C. K. OGDEN
COLLIE CHASED HIM AWAY
AMONG THE NIGHT PEOPLE
CLARA DILLINGHAM PIERSON
Author of " Among the Meadow People." " Pond People," etc
Illustrated by F. C. GORDON
E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY
31 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET
P. BUTTON & CO.
ttbe fmicherbocher Dres0, "Hew ffiorh
RACHEL W. PIERSON
THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
THE BLACK SPANISH CHICKENS ... I
THE WIGGLERS BECOME MOSQUITOES . . 15
THE NAUGHTY RACCOON CHILDREN . . 30
THE TIMID LITTLE GROUND HOG ... 43
THE YOUNG RACCOONS GO TO A PARTY . 55
THE SKUNKS AND THE OVEN-BIRD'S NEST . 68
THE LAZY CUT-WORMS ..... 82
THE NIGHT-MOTH'S PARTY .... 94
THE LONELY OLD BACHELOR MUSKRAT . IIO
THE GREEDY RED FOX . . . .131
THE UNFORTUNATE FIREFLIES . . . 148
THE KITTENS COME TO THE FOREST . . l6o
THE INQUISITIVE WEASELS . . . .176
THE THRIFTY DEER-MOUSE .... IQO
THE HUMMING-BIRD AND THE HAWK-MOTH . 208
THEY WERE FREE TO GO WHERE THEY CHOSE 6
KNOCKED HIS BROTHER DOWN ... 40
HE STARTED OFF FOR A NIGHT'S RAMBLE . 72
THEY LIVED IN THE FOREST AFTER THAT . 109
THE MARSH SEEMED SO EMPTY AND LONELY 127
COLLIE CHASED HIM AWAY . Frontispiece 138
TWINKLING WITH HUNDREDS OF TINY LIGHTS 157
IN WINTER THEY TURNED WHITE . .178
THE MICE MAKE WINTER THEIR PLAYTIME . 195
THE HUMMING-BIRD AND THE HAWK-MOTH. 2l8
MY DEAR LITTLE FRIENDS : You can
never guess how much I have enjoyed
writing these stories of the night-time,
and I must tell you how I first came to
think of doing so. I once knew a girl
and she was not a very little girl, either,
who was afraid of the dark. And I have
known three boys who were as brave as
could be by daylight, but who would not
run on an errand alone after the lamps
were lighted. They never seemed to
think what a beautiful, restful, growing
time the night is for plants and animals,
and even for themselves. I thought that
if they knew more of what happens be-
tween sunset and sunrise they would love
the night as well as I.
It may be that you will never see
Bats flying freely, or find the Owls
flapping silently among the trees without
touching even a twig. Perhaps while
these things are happening you must be
snugly tucked in bed. But that is no
reason why you should not be told what
they do while you are dreaming. Before
this, you know, I have told you more of
what is done by daylight in meadow, forest,
farmyard, and pond. It would be a very
queer world if we could not know about
things without seeing them for ourselves,
and you may like to think, when you are
going to sleep, that hundreds and thou-
sands of tiny out-of-door people are turn-
ing, and stretching, and going to find their
food. In the morning, when you are
dressing in your sunshiny rooms, they
are cuddling down for a good day's rest.
I think I ought to tell you that I have
not been alone when writing these stories.
I have often been in the meadow and the
forest at night, and have seen and heard
many interesting things, but my good
Cat, Silvertip, has known far more than
I of the night-doings of the out-of-door
people. He has been beside me at my
desk, and although at times he has shut
his eyes and taken Cat-naps while I
wrote, there have been many other times
when he has taken the pen right out of
my hand. He has even tried running the
typewriter with his dainty white paws,
and he has gone over every story I have
written. I do not say that he has written
any himself, but you can see that he has
been very careful what I wrote, and I
have learned a great deal from him that
I never knew before. He is a very good
and clever Cat, and if you like these sto-
ries I am sure it must be partly because
he had a paw in the writing of them.
CLARA D. PIERSON.
April, i5th, 1901.
THE BLACK SPANISH
\ XTHEN the Speckled Hen wanted to
* sit there was no use in trying to
talk her out of the idea, for she was a
very set Hen. So, after the farmer's wife
had worked and worked, and barred her
out of first one nesting-place and then
another, she gave up to the Speckled
Hen and fixed her a fine nest and put
thirteen eggs into it. They were Black
Spanish eggs, but the Speckled Hen did
not know that. The Hens that had laid
them could not bear to sit, so, unless some
other Hen did the work which they left
undone, there would have been no Black
Spanish Chickens. This is always their
way, and people have grown used to it.
2 Among the Night-Time People
Now nobody thinks of asking a Black
Spanish Hen to sit k although it does not
seem right that a Hen should be unwill-
ing to bring up chickens. Supposing no-
body had been willing to bring her up ?
Still, the Black Spanish Hens talk very
reasonably about it. " We will lay plenty
of eggs," they say, " but some of the com-
mon Hens must hatch them." They do
their share of the farmyard work, only
they insist on choosing what that share
When the Speckled Hen came off the
nest with eleven Black Chickens (two of
the eggs did not hatch), she was not alto-
gether happy. " I wanted them to be
speckled," said she, "and not one of the
whole brood is." That was why she grew
so restless and discontented in her coop,
although it was roomy and clean and she
had plenty given her to eat and drink.
She was quite happy only when they
were safely under her wings at night.
The Black Spanish Chickens 3
And such a time as they always had
getting settled !
When the sunbeams came more and
more slantingly through the trees, the
Chickens felt less and less like running
around. Their tiny legs were tired and
they liked to cuddle down on the grass
in the shadow of the coop. Then the
Speckled Hen often clucked to them to
come in and rest, but they liked it bet-
ter in the open air. The Speckled Hen
would also have liked to be out of the
coop, yet the farmer kept her in. He
knew what was best for Hens with little
Chickens, and also what was best for the
tender young lettuce and radishes in his
When the sun was nearly down, the
Speckled Hen clucked her come-to-bed
cluck, which was quite different from her
food cluck or her Hawk cluck, and the
little Black Chickens ran between the bars
and crawled under her feathers. Then the
4 Among the Night-Time People
Speckled Hen began to look fatter and
fatter and fatter for each Chicken who
nestled beneath her. Sometimes one little
fellow would scramble up on to her back
and stand there, while she turned her head
from side to side, looking at him with first
one and then the other of her round yel-
low eyes, and scolding him all the time. It
never did any good to scold, but she said
she had to do something, and with ten
other children under her wings it would
never do for her to stand up and tumble
All the time that they were getting
settled for the night the Chickens were
talking in sleepy little cheeps, and now
and then one of them would poke his
head out between the feathers and tell
the Speckled Hen that somebody was
pushing him. Then she would be more
puzzled than ever and cluck louder still.
Sometimes, too, the Chickens would run
out for another mouthful of cornmeal
The Black Spanish Chickens 5
mush or a few more drops of water.
There was one little fellow who always
wanted something to drink just when he
should have been going to sleep. The
Speckled Hen used to say that it took
longer for a mouthful of water to run
down his throat than it would for her to
drink the whole panful. Of course it did
take quite a while, because he could n't
hurry it by swallowing. He had to drink,
as all birds do, by filling his beak with
water and then holding it up until the last
drop had trickled down into his stomach.
When the whole eleven were at last
safely tucked away for the night, the
Speckled Hen was tired but happy.
"They are good children," she often said
to herself, " if they are Black Spanish.
They might be just as mischievous if they
were speckled ; still, I do wish that those
stylish-looking, white-eared Black Span-
ish Hens would raise their own broods.
I don 't like to be hatch-mother to other
6 Among the Night-Time People
Hens' chickens." Then she would slide
her eyelids over her eyes, and doze off,
and dream that they were all speckled
There came a day when the coop was
raised and they were free to go where
they chose. There was a fence around
the vegetable garden now and netting
around the flower-beds, but there were
other lovely places for scratching up food,
for nipping off tender young green things,
for picking up the fine gravel which every
Chicken needs, and for wallowing in the
dust. Then the Black Spanish Chickens
became acquainted with the other fowls
whom they had never met before. They
were rather afraid of the Shanghai Cock
because he had such a gruff way of speak-
ing, and they liked the Dorkings, yet
the ones they watched and admired and
talked most about were the Black Span-
ish Cock and Hen. There were many
fowls on the farm who did not have fam-
THEY WERE FREE TO GO WHERE THEY CHOSE. Page 6
The Black Spanish Chickens 7
ily names, and the Speckled Hen was one
of these. They had been there longer
than the rest and did not really like hav-
ing new people come to live in the poul-
try-yard. It was trying, too, when the
older Hens had to hatch the eggs laid
by the newcomers.
It is said that this was what made the
Speckled Hen leave the eleven little
Black Spanish Chickens after she had
been out of the coop for a while. They
had been very mischievous and disobedi-
ent one day, and she walked off and
left them to care for themselves while
she started to raise a family of her own
in a stolen. nest under the straw-stack.
When night came, eleven little Black
Spanish Chickens did not know what
to do. They went to look for their old
coop, but that had been given to an-
other Hen and her family. They walked
around looking very small and lonely, and
wished they had minded the Speckled
8 Among the Night-Time People
Hen and made her love them more.
At last they found an old potato-crate
which reminded them of a coop and so
seemed rather homelike. It stood, top
down, upon the ground and they were
too big to crawl through its barred sides,
so they did the best they could and hud-
dled together on top of it. If there had
not been a stone-heap near, they could
not have done that, for their wing-feathers
were not yet large enough to help them
flutter. The bravest Chicken went first,
picking his way from stone to stone until
he reached the highest one, balancing
himself awhile on that, stretching his neck
toward the potato-crate, looking at it as
though he were about to jump, and then
seeming to change his mind and decide
not do so after all.
The Chickens on the ground said he
was afraid, and he said he was n't any
more afraid than they were. Then, after
a while, he did jump, a queer, floppy,
The Black Spanish Chickens 9
squawky kind of jump, but it landed him
where he wanted to be. After that it
was his turn to laugh at the others while
they stood teetering uncertainly on the
top stone. They were very lonely with-
out the Speckled Hen, and each Chicken
wanted to be in the middle of the group
so that he could have others to keep him
warm on all sides.
Somebody laughed at the most mis-
chievous Chicken and told him he could
stand on the potato-crate's back without
being scolded, and he pouted his bill and
said : " Much fun that would be ! All I
cared about standing on the Speckled
Hen's back was to make her scold." It
is very shocking that he should say
such things, but he did say exactly
They slept safely that night, and only
awakened when the Cocks crowed a little
while after midnight. After that they slept
until sunrise, and when the Shanghais
io Among the Night-Time People
and Dorkings came down from the apple-
tree where they had been roosting, the
Black Spanish Chickens stirred and
cheeped, and looked at their feathers to
see how much they had grown during the
night. Then they pushed and squabbled
for their breakfast.
Every night they came back to sleep
on the potato-crate. At last they were
able to spring up into their places with-
out standing on the stone-pile, and that
was a great day. They talked about it
long after they should have been asleep,
and were still chattering when the Shang-
hai Cock spoke : " If you Black Spanish
Chickens don't keep still and let us
sleep," said he, " some Owl or Weasel
will come for you, and I shall be glad to
have him ! "
That scared the Chickens and they
were very quiet. It made the Black
Spanish Hen uneasy though, and she
whispered to the Black Spanish Cock
The Black Spanish Chickens 1 1
and would n't let him sleep until he had
promised to fight anybody who might try
to carry one of the Chickens away from
The next night first one Chicken and
then another kept tumbling off the po-
tato-crate. They lost their patience and
said such things as these to each other :
" You pushed me ! You know you
did ! "
" Well, he pushed me ! "
" Did n't either ! "
" Did too ! "
" Well, I could n't help it if I did ! "
The Shanghai Cock became exceed-
ingly cross because they made so much
noise, and even the Black Spanish Cock
lost his patience. " You may be my
children," said he, " but you do not take
your manners from me. Is there no
other place on this farm where you can
sleep excepting that old crate ? "
" We want to sleep here," answered
12 Among the Night-Time People
the Chicken on the ground. " There is
plenty of room if those fellows would n't
push." Then he flew up and clung and
pushed until some other Chicken tum-
" Well ! " said the Black Spanish Cock.
And he would have said much more if
the Black Spanish Hen had not fluttered
down from the apple-tree to see what
was the matter. When he saw the ex-
pression of her eyes he decided to go
back to his perch.
" There is not room for you all," said
the Black Spanish Hen. " One must
sleep somewhere else."
" There is room," said the Chickens,
contradicting her. " We have always
roosted on here."
" There is not room," said the Black
Spanish Hen once more. " How do
your feathers grow ? "
" Finely," said they.
" And your feet ? "
The Black Spanish Chickens 13
" They are getting very big," was the
" Do you think the Speckled Hen
could cover you all with her wings if she
were to try it now ? "
The Chickens looked at each other
and laughed. They thought it would
take three Speckled Hens to cover them.
" But she used to," said the Black
Spanish Hen. She did not say anything
more. She just looked at the potato-
crate and at them and at the potato-crate
again. Then she walked off.
After a while one of the Chickens said :
" I guess perhaps there is n't room for us
The mischievous one said : " If you
little Chickens want to roost there you
may. I am too large for that sort of
thing." Then he walked up the slanting
board to the apple-tree branch and
perched there beside the young Shanghais.
You should have seen how beautifully
14 Among the Night-Time People
he did it. His toes hooked themselves
around the branch as though he had
always perched there, and he tucked his
head under his wing with quite an air.
Before long his brothers and sisters came
also, and heard him saying to one of his
new neighbors, " Oh, yes, I much prefer
apple-trees, but when I was a Chicken I
used to sleep on a potato-crate."
"Just listen to him!" whispered the
Black Spanish Cock. " And he has n't a
tail-feather worth mentioning ! "
" Never mind," answered the Black
Spanish Hen. " Let them play that they
are grown up if they want to. They will
be soon enough." She sighed as she
put her head under her wing and settled
down for the night. It made her feel old
to see her children roosting in a tree.
THE WIGGLERS BECOME MOS-
IT was a bright moonlight night when the
* oldest Wigglers in the rain-barrel made
up their mind to leave the water. They
had always been restless and discontented
children, but it was not altogether their
fault. How could one expect any insect
with such a name to float quietly ? When
the Mosquito Mothers laid their long and
slender eggs in the rain-barrel, they had
fastened them together in boat-shaped
masses, and there they had floated until
the Wigglers were strong enough to
break through the lower ends of the eggs
into the water. It had been only a few
days before they were ready to do this.
Then there had been a few more days
1 6 Among the Night-Time People
and nights when the tiny Wigglers hung
head downward in the water, and all one
could see by looking across the barrel
was the tips of their breathing tubes.
Sometimes, if they were frightened, a
young Wiggler would forget and get head
uppermost for a minute, but he was al-
ways ashamed to have this happen, and
made all sorts of excuses for himself when
it did. Well-bred little Wigglers tried to
always have their heads down, and Mos-
quitoes who stopped to visit with them
and give good advice told them such
things as these : " The Wiggler who
keeps his head up may never have wings,"
and, " Up with your tails and down with
your eyes, if you would be mannerly,
healthy, and wise."
When they were very young they kept
their heads way down and breathed
through a tube that ran out near the tail-
end of their bodies. This tube had a
cluster of tiny wing-like things on the very
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 17
tip, which kept it floating on the top of
the water. They had no work to do, so
they just ate food which they found in
the water, and wiggled, and played tag,
and whenever they were at all frightened
they dived to the bottom and stayed
there until they were out of breath. That
was never very long.
