who remember the old will be rewarded
when they themselves are no longer young.

I, too, fly about a great deal, studying the various birds and their
eggs. You wrote about the cuckoo, and I agree with you that she is a
very unprincipled creature.

She lays her eggs on the hard ground, because she and her mate are
too indolent to build a nest. She places her eggs in various nests
for other birds to hatch. Usually she prefers robins’ nests, for they
are very comfortable. You can imagine how surprised the robin or any
other bird would be, when its brood hatches, to find among the number
a large, healthy cuckoo with a wide mouth and an enormous appetite.
But the kind foster parents feed the young cuckoo just as they do
their own children.

And what does the cuckoo orphan do to repay such kindness? He eats
and sleeps and grows larger all the time; and, finally, one day when
the old birds are away, he tumbles his foster brothers and sisters
out of the nest, and stretches himself out comfortably, waiting
for his dinner. The selfish, cruel bird never thinks of anyone but
himself. When his foster parents return, they are grieved not to find
their little ones, but they do not scold the cuckoo at all. They keep
on feeding him until he is full-fledged. Then, on some bright day,
he takes wings and flies away, leaving his foster parents to grieve
after him.

Jenny Wren is a neat, modest little body. Do you know her? She wears
a plain brown gown, for she has so much to do she cannot dress very
stylishly. Her wings are hard and stiff, so she can beat the air when
she flies; but the feathers close to her tiny body are soft and warm.

She likes to build her nest beneath the gnarled roots of a tree or
against a stone in a bed of moss. It is covered with a little dome
and has a tiny door, which opens on the sunny side. I once peeped
into Jenny’s home and found it neat and cozy. An orderly housekeeper
she is, I can tell you! Her bed is made of fine feathers, hair, and
delicate grasses. The roof of her home is made of moss, twigs, and
lichens.

We are all very well, and we hope that you will call to see us soon
after your return home.

Cordially yours,
AIRY FLYINGSQUIRREL.

Mr. Tiny Redsquirrel,
Beaver Creek,
Joy Co., Animal Kingdom.

Reynard caught a cold just two weeks before Miss Hare’s school closed
for the summer. He was very ill, indeed; but Tiny, Snowball, and his
other friends did all they could to make him comfortable.

Miss Hare spent one evening with Reynard. Puss Snowball, Winkie Weasel,
and Tiny were present. They had a pleasant time, in Reynard’s humble
room, which the stars made almost bright as day.

“Shall I get you some corn?” Miss Hare finally asked.

“I don’t want no corn,” groaned Reynard, whose head ached severely.

“Very well, I will bring you some,” said Miss Hare, rising to leave the
room.

“I don’t want no corn!” repeated Reynard, so surprised that his head
almost stopped aching.

“That means that you _do_ want some corn,” laughed Miss Hare. “I
suppose you meant to say that you _don’t_ want _any_ corn, or that you
want _no_ corn. Be careful what you say, Reynard, and never use two
denying words where the meaning needs but one. The other day I heard
you say, ‘I haven’t seen _nothing_,’ which meant that you must have
seen _something_. You also said, ‘He is _not_ doing _nothing_,’ which
meant that he was doing _something_.”

“Thank you, Miss Hare,” said Reynard, with chagrin. “I know that I am
sometimes very careless in the use of English. But now my head feels so
much better that perhaps, after all, _I don’t_ need _no_ corn.”

Miss Hare laughed again, with more pleasure this time, and gave him a
few kernels of corn which she had brought with her.

“Now we must do something to amuse Reynard,” said Miss Hare,
pleasantly. “What shall we do?”

“I should like to hear Snowball sing a song,” said Reynard. “He sings
good.”

“He does not sing _good_, but he sings _well_,” corrected Miss Hare, in
a low voice to Reynard. “Will you sing, Snowball?”

“I can’t sing to-night,” said Snowball. “I, too, have a bad cold.”

“You have a _severe_ cold,” said Miss Hare. “It is as wrong to say
that you have a _bad_ cold as it is to say that you received a _good_
whipping.”

Snowball was one of those individuals who do not like to be corrected,
so for a few moments he shrugged his shoulders and pouted.

Miss Hare turned towards Tiny and said in a cheerful voice:

“Perhaps Tiny will tell us about Squirreltown.”

“Good! good!” shouted enthusiastic Winkie Weasel, leaping awkwardly
into the air to show his delight. “Tell us about the time you wandered
through the great forest and did not know where you were at.”

“Fy, fy, Winkie!” cried his teacher, shaking with laughter. “How you
abuse such useful little words as _at_, _to_, and _for_. You make them
work when they should be resting. You say that Tiny did not know where
he was _at_, nor where he was going _to_, when you should say that Tiny
did not know where he was, nor where he was going. One should not place
_at_, _to_, _for_, or some other _unnecessary_ little word at the end
of a sentence.”

Snowball was very glad to hear the teacher correct Winkie, and soon he
regained his usual good humor.

“Winkie and I are both alike in our use of bad English,” he chuckled.

“You are especially apt to use unnecessary words, Snowball,” said Miss
Hare. “Why should you say ‘Winkie and I are _both_ alike,’ when it
takes less time to say, ‘Winkie and I are alike’?”

Snowball stared stupidly for a while, but did not seem vexed.

“I thought to myself that Snowball was making an incorrect statement,”
tittered Winkie.

“Of course, you thought to yourself,” said the teacher with a twinkle
in her eye. “You certainly could not think aloud.”

“No, but he knows how to laugh aloud,” said Snowball, somewhat
scornfully.

“Now, Tiny, you may tell us something about Squirreltown,” said Miss
Hare.

Tiny did not feel so brave about talking as he did on the day he tried
to address the mayor and citizens of his native town, for he knew that
his present audience was a very critical one. However, he began:

“A wide path leads into Squirreltown. At the place where it enters the
city it is very wide indeed. An oak tree stands on both sides of this
path–”

“How strange!” interrupted Miss Hare. “Isn’t it rather unusual for a
tree to stand on both sides of a path?”

“There are two trees,” stammered Tiny.

“Oh, I see,” said Miss Hare, a flash of understanding shining in her
eyes. “You mean to say that on _each_ side of the path there is an oak
tree.”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied Tiny, with a nod. “The trees in the city do not
contain many acorns, but these two trees are filled full of them.”

“Of course, if they are _filled_ with acorns, they must be _full_ of
them,” laughed Miss Hare. “It sounds as badly to say _filled full_ as
it does to say _little small_. Just how are the trees filled with
acorns, Tiny? Are the trunks hollow?”

“The branches of the two trees,” bravely continued Tiny, “bear so many
acorns that they could yield all the squirrels in the land an acorn.”

“Then the branches can not bear very many acorns,” said Miss Hare. “One
acorn could not very well be divided among such a host of squirrels.”

“I mean that these two trees could yield _each_ squirrel in the land an
acorn,” said Tiny, with energy.

“That is right,” said Miss Hare, much pleased. “Tiny is one who thinks,
and I believe that in time he will learn to speak correctly.”

“I have lived in Squirreltown nearly all my life, and–”

“How many squirrels live there?” interrupted the teacher.

“Several hundred,” replied Tiny, proudly.

“Then it is not such a great city, after all. It would be better to say
that you lived _at_ Squirreltown. When it becomes a great city, you can
say that you lived _in_ Squirreltown.”

“I lived on Oak Avenue–”

“It is better to say that you lived _in_ Oak Avenue,” suggested Miss
Hare.

“One day a bear met my mother with crooked teeth, and–”

“Who had crooked teeth, the bear or your mother?” tittered Snowball.

“The bear, to be sure,” retorted Tiny, growing quite indignant.

“You should place your helping phrases where they will give the right
meaning,” said Miss Hare. “There are many animals ready to make sport
of us if we are not careful to say just what we mean.”

“Really, I am so puzzled that I have forgotten what I intended to say,”
said Tiny, sitting down. “I cannot say properly where I am, or where I
live, or anything else. All I know is that I am very dull.”

“You are not dull,” declared Miss Hare. “When an animal finds out that
he has much to learn, it is a good indication that he really knows
something. Only the ignorant are satisfied with their own imperfect way
of speaking. Now I will sing for you a little lullaby that an otter
formerly sang to her little one every night:”

SONG OF REST.

“_Set_ down your basket, busy little one;
Please _set_ it where it _sat_ yesterday,
And let it _sit_ there while I sing the song
You love to hear when daylight turns to gray.

“Now you _have set_ the basket in its place;
It _sits_ just where you _set_ it oft before.
_Sit_ down beside me; do not speak a word,
And I will hush my babe to sleep once more.

“Now we _are sitting_ in the fading light,
As we _have sat_ before so many times.
While mother held you closely to her breast,
And evening bells rang out their golden chimes.

“_Lay_ down your toys, my busy little one.
When you _have laid_ them down I’ll sing to you;
We’ll let them _lie_ until the rosy morn
Again peeps o’er the valley bathed in dew.