There were many things to frighten
them. Sometimes a stray Horse stopped
by the barrel to drink, sometimes a Robin
perched on the edge for a few mouthfuls
of water, and once in a while a Dragon-
Fly came over to visit from the neighbor-
ing pond. It was not always the biggest
visitor who scared them the worst. The
Horses tried not to touch the Wigglers,
while a Robin was only too glad if he
happened to get one into his bill with
the water. The Dragon-Flies were the
worst, for they were the hungriest, and
they were so much smaller that sometimes
the Wigglers did n't see them coming.
1 8 Among the Night-Time People
Sometimes, too, when they thought that
a Dragon-Fly was going the other way,
some of them stayed near the top of the
water, only to find when it was too late
that a Dragon-Fly can go backward or
sidewise without turning around.
When they were a few days old the
Wigglers began to change their skins.
This they did by wiggling out of their
old ones and wearing the new ones which
had been growing underneath. This
made them feel exceedingly important,
and some of them became disgracefully
vain. One Wiggler would not dive until
he was sure a certain Robin had seen his
new suit. It was because of that vanity
he never lived to be a Mosquito.
After they had changed their skins a
few times, they had two breathing-tubes
apiece instead of one, and these two grew
out near their heads. And their heads
were much larger. At the tail-end of
his body each Wiggler now had two leaf-
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 19
like things with which he swam through
the water. Because they used different
breathing-tubes, those Wigglers who had
moulted or cast their skins several times
now floated in the water with their heads
just below the surface and their tails
down. When a Wiggler is old enough
for this, he is called a Pupa, or half-
There are often young Mosquito chil-
dren of all ages in the same barrel eggs,
Wigglers, and Pupae all together. There
is plenty of room and plenty of food, but
because they have no work to do there is
much time for quarrelling and talking
about each other.
This year the Oldest Brother had put
on so many airs that nobody liked it at
all, and several of the Wigglers had been
heard to say that they could n't bear the
sight of him. He had such a way of say-
ing, " When I was a young Wiggler and
had to keep my head down," or repeat-
2O Among the Night-Time People
ing, " Up with your tails and down with
your eyes, if you would be mannerly,
healthy, and wise." One little Wiggler
crossed his feelers at him, and they say
that it is just as bad to do that as to make
faces. Besides, it is so much easier if
you have the feelers to cross.
Now the Oldest Brother and those of
his brothers and sisters who had hatched
from the same egg-mass were talking of
leaving the rain-barrel forever. It was a
bright moonlight night and they longed to
get their wings uncovered and dried, for
then they would be full-grown Mosquitoes,
resting most of the day and having glorious
times at night.
The Oldest Brother was jerking him-
self through the water as fast as he could,
giving his jointed body sudden bends,
first this way and then that, and when he
met any one nearly his own age he said,
"Come with me and cast your skin. It
is a fine evening for moulting."
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 21
Sometimes they answered, " All right,"
and jerked or wiggled or swam along
with him, and sometimes a Pupa would
answer, " I 'm afraid I 'm not old enough
to slip out of my skin easily."
Then the Oldest Brother would reply,
" Don't stop for that. You '11 be older by
the time we begin." That was true, of
course, and all members of Mosquito
families grow old very fast. So it hap-
pened that when the moon peeped over
the farmhouse, showing her bright face
between the two chimneys, twenty-three
Pupse were floating close to each other
and making ready to change their skins
for the last time.
It was very exciting. All the young
Wigglers hung around to see what was
going on, and pushed each other aside to
get the best places. The Oldest Brother
was much afraid that somebody else
would begin to moult before he was ready,
and all the brothers were telling their
22 Among the Night-Time People
sisters to be careful to split their skins in
the right place down the back, and the sis-
ters were telling them that they knew just
as much about moulting as their brothers
did. Every little while the Oldest Brother
would say, " Now wait ! Don't one of you
fellows split his old skin until I say so."
Then two or three of his brothers
would become impatient, because their
outer skins were growing tighter every
minute, and would say, " Why not ? " and
would grumble because they had to wait.
The truth was that the Oldest Brother
could not get his skin to crack, although
he jerked and wiggled and took very
deep breaths. And he did n't want any
one else to get ahead of him. At last it
did begin to open, and he had just told
the others to commence moulting, when a
Mosquito Mother stopped to lay a few
eggs in the barrel.
" Dear me ! " said she. " You are not
going to moult to-night, are you ? "
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 23
" Yes, we are," answered the Oldest
Brother, giving a wiggle that split his
skin a little farther. " We '11 be biting
people before morning."
"You?" said the Mosquito Mother,
with a queer little smile. " I would n't
count on doing that. But you young
people may get into trouble if you moult
now, for it looks like rain."
She waved her feelers upward as she
spoke, and they noticed that heavy black
clouds were piling up in the sky. Even
as they looked the moon was hidden and
the wind began to stir the branches of the
trees. " It will rain," she said, " and then
the water will run off the roof into this
barrel, and if you have just moulted and
cannot fly, you will be drowned."
" Pooh ! " answered the Oldest Brother.
"Guess we can take care of ourselves.
I 'm not afraid of a little water." Then
he tried to crawl out of his old skin.
The Mosquito Mother stayed until she
24 Among the Night-Time People
had laid all the eggs she wanted to, and
then flew away. Not one of the Pupse
had been willing to listen to her, although
some of the sisters might have done so if
their brothers had not made fun of
At last, twenty-three soft and tired
young Mosquitoes stood on their cast-off
pupa-skins, waiting for their wings to
harden. It is never easy work to crawl
out of one's skin, and the last moulting is
the hardest of all. It was then, when
they could do nothing but wait, that these
young Mosquitoes began to feel afraid.
The night was now dark and windy, and
sometimes a sudden gust blew their float-
ing pupa-skins toward one side of the
barrel. They had to cling tightly to
them, for they suddenly remembered that
if they fell into the water they might
drown. The oldest one found himself
wishing to be a Wiggler again. "Wig-
glers are never drowned," thought he.
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 25
"Who are you going to bite first?"
asked one of his brothers.
He answered very crossly : " I don't
know and I don't care. I 'm not hungry.
Can't you think of anything but eating ? "
" Why, what else is there to think
about ? " cried all the floating Mosquitoes.
" Well, there is flying," said he.
" Humph ! I don't see what use flying
would be except to carry us to our food,"
said one Mosquito Sister. She afterward
found out that it was good for other
After that they did n't try to talk with
their Oldest Brother. They talked with
each other and tried their legs, and
wished it were light enough for them to
see their wings. Mosquitoes have such in-
teresting wings, you know, thin and gauzy,
and with delicate fringes around the edges
and along the line of each vein. The
sisters, too, were proud of the pockets
under their wings, and were in a hurry to
26 Among the Night-Time People
have their wings harden, so that they
could flutter them and hear the beautiful
singing sound made by the air striking
these pockets. They knew that their
brothers could never sing, and they were
glad to think that they were ahead of
them for once. It was not really their
fault that they felt so, for the brothers
had often put on airs and laughed at
Then came a wonderful flash of light-
ning and a long roll of thunder, and the
trees tossed their beautiful branches to
and fro, while big rain-drops pattered
down on to the roof overhead and spat-
tered and bounded and rolled toward
the edge under which the rain-barrel
" Fly ! " cried the Oldest Brother, rais-
ing his wings as well as he could.
" We can't. Where to ? " cried the
" Fly any way, anywhere ! " screamed
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 27
the Oldest Brother, and in some wonder-
ful way the whole twenty-three managed
to flutter and crawl and sprawl up the
side of the building, where the rain-drops
fell past but did not touch them. There
they found older Mosquitoes waiting for
the shower to stop. Even the Oldest
Brother was so scared that he shook, and
when he saw that same Mosquito Mother
who had told him to put off changing
his skin, he got behind two other young
Mosquitoes and kept very still. Perhaps
she saw him, for it was lighter then than
it had been. She did not seem to see
him, but he heard her talking to her
friends. " I told him," she said, " that he
might better put off moulting, but he an-
swered that he could take care of himself,
and that he would be out biting people
" Did he say that ? " cried the other old
" He did," she replied.
28 Among the Night-Time People
Then they all laughed and laughed and
laughed again, and the young Mosquito
found out why. It was because Mos-
quito brothers have to eat honey, and
only the sisters may bite people and suck
their blood. He had thought so often
how he would sing around somebody until
he found the nicest, juiciest spot, and then
settle lightly down and bite and suck until
his slender little body was fat and round
and red with its stomachful of blood.
And that could never be ! He could never
sing, and he would have to sit around
with his stomach full of honey and see his
eleven sisters gorged with blood and hear
them singing sweetly as they flew. If
Mosquito Fathers had ever come to the
barrel he might have found this out, but
they never did. He sneaked off by him-
self until he met an early bird and then
well, you know birds must eat something,
and the Mosquito was right there. Of
course, after that, his brothers and sisters
The Wigglers Become Mosquitoes 29
had a chance to do as they wanted to, and
the eleven sisters bit thirteen people the
very next night and had the loveliest kind
of Mosquito time.
THE NAUGHTY RACCOON CHIL-
was hardly a night of his life
when the Little Brother of the Rac-
coon family was not reproved by his
mother for teasing. Mrs. Raccoon said she
did n't know what she had done to deserve
such a child. When she spoke like this
to her neighbors they sighed and said, " It
must be trying, but he may outgrow it."
The Oldest Wolverene, though, told
the Skunk that his cousin, Mrs. Raccoon's
husband, had been just as bad as that
when he was young. " I do not want you
to say that I said so," he whispered, " be-
cause he might hear of it and be angry,
but it is true." The Oldest Wolverene
did n't say whether Mr. Raccoon outgrew
The Raccoon Children 31
this bad habit, yet it would seem that his
wife had never noticed it.
You must not think that Mr. Raccoon
was dead. Oh, no, indeed ! Every night
he was prowling through the forest on
tiptoe looking for food. But Mrs. Rac-
coon was a very devoted mother and gave
so much time and attention to her chil-
dren that she was not good company for
her husband. He did not care much for
home life, and the children annoyed him
exceedingly, so he went away and found
a hole in another tree which he fitted up
for himself. There he slept through the
day and until the setting of the sun told
him that it .was time for his breakfast.
Raccoons like company, and he often had
friends in to sleep with him. Sometimes
these friends were Raccoons like himself
with wives and children, and then they
would talk about their families and tell
how they thought their wives were spoil-
ing the children.
32 Among the Night-Time People
The four little Raccoons, who lived with
their mother in the dead branch of the
big oak-tree, had been born in April,
when the forest was sweet with the scent
of wild violets and every one was happy.
Beautiful pink and white trilliums raised
their three-cornered flowers above their
threefold leaves and nodded with every
passing breeze. Yellow adder's-tongue
was there, with cranesbill geraniums,
squirrel-corn, and spring beauties, besides
hepaticas and windflowers and the dainty
bishop's-cap. The young Raccoons did
not see these things, for their eyes would
not work well by daylight, and when,
after dark, their mother let them put
their heads out of the hole and look
around, they were too far from the ground
to see the flowers sleeping in the dusk
below. They could only sniff, sniff, sniff
with their sharp little turned-up noses,
and wonder what flowers look like, any
The Raccoon Children 33
When their mother was with them for a
time, and that was while they were drink-
ing the warm milk that she always carried
for them, she told them stories of the
flowers and trees. She had begun by
telling them animal stories, but she found
that it made them cowardly. "Just sup-
posing," one young Raccoon had said, " a
great big, dreadful Snail should come up
this tree and eat us all ! "
The mother told them that Snails were
small and slow and weak, and never
climbed trees or ate people, but it did no
good, and her children were always afraid
of Snails until they had seen one for
themselves. . After that she told them
stories of the flowers, and when they
asked if the flowers would ever come to
see them, she said, " No, indeed ! You
will never see them until you can climb
down the tree and walk among them, for
they grow with their feet in the ground
and never go anywhere." There were
34 Among the Night-Time People
many stories which they wanted over and
over again, but the one they liked best of
all was that about the wicked, wicked
Poison Ivy and the gentle Spotted Touch-
me-not who grew near him and undid all
the trouble that the Ivy made.
When the night came for the young
Raccoons to climb down from their tree
and learn to hunt, all the early spring
blossoms were gone, and only the ripening
seed-vessels showed where nodding flow-
ers had been. You would have expected
the Raccoon children to be disappointed,
yet there were so many other things to see
and learn about that it was not until three
nights later that they thought much of
the flowers. They might not have done
so then if Little Sister had not lost her
hold upon the oak-tree bark and fallen
with her forepaws on a scarlet jack-in-the-
They had to learn to climb quickly and
strongly up all sorts of trees. Perhaps
The Raccoon Children 35
Mrs. Raccoon had chosen an oak for her
nest because that was rough and easily
climbed. There were many good places
for Raccoons to grip with their twenty
strong claws apiece. After they had
learned oaks they took maples, ironwoods,
and beeches each a harder lesson than
the one before.
"When you climb a tree," said their
mother, "always look over the trunk and
the largest branches for hiding-places,
whether you want to use one then or
" Why ? " asked three of the four chil-
dren. Big Brother, who was rather vain,
was looking at the five beautiful black
rings and the beautiful black tip of his
wonderful bushy tail. Between the black
rings were whitish ones, and he thought
such things much more interesting than
holes in trees.
" Because," said the Mother Raccoon,
" you may be far from home some night
36 Among the Night-Time People
and want a safe place to sleep in all day.
Or if a man and his Dogs are chasing
you, you must climb into the first hiding-
place you can. We Raccoons are too fat
and slow to run away from them, and the
rings on our tails and the black patches on
our broad faces might show from the
ground. If the hole is a small one, make it
cover your head and your tail anyway, and
as much of your brown body fur as you
Mother Raccoon looked sternly at Big
Brother because he had not been listening,
and he gave a slight jump and asked,
" W-what did you say ? "
" What did I say ? " she replied. " You
should have paid better attention."
"Yes'm," said Big Brother, who was
now very meek.
" I shall not repeat it," said his mother,
" but I will tell you not to grow vain of
your fur. It is very handsome, and so is
that of your sisters and your brother. So
The Raccoon Children 37
is mine, and so was your father's the last
time I saw him. Yet nearly all the
trouble that Raccoons have is on account
of their fur. Never try to show it
The time came for the young Rac-
coons to stop drinking milk from their
mother's body, and when they tried to do
so she only walked away from them.
" I cannot work so hard to care for
you," said she. " I am so tired and thin,
now, that my skin is loose, and you must
find your own food. You are getting
forty fine teeth apiece, and I never saw
a better lot of claws on any Raccoon
family, if I do say it."
They used to go hunting together, for it
is the custom for Raccoons to go in parties
of from five to eight, hunt all night, and
then hide somewhere until the next night.
They did not always come home at sun-
rise, and it made a pleasant change to
sleep in different trees. One day they
38 Among the Night-Time People
all cuddled down in the hollow of an old
maple, just below where the branches
come out. Mother Raccoon had climbed
the tree first and was curled away in the
very bottom of the hole. The four
children were not tired and had n't wanted
to go to bed at all. Little Sister had
made a dreadful face when her mother
called her up the tree, and if it had not
already been growing light, Mrs. Rac-
coon would probably have seen it and
Big Sister curled down beside her
mother and Little Sister was rather above
them and beside mischievous Little
Brother. Last of all came Big Brother,
who had stopped to scratch his ear with
his hind foot. He was very proud of his
little round ears, and often scratched
them in this way to make sure that the
fur lay straight on them. He was so
slow in reaching the hole that before he
got into it a Robin had begun his morn-
The Raccoon Children 39
ing song of " Cheerily, cheerily, cheer-
up ! " and a Chipmunk perched on a
stump to make his morning toilet.
He got all settled, and Little Brother
was half asleep beside him, when he
remembered his tail and sat up to have
one more look at it. Little Brother
growled sleepily and told him to " let his
old tail alone and come to bed, as long
as they could n't hunt any more." But
Big Brother thought he saw a sand-burr
on his tail, and wanted to pull it out
before it hurt the fur. Then he began
to look at the bare, tough pads on his
feet, and to notice how finely he could
spread his toes. Those of his front feet
he could spread especially wide. He
balanced himself on the edge of the hole
and held them spread out before him.
It was still dark enough for him to see
well. " Come here, Little Brother," he
cried. "Wake up, and see how big my
feet are getting."
4O Among the Night-Time People
Mother Raccoon growled at them to
be good children and go to sleep, but
her voice sounded dreamy and far away
because she had to talk through part of
her own fur and most of her daughters'.
Little Brother lost his patience, un-
rolled himself with a spring, jumped to
the opening, and knocked his brother
down. It was dreadful. Of course Big
Brother was not much hurt, for he was
very fat and his fur was both long and
thick, but he turned over and over on his
way to the ground before he alighted on
his feet. He turned so fast and Little
Brother's eyes hurt him so that it looked
as though Big Brother had about three
heads, three tails, and twelve feet. He
called out as he fell, and that awakened
the sisters, who began to cry, and Mother
Raccoon, who was so scared that she
began to scold.
Such a time ! Mother Raccoon found
out what had happened, and then she said
KNOCKED HIS BROTHER DOWN. Page ^o
The Raccoon Children 41
to Little Brother, " Did you mean to push
him down ? "
" No, ma'am," answered Little Brother,
hanging his head. " Anyhow I did n't
mean to after I saw him going. Perhaps
I did mean to before that." You see he
was a truthful Raccoon even when he was
most naughty, and there is always hope
for a Raccoon who will tell the truth, no
matter how hard it is to do so.
Big Brother climbed slowly up the trunk
of the oak-tree, while more and more of the
daytime people came to look at him. He
could not see well now, and so was very
awkward. When he reached the hole he was
hot and cross, and complained to his moth-
er. " Make him quit teasing me," he said,
pointing one forepaw at Little Brother.
" I will," answered Mother Raccoon ;
" but you were just as much to blame as
he, for if you had cuddled down quietly
when I told you to, you would have been
dreaming long ago. Now you must
42 Among the Night-Time People
sleep where I was, at the lower end of
the hole. Little Brother must go next,
and I do not want to hear one word from
either of you. Sisters next, and I will
sleep by the opening. You children must
remember that it is no time for talking to
each other, or looking at claws, or get-
ting sand-burrs out of your tails after you
have been sent to bed. Go to sleep, and
don't awaken until the sun has gone down
and you are ready to be my good little
Her children were asleep long before
she was, and she talked softly to herself
after they were dreaming. "They do
not mean to be naughty," she said. " Yet
it makes my fur stand on end to think
what might have happened. ... I
ought not to have curled up for the day
until they had done so. ... Mothers
should always be at the top of the heap."
Then she fixed herself for a long, restful
THE TIMID LITTLE GROUND
IT was not often that the little Ground
* Hogs were left alone in the daytime.
Before they were born their mother had
been heard to say that she had her opin-
ion of any Ground Hog who would be
seen out after sunrise. Mr. Ground Hog
felt in the same way, and said if he ever
got to running around by daylight, like
some of his relatives, people might call
him a Woodchuck. He thought that
any one who ate twigs, beets, turnips,
young tree-bark, and other green things
from sunset to sunrise ought to be able to
get along until the next sunset without a
lunch. He said that any Ground Hog
who wanted more was a Pig.
44 Among the Night-Time People
After the baby Ground Hogs were
born, matters were different. They could
not go out at night to feed for them-
selves, and their stomachs were so tiny
and held so little at a time that they had
to be filled very often. Mr. Ground Hog
was never at home now, and the care all
fell upon his hard-working wife.
" You know, my dear," he had said,
" that I should only be in the way if I
were to stay at home, for I am not clever
and patient with children as you are.
No, I think I will go away and see to
some matters which I have rather neg-
lected of late. When the children are
grown up and you have more time to
give me, I will come back to you."
Then Mr. Ground Hog trotted away to
join a party of his friends who had just
told their wives something of the same
sort, and they all went together to the
farmer's turnip patch and had a delightful
time until morning. Mrs. Ground Hog
The Timid Little Ground Hog 45
looked after him as he trotted away and
wished that she could go too. He looked
so handsome with the moonlight shining
down on his long, thick, reddish fur, and
showing the black streak on his back
where the fur was tipped with gray. He
was fat and shaky, with a baggy skin, and
when he stopped to sit up on his haunches
and wave his paws at her and comb his
face-fur, she thought him just as hand-
some as he had been in the early spring
when they first met. That had been in a
parsnip patch where there was good feed-
ing until the farmer found that the Ground
Hogs were there, and dug the rest of his
vegetables and stored them in his cellar.
Such midnight meals as they had eaten
there together ! Mrs. Ground Hog said
she never saw a parsnip afterward without
thinking of their courtship.
She had been as handsome as he, and
there were many other Ground Hogs who
admired her. But now she was thin and
46 Among the Night-Time People
did not have many chances to comb her
fur with her fore paws. She could not go
with him to the turnip patch because she
did not wish to go so far from her babies.
Thinking of that reminded her to go into
her sidehill burrow and see what they
were doing. Then she lay down and let
them draw the warm milk from her body.
While they were feeding she felt of them,
and thought how fast they were growing.
It would be only a short time before they
could trot around the fields by themselves
and whistle shrilly as they dodged down
into their own burrows. " Ah ! " said she,
" this is better than turnip patches or
When they had finished, their mother
left them and went out to feed. She had
always been a hearty eater, but now she
had to eat enough more to make the milk
for her babies. She often thought that if
Ground Hog babies could eat anything
else their father might have learned to
The Timid Little Ground Hog 47
help feed them. She thought of this
especially when she saw the Great Horned
Owl carrying food home to his son and
daughter. " It is what comes of being
four-legged," said she, " and I would n't
be an Owl for anything, so I won't grum-
ble." After this she was more cheerful.
When she left the burrow she always
said : " I am going out to feed, and I shall
not be gone very long. Don't be afraid,
for you have a good burrow, and it is nice
and dark outside."
The children would cry : " And you
will surely come home before sunrise ? "
" Surely," she always answered as she
trotted away. Then the children would
rest happily in their burrow-nest.
But now Mrs. Ground Hog was hungry,
and it was broad daylight. She knew
that it was because her children grew
bigger every day and had to have more
and more milk. This meant that she
must eat more, or else when they wanted
48 Among the Night-Time People
milk there would not be enough ready.
She knew that she must begin to feed by
day as well as by night, and she was glad
that she could see fairly well if the sun
were not shining into her eyes.
" Children," said she to them, just as
they finished their morning lunch, " I am
very hungry and I am going out to feed.
You will be quite safe here and I want
you to be good while I am gone."
The young Ground Hogs began to cry
and clutch at her fur with their weak little
paws. " Oh, don't go," they said. " Please
don't go. We don't want to stay alone
in the daytime. We 're afraid."
" I must," said she, " or I shall have no
milk for you. And then, you would n't
have me lie here all day too hungry to
sleep, would you ? "
" N-no," said they ; " but you '11 come
back soon, won't you ? "
" Yes," said she, and she shook off their
clinging paws and poked back the daugh-
The Timid Little Ground Hog 49
ter who caught on again, and trotted away
as fast as she could. It was the first time
that she had been out by daylight, and
everything looked queer. The colors
looked too bright, and there seemed to
be more noise than usual, and she met
several people whom she had never seen
before. She stopped for a minute to look
at an Ovenbird's nest. The mother-bird
was inside, sitting there very still and
brave, although she was much frightened.
" Good-morning," said Mrs. Ground
Hog. " I was just admiring your nest.
I have never seen it by daylight."
" Good-morning," answered the Oven-
bird. " I 'm glad you fancy my nest, but
I hope you don't like to eat meat."
"Meat?" answered Mrs. Ground Hog.
" I never touch it." And she smiled and
showed all her teeth.
" Oh," exclaimed the Ovenbird, " I see
you don't, for you have gnawing-teeth,
rather like those of the Rabbits." Then
50 Among the Night-Time People
she hopped out of the nest and let Mrs.
Ground Hog peep in to see how the
inside was finished and also to see the four
speckled eggs which lay there.
" It is a lovely nest," said Mrs. Ground
Hog, "and those eggs are beauties. But
I promised the children that I would
hurry. Good-by." She trotted happily
away, while Mrs. Ovenbird settled her-
self upon her eggs again and thought
what a pleasant call she had had and
what an excellent and intelligent person
Mrs. Ground Hog was !
All this time the children at home were
talking together about themselves and
what their mother had told them. Once
there was a long pause which lasted until
the brother said : " I 'm not afraid, are
" Of course not," said they.
" Because there is n't anything to be
afraid of," said he.
" Not anything," said they.
The Timid Little Ground Hog 51
" And I would n't be afraid anyway,"
" Neither would we," answered the sis-
There was another long pause.
" She said we 'd be just as safe as if it
were dark," said the big sister.
" Of course," said the brother.
" And she said she 'd come back as
soon as she could," said the second
" I wish she 'd come now," said the
There was another long pause.
" You don't suppose anybody would
come here just to scare us, do you?"
asked the second sister.
" See here," said the brother, " I wish
you 'd quit saying things to make a fellow
" You don't mean that you are fright-
ened ! " exclaimed the three sisters to-
gether. And the smallest one added :
52 Among the Night-Time People
" Why, you are, too ! I can feel you
"Well, I don't care," said the brother.
" I 'm not afraid of people, anyhow. If it
were only dark I would n't mind."
" Oh, are you afraid of the daylight
too?" cried each of the sisters. " So am
I ! " Then they all trembled together.
" I tell you what let 's do," said the
smallest sister. " Let 's all stop looking
toward the light end of the burrow, and
cuddle up together and cover our eyes
and make believe it 's night." They did
this and felt better. They even played
that they heard the few noises of the
night-time. A Crow cawed outside, and
the brother said, " Did you hear that
Owl ? That was the Great Horned Owl,
the one who had to hatch the eggs, you
When another Crow cawed, the small-
est sister said, " Was that his cousin, the
The Timid Little Ground Hog 53
" Yes," answered the big sister. " He
is the one who used to bring things for
the Great Horned Owl to eat."
So they amused themselves and each
other, and really got along very well ex-
cept when, once in a while, they opened
their eyes a little crack to see if it were
not getting really dark. Then they had
to begin all over again. At last their
mother came, and what a comfort it was !
How glad she was to be back, and how
much she had to tell them ! All about
the Ovenbird's nest and the four eggs in
it, and how the Ovenbirds spent their
nights in sleeping and their days in work
" I wonder if the little Ovenbirds will
be scared when they have to stay alone
in the daytime ? " said the smallest sister.
" They would be more scared if they
had to stay alone at night," said their
" At night ! " exclaimed all the young
54 Among the Night-Time People
Ground Hogs. " Why, it is dark then !"
" They might be afraid of the darkness,"
said their mother. Then the children
laughed and thought she was making fun
of them. They drank some milk and
went to sleep like good little Ground
Hogs, but even after he was half asleep
the big brother laughed out loud at the
thought of the Ovenbird babies being
scared at night. He could understand
any one's being afraid of daylight, but
THE YOUNG RACCOONS GO
TO A PARTY
IT was not very many nights after Big
* Brother had tumbled from the maple-
tree, when he and the other children were
invited to a Raccoon party down by the
pond. The water was low, and in the
small pools by the shore there were
many fresh-water clams and small fishes,
such as Raccoons like best of all. A
family of six young Raccoons who lived
very near the pond had found them just
before sunrise, when they had to climb off
to bed. They knew there was much
more food there than they could eat
alone, so their mother had let them invite
their four friends who lived in the hollow
of the oak-tree. The party was to begin
56 Among the Night-Time People
the next evening at moonrise, and the
four children who lived in the oak-tree
got their invitation just as they were go-
ing to sleep for the day. They were
very much excited over it, for they had
never been to a party.
" I wish we could go now," said Big
"Yes, lots of fun it would be now!"
answered Little Brother. " The sun is
almost up, and there are no clouds in the
sky. We could n't see a thing unless we
shaded our eyes with our fore paws, and
if we had to use our fore paws in that
way we could n't eat."
"You do eat at parties, don't you?"
asked Little Sister, who had not quite
understood what was said.
" Of course," shouted her brothers.
" That is what parties are for."
" I thought maybe you talked some,"
said Big Sister.
" I suppose you do have to, some," said
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 57
Big Brother, " but I know you eat. I Ve
heard people tell about parties lots of
times, and they always began by telling
what they ate. That 's what makes it a
" Oh, I wish it were night and time to
go," sighed Little Brother."
" I don't," said Little Sister. " I would
n't have any fun if I were to go now.
I 'd rather wait until my stomach is
" There ! " said their mother. " You
children have talked long enough. Now
curl down and go to sleep. The birds
are already singing their morning songs,
and the Owls and Bats were dreaming
long ago. It will make night-time come
much sooner if you do not stay awake."
" We 're not a bit sleepy," cried all the
young Raccoons together.
" That makes no difference at all," said
their mother, and she spoke quite sternly.
" Cuddle down for the day now, cover
58 Among the Night-Time People
your eyes, and stop talking. I do not
say you must sleep, but you must stop
They knew that when she spoke in that
way and said " must," there was nothing
to do but to mind. So they cuddled
down, and every one of them was asleep
before you could drop an acorn. Mother
Raccoon had known it would be so.
When they awakened, early the next
night, each young Raccoon had to make
himself look as neat as possible. There
were long fur to be combed, faces and
paws to be washed, and twenty-three
burrs to be taken out of Little Brother's
tail. He began to take them out himself,
but his mother found that whenever he
got one loose he stuck it onto one of the
other children, so she scolded him and
made him sit on a branch by himself while
she worked at the burrs. Sometimes she
couldn 't help pulling the fur, and then
he tried to wriggle away.
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 59
"You Ve got enough out," he cried.
" Let the rest go."
" You should have thought sooner how
it would hurt," she said. " You have
been told again and again to keep away
from the burrs, and you are just as care-
less as you were the first night you left
the tree." Then she took out another
burr and dropped it to the ground.
" Ouch ! " said he. " Let me go ! "
" Not until I am done," she answered.
" No child of mine shall ever go to a party
looking as you do."
After that Little Brother tried to hold
still, and he had time to think how glad
he was that he had n 't stuck any more
burrs on the other children. If he had
gotten more onto them, he would have
had to wait while they were pulled off
again, and then they might have been
late for the party. If he had been very
good, he would have been glad they
did n't have to be hurt as he was. But he
60 Among the Night-Time People
was not very good, and he never thought
When he was ready at last, Mother
Raccoon made her four children sit in a
row while she talked to them. " Re-
member to walk on your toes," said she,
" although you may stand flat-footed if
you wish. Don't act greedy if you can
help it. Go into the water as much as
you choose, but don't try to dive, even if
they dare you to. Raccoons can never
learn to dive, no matter how well they
swim. And be sure to wash your food
before you eat it."
All the young Raccoons said " Yes 'm,"
and thought they would remember every
word. The first moonbeam shone on
the top of the oak-tree, and Mrs. Rac-
coon said : " Now you may go. Be good
children and remember what I told you.
Don't stay too long. Start home when
you see the first light in the east."
"Yes'm," said the young Raccoons,
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 61
as they walked off very properly toward
the pond. After they were well away
from the oak-tree, they heard their mo-
ther calling to them : " Remember to
walk on your toes ! "
Raccoons cannot go very fast, and the
moon was shining brightly when they
reached the pond and met their six friends.