“_Lie_ down; _lie_ closely as you _lay_ last night.
See, mother _lies_ beside her little one,
Just as she _lay_ last night to guard your rest
Until the east was lighted by the sun.

“Now _lie_ until your active little frame
Is tired of _lying_ in the same old way;
When we _have lain_ till sleep has sped again
We’ll rise to greet another joyous day.”

Hardly had Miss Hare finished singing the lullaby, when Billy Beaver
began thumping with his tail to let all the students of Beaver Creek
know that it was time to retire.

“Goodnight, Reynard. I hope you will sleep well,” said the teacher
kindly. “Goodnight, Tiny and Snowball and Winkie. I hope that my
criticisms will benefit you. Remember that I meant them all in
kindness. Is there anything I can do for you, Reynard?”

“Yes, please,” said the fox, hoarsely. “Tell Billy to bring me a cold
pan of water.”

“Poor fox! Poor fox! I will tell him to bring you a pan of _cold
water_,” said Miss Hare, with a hearty laugh that set her long ears to
bobbing. “It makes little difference whether or not the _pan_ is cold.”

Continue Reading

SOMETIMES HE WOULD RUN A RACE WITH WINKIE WEASEL

Miss Hare’s school was a very studious place during the fall; but when
winter set in, some of the pupils began to lose interest in their
work. The woodchuck, who was the dullest pupil in the language class,
went to his bed of dried clover one night and forgot to wake up until
spring had returned. Tiny, himself, felt very sleepy at times, but he
sat close to the fireplace in the schoolroom and studied as hard as he
could, determined to get a good education. He did his work well. At
recess-time he would run out upon the pile of branches that surrounded
the school building, and play until Miss Hare rang the bell. Sometimes
he would run a race with Winkie Weasel, but, as he always came out
ahead, he soon wearied of the pastime.

At dusk he would go to his cozy room, and for an hour or more he and
Reynard would talk over their lessons and their plans for the future.
There were no pretty fireflies to make light for them, but, when the
moon was shining, they could see quite well. They grew contented to lie
in their soft beds of leaves and reeds, and talk about the coming of
spring.

One cold night they heard a knock. Reynard, who was feeling homesick,
opened the door. There stood Puss Snowball, the cat, looking very
beautiful against the pure white background of ice and snow, upon which
the moon shone brightly.

“Good evening, Snowball,” said Reynard, kindly. “Will you not come in?”

“I thought I would run over and have a little chat with you,” said
Snowball, nestling down in the coziest corner of the room. “My, isn’t
it cold! I believe I have frozen my whiskers and the tip of my nose.”

“Cold weather doesn’t last always,” said Tiny, cheerily. “Reynard and
I do our work quite as well in cold weather as in warm weather. If it
were not for the ice and snow, we would not take so much delight in the
green grass and the spring rains.”

“I suppose not,” said Snowball, his teeth chattering, “but I shouldn’t
mind the cold weather if I had a more agreeable companion. I can’t
understand why Miss Hare insists upon my rooming with Rover. You know
cats and dogs never get along well.”

“If you were too happy together, perhaps you would forget to study,”
suggested Reynard. “You remember, Snowball, how the monkey and the
parrot became so sociable that they had to leave School.”

“Oh, Rover is very mannerly in some ways, but he growls and barks too
much,” complained Snowball, with a sigh. “They say it is natural for
a dog to bark, although I can’t see why he need be so noisy about
it. He frightens me almost to death when he barks, and he is very
unreasonable. To-night he has done many things to tease me. The other
night he told me that my constant purring was very trying to his
nerves. You know that a cat never purs unless he is happy, so I suppose
that my good nature makes him cross. How peculiar some animals are!”

Tiny said that every creature has its peculiarities, and it is best to
overlook things that do not please us, since we all have disagreeable
traits of our own.

“We wanted to organize a singing class,” continued Snowball, changing
the subject, “but when we called in Katie Goose to talk it over with
us, Billy Beaver thrust his nose through the door and said that Miss
Hare would never permit us to sing after night. He added that a cat, a
dog, a goose, and a number of other creatures, would not make a very
tuneful chorus, however fine we might be as soloists.”

“Billy Beaver can’t sing,” said Reynard. “I can see his reason for
objecting to a students’ chorus.”

“He is very rude,” said Snowball, severely. “I shall not forget how
horrid he made me feel the night that Weenie Mouse was missing. I am
sure that he thought I might have eaten him. I was very glad, indeed,
when they found Weenie hiding in Miss Hare’s room, nibbling at an ear
of corn.”

“Recite the poem about the kitten that went to sleep when her mother
had visitors,” begged Tiny. “I am sure that Reynard would like to hear
it.”

Without waiting for Reynard to insist, Snowball recited, in his pretty
purring manner, the following poem, which is said to amuse kittens even
to the present day:

TABBY AND PRUE.

Quoth Dame Tabby Cat to her daughter, Miss Prue,
“I shall teach you a lesson, my dear,
For I am so very much older than you,
And very much wiser, I fear.

“I felt more ashamed than I ever can tell,
When you slept while my callers were here.
If you do it again, I will punish you well;
I will teach you some manners, my dear.”

“Shall I sit wide awake while your busy tongues fly?
Can I keep my eyes open so long?”
“You can, Prudy dear, if you only will try,
But you think it is smart to do wrong.”

The anger of Tabby Cat grew quite intense,
When Prue said, “Please listen, I pray.
May I speak a few words in my own self-defense?”
And Tabby Cat answered, “You may.”

“I ought not to sleep till your friends go away.
Such an act is a sorry mishap;
Yet you taught me to do it, for only to-day
You talked yourself into a nap.”

“My friends stayed so long that I hardly could peep,”
Said Tabby Cat, heaving a sigh;
“But, nevertheless, _you_ must not fall fast asleep,
For you are much younger than I.”

“It is a capital story,” laughed Reynard, when Snowball had finished.
“I saw Tiny laughing many times.”

Before the squirrel could thank the cat for his kindness, Billy Beaver
pounded at the door, and in another moment stood before them.

“I overheard you talking about me, Mr. Snowball; also about Rover and
others,” he said, turning to the cat, who, in the moonlight, looked
very pale and frightened.

“Did I understand you to say that you were eavesdropping?” Snowball
finally inquired, with a show of dignity.

“It is no worse to eavesdrop than it is to gossip about one’s closest
friends,” replied the beaver. “I have seen Miss Hare. I told her that
you were not pleased with your roommate, and she has ordered me to make
a change. In the future you shall room with Weenie Mouse.”

“How terrible!” exclaimed Puss, greatly shocked. “I shall be under
restraint all the time. Poor Rover! Perhaps he has had his hard times,
too. What if I should get vexed at Weenie and swallow him?”

“Miss Hare says that you will never do that, because her pupils are too
strong to yield to temptation,” said the beaver, seriously.

“But why does Miss Hare punish poor Weenie by making him room with a
cat?” gasped Puss.

“Because Weenie was found in Miss Hare’s pantry again, helping himself
to corn and other dainties,” replied Billy Beaver. “Miss Hare wishes
you to room with Weenie so that you can restrain each other. The best
way to cure two disturbers who dislike each other is to make them live
together.”

The little animals of Miss Hare’s school were glad when winter was at
an end. They were anxious to get out of doors; and, when the sun shone
warmer and the trees began to shoot forth their tender leaves, they
felt very happy, indeed.

Tiny studied hard, that he might be able to graduate with his class
in the month of June. He knew that to graduate did not mean to be
educated. A thorough knowledge of language and good manners were about
all that Miss Hare was capable of teaching, for the little creatures
of Animal Kingdom did not require as much learning as people of the
great business world. Miss Hare told her pupils many times that
the schoolroom is simply a place to teach the young how to educate
themselves. Tiny, from past experience, had learned that some of the
greatest lessons are taught outside the schoolroom. He often thought of
the owl prophet, the queen bee, and the City of Ants.

One day Miss Hare gave her pupils a lesson in pronouns, or words used
for names. These little words were at first troublesome to Tiny, but
Miss Hare made him use them over and over again, until he understood
them perfectly. In fact, the words _I_, _we_, _she_, _they_, _who_,
and _it_, used as subjects of sentences, and _me_, _us_, _him_, _her_,
_them_, and _whom_, used as the objects of verbs, became almost as
familiar to Tiny as were good Miss Hare’s spectacles.

In order to keep her pupils from forgetting what they had learned, Miss
Hare taught them the following little song, which they sang over and
over again:

PRONOUNS.

As the subject of a verb, we may use _I_;
Thus, “It was _I_,” or “_I_ have caught a fly;”
And we now will name a few
Pronouns used as subjects, too:
“It was _they_,” “It was _you_,” “It was _who_?”