Such frolics as they had in the shallow
water, swimming, twisting, turning, scoop-
ing up food with their busy fore paws,
going up and down the beach, and roll-
ing on the sand ! They never once re-
membered what their mother had told
them, and they acted exactly as they had
been in the habit of doing every day.
Big Brother looked admiringly at his
own tail every chance he got, although
he had been told particularly not to act
as if he thought himself fine-looking.
Little Brother rolled into a lot of sand-
burrs and got his fur so matted that he
looked worse than ever. Big Sister
62 Among the Night-Time People
snatched food from other Raccoons, and
not one of them remembered about walk-
ing on tiptoe. Little Sister ate half
the time without washing her food. Of
course that did n't matter when the food
was taken from the pond, but when they
found some on the beach and ate it with-
out washing that was dreadful. No
Raccoon who is anybody at all will do
The mother of the family of six looked
on from a tree near by. The children
did not know that she was there. " What
manners ! " said she. " I shall never have
them invited here again." Just then she
saw one of her own sons eat without
washing his food, and she groaned out
loud. " My children are forgetting too,"
she said. " I have told him hundreds of
times that if he did that way every day
he would do so at a party, but he has
always said he would remember."
The mother of the four young Rac-
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 63
coons was out hunting and found herself
near the pond. " How noisy those chil-
dren are ! " she said to herself. " Night
people should be quiet." She tiptoed
along to a pile of rocks and peeped be-
tween them to see what was going on.
She saw her children's footprints on the
sand. " Aha ! " said she. " So they did
walk flat-footed after all."
She heard somebody scrambling down
a tree near by. " Good-evening," said a
pleasant Raccoon voice near her. It was
the mother of the six. " Are you watch-
ing the children's party ? " asked the new-
comer. " I hope you did not notice how
badly my son is behaving. I have tried
to teach my children good manners, but
they will be careless when I am not
looking, and then, of course, they forget
That made the mother of the four feel
more comfortable. " I know just how
that is," said she. " Mine mean to be
64 Among the Night-Time People
good, but they are so careless. It is
The two mothers talked for a long time
in whispers and then each went to her hole.
When the four young Raccoons came
home, it was beginning to grow light, and
they kept close together because they
were somewhat afraid. Their mother
was waiting to see them settled for the
day. She asked if they had a good time,
and said she was glad they got home
promptly. They had been afraid she
would ask if they had washed their food
and walked on their toes. She even
seemed not to notice Little Brother's
When they awakened the next night,
the mother hurried them off with her
to the same pond where they had been
to the party. " I am going to visit with
the mother of your friends," said she,
" and you may play around and amuse
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 65
The young Raccoons had another fine
time, although Little Brother found it
very uncomfortable to wear so many
burrs. They played tag in the trees, and
ate, and swam, and lay on the beach.
While they were lying there, the four
from the oak-tree noticed that their
mother was walking flat-footed. There
was bright moonlight and anybody might
see her. They felt dreadfully about it.
Then they saw her begin to eat food
which she had not washed. They were
so ashamed that they did n't want to look
their friends in the eye. They did n't
know that their friends were feeling in
the same way because they had seen their
mother doing ill-mannered things.
After they reached home, Big Brother
said, very timidly, to his mother : " Did
you know you ate some food without
washing it ? "
" Oh, yes," she answered ; " it is such a
bother to dip it all in water."
66 Among the Night-Time People
" And you walked flat-footed," said Lit-
" Well, why should n't I, if I want to ? "
The children began to cry : " P-peo-
ple will think you don't know any b-bet-
ter," said they. " We were d-dreadfully
" Oh ! " said their mother. " Oh ! Oh !
So you think that my manners are not so
good as yours ! Is that it ? "
The young Raccoons looked at each
other in a very uncomfortable way. " We
suppose we don't always do things right
ourselves," they answered, " but you are
"Yes," replied their mother. "And
you will be."
For a long time nobody spoke, and
Little Sister sobbed out loud. Then Mrs.
Raccoon spoke more gently : " The sun
is rising," said she. " We will go to sleep
now, and when we awaken to-morrow
Young Raccoons Go to a Party 67
night we will try to have better manners,
so that we need not be ashamed of each
other at parties or at home."
Long after the rest were dreaming,
Big Sister nudged Big Brother and
awakened him. " I understand it now,"
she said. " She did it on purpose."
" Who did what ?" asked he.
" Why, our mother. She was rude on
purpose to let us see how it looked."
Big Brother thought for a minute.
" Of course," said he. " Of course she
did ! Well she won't ever have to do it
again for me."
" Nor for me," said Big Sister. Then
they went to sleep.
THE SKUNKS AND THE OVEN-
TPHE Skunks did not go into society at
* all. They were very unpopular, and
so many people feared or disliked them
that nobody would invite them to a party.
Indeed, if they had been invited to a
party and had gone, the other guests
would have left at once. The small peo-
ple of the forest feared them because they
were meat-eaters, and the larger ones dis-
liked them because of their disagreeable
habits. The Skunks were handsome and
quiet, but they were quick-tempered, and
as soon as one of them became angry he
threw a horrible smelling liquid on the
people who displeased him. It was not
only horrible smelling, but it made those
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nest 69
who had to smell it steadily quite sick,
and would, indeed, have killed them if
they had not kept in the fresh air. If
a drop of this liquid got on to a person,
even his wife and children had to keep
away from him for a long time.
And the Skunks were so unreasonable.
They would not stop to see what was the
real trouble, but if anybody ran into them
by mistake in the darkness, they would
just as likely as not throw the liquid at
once. Among themselves they seemed to
be quite happy. There were from six to
ten children born at a time in each family.
These children lived in the burrow with
their father and mother until the next
spring, sleeping steadily through the cold-
est weather of winter, and only awaken-
ing when it was warm enough for them to
enjoy life. When spring came, the chil-
dren found themselves grown-up and went
off to live their own lives in new holes,
while their mothers took care of the six
70 Among the Night Time People
or seven or eight or nine or ten new
There was one very interesting Skunk
family in the forest, with the father,
mother, and eight children living in one
hole. No two of them were marked in
exactly the same way, although all were
stoutly built, had small heads, little round
ears, and beautiful long tails covered with
soft, drooping hair. Their fur was rather
long and handsome and they were dark
brown or black nearly all over. Most of
them had a streak of white on the fore-
head, a spot of it on the neck, some on the
tail, and a couple of stripes of it on their
backs. One could see them quite easily
by starlight on account of the white fur.
The Skunks were really very proud of
their white stripes and spots. " It is not
so much having the white fur," Mrs.
Skunk had been heard to say, " as it is
having it where all can see it. Most
animals wear the dark fur on their backs
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nest 71
and the light on their bellies, and that is
to make them safer from enemies. But
we dare to wear ours in plain sight. We
are never afraid."
And what she said was true, although
it hardly seemed modest for her to talk
about it in that way. It would have been
more polite to let other people tell how
brave her family were. Perhaps, how-
ever, if somebody else had been telling it,
he would have said that part of their
courage was rudeness.
Father Skunk always talked to his chil-
dren as his father had talked to him, and
probably as his grandfather had also
talked when he was raising a family.
" Never turn out of your way for any-
body," said he. " Let the other fellow
step aside. Remember that, no matter
whom you meet and no matter how large
the other people may be. If they see
you, they will get out of your path, and if
they can't it is not your fault. Don't
72 Among the Night-Time People
speak to them and don't hurry. Always
take your time."
Father Skunk was slow and stately. It
was a sight worth seeing when he started
off for a night's ramble, walking with a slow
and measured gait and carrying his fine tail
high over his back. He always went by
himself. " One is company, two is a
crowd," he would say as he walked away.
When they were old enough, the young
Skunks began to walk off alone as soon
as it was dark. Mother Skunk also went
alone, and perhaps she had the best time
of all, for it was a great rest not to have
eight babies tumbling over her back and
getting under her feet and hanging on
to her with their thirty-two paws, and
sometimes even scratching her with their
one hundred and sixty claws. They still
slept through the days in the old hole, so
they were together much of the time, but
they did not hunt in parties, as Raccoons
and Weasels do.
HE STARTED OFF FOR A NIGHT'S RAMBLE.
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nest 73
One of the brothers had no white what-
ever on his tail, so they called him the
Black-tailed Skunk. He had heard in
some way that there was an Ovenbird's
nest on the ground by the fern bank, and
he made up his mind to find it the very
next night and eat the eggs which were
Another brother was called the Spotted
Skunk, because the spot on his neck was
so large. He had found the Ovenbird's
nest himself, while on his way home in
the early morning. He would have liked
to rob it then, but he had eaten so much
that night that he thought it better to
So it happened that when the family
awakened the next night two of the chil-
dren had important plans of their own.
Neither of them would have told for any-
thing, but they could n't quite keep from
hinting about it as they made themselves
ready to go out.
74 Among the Night-Time People
" Aha ! " said the Black-tailed Skunk.
" I know something you don't know."
" Oh, tell us ! " cried four or five of the
other children, while the Spotted Skunk
twisted his head and said, " You don't
either ! "
" I do too ! " replied the Black-tailed
" Children ! Children ! " exclaimed Mrs.
Skunk, while their father said that he
could n 't see where his children got their
quarrelsome disposition, for none of his
people had ever contradicted or disputed.
His wife told him that she really thought
them very good, and that she was sure they
behaved much better than most Skunks of
their age. Then their father walked off
in his most stately manner, putting his
feet down almost flat, and carrying his tail
a little higher than usual.
" I do know something that you don't,"
repeated the Black-tailed Skunk, " and
it 's something nice, too."
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nest 75
" Aw ! " said the Spotted Skunk. " I
don't believe it, and I don't care any-
" I know you don't know, and I know
you 'd want to know if you knew what I
know," said the Black-tailed Skunk, who
was now getting so excited that he could
hardly talk straight.
" Children ! " exclaimed their mother.
" Not another word about that. I do
wish you would wake up good-natured."
" He started it," said the Spotted
Skunk, " and we 're not quarrelling any-
how. But I guess he 'd give a good deal
to know where I 'm going."
" Children ! " repeated their mother.
" Go at once. I will not have you talkirig
in this way before your brothers and
sisters. Do not stop to talk, but go ! "
So the two brothers started out for the
night and each thought he would go a
roundabout way to fool the other. The
Black-tailed Skunk went to the right, and
76 Among the Night-Time People
the Spotted Skunk went to the left, but
each of them, you know, really started to
rob the Ovenbird's nest. It was a very
dark night. Even the stars were all hid-
den behind thick clouds, and one could
hardly see one's forepaws while walking.
But, of course, the night-prowlers of the
forest are used to this, and four-footed
people are not so likely to stumble and
fall as two-footed ones. Besides, young
Skunks have to remember where logs and
stumps of trees are, just as other people
have to remember their lessons.
So it happened that, while Mrs. Oven-
bird was sleeping happily with her four
eggs safe and warm under her breast, two
p'eople were coming from different ways
to rob her. Such a snug nest as it was !
She had chosen a tiny hollow in the
fern bank and had cunningly woven dry
grasses and leaves into a ball-shaped nest,
which fitted neatly into the hollow and
had a doorway on one side.
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nest 77
The Black-tailed Skunk sneaked up to
the nest from one side. The Spotted
Skunk sneaked up from the other side.
Once the Black-tailed Skunk thought he
heard some other creature moving toward
him. At the same minute the Spotted
Skunk thought he heard somebody, so he
stopped to listen. Neither heard any-
thing. Mrs. Ovenbird was sure that she
heard a leaf rustle outside, and it made
her anxious until she remembered that a
dead twig might have dropped from the
beech-tree overhead and hit the dry leaves
Slowly the two brothers crept toward
the nest and each other. They moved
very quietly, because each wanted to catch
the mother-bird if he could. Close to the
nest hollow they crouched and sprang
with jaws open and sharp teeth ready to
bite. There was a sudden crashing of
leaves and ferns. The two brothers had
sprung squarely at each other, each was
78 Among the Night-Time People
bitten, growled, and ran away. And how
they did run ! It is not often, you know,
that Skunks go faster than a walk, but
when they are really scared they move
very, very swiftly.
Mrs. Ovenbird felt her nest roof crush
down upon her for a minute as two peo-
ple rolled and growled outside. Then
she heard them running away in different
directions and knew that she was safe, for
a time at least. In the morning she re-
paired her nest and told her bird friends
about it. They advised her to take her
children away as soon as possible after
they were hatched. " If the Skunks have
found your nest," they said, "you may
have another call from them."
When the Black-tailed Skunk came
stealing home in the first faint light just
before sunrise, he found the Spotted
Skunk telling the rest of the family how-
some horrible great fierce beast had
pounced upon him in the darkness and
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nests 79
bitten him on the shoulder. "It was so
dark," said he, " that I could n't see him at
all, but I am sure it must have been a Bear."
They turned to tell the Black-tailed
Skunk about his brother's misfortune, and
saw that he limped badly. " Did the
Bear catch you, too ? " they cried.
" Yes," answered he. " It must have
been a Bear. It was so big and strong
and fierce. But I bit him, too. I would n't
have run away from him, only he was so
much bigger than I."
" That was just the way with me," said
the Spotted Skunk. " I would n't have
run if he had n't been so big."
" You should have thrown liquid on
him," said their father. " Then he would
have been the one to run."
The brothers hung their heads. " We
never thought," they cried. " We think
it must have been because we were so
surprised and did n't see him coming."
" Well," said their father sternly, " I
8o Among the Night-Time People
suppose one must be patient with children,
but such unskunklike behavior makes
me very much ashamed of you both."
Then the two bitten brothers went to
bed in disgrace, although their mother
was sorry for them and loved them, as
mothers will do, even when their children
are naughty or cowardly.
One night, some time later, these two
brothers happened to meet down by the
fern bank. It was bright moonlight and
they stopped to visit, for both were feel-
ing very good-natured. The Black-tailed
Skunk said : " Come with me and I '11 show
you where there is an Ovenbird's nest."
" All right," answered the Spotted
Skunk, " and then I '11 show you one."
" I Ve just been waiting for a bright
night," said the Black-tailed Skunk, " be-
cause I came here once in the dark and
had bad luck."
" It was near here," said the Spotted
Skunk, " that I was bitten by the Bear."
Skunks and Ovenbird's Nests 81
They stopped beside a tiny hollow.
" There is the nest," said the Black-tailed
Skunk, pointing with one of his long
" Why, that is the one I meant," ex-
claimed the Spotted Skunk.
" I found it first," said the Black-tailed
Skunk, " and I 'd have eaten the eggs
before if that Bear had n't bitten me."
Just at that minute the two Skunks
had a new idea. " We do believe," cried
they, " that we bit each other ! "
" We certainly did," said the Spotted
" But we' 11 never tell," said the Black-
" Now," they added together, " let 's
But they did n't. In fact, they did n't
eat anything, for the eggs were hatched,
and the young birds had left the nest
only the day before.
THE LAZY CUT-WORMS
\ TOW that spring had come and all the
green things were growing, the Cut-
Worms crawled out of their winter sleep-
ing-places in the ground, and began to eat
the tenderest and best things that they
could find. They felt rested and hungry
after their quiet winter, for they had slept
without awakening ever since the first
really cold days of fall.
There were many different kinds of Cut-
Worms, brothers and sisters, cousins and
second cousins, so, of course, they did not
all look alike. They had hatched the sum-
mer before from eggs laid by the Owlet
Moths, their mothers, and had spent the
time from then until cold weather in
eating and sleeping and eating some
The Lazy Cut-Worms 83
more. Of course they grew a great deal,
but then, you know, one can grow without
taking time especially for it. It is well
that this is so. If people had to say, " I
can do nothing else now. I must sit
down and grow awhile," there would not
be so many large people in the world as
there are. They would become so inter-
ested in doing other things that they
would not take the time to grow as they
Now the Cut-Worms were fine and fat
and just as heedless as Cut-W T orms have
been since the world began. They had
never seen their parents, and had hatched
without any one to look after them. They
did not look like their parents, for they
were only worms as yet, but they had
the same habit of sleeping all day and go-
ing out at night, and never thought of
eating breakfast until the sun had gone
down. They were quite popular in un-
derground society, and were much liked
84 Among the Night-Time People
by the Earthworms and May Beetle larvae,
who enjoyed hearing stones of what the
Cut-Worms saw above ground. The May
Beetle larvae did not go out at all, be-
cause they were too young, and the Earth-
worms never knew what was going on
outside unless somebody told them. They
often put their heads up into the air, but
they had no eyes and could not see for
The Cut-Worms were bold, saucy, sel-
fish, and wasteful. They were not good
children, although when they tried they
could be very entertaining, and one al-
ways hoped that they would improve be-
fore they became Moths. Sometimes
they even told the Earthworms and May
Beetle larvae stories that were not so, and
that shows what sort of children they
were. It was dreadful to tell such things
to people who could never find out the
difference. One Spotted Cut- Worm heard
a couple of Earthworms talking about
The Lazy Cut-Worms 85
Ground Moles, and told them that Ground
Moles were large birds with four wings
apiece and legs like a Caterpillar's. They
did not take pains to be entertaining be-
cause they wanted to make the under-
ground people happy, but because they
enjoyed hearing them say : " What bright
fellows those Cut-Worms are ! Really
exceedingly clever ! " And doing it for
that reason took all the goodness out
One bright moonlight night the Cut-
Worms awakened and crawled out on top
of the ground to feed. They lived in the
farmer's vegetable garden, so there were
many things to choose from : young beets
just showing their red-veined leaves above
their shining red stems ; turnips ; clean-
looking onions holding their slender leaves
very stiff and straight ; radishes with just
a bit of their rosy roots peeping out of
the earth ; and crisp, pale green lettuce,
crinkled and shaking in every passing
86 Among the Night-Time People
breeze. It was a lovely growing time,
and all the vegetables were making the
most of the fine nights, for, you know,
that is the time when everything grows
best. Sunshiny days are the best for
coloring leaves and blossoms, but the
time for sinking roots deeper and sending
shoots higher and unfolding new leaves
is at night in the beautiful stillness.
Some Cut-Worms chose beets and some
chose radishes. Two or three liked lettuce
best, and a couple crawled off to nibble at
the sweet peas which the farmer's wife
had planted. They never ate all of a
plant. Ah, no ! And that was one way
in which they were wasteful. They nib-
bled through the stalk where it came out
of the ground, and then the plant tumbled
down and withered, while the Cut-Worm
went on to treat another in the same
" Well ! " exclaimed one Spotted Cut-
Worm, as he crawled out from his hole.
The Lazy Cut-Worms 87
" I must have overslept ! Guess I stayed
up too late this morning."
" You 'd better look out," said one of
his friends, " or the Ground Mole will
get you. He likes to find nice fat little
Cut-Worms who sleep too late in the
" Need n't tell me," answered the
Spotted Cut-Worm. " It's the early
Mole that catches the Cut-Worm. I
don't know when I have overslept my-
self so. Have you fellows been up ever
" Yes," they answered ; and one saucy
fellow added : "I got up too early. I
awakened and felt hungry, and thought
I'd just come out for a lunch. I sup-
posed the birds had finished their supper,
but the first thing I saw was a Robin
out hunting. She was not more than the
length of a bean-pole from me, and when
I saw her cock her head on one side
and look toward me, I was sure she saw
88 Among the Night-Time People
me. But she didn't, after all. Lucky
for me that I am green and came up
beside the lettuce. I kept still and she
took me for a leaf."
" St ! " said somebody else. " There
comes the Ground Mole." They all kept
still while the Mole scampered to and
fro on the dewy grass near them, going
faster than one would think he could
with such very, very short legs. His
pink digging hands flashed in the moon-
light, and his pink snout showed also,
but the dark, soft fur of the rest of his
body could hardly be seen against the
brown earth of the garden. It may have
been because he was not hungry, or it
may have been because his fur covered
over his eyes so, but he went back to his
underground run-way without having
caught a single Cut-Worm.
Then the Cut-Worms felt very much
set up. They crawled toward the hole
into his run-way and made faces at it,
The Lazy Cut-Worms 89
as though he were standing in the door-
way. They called mean things after him
and pretended to say them very loudly,
yet really spoke quite softly.
Then they began to boast that they
were not afraid of anybody, and while
they were boasting they ate and ate and
ate and ate. Here and there the young
plants drooped and fell over, and as soon
as one did that, the Cut-Worm who had
eaten on it crawled off to another.
" Guess the farmer will know that
we 've been here," said they. " We don't
care. He does n't need all these vegeta-
bles. What if he did plant them ? Let
him plant some more if he wants to.
What business has he to have so many,
anyhow, if he won't share with other
people ? " You would have thought, to
hear them, that they were exceedingly
kind to leave any vegetables for the
In among the sweet peas were many
90 Among the Night-Time People
little tufts of purslane, and purslane is
very good to eat, as anybody knows who
has tried it. But do you think the Cut-
Worms ate that ? Not a bit of it. "We
can have purslane any day," they said,
" and now we will eat sweet peas."
One little fellow added : " You won't
catch me eating purslane. It's a weed."
Now, Cut-Worms do eat weeds, but they
always seem to like best those things
which have been carefully planted and
tended. If the purslane had been set in
straight rows, and the sweet peas had
just come up of themselves everywhere,
it is quite likely that this young Cut-
Worm would have said : " You won't
catch me eating sweet peas. They are
As the moon rose higher and higher in
the sky, the Cut-Worms boasted more
and more. They said there were no
Robins clever enough to find them, and
that the Ground Mole dared not touch
The Lazy Cut- Worms 91
them when they were together, and that
it was only when he found one alone
underground that he was brave enough to
do so. They talked very loudly now and
bragged dreadfully, until they noticed
that the moon was setting and a faint
yellow light showed over the tree-tops in
" Time to go to bed for the day," called
the Spotted Cut-Worm. "Where are
you going to crawl in ? " They had no
regular homes, you know, but crawled
into the earth wherever they wanted to
and slept until the next night.
" Here are some fine holes already
made," said a Green Cut-Worm, " and big
enough for a Garter Snake. They are
smooth and deep, and a lot of us can
cuddle down into each. I 'm going into
one of them."
" Who made those holes ? " asked the
Spotted Cut-Worm ; "and why are they
92 Among the Night-Time People
" Oh, who cares who made them?"
answered the Green Cut-Worm. "Guess
they 're ours if we want to use them."
" Perhaps the farmer made them," said
the Spotted Cut-Worm, " and if he did I
don't want to go into them."
" Oh, who 's afraid of him ? " cried the
other Cut- Worms.. " Come along ! "
" No," answered the Spotted Cut-Worm.
" I won't. I don't want to and I won't
do it. The hole I make to sleep in will
not be so large, nor will it have such
smooth sides, but I '11 know all about it
and feel safe. Good-morning." Then he
crawled into the earth and went to sleep.
The others went into the smooth, deep
holes made by the farmer with his hoe
The next night there was only one
Cut-Worm in the garden, and that was
the Spotted Cut-Worm. Nobody has
ever seen the lazy ones who chose to use
the smooth, deep holes which were ready
The Lazy Cut-Worms 93
made. The Spotted Cut-Worm lived
quite alone until he was full-grown, then
he made a little oval room for himself in
the ground and slept in it while he
changed into a Black Owlet Moth.
After that he flew away to find a wife
and live among her people. It is said
that whenever he saw a Cut-Worm work-
ing at night, he would flutter down beside
him and whisper, " The Cut-Worm who
is too lazy to bore his own sleeping-place
will never live to become an Owlet Moth."
THE NIGHT MOTH'S PARTY
CROM the time when she was a tiny
* golden-green Caterpillar, Miss Poly-
phemus had wanted to go into soci-
ety. She began life on a maple leaf
with a few brothers and sisters, who
hatched at the same time from a cluster
of flattened eggs which their mother had
laid there ten days before. The first
thing she remembered was the light and
color and sound when she broke the shell
open that May morning. The first thing
she did was to eat the shell out of which
she had just crawled. Then she got ac-
quainted with her brothers and sisters,
many of whom had also eaten their egg-
shells, although two had begun at once
on maple leaves. It was well that she
The Night Moth's Party 95
took time for this now, for the family
were soon scattered and several of her
sisters she never saw again.
She found it a very lovely world to
live in. There was so much to eat. Yes,
and there were so many kinds of leaves
that she liked, oak, hickory, apple, maple,
elm, and several others. Sometimes she
wished that she had three mouths instead
of one. In those days she had few visi-
tors. It is true that other Caterpillars
happened along once in a while, but they
were almost as hungry as she, and they
could n't speak without stopping eating.
They could, of course, if they talked with
their mouths full, but she had too good
manners for that, and, besides, she said
that if she did, she could n't enjoy her
food so much.
You must not think that it was wrong
in her to care so much about eating.
She was only doing what is expected of a
Polyphemus Caterpillar, and you would
96 Among the Night-Time People
have to do the same if you were a Poly-
phemus Caterpillar. When she was ten
days old she had to weigh ten times as
much as she did the morning that she
was hatched. When she was twenty
days old she had to weigh sixty times as
much ; when she was a month old she
had to weigh six hundred and twenty
times as much ; and when she was fifty
days old she had to weigh four thousand
times as much as she did at hatching.
Every bit of this flesh was made of the
food she ate. That is why eating was so
important, you know, and if she had
chosen to eat the wrong kind of leaves
just because they tasted good, she would
never have become such a fine great
Caterpillar as she did. She might better
not eat anything than to eat the wrong
sort, and she knew it.
Still, she often wished that she had
more time for visiting, and thought that
she would be very gay next year, when
The Night Moth's Party 97
she got her wings. " I '11 make up for it
then," she said to herself, " when my
growing is done and I have time for
play." Then she ate some more good,
plain food, for she knew that there would
be no happy Moth-times for Caterpillars
who did not eat as they should.
She had five vacations of about a day
each when she ate nothing at all. These
were the times when she changed her
skin, crawling out of the tight old one
and appearing as fresh and clean as pos-
sible in the new one which was ready
underneath. After her last change she
was ready to plan her cocoon, and she
was a most beautiful Caterpillar. She was
about as long as a small cherry leaf,
and as plump as a Caterpillar can be.
She was light green, with seven slanting
yellow lines on each side of her body, and
a purplish-brown V-shaped mark on the
back part of each side. There were
many little orange-colored bunches on
98 Among the Night-Time People
her body, which showed beautiful gleam-
ing lights when she moved. Growing
out of these bunches were tiny tufts of
She had three pairs of real legs and
several pairs of make-believe ones. Her
real legs were on the front part of her
body and were slender. These she ex-
pected to keep always. The make-believe
ones were called pro-legs. They grew
farther back and were fat, awkward, joint-
less things which she would not need
after her cocoon was spun. But for
them, she would have had to drag the
back part of her body around like a
Snake. With them, the back part of her
body could walk as well as the front, al-
though not quite so fast. She always
took a few steps with her real legs and
then waited for her pro-legs to catch
As the weather grew colder the Poly-
phemus Caterpillar hunted around on the
The Night Moth's Party 99
ground for a good place for her cocoon.
She found an excellent twig lying among
the dead leaves, and decided to fasten to
that. Then began her hardest work, spin-
ning a fluffy mass of gray-white silk which
clung to the twig and to one of the dry
leaves and was almost exactly the color of
the leaf. Other Caterpillars came along
and stopped to visit, for they did not have
to eat at cocoon-spinning time.
" Better fasten your cocoon to a tree,"
said a pale bluish-green Promethea Cater-
pillar. " Put it inside a curled leaf, like
mine, and wind silk around the stem to
strengthen it. Then you can swing every
time the wind blows, and the silk will
keep the leaf from wearing out."
" But I don 't want to swing," answered
the Polyphemus Caterpillar." " I 'd
rather lie still and think about things."
" Fasten to the twig of a tree," advised
a pale green Cecropia Caterpillar with
red, yellow, and blue bunches. " Then
ioo Among the Night-Time People
the wind just moves you a little. Fasten
it to a twig and taper it off nicely at each
end, and then
" Yes," said the Polyphemus Caterpillar,
"and then the Blue-Jays and Chickadees
will poke wheat or corn or beechnuts into
the upper end of it. I don't care to turn
my sleeping room into a corn-crib."
Just here some other Polyphemus Cat-
erpillars came along and agreed with their
relative. " Go ahead with your tree
homes," said they. " We know what we
want, and we '11 see next summer who
The Polyphemus cocoons were spun on
the ground where the dead leaves had
blown in between some stones, and no
wandering Cows or Sheep would be
likely to step on them. First a mass of
coarse silk which it took half a day to
make, then an inside coating of a kind of
varnish, then as much silk as a Caterpillar
could spin in four or five days, next an-
The Night Moth's Party 101
other inside varnishing, and the cocoons
were done. As the Polyphemus Cater-
pillars snuggled down for the long winter's
sleep, each said to himself something like
this : " Those poor Caterpillars in the
trees ! How cold they will be ! I hope
they may come out all right in the spring,
but I doubt it very much."
And when the Cecropia and Promethea
Caterpillars dozed off for the winter, they
said: "What a pity that those Polyphemus
Caterpillars would lie around on the
ground. Well, we advised them what to
do, so it is n 't our fault."
They all had a lovely winter, and swung
or swayed or lay still, just as they had
chosen to do. Early in the spring, the
farmer's wife and little girl came out to find
wild flowers, and scraped the leaves away
from among the stones. Out rolled the
cocoon that the first Polyphemus Cater-
pillar had spun and the farmer's wife
picked it up and carried it off. She
IO2 Among the Night-Time People
might have found more cocoons if the
little girl had not called her away.
This was how it happened that one May
morning a little girl stood by the sitting-
room window in the white farmhouse and
watched Miss Polyphemus crawl slowly out
of her cocoon. A few days before a sour,
milky-looking stuff had begun to trickle
into the lower end of the cocoon, soften-
ing the hard varnish and the soft silken
threads until a tiny doorway was opened.
Now all was ready and Miss Polyphemus
pushed out. She was very wet and weak
and forlorn. " Oh," said she to herself,
" it is more fun to be a new Caterpillar
than it is to be a new Moth. I Ve only
six legs left, and it will be very hard
worrying along on these. I shall have to
give up walking."
It was discouraging. You can see how
it would be. She had been used to hav-
ing so many legs, and had looked forward
all the summer before to the time when
The Nignt Moth's Party 103
she should float lightly through the air
and sip honey from flowers. She had
dreamed of it all winter. And now here
she was wet and weak, with only six legs
left, and four very small and crumpled
wings. Her body was so big and fat
that she could not hold it up from the
window-sill. She wanted to cry it was
all so sad and disappointing. She would
have done so, had she not remembered
how very unbecoming it is to cry. When
she remembered that, she decided to take
a nap instead, and that was a most sensi-
ble thing to do, for crying always makes
matters worse, while sleeping makes them
When she awakened she felt much
stronger and more cheerful. She was
drier and her body felt lighter. This
was because the fluids from it were being
pumped into her wings. That was mak-
ing them grow, and the beautiful colors
began to show more brightly on them.
104 Among the Night-Time People
" I wonder," she said to herself, " if
Moths always feel so badly when they
first come out ? "
If she had but known it, there were
at that very time hundreds of Moths as
helpless as she, clinging to branches,
leaves, and stones all through the forest.