We may ask, “_Who_ saw the bee upon the rose?”
Or, “_It_ was dressed in very modest clothes,”
Or, “_Who_ scared the little bee?”
“Was it any of us three?”
“Was it _we_?” “Was it _she_?” “Was it _he_?”

Pronouns may be used as objects, you may see;
As, “Good health has kindly favored _him_ and _me_.”
Or, “No matter what we do,
Love will make _us_ strong and true;”
“I love _her_,” “I love _him_,” “I love _you_.”

We may ask, “From _whom_ did owls learn to boast?”
Or, “Around _whom_ does the sunshine linger most?”
Or, perchance, may cry in glee,
“May good fortune come to _thee_,
And to _her_, and to _him_, and to _me_!”

While they were singing their evening song, a knock was heard at the
door. Miss Hare, who was very cautious, went to the door and called out:

“Who is it?”

“Hoot, hoot, hoot!” was the response.

“To whom am I speaking?” continued the teacher, somewhat embarrassed.

“To Mr. Owl, who lives several leagues away,” was the polite reply.

“Whom do you wish to see?” asked Miss Hare.

“I wish to visit Miss Hare’s school.”

[Illustration: SHE OPENED THE DOOR AND ADMITTED THE OWL PROPHET.]

She opened the door and admitted the owl prophet, whose feathers were
smoothed down in perfect condition.

“I am very glad to see you,” said the teacher. “It is so seldom you go
abroad in the daytime that I am honored to have you visit us.”

“Between you and me, I have long been wishing for an opportunity to
visit your school,” returned the owl with a bow.

“With whom are you living now?” asked Miss Hare, offering him a perch
by the side of her desk.

“My brother and I are living with the Bat family. I grew tired of my
old castle, because it was at the edge of the great forest, and the
wind was too strong there. One night he and I were blown from our
perches. Mr. and Mrs. Bat took my brother and me to their home. It is
very comfortable there, and we owls like comfort, you know.”

Mr. Owl then looked over the class with his great, yellow eyes. For the
first time, Tiny observed that owls’ eyes do not move in their sockets
as the eyes of most creatures do; but that, to make up for that, nature
has made it possible for the owl to turn his head almost entirely
around to see objects. Miss Hare’s eyes were quite different from those
of Mr. Owl; for she had no eyelids, and Tiny had learned that, when
she slept, a thin white membrane covered her eyes.

“Will you remain awhile with my pupils and me?” asked Miss Hare.

“Thank you; I’ll stay a few minutes, if I don’t get too sleepy,” said
Mr. Owl.

When his eyes fell upon Tiny, the little squirrel made a polite bow;
but the owl prophet stared at him without speaking a word. He evidently
did not remember the squirrel.

“What has become of Chatty Chipmunk?” he finally asked, after Miss Hare
had again sat down at her desk.

“He left school some time ago,” said Miss Hare, in a pained voice.

“Why?”

“Because it was necessary to punish him. He was very saucy. Once he
ridiculed an animal because she had long ears.”

“Whom did he ridicule?”

“Me.”

“I am sorry for that,” said the owl prophet. “Who punished him?”

“I.”

“It served him right, and I am glad he left school,” said the owl,
flapping his wings in approval. “It makes no difference to either you
or me.”

“Certainly, not,” replied Miss Hare. “He is to blame, not I. The public
must blame him, not me.”

“I hope that I never shall bring you another such unworthy pupil,” said
the owl.

“You brought me one of the best pupils I ever had,” said Miss Hare,
pointing towards Tiny. “He is the little creature here on the front
seat.”

Mr. Owl stared at Tiny; and the little animal bowed politely, very much
embarrassed.

[Illustration: MR. OWL STARED AT TINY AND THE LITTLE ANIMAL BOWED
POLITELY.]

“Can it be he!” exclaimed the owl. “How you have grown, Tiny! Are you
really the squirrel whom I found but a few months ago?”

“Yes, I am the squirrel who was lost,” replied Tiny. “You told me how
to get back to Squirreltown, and taught me many things. I am grateful
to you, sir.”

Mr. Owl seemed greatly pleased, but he checked Tiny’s polite thanks by
saying:

“You look much like Chatty Chipmunk.”

“Yes, but he is smaller than I,” replied Tiny with another bow.

For a few minutes Miss Hare and Mr. Owl talked concerning the school.
It was evident to Tiny that Mr. Owl was one of the trustees and that he
was doing a great deal to make the school successful, as all trustees
should do.

At last he turned to the class and said:

“You must all study very hard; for soon the days will get warmer; then
you will have spring fever. I want each of the graduating class to
write a composition to be recited on the last day of school. A prize
will be given to the pupil who writes the best one. He that wins the
prize will be a very happy creature. Him that wins I will give another
prize of even greater value.”

The scholars were made very happy by this announcement of Mr. Owl; and,
while he was preparing to leave, they all rose from their seats and
stood in respectful silence until Miss Hare sat down again. Then they
began to study harder than ever before.

Continue Reading

The class may read

As he flew through the air in the clutches of the owl, Tiny realized
what a small, helpless creature he was. Not a word was spoken till
they stopped at the bank of a creek, which looked to him like a great
river. It was filled, in one place, with branches of willows, beeches,
poplars, and other trees. His heart beat sluggishly, for the scene was
very dismal, indeed.

“Have no fear,” said the owl prophet, not so gruffly as usual. “I have
promised the queen bee to help you. A great many creatures do not like
to go to school, but in after years they always regret it if they have
quit school before completing the course.”

Not a sound could be heard except the babbling of the brook and the
tinkling of a waterfall several rods away. Tiny shuddered, but said
nothing.

“These buildings were built by beavers,” explained the owl, although
it was so dark Tiny could not see them at all. “When they moved away,
Miss Hare started her school here. Only one of the beavers remained. He
is a skilled carpenter and janitor, and he keeps the building in good
repair. You no doubt have heard that he mixes mortar with his forepaws,
and uses his broad tail for a trowel. Young beavers stay at home till
they are three years old; then they build houses of their own. This
school is situated upon a stream of flowing water, as you see, for Miss
Hare thinks that little scholars should have plenty of water as well as
fresh air.”

[Illustration: “THE BUILDINGS WERE BUILT BY BEAVERS,” EXPLAINED THE
OWL.]

“I am glad that I came,” said Tiny, although he looked into the owl’s
yellow eyes with some distrust. He still feared that the wise prophet
might suddenly pounce upon him and eat him.

“Hoot! hoot! hoot! Is everybody asleep?” cried the wise owl. “I can’t
see why creatures want to sleep at night. I never close my eyes then,
for I have plenty of sleep in the daytime. Besides, one should always
be on the lookout at night, for one never knows what may happen.”

Soon there was a splashing in the water, and in a few moments a queer
animal approached them.

“It is the janitor,” explained the owl, somewhat annoyed by the delay.
“I fear he is getting lazy. He surely is not overworked, for all he
does is to look after the buildings, play, sleep, and eat the bark of
trees and the roots of water lilies.”

“I beg pardon for keeping you waiting so long,” said the beaver. “As
soon as I heard you, I rose to find out your wish.”

“I have brought a pupil to Miss Hare,” said the owl. “Please see that
he has a comfortable room for the night. Tell Miss Hare that I will
write her a letter soon.”

The owl prophet flew away, leaving Tiny with the beaver, who moved
sleepily back along the willow boughs to a group of quaint houses made
of mud, stones, and sticks. Their dome-shaped roofs were several feet
above the level of the water.

Suddenly, from the front window of one of the houses, a gleam of light
shot forth and an odd-looking animal thrust out its head.

Tiny, who by this time was accustomed to surprises, looked up to behold
Miss Hare gazing down upon him. She looked very comical in her white
nightcap.

“Well, well, well, what is the matter?” she cried in a high voice.
“My nerves are shaken by the dreadful noises I have heard. What is the
matter, Mr. Beaver?”

“Mr. Owl has brought another pupil,” said the beaver, politely. “I do
not know where to put him.”

[Illustration: “MR. OWL HAS BROUGHT ANOTHER PUPIL,” SAID THE BEAVER,
POLITELY.]

“Let him stay with Reynard Redfox to-night,” replied Miss Hare, looking
searchingly at Tiny. “What a frail little creature you are! You must
belong to the Rat family.”

Tiny did not like Miss Hare’s frank way of speaking, and to be
compared to a rat was not agreeable, but he said politely:

“I am Tiny Redsquirrel of Squirreltown. I desire very much to get an
education.”

“I will let you stay if you will obey the rules,” said Miss Hare,
severely. “I have always heard that red squirrels are very mischievous
animals. You must know that I will not permit any foolishness. Not long
ago Mr. Owl brought a pupil here who was so very saucy and naughty that
I was glad to get rid of him. Although I taught him the lessons of
kindness and charity, he bit Weenie Mouse and hit Winkie Weasel with an
acorn. One day he tore out one of Katie Goose’s feathers and frightened
the poor fowl almost to death. I never before saw such a bad creature.
He looked very much like you. Do you know Chatty Chipmunk?”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied Tiny, heartily ashamed of his youthful companion.
“Is he at this school?”