There were many Polyphemus Moths
just out, for in their family it is the cus-
tom for all to leave their cocoons at just
about such a time in the morning. Per-
haps she would have felt more patient
if she had known this, for it does seem to
make hard times easier to bear when one
knows that everybody else has hard times
also. Of course other people always are
having trouble, but she was young and
really believed for a time that she was
the only uncomfortable Moth in the
All day long her wings were stretch-
ing and growing smooth. When it grew
dark she was nearly ready to fly. Then
The Night Moth's Party 105
the farmer's wife lifted her gently by the
wings and put her on the inside of the
wire window-screen. When the lights in
the house were all put out, the moon-
beams shone in on Miss Polyphemus
and showed her beautiful sand-colored
body and wings with the dark border on
the front pair and the lighter border
on the back pair.
On the back ones were dark eye-spots
with clear places in the middle, through
which one could see quite clearly.
" I would like to fly," sighed Miss Poly-
phemus, " and I believe I could if it were
not for this horrid screen." She did not
know that the farmer's wife had put her
there to keep her safe from night birds
until she was quite strong.
The wind blew in, sweet with the scent
of wild cherry and shad-tree blossoms,
and poor Miss Polyphemus looked over
toward the forest where she had lived
when she was a Caterpillar, and wished
io6 Among the Night-Time People
herself safely there. " Much good it does
me to have wings when I cannot use
them," said she. " I want something to
eat. There is no honey to be sucked out
of wire netting. I wish I were a happy
Caterpillar again, eating leaves on the
trees." She was not the first Moth who
has wished herself a Caterpillar, but she
soon changed her mind.
There fluttered toward her another
Polyphemus Moth, a handsome fellow,
marked exactly as she was, only with
darker coloring. His body was more
slender, and his feelers were very beauti-
ful and feathery. She was fat and had
" Ah ! " said he. " I thought I should
find you soon."
"Indeed?" she replied. "I wonder
what made you think that ? "
" My feelers, of course," said he. " They
always tell me where to find my friends.
You know how that is yourself."
The Night Moth's Party 107
" I ? " said she, as she changed her posi-
tion a little. " I am just from my cocoon.
This was my coming-out day."
" And so you have not met any one
yet ? " he asked. " Ah, this is a strange
world a very strange world. I would
advise you to be very careful with whom
you make friends. There are so many
bad Moths, you know."
" Good-evening," said a third voice near
them, and another Polyphemus Moth with
feathery feelers alighted on the screen.
'He smiled sweetly at Miss Polyphemus
and scowled fiercely at the other Moth.
It would have ended in a quarrel right
then and there, if a fourth Moth had not
come at that minute. One after another
came, until there were nine handsome fel-
lows on the outside and Miss Polyphemus
on the inside of the screen trying to enter-
tain them all and keep them from quarrel-
ling. It made her very proud to think so
many were at her coming-out party. Still,
io8 Among the Night-Time People
she would have enjoyed it better, she
thought, if some whom she had known as
Caterpillars could be there to see how
much attention she was having paid to her.
There was one Caterpillar whom she had
never liked. She only wished that she
could see her now.
Still, society tires one very much, and
it was hard to keep her guests from quar-
relling. When she got to talking with one
about maple-trees, another was sure to
come up and say that he had always pre-
ferred beech when he was a Caterpillar.
And the two outside would glare at each
other while she hastily thought of some-
thing else to say.
At last those outside got to fighting.
There was only one, the handsomest of
all, who said he thought too much of his
feelers to fight anybody. " Supposing I
should fight and break them off," said he.
" I couldn't smell a thing for the rest of
my life." He was very sensible, and really
THEY LIVED IN THE FOREST AFTER THAT.
The Night Moth's Party 109
the eight other fellows were fighting on
account of Miss Polyphemus, for when-
ever they thought she liked one best they
began to bump up against him.
Toward morning the farmer's wife
awakened and looked at Miss Polyphemus.
When she saw that she was strong enough
to fly, she opened the screen and let her
go. By that time three of those with
feathery feelers were dead, three were
broken-winged and clinging helplessly to
the screen, and two were so busy fighting
that they did n't see Miss Polyphemus go.
The handsome great fellow who did not
believe in fighting went with her, and they
lived in the forest after that. But she
never cared for society again.
THE LONELY OLD BACHELOR
OEYOND the forest and beside the
*-^ river lay the marsh where the Musk-
rats lived. This was the same marsh
to which the young Frog had taken
some of the meadow people's children
when they were tired of staying at home
and wanted to travel. When they went
with him, you remember, they were gay
and happy, the sun was shining, and the
way did not seem long. When they
came back they were cold and wet and
tired, and thought it very far indeed.
One could never get them to say much
Some people like what others do not,
and one's opinion of a marsh must
Lonely Old Muskrat 1 1 1
always depend on whether he is a Grass-
hopper or a Frog. But whether people
cared to live there or not, the marsh had
always been a pleasant place to see.
In the spring the tall tamaracks along
the edge put on their new dresses of
soft, needle-shaped green leaves, the
marsh-marigolds held their bright faces
up to the sun, and hundreds of happy
little people darted in and out of the
tussocks of coarse grass. There was a
warm, wet, earthy smell in the air, and
near the pussy-willows there was also a
Then the Marsh Hens made their
nests, and the Sand-pipers ran mincingly
along by the quiet pools.
In summer time the beautiful moccasin
flowers grew in family groups, and over
in the higher, dryer part were masses
of white boneset, tall spikes of creamy
foxglove, and slender, purple vervain.
In the fall the cat-tails stood stiffly
H2 Among the Night-Time People
among their yellow leaves, and the Red-
winged Blackbirds and tLe Bobolinks
perched upon them to plan their journey
to the south.
Even when the birds were gone and
the cat-tails were ragged and worn even
then, the marsh was an interesting place.
Soft snow clung to the brown seed clus-
ters of boneset and filled the open silvery-
gray pods of the milkweed. In among
the brown tussocks of grass ran the
dainty footprints of Mice and Minks,
and here and there rose the cone-shaped
winter homes of the Muskrats.
The Muskrats were the largest people
there, and lived in the finest homes. It
is true that if a Mink and a Muskrat
fought, the Mink was likely to get the
better of the Muskrat, but people never
spoke of this, although everybody knew
that it was so. The Muskrats were too
proud to do so, the Minks were too wise
to, and the smaller people who lived near
Lonely Old Muskrat 113
did not want to offend the Muskrats by
mentioning it. It is said that an impu-
dent young Mouse did say something
about it once when the Muskrats could
overhear him and that not one of them
ever spoke to him again. The next time
he said " Good-evening " to a Muskrat,
the Muskrat just looked at him as though
he did n't see him or as though he had
been a stick or a stone or something else
uneatable and uninteresting.
The Muskrats were very popular, for
they were kind neighbors and never stole
their food from others. That was why
nobody was jealous of them, although
they were so fat and happy. Their chil-
dren usually turned out very well, even
if they were not at all strictly brought up.
You know when a father and mother
have to feed and care for fifteen or so
children each summer, there is not much
time for teaching them to say "please"
and " thank you " and " pardon me."
ii4 Among the Night-Time People
Sometimes these young Muskrats did
snatch and quarrel, as on that night when
fifteen of them went to visit their old
home and all wanted to go in first. You
may recall how, on that dreadful night,
their father had to spank them with his
scaly tail and their mother sent them to
bed. They always remembered it, and
you may be very sure their parents did.
It makes parents feel dreadfully when
their children quarrel, and it is very wear-
ing to have to spank fifteen at once,
particularly when one has to use his tail
with which to do it.
There was one old Bachelor Muskrat
who had always lived for himself, and had
his own way more than was good for him.
If he had married, it would not have been
so, and he would have grown used to
giving up to somebody else. He was a
fine-looking fellow with soft, short, red-
dish-brown fur, which shaded almost to
black on his back, and to a light gray un-
Lonely Old Muskrat 115
derneath. There were very few hairs on
his long, flat, scaly tail, and most of these
were in two fringes, one down the middle
of the upper side, and the other down the
middle of the lower side. His tiny ears
hardly showed above the fur on his head,
and he was so fat that he really seemed to
have no neck at all. To look at his feet
you would hardly think he could swim,
for the webs between his toes were very,
very small and his feet were not large.
He was like all other Muskrats in using
a great deal of perfume, and it was not
a pleasant kind, being so strong and
musky. He thought it quite right, and
it was better so, for he could n't help
wearing it, and you can just imagine how
distressing it would be to see a Muskrat
going around with his nose turned up and
all the time finding fault with his own
Nobody could remember the time when
there had been no Muskrats in the marsh.
n6 Among the Night-Time People
The Ground Hog who lived near the edge
of the forest said that his grandfather
had often spoken of seeing them at play
in the moonlight ; and there was an old
Rattlesnake who had been married several
times and wore fourteen joints in his rat-
tle, who said that he remembered see-
ing Muskrats there before he cast his first
skin. And it was not strange that, after
their people had lived there so long, the
Muskrats should be fond of the marsh.
One day in midsummer the farmer and
his men came to the marsh with spades
and grub-hoes and measuring lines. All
of them had on high rubber boots, and
they tramped around and measured and
talked, and rooted up a few huckleberry
bushes, and drove a good many stakes into
the soft and spongy ground. Then the
dinner-bell at the farmhouse rang and,
they went away. It was a dull, cloudy day
and a few of the Muskrats were out. If
it had been sunshiny they would have
Lonely Old Muskrat 117
stayed in their burrows. They paddled
over to where the stakes were, and
smelled of them and gnawed at them,
and wondered why the men had put
" I know," said one young Muskrat,
who had married and set up a home of
his own that spring. " I know why they
put these stakes in."
" Oh, do listen ! " cried the young Musk-
rat's wife. "He knows and will tell us
all about it."
" Nobody ever told me this," said the
young husband. " I thought it out my-
self. The Ground Hog once said that
they put small pieces of potato into the
ground to grow into whole big ones, and
they have done the same sort of thing
here. You see, the farmer wanted a
fence, and so he stuck down these stakes,
and before winter he will have a fence
"Humph!" said the Bachelor Musk-
n8 Among the Night-Time People
rat. It seemed as though he had meant
to say more, but the young wife looked at
him with such a frown on her furry fore-
head that he shut his mouth as tightly as
he could (he never could quite close it)
and said nothing else.
" Do you mean to tell me," said one
who had just sent five children out of
her burrow to make room for another lot
of babies, " that they will grow a fence
here where it is so wet ? Fences grow on
" That is what I said," answered the
young husband, slapping his tail on the
water to make himself seem more
"Well," said the anxious mother, "if
they go to growing fences and such
things around here I shall move. Every
one of my children will want to play
around it, and as like as not will eat its
roots and get sick."
Then the men came back and all the
Lonely Old Muskrat 119
Muskrats ran toward their burrows, dived
into the water to reach the doors of
them, and then crawled up the long hall-
ways that they had dug out of the bank
until they got to the large rooms where
they spent most of their days and kept
That night the young husband was the
first Muskrat to come out, and he went
at once to the line of stakes. He had
been lying awake and thinking while his
wife was asleep, and he was afraid he
had talked too much. He found that
the stakes had not grown any, and that
the men had begun to dig a deep ditch
beside them. He was afraid that his
neighbors would point their paws at him
and ask how the fence was growing, and
he was not brave enough to meet them
and say that he had been mistaken. He
went down the river bank and fed alone all
night, while his wife and neighbors were
grubbing and splashing around in the
I2O Among the Night-Time People
marsh or swimming in the river near their
homes. The young Muskrats were roll-
ing and tumbling in the moonlight and
looking like furry brown balls. After it
began to grow light, he sneaked back to
Every day the men came in their high
rubber boots to work, and every day
there were more ditches and the marsh
was drier. By the time that the flowers
had all ripened their seeds and the forest
trees were bare, the marsh was changed
to dry ground, and the Muskrats could
find no water there to splash in. One
night, and it was a very, very dark one,
they came together to talk about winter.
" It is time to begin our cold-weather
houses," said one old Muskrat. " I have
never started so soon, but we are to have
an early winter."
"Yes, and a long one, too," added his
wife, who said that Mr. Muskrat never
told things quite strongly enough.
Lonely Old Muskrat 121
" It will be cold," said another Musk-
rat, "and we shall need to build thick
" Why ?" asked a little Muskrat.
" Sh ! " said his mother.
" The question is," said the old Musk-
rat who had first spoken, "where we shall
" Why ? " asked the little Muskrat,
pulling at his mother's tail.
" Sh-h ! " said his mother.
" There is no water here except in the
ditches," said the oldest Muskrat, "and
of course we would not build beside
"Why not?" asked the little Muskrat.
And this time he actually poked his
mother in the side.
" Sh-h-h ! " said she. " How many times
must I speak to you ? Don't you know
that young Muskrats should be seen and
not heard ? "
" But I can't be seen," he whimpered.
122 Among the Night-Time People
" It is so dark that I can't be seen, and
you Ve just got to hear me."
Of course, after he had spoken in that
way to his mother and interrupted all the
others by his naughtiness, he had to be
punished, so his mother sent him to bed.
That is very hard for young Muskrats,
for the night, you know, is the time when
they have the most fun.
The older ones talked and talked about
what they should do. They knew, as
they always do know, just what sort of
winter they were to have, and that they
must begin to build at once. Some years
they had waited until a whole month
later, but that was because they expected
a late and mild winter. At last the old-
est Muskrat decided for them. " We
will move to-morrow night," said he.
" We will go to the swamp on the other
side of the forest and build our winter
All the Muskrats felt sad about going,
Lonely Old Muskrat 123
and for a minute it was so still that you
might almost have heard a milkweed
seed break loose from the pod and float
away. Then a gruff voice broke the
silence. " I will not go," it said. " I
was born here and I will live here. I
never have left this marsh and I never
will leave it."
They could not see who was speaking,
but they knew it was the Bachelor. The
oldest Muskrat said afterward that he
was so surprised you could have knocked
him over with a blade of grass. Of
course, you could n't have done it, be-
cause he was so fat and heavy, but that
is what he said, and it shows just how
The other Muskrats talked and talked
and talked with him, but it made no
difference. His brothers told him it was
perfectly absurd for him to stay, that
people would think it queer, and that he
ought to go with the rest of his relatives.
124 Among the Night-Time People
Yet it made no difference. " You should
stay," he would reply. " Our family have
always lived here."
When the Muskrat mothers told him
how lonely he would be, and how he
would miss seeing the dear little ones
frolic in the moonlight, he blinked and
said : " Well, I shall just have to stand
it." Then he sighed, and they went away
saying to each other what a tender heart
he had and what a pity it was that he had
never married. One of them spoke as
though he had been in love with her some
years before, but the others had known
nothing about it.
The Muskrat fathers told him that he
would have no one to help him if a Mink
should pick a quarrel with him. " I can
take care of myself then," said he, and
showed his strong gnawing teeth in a
very fierce way.
It was only when the dainty young
Muskrat daughters talked to him that he
Lonely Old Muskrat 125
began to wonder if he really ought to
stay. He lay awake most of one day
thinking about it and remembering the
sad look in their little eyes when they
said that they should miss him. He was
so disturbed that he ate only three small
roots during the next night. The poor
old Bachelor had a hard time then, but
he was so used to having his own way
and doing what he had started to do, and
not giving up to anybody, that he stayed
The others went away and he began to
build his winter house beside the biggest
ditch. He placed it among some bushes,
so that if the water in the ditch should
ever overflow they would help hold his
house in place. He built it with his
mouth, bringing great mouthfuls of grass
roots and rushes and dropping them on
the middle of the heap. Sometimes they
stayed there and sometimes they rolled
down. If they rolled down he never
126 Among the Night-Time People
brought them back, for he knew that
they would be useful where they were.
When it was done, the house was shaped
like a pine cone with the stem end down,
for after he had made it as high as a tall
milkweed he finished off the long slope
up which he had been running and made
it look like the other sides.
After that he began to burrow up into
it from below. The right way to do, he
knew, was to have his doorway under
water and dive down to it. Other winters
he had done this and had given the water
a loud slap with his tail as he dived.
Now there was not enough water to dive
into, and when he tried slapping on it
his tail went through to the ditch bot-
tom and got muddy. He had to fix
the doorway as best he could, and then
he ate out enough of the inside of his
house to make a good room and poked a
small hole through the roof to let in
THE MARSH SEEMED SO EMPTY AND LONELY.
Lonely Old Muskrat 127
After the house was done, he slept
there during the days and prowled around
outside at night. He slept there, but ate
none of the roots of which it was made
until the water in the ditch was frozen
hard. He knew that there would be a
long, long time when he could not dig
fresh roots and must live on those.
At night the marsh seemed so empty
and lonely that he hardly knew what
to do. He did n't enjoy his meals, and
often complained to the Mice that the
roots did not taste so good to him as
those they used to have when he was
young. He tried eating other things and
found them no better. When there was
bright moonlight, he sat upon the high-
est tussock he could find and thought
about his grandfathers and grandmothers.
" If they had not eaten their houses," he
once said to a Mouse, " this marsh would
be full of them."
" No it would n't," answered the Mouse,
128 Among the Night-Time People
who did n't really mean to contradict him,
but thought him much mistaken. " If
the houses had n't been eaten, they would
have been blown down by the wind and
beaten down by rains and washed away
by floods. It is better so. Who wants
things to stay the way they are forever
and ever ? I 'd rather see the trees drop
their leaves once in a while and grow
new ones than to wear the same old ones
after they are ragged and faded."
The Bachelor Muskrat did n't like this
very well, but he could n't forget it.
When he awakened in the daytime he
would think about it and at night he
thought more. He was really very for-
lorn, and because he had nobody else to
think about he thought too much of himself
and began to believe that he was lame and
sick. When he sat on a tussock and re-
membered all the houses which his grand-
parents had built and eaten, he became
very sad and sighed until his fat sides
Lonely Old Muskrat 129
shook. He wished that he could sleep
through the winter like the Ground Hog,
or through part of it like the Skunk, but
just as sure as night came his eyes popped
open and there he was awake.
When spring came he thought of his
friends who had gone to the swamp and
he knew that last year's children were
marrying and digging burrows of their
own. The poor old Bachelor wanted to
go to them, yet he was so used to doing
what he had said he would, and disliked
so much to let anybody know that he was
mistaken, that he chose to stay where he
was, without water enough for diving and
with hardly enough for swimming. How
it would have ended nobody knows, had
the farmer not come to plough up the old
drained marsh for planting celery.
Then the Bachelor went. He reached
his new home in the early morning, and
the mothers let their children stay up until
it was quite light so that he might see
130 Among the Night-Time People
them plainly. " Is n't it pleasant here ?"
they cried. " Don't you like it better
than the old place ? "
" Oh, it does very well," he answered,
" but you must remember that I only
moved because I had to."
" Oh, yes, we understand that," said one
of the mothers, " but we hope you will
really like it here."
Afterward her husband said to her,
" Don't you know he was glad to come ?
What 's the use of being so polite ? "
" Poor old fellow," she answered. " He
is so queer because he lives alone, and
I 'm sorry for him. Just see him eat."
And truly it was worth while to watch
him, for the roots tasted sweet to him,
and, although he had not meant to be, he
was very happy far happier than if he
had had his own way.
THE GREEDY RED FOX
HP HE Red Fox had been well brought
* up. His mother was a most cau-
tious person and devoted to her children.
When he did things which were wrong,
he could never excuse himself by saying
that he did not know better. Of course
it is possible that he was like his father
in being so reckless, yet none of his two
brothers. and three sisters were like him.
They did not remember their father. In
fact, they had never seen him, and their
mother seldom spoke of him.
His mother had taken all the care of
her six children, even pulling fur from
her own belly to make a soft nest cover-
ing for them when they were first born.
They were such helpless babies. Their
132 Among the Night-Time People
eyes and ears were closed for some time,
and all they could do was to tumble each
other around and drink the warm milk
that their mother had for them.
They had three burrows to live in, all
of them in an open field between the
forest and the farmhouse. Sometimes
they lived in the first, sometimes in the
second, and sometimes in the third. One
night when their mother went out to
hunt, she smelled along the ground near
the burrow and then came back. " There
has been a man near here," she said, " and
I shall take you away."
That excited the little Foxes very
much, and each wanted to be the first to
go, but she hushed them up, and said that
if they talked so loudly as that some man
might catch them before they moved, and
then . She said nothing more, yet they
knew from the way she moved her tail
that it would be dreadful to have a man
The Greedy Red Fox 133
While she was carrying them to an-
other burrow one at a time, those who
were left behind talked about men. " I
wish I knew why men are so dreadful,"
said the first. " It must be because they
have very big mouths and sharp teeth."
" I wonder what color their fur is," said
Now these young Foxes had seen no-
body but their mother. If she had not
told them that different animals wore
different colored furs, they would have
thought that everybody looked just like
her, with long reddish-yellow fur and that
on the hinder part of the back quite griz-
zled ; throat, belly, and the tip of the tail
white, and the outside of the ears black.
They were very sure, however, that no
other animal had such a wonderful tail as
she, with each of its long, reddish hairs
tipped with black and the beautiful brush
of pure white at the end. In fact, she had
told them so.
134 Among the Night-Time People
The next time their mother came back,
the four children who were still there
cried out, " Please tell us, what color is a
man's fur ? "
She was a sensible and prudent Fox,
and knew it was much more important to
keep her children from being caught than
it was to answer all their questions at
once. Besides, she already had one child
in her mouth when they finished their
question, and she would not put him
down for the sake of talking. And that
also was right, you know, for one can
talk at any time, but the time to do work
is just when it needs to be done.
After they were snugly settled in the
other burrow, she lay down to feed them,
and while they were drinking their milk
she told them about men. " Men," she
said, " are the most dreadful animals there
are. Other animals will not trouble you
unless they are hungry, but a man will
chase you even when his stomach is full.
The Greedy Red Fox 135
They have four legs, of course, all ani-
mals have, but they use only two to walk
upon. Their front legs they use for car-
rying things. We carry with our mouths,
yet the only thing I ever saw a man have
in his mouth was a short brown stick that
was afire at one end. I thought it very
silly, for he could n't help breathing some
of the smoke, and he let the stick burn
up and then threw the fire away. How-
ever, men are exceedingly silly animals."
One of the little Red Foxes stopped
drinking long enough to say, " You did n't
tell us what color their fur is."
" The only fur they have," said Mother
Fox, " is on their heads. They usually
have fur on the top and back parts of their
heads, and some of them have a little on
the lower part of their faces. They may
have black, red, brown, gray, or white fur.
It is never spotted."
The children would have liked to ask
more questions, but Mother Fox had eaten
136 Among the Night-Time People
nothing since the night before, and was in
a hurry to begin her hunt.
One could never tell all that happened
to the little Red Foxes. They moved
from burrow to burrow many times ; they
learned to eat meat which their mother
brought them instead of drinking milk
from her body, they frolicked together
near the doorway of their home, and while
they did this their mother watched from
the edge of the forest, ready to warn them
if she saw men or dogs coming.
She had chosen to dig her burrows in
the middle of a field, because then there
was no chance for men or Dogs to sneak
up to them unseen, as there would have
been in the forest, yet she feared that her
children would be playing so hard that
they might forget to watch. They slept
most of the day, and at night they were
always awake. When they were old
enough, they began to hunt for themselves.
Mother Fox gave them a great deal of
The Greedy Red Fox 137
good advice and then paid no more atten-
tion to them. After that, she took her
naps on a sunny hillside, lying in a beauti-
ful soft reddish-yellow bunch, with her
bushy tail curled around to keep her feet
warm and shade her eyes from the light.
The six brothers and sisters seldom saw
each other after this. Foxes succeed
better in life if they live alone, and of
course they wanted to succeed. The eldest
brother was the reckless one. His mother
had done her best by him, and still he was
reckless. He knew by heart all the rules
that she had taught him, but he did not
keep them. These were the rules :
" Always run on hard, dry things when
you can. Soft, wet places take more scent
from your feet, and Dogs can follow your
trail better on them.
" Never go into any place unless you
are sure you can get out.
" Keep your tail dry. A Fox with a
wet tail cannot run well.
138 Among the Night-Time People
" If Dogs are chasing you, jump on to a
rail fence and run along the top of it or
walk in a brook.
" Always be willing to work for your
food. That which you find all ready and
waiting for you may be the bait of a trap.
" Always walk when you are hunting.
The Fox who trots will pass by that which
he should find."
For a while he said them over to him-
self every night when he started out.
Then he began to skip a night once in a
while. Next he got to saying them only
when he had been frightened the day
before. After that he stopped saying
them altogether. " I am a full-grown Fox
now," he said to himself, " and such things
are only good for children. I guess I
know how to take care of myself."
He often went toward the farmhouse
to hunt, sometimes for grapes, sometimes
for vegetables, and sometimes for heartier
food. Collie had chased him away, but
The Greedy Red Fox 139
Collie was growing old and fat and had to
hang his tongue out when he ran, so the
Red Fox thought it only fun. He trotted
along in the moonlight, his light, slender
body seeming to almost float over the
ground, and his beautiful tail held straight
out behind. His short, slender legs were
strong and did not tire easily, and as long
as he could keep his tail dry he outran
Collie easily. Sometimes he would get
far ahead and sit down to wait for him.
Then he would call out saucy things to
the panting Dog, and only start on when
Collie's nose had almost touched him.
" Fine evening ! " he once said. " Hope
your nose works better than your legs
That was a mean thing to say, you
know, but Collie always keeps his temper
and only answered, " It 's sweating finely,
thank you." He answered that way be-
cause it is the sweat on a Dog's nose
which makes it possible for him to smell
140 Among the Night-Time People
and follow scents which dry-nosed people
do not even know about.
Then the Fox gave a long, light leap,
and was off again, and Collie had to lie
down to breathe. " I think," said he,
" that I can tend Sheep better than I
can chase Foxes and it is a good deal
easier." Still, Collie did n't like to be
beaten and he lay awake the rest of the
night thinking how he would enjoy catch-
ing that Fox. Every little while he heard
the Red Fox barking off in the fields,
and it made him twitch his tail with
Now the Red Fox was walking care-
fully toward the farmhouse and planning
to catch a Turkey. He had watched the
flocks of Turkeys all afternoon from his
sleeping-place on the hillside. Every
time he opened his eyes between naps he
had looked at them as they walked to and
fro in the fields, talking to each other in
their gentle, complaining voices and mov-
The Greedy Red Fox 141
ing their heads back and forth at every
step. If his stomach had not been so
full he would have tried to catch one
then. He made up his mind to try it that
night, and decided that he would rather
have the plump, light-colored one than
any of her darker sisters. He did not
even think of catching the old Gobbler,
for he was so big and strong and fierce-
looking. He had just begun to walk with
the Turkey mothers and children. Dur-
ing the summer they had had nothing to
do with each other.
When the Red Fox reached the farm-
yard, he found them roosting on the low
branches of an apple-tree. A long board
had been placed against it to let the
Chickens walk up. Now the Chickens
were in the Hen-house, but the board was
still there. The Red Fox looked all
around. It was a starlight night. The
farmhouse was dark and quiet. Collie
was nowhere to be seen. Once he heard
142 Among the Night-Time People
a Horse stamp in his sleep. Then all
was still again.
The Red Fox walked softly up the
slanting board. The Gobbler stirred.
The Red Fox stopped with one foot in
the air. When he thought him fast asleep
he went on. The Gobbler stirred again
and so did the others. The Red Fox
sprang for the plump, light-colored one.
She jumped also, and with the others flew
far up to the top of the barn. The Red
Fox ran down the board with five buff
tail-feathers in his mouth. He was much
out of patience with himself. " If I
had n't stopped to pick for her," he said,
" I could have caught one of the others
He sneaked around in the shadows to
see if the noise made by the turkeys had
awakened the farmer or Collie. The
farmhouse was still and dark. Collie was
not at home. " I will look at the Hen-
house," said the Red Fox.
The Greedy Red Fox 143
He walked slowly and carefully to the
Hen-house. The big door was closed and
bolted. He walked all around and into
the poultry yard. There was a small
opening through which the fowls could
pass in and out. The Red Fox managed
to crawl though, but it was not easy. It
squeezed his body and crushed his fur.
He had to push very hard with his hind
feet to get through at all. When he was
inside it took him some time to get his
breath. " That 's the tightest place I
ever was in," said he softly, "but I al-
ways could crawl through a very small
He found the fowls all roosting too
high for him. Perhaps if the Hen-house
had been larger, he might have leaped
and caught one, but there was not room
for one of his finest springs. He went
to the nests and found many eggs there.
These he broke and ate. They ran down
in yellow streams from the corners of his
144 Among the Night-Time People
mouth and made his long fur very sticky.
You can just imagine how hard it would
be to eat raw eggs from the shell with
only your paws in which to hold them.
One egg was light and slippery. He
bit hard to break that one, and when it
broke it was hollow. Not a drop of any-
thing to eat in it, and then it cut his lip a
little, too, so that he could not eat more
without its hurting. He jumped and
said something when he was cut. The
Shanghai Cock, who was awakened by the
noise, said that he exclaimed, " Brambles
and traps ! " but it may not have been
anything so bad as that. We will hope
it was not.
The Shanghai Cock awakened all the
other fowls. " Don't fly off your perch ! "
he cried. " Stay where you are ! Stay
where you are f STAY WHERE YOU ARE ! "
The other Cocks kept saying "Eru-u-u-u,"
as they do when Hawks are near. The
Hens squawked and squawked and
The Greedy Red Fox 145
squawked until they were out of breath.
When they got their breath they squawked
The Red Fox knew that it was time for
him to go. The farmer would be sure to
hear the noise. He put his head out of
the hole through which he had come in, and
he pushed as hard as he could with his
hind feet and scrambled with his fore feet.
His fur was crushed worse than ever, and
he was squeezed so tightly that he could
hardly breathe. You see it had been all
he could do to get in through the hole,
and now he had nine eggs in his stomach
(excepting what had run down at the
corners of his mouth), and he was to.o
large to pass through.
The fowls saw what was the matter, and
wanted to laugh. They thought it very
funny, and yet the sooner he could get
away the better they would like it. The
Red Fox had his head outside and saw a
light flash in the farmer's room. Then he
146 Among the Night-Time People
heard doors open, and the farmer came
toward the Hen-house with a lantern in
his hand. Collie came trotting around the
corner of the house. The Red Fox made
one last desperate struggle and then lay
When the farmer picked him up and
tied a rope around his neck, he had to pull
him backward into the Hen-house to do
it. The Red Fox was very quiet and
gentle, as people of his family always are
when caught. Collie pranced around on
two legs and barked as loudly as he could.
The fowls blinked their round yellow eyes
in the lantern light, and the farmer's man
ran out for an empty Chicken-coop into
which to put the Red Fox. Collie was
usually quite polite, but he had not for-
gotten how rude the Red Fox had been
to him, and it was a fine chance to get
" Good evening ! " he barked. " Oh,
good evening ! I 'm glad you came. Don't
The Greedy Red Fox 147
think you must be going. Excuse me,
but your mouth worked better than your
legs, did n't it ? "
The Red Fox shut his eyes and pre-
tended not to hear. The dirt from the
floor of the Hen-house had stuck to his
egg-covered fur, and he looked very badly.