“No, he forsook us before he had been here three days,” answered Miss
Hare. “I think he must have been drowned. I will give you a trial; but
if you prove unworthy of my school I will never receive any more pupils
brought to me by Mr. Owl. Good-night.”

“Come on,” said the beaver. “I will take you to meet your roommate.”

“Oh, I cannot room with a red fox!” protested Tiny, much alarmed. “He
will eat me during his sleep.”

“You need have no fear,” said the beaver assuringly. “Miss Hare has
taught all her pupils the lesson of self-denial. She puts all sorts
of temptations in their way, but none of them ever yield unless they
are downright bad, as Chatty Chipmunk was. Reynard Redfox is very well
bred. He and Bantam Chicken are the best of friends. Wherever you see
Bantam, you may also see Reynard following after him.”

Tiny did not feel very comfortable when the beaver opened the door of
one of the buildings and told him to enter.

Three or four fireflies, whose duty it was to carry lanterns, flew
about the room, making it very light. Reynard Redfox, who was very
large compared with Tiny, rose and shook out his stiff, long-haired
coat. He gazed hungrily at the little red squirrel as though he were
starving for his companionship.

[Illustration: “MR. REDFOX, THIS IS MR. REDSQUIRREL,” SAID THE BEAVER.]

“Mr. Redfox, this is Mr. Redsquirrel,” said the beaver. “Mr.
Redsquirrel is a new scholar and Miss Hare said he should share your
room to-night.”

“He is most welcome,” said Reynard with a smile that made Tiny tremble
all over. “I always was fond of squirrels. I fancy we shall get along
famously together, as he takes up so little room.”

“I assure you I shall occupy as little space as possible,” replied
Tiny, politely. “I shall sleep here by the door, and, if I annoy you
during the night, all you have to do is to make a noise and I will jump
into the creek.”

“You are quite safe,” assured the fox, settling himself for a nap.
“Since I have been at this school I have learned how cowardly it is to
injure creatures smaller and weaker than myself. I hope you will like
our school.”

“I hope so, too,” said Tiny, faintly. “Of course, it will take time to
get acquainted with all the strange animals I shall meet. I have seen
little of the world.”




“Just be kind and unselfish, and you will make friends,” said the red
fox. “When you see another animal that doesn’t please you, don’t stare
at him as you did at me, but be as agreeable as you can. Remember that
it would be a very monotonous world if all animals should look and act
alike.”

“Miss Hare must be a very nice creature,” ventured Tiny.

“She is very wise and talented,” said the fox with enthusiasm. “Some of
the most aristocratic families in Animal Kingdom are represented in her
school. I have heard that she belongs to the nobility. You know she is
a Belgian Hare, and I believe I heard some one say that her father was
a Welsh Rabbit.”

At that moment a terrible thumping sound was heard.

“What is that!” exclaimed Tiny, unconsciously drawing nearer to Reynard
for protection.

“It is a warning for us to keep quiet,” said the fox. “Billy Beaver,
the janitor, makes that noise with his tail whenever we become
boisterous at night. You know that whenever a beaver wishes to warn
his companions that danger is near, he makes a thumping sound with his
tail. Really, the only clever thing about a beaver is his tail.”

The fireflies settled down to rest, leaving the roommates in darkness.
Although Reynard slept soundly, Tiny did not close his eyes until he
was so exhausted that he could keep them open no longer.

Tiny was glad when the rosy dawn peeped over the eastern hills once
more. The little dark room in which he lay did not look so cheerless in
the bright light of day.

Again there came the sound of knocking that resembled the beating of a
drum.

[Illustration: “THAT’S BILLY BEAVER,” EXPLAINED REYNARD REDFOX,
YAWNING. “HE IS CALLING FOR US TO GET UP.”]

“That is Billy Beaver,” again explained Reynard Redfox, yawning. “He
is calling for us to get up. We have just an hour in which to eat our
breakfasts.”

“Who gets breakfast for us?” asked Tiny, feeling much out of place in
the strange new land.

“Each one gets his own breakfast, of course,” replied Reynard, much
amused. “We all require different kinds of food; and Miss Hare does not
care how or where we get it, if we keep from injuring one another.”

“Katie Goose, who is very cleanly, takes a swim in the creek, and hunts
for seeds along the bank; Sammy Rabbit, a relative of Miss Hare, hunts
for grain; and Winkie Weasel chases insects and catches frogs. Since I
have become civilized, I am particularly fond of grapes, although I am
never so happy as when strawberry season comes round.

“Shifty Woodchuck has less trouble in searching for his breakfast
than any other pupil, for he goes to a field of red clover or wild
buckwheat, and many a time he eats until he is not in good condition to
study. Shifty is a sleepy little animal. He spends the winter in a nest
of dried grasses that he builds in a hole in the ground. When the cold
weather comes, he will get sleepy and will lay aside his studies to
prepare for a long rest. Maybe he will sleep all winter, for no other
animal sleeps so long or so soundly as the woodchuck.”

It took Tiny but a few moments to smooth down his silken fur and to
brush out his bushy tail. With a shrill cry of delight, he sprang from
his new home and ran out into the bracing, frosty air. He sped over the
willow brush that surrounded the village of quaint beaver houses,
and soon found himself in an oak tree where there were plenty of ripe
acorns, moist with dew.

Hardly had he finished his breakfast when again he heard the tail
of the beaver pounding heavily. He hastened back to the cluster of
beaver houses with their round domes. Little animals of all kinds were
bustling about on their way to the various recitation rooms. Billy
Beaver, the janitor, told Tiny that he should go into the auditorium,
which was the largest building of all. There he found Miss Hare,
sitting behind a rough, wooden table. She wore a gray robe and a pair
of large earrings. Her spectacles were so heavy that her eyes seemed
very large; but he at once decided that she must be a kind teacher, as
her voice was soft and gentle.

[Illustration: MISS HARE’S SCHOOL.]

A number of animals sat on wooden benches facing Miss Hare. Reynard
Redfox, who was the largest animal in school, sat in one corner by
himself. His big, dark eyes were as mild as Tiny’s. His coarse, shaggy
fur was neatly brushed.

The room was decorated with flowers and carpeted with moss. An
old-fashioned fireplace with bellows and tongs stood at one end of the
room. Tiny, who had never before seen a fireplace, wondered where the
fire came from. He afterwards learned that Billy Beaver made the fire
by rubbing two sticks together, and that it was never permitted to go
out.

Toadstools, cat-tails, and elderberry bushes were arranged against
the walls, looking quite as artistic as the bay-trees and other
ornaments we see in fashionable hotels. Window curtains, woven of silk
by spiders, and screens and cushions, woven of weeds, reeds, and grass
by birds and mice, added to the comfort of the place. Snail shells and
pretty stones, gathered by the pupils, also lent beauty to the room.

[Illustration: NOT WISHING TO BE OUTDONE BY HIS CLASSMATES, HE WENT
FORWARD AND, WITH A LOW BOW, GAVE MISS HARE AN ACORN.]

Tiny observed that each pupil presented the teacher with flowers and
delicacies, which were laid on her desk. Not wishing to be outdone by
his classmates, he went forward and, with a low bow, gave Miss Hare an
acorn.

“Thank you,” said Miss Hare with a pleased smile, as she bent forward
and gazed admiringly at him through her dark spectacles. “I see that
you have already learned the lesson of generosity. You are the little
animal that Mr. Owl brought here last night, I suppose. I hope you will
be very studious and learn a great deal. I will introduce you to two
pupils in the language class. Mr. Redsquirrel, this pupil is Winkie
Weasel; that pupil just coming in is Sammy Rabbit. Those pupils, who
are sitting in the back row of seats, are well advanced in their work;
those pupils in the front seats are beginners. I will introduce them
later on.”

Tiny bowed to each of the pupils in the room, which included Shifty
Woodchuck, who was very fat and sleepy-looking; Mr. Rabbitt, who had
pink eyes and rosy ears; Mew Mew, who wore a blue bow; Bow Wow, with
curly locks hanging over his eyes; Little Winkie Weasel, who possessed
a long body and very short legs; Miss Field Mouse, who sat upon a
toadstool; and several other pupils.

“I usually teach in rhyme,” said Miss Hare, with an air of
assurance that made Tiny think she was vastly learned. “I teach the
multiplication table in rhyme, and in language I teach the use of
verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech in the same way. There is no
reason why one should not teach in rhyme, for it is natural and not
easily forgotten.”

She then told Tiny to sit by Winkie Weasel and, after opening her book,
she looked over the class to be sure that each pupil was ready to give
his attention.

“The class may read aloud together our lesson for to-day,” she said,
finally.

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