They put him in a Chicken-coop with a
board floor, so that he could n't burrow
out, and he curled down in a little heap
and hid his face with his tail. Collie hung
around for a while and then went off to
sleep. After he was gone, the Red Fox
cleaned his fur. " I got caught this time,"
he said, " but it won't happen again. Now
I must watch for a chance to get away.
It will surely come."
It did come. But that is another story.
THE UNFORTUNATE FIRE-
OEVERAL very large families of Fire-
^ flies lived in the marsh and were
much admired by their friends who were
awake at night. Once in a while some
young Firefly who happened to awaken
during the day would go out and hover
over the heads of the daylight people.
He never had any attention paid to him
then, however, for during the day he
seemed like a very commonplace little
beetle and nobody even cared to look at
him a second time. The only remarkable
thing about him was the soft light that
shone from his body, and that could only
be seen at night.
The older Fireflies told the younger
The Unfortunate Fireflies 149
ones that they should get all the sleep
they could during the daytime if they
were to flutter and frisk all night. Most
of them did this, but two young Fireflies,
who cared more about seeing the world
than they did about minding their elders,
used to run away while the rest were
dreaming. Each thought herself very im-
portant, and was. sure that if the others
missed her they would n't sleep a wink all
One night they planned to go by day-
light to the farthest corner of the marsh.
They had heard a couple of young Musk-
rats talking about it, and thought it might
be different from anything they had seen.
They went to bed when the rest did and
pretended to fall asleep. When she was
sure that the older Fireflies were dream-
ing, one of them reached over with her
right hind leg and touched the other just
below the edge of her left wing-cover.
" Are you ready ? " she whispered.
150 Among the Night-Time People
" Yes," answered the friend, who hap-
pened to be the smaller of the two.
" Come on, then," said the larger one,
picking her way along on her six tiptoes.
It was already growing light, and they
could see where they stepped, but, you
know, it is hard to walk over rough places
on two tiptoes, so you can imagine what
it must be on six. There are some pleas-
ant things about having many legs. There
are also some hard things. It is a great
When well away from their sleeping
relatives, they lifted their wing-covers,
spread their wings, and flew to the far-
thest corner of the marsh. They were not
afraid of being punished if caught, for they
were orphans and had nobody to bring
them up. They were afraid that if the other
Fireflies awakened they would be called
"silly" or "foolish young bugs." They
thought that they were old enough to take
care of themselves, and did not want advice.
The Unfortunate Fireflies 151
" Oh, would n't they make a fuss if they
knew ! " exclaimed the Larger Firefly.
" They think we need to be told every
single thing," said the Smaller Firefly.
" Guess we 're old enough now to go
off by ourselves," said the Larger Firefly.
" I guess so," answered the Smaller Fire-
fly. " I 'm not afraid if it is light, and I can
see pretty near as well as I can at night."
Just then a Flycatcher darted toward
them and they had to hide. He had
come so near that they could look down
his throat as he flew along with his beak
open. The Fireflies were so scared that
their feelers shook.
" I wish that bird would mind his own
business," grumbled the Larger Firefly.
" That 's just what he was doing," said
a voice beside them, as a Garter Snake
drew himself through the grass. Then
their feelers shook again, for they knew
that snakes do not breakfast on grass and
152 Among the Night-Time People
" Did you ever see such luck ?" said the
Smaller Firefly. " If it is n't birds it is
" Perfectly dreadful ! " answered the
other. " I never knew the marsh to be
so full of horrid people. Besides, my eyes
are bothering me and I can't see plainly."
" So are mine," said the Smaller Firefly.
" Are you going to tell the other Fireflies
all about things to-night ? "
" I don't know that I will," said the
Larger Firefly. " I '11 make them ask
Then they reached the farther corner of
the marsh and crawled around to see what
they could find. Their eyes bothered
them so that they could not see unless
they were close to things, so it was use-
less to fly. They peeped into the cool
dark corners under the skunk cabbage
leaves, and lay down to rest on a bed of
soft moss. A few stalks of last year's
teazles stood, stiff and brown, in the cor-
The Unfortunate Fireflies 153
ner of the fence. The Smaller Firefly
alighted on one and let go in such a
hurry that she fell to the ground.
" Ouch ! " she cried. " It has sharp hooks
all over it."
While they were lying on the moss
and resting, they noticed a queer plant
growing near. It had a flower of green
and dark red which was unlike any other
blossom they had ever seen. The leaves
were even queerer. Each was stiff and
hollow and grew right out of the ground
instead of coming from a stalk.
" I 'm going to crawl into one of them,"
said the Larger Firefly. " There is some-
thing sweet inside. I believe it will be
lots better than the skunk cabbage." She
balanced herself on the top of a fresh
" I 'm going into this one," said the
other Firefly, as she alighted on the edge
of a brown-tipped leaf. "It looks nice
and dark inside. We must tell about this
154 Among the Night-Time People
at the party to-night, even if they don't
Then they repeated together the little
verse that some of the pond people use
when they want to start together :
" Tussock, mud, water, and log,
Muskrat, Snake, Turtle, and Frog,
Here we go into the bog ! "
When they said "bog" each dropped
quickly into her own leaf.
For a minute nobody made a sound.
Then there was a queer sputtering, chok-
ing voice in the fresh green leaf and
exactly the same in the brown-tipped one.
After that a weak little voice in the green
leaf said, " Abuschougerh ! I fell into
Another weak voice from the brown-
tipped one replied, " Gtschagust ! So
On the inside of each leaf were many
stiff hairs, all pointing downward. When
the Fireflies dropped in, they had brushed
The Unfortunate Fireflies 155
easily past these hairs and thought it
rather pleasant. Now that they were
sputtering and choking inside, and wanted
to get out, these same hairs stuck into
their eyes and pushed against their legs
and made them exceedingly uncomforta-
ble. The water, too, had stood for some
time in the leaves and did not smell
Perhaps it would be just as well not to
tell all the things which those two Fire-
flies said, for they were tired and out of
patience. After a while they gave up
trying to get out until they should be
rested. It was after sunset when they
tried the last time, and the light that
shone from their bellies brightened the
little green rooms where they were.
They rested and went at it carefully, in-
stead of in the angry, jerky way which
they had tried before. Slowly, one foot
at a time, they managed to climb out of
the doorway at the top. As they came
156 Among the Night-Time People
out, they heard the squeaky voice of a
young Mouse say, " Oh, where did those
bright things come from ? "
They also heard his mother answer,
" Those are only a couple of foolish Fire-
flies who have been in the leaves of the
pitcher-plant all day."
After they had eaten something they
flew toward home. They knew that it
would be late for the party, and they ex-
pected to surprise and delight everybody
when they reached there. On the way
they spoke of this. " I 'm dreadfully
tired," said one, " but I suppose we shall
have to dance in the air with the rest or
they will make a fuss."
" Yes," said the other. " It spoils
everything if we are not there. And
we '11 have to tell where we Ve been and
what we Ve done and whom we have
seen, when we would rather go to sleep
and make up what we lost during the
TWINKLING WITH HUNDREDS OF TINY LIGHTS. /V J57
The Unfortunate Fireflies 157
As they came near the middle of the
marsh they were surprised to see the
mild summer air twinkling with hundreds
of tiny lights as their friends and rel-
atives flew to and fro in the dusk.
" Well," said the Larger Firefly, " I
think they might have waited for us."
" Humph ! " said the Smaller Firefly.
" If they can't be more polite than that,
I won't play."
" After we Ve had such a dreadfully
hard time, too," said the Larger Firefly.
" Got most eaten by a Flycatcher and
scared by a Garter Snake and shut up all
day in the pitcher-plant. I won't move
a wing to help on their old party."
So two very tired and cross young
Fireflies sat on a last year's cat-tail and
sulked. People did n't notice them be-
cause they were sitting and their bright
bellies didn't show. After a long time
an elderly Firefly came to rest on the cat-
tail and found them. " Good evening,"
158 Among the Nigh t-Time People
said he. " Have you danced until you
are tired ? "
They looked at each other, but before
either could speak one of their young
friends alighted beside them and said
the same thing. Then the Smaller Fire-
fly answered. " We have been away,"
said she, " and we are not dancing to-
" Going away, did you say ? " asked
the elderly Firefly, who was rather deaf.
" I hope you will have a delightful time."
Then he bowed and flew off.
" Don't stay long," added their young
friend. " We shall be so lonely without
After he also was gone, the two runa-
ways looked into each other's eyes.
" We were not even missed ! " they cried.
" We had a bad time and nobody makes
any fuss. They were dancing without
us." Poor little Fireflies !
They were much wiser after that, for
The Unfortunate Fireflies 159
they had learned that two young Fire-
flies were not so wonderfully important
after all. And that if they chose to do
things which it was never meant young
Fireflies should do, they would be likely
to have a very disagreeable time, but
that other Fireflies would go on eating
and dancing and living their own lives.
To be happy, they must keep the Fire-
THE KITTENS COME TO THE
E day the three big Kittens who
lived with their mother in the farm-
er's barn had a dreadful quarrel. If their
mother had been with them, she would
probably have cuffed each with her fore
paw and scolded them soundly. She was
not with them because she had four little
new Kittens lying beside her in the hay-
loft over the stalls.
You would think that the older Kittens
must have been very proud of their baby
brothers and sisters, yet they were not.
They might have done kind little things for
their mother, but they did n't. They just
hunted food for themselves and never
took a mouthful of it to her. And this
The Kittens Come to the Forest 161
does not prove that they were bad Kit-
tens. It just shows that they were young
The Brown Kitten, the one whose fur
was black and yellow mixed so finely as
to look brown, had climbed the barn stairs
to see them. When he reached their cor-
ner he sat down and growled at them.
His mother said nothing at first, but when
he went so far as to switch his tail in a
threatening way, she left her new babies
and sprang at him and told him not to
show his whiskers upstairs again until he
could behave properly.
His sisters, the Yellow Kitten and the
White Kitten, stayed downstairs. They
did n't dislike babies so much as their
brother. They just did n't care anything
about them. Cats never care much about
Kittens, you know, unless they are their
own, and big brothers always say that
they can't bear them.
Now these three older Kittens were
162 Among the Night-Time People
perfectly able to care for themselves. It
was a long time since their mother
stopped feeding them, and they were
already excellent hunters. They had
practised crouching, crawling, and spring-
ing before they left the hay-loft. Some-
times they hunted wisps of hay that
moved when the wind blew in through
the open door. Sometimes they pounced
on each other, and sometimes they hunted
the Grasshoppers who got brought in
with the hay. It was when they were
doing this once that they were so badly
scared, but that is a story which has al-
ready been told.
There was no reason why they should
feel neglected or worry about getting
enough to eat. If one of them had poor
luck in hunting, all he had to do was
to hang around the barn when the Cows
were brought up, and go into the house
with the man when he carried the great
pails full of foamy milk. Then if the Kit-
The Kittens Come to the Forest 163
tens acted hungry, mewed very loudly,
and rubbed up lovingly against the farm-
er's wife they were sure to get a good
dishful of warm milk.
You can see how unreasonable they
were. They had plenty to eat, and their
mother loved them just as much as ever,
but they felt hurt and sulked around in
corners, and answered each other quite
rudely, and would not run after a string
which the farmer's little girl dangled be-
fore them. They were not cross all the
time, because they had been up the whole
night and had to sleep. They stopped
being cross when they fell asleep and be-
gan again as soon as they awakened. The
Hens who were feeding around became
so used to it that as soon as they saw a
Kitten twist and squirm, and act like
awakening, they put their heads down
and ran away as fast as they could.
They did not even keep themselves
clean. Oh, they licked themselves over
164 Among the Night-Time People
two or three times during- the day, but
not thoroughly. The Yellow Kitten did
not once try to catch her tail and scrub
it, and actually wore an unwashed tail all
day. It did n't show very plainly because
it was yellow, but that made it no cleaner.
The White Kitten went around with her
fore paws looking really disgraceful. The
Brown Kitten scrubbed his ears in a sort
of half-hearted way, and paid no attention
to the place under his chin. When he
did his ears, he gave his paw one lick and
his ear one rub, and repeated this only
six times. Everybody knows that a truly
tidy Cat wets his paw with two licks,
cleans his ear with two rubs, and does
this over and over from twenty to forty
times before he begins on the other ear.
Toward night they quarrelled over a
dishful of milk which the farmer's wife
gave them. There was plenty of room
for them all to put their heads into the
dish at once and lap until each had his
The Kittens Come to the Forest 165
share. If it had not been for their whisk-
ers, there would have been no trouble.
These hit, and each told the others to
step back and wait. Nobody did, and
there was such a fuss that the farmer's
wife took the dish away and none of
them had any more. They began to
blame each other and talk so loudly that
the man drove them all away as fast as
they could scamper.
Now that they were separated, each be-
gan to grow more and more discontented.
The Brown Kitten had crawled under the
carriage house, and as soon as it was
really dark he stole off to the forest.
" My mother has more Kittens," he
said, " and my sisters get my whiskers all
out of shape, and I '11 go away and never
come back. I won't say good-by to them
either. I guess they '11 feel badly then
and wish they 'd been nicer to me ! If
they ever find me and want me to come
back, I won't go. Not if they beg and
i66 Among the Night-Time People
beg ! I '11 just turn my tail toward them
and walk away."
The Brown Kitten knew that Cats
sometimes went to live in the woods and
got along very well. He was not ac-
quainted with one who had done this ;
his mother had told him and his sisters
stories of Cats who chose to live so. She
said that was one thing which showed
how much more clever they were than
Dogs. Dogs, you know, cannot live hap-
pily away from men, although there may
be the best of hunting around them.
" I will find a good hollow tree," said
he, " for my home, and I will sleep there
all day and hunt at night. I will eat so
much that I shall grow large and strong.
Then, when I go out to hunt, the forest
people will say, ' Sh ! Here comes the
Brown Cat.' "
As he thought this he was running
softly along the country road toward the
forest. Once in a while he stopped to
The Kittens Come to the Forest 167
listen, and stood with his head raised and
turned and one fore foot in the air. He
kept his ears pointed forward all the
time so as to hear better.
When he passed the marsh he saw the
Fireflies dancing in the air. Sometimes
they flew so low that a Kitten might
catch them. He thought he would try,
so he crawled through the fence and to-
ward the place where they were dancing.
He passed two tired ones sitting on a leaf
and never saw them. That was because
their wings covered their sides so well
that no light shone past, and their bright
bellies were close to the leaf. He had
almost reached the dancers when he found
his paws getting wet and muddy. That
made him turn back at once, for mud was
something he could n't stand. " I wish I
had something to eat," he said, as he took
a bite of catnip. " This is very good for
a relish, but not for a whole meal."
He trotted on toward the forest,
1 68 Among the Night-Time People
thinking about milk and Fireflies and sev-
eral other things, when he was stopped by
some great winged person flying down
toward him and then sweeping upward
and alighting on a branch. The Brown
Kitten drew back stiffly and said,
" Ha-a-ah ! "
"Who? Who? To who ?" asked the
person on the branch.
The Brown Kitten answered, " It is I."
But the question came again : " Who ?
Who? To who?"
That made the Brown Kitten remem-
ber that, since his voice was not known
in the forest, nobody could tell anything
by his answer. This time he replied : " I
am the Brown Kitten, if you please, and
I have come to live in the forest."
"Who? Who? To who?" was the
next question, and the Brown Kitten
thought he was asked to whose home he
" I am not going to anybody," he said.
The Kittens Come to the Forest 169
" I just wanted to come, and left my old
home suddenly. I shall live alone and
have a good time. I did n't even tell my
"Who? Who? To who?" said the
Great Horned Owl, for it was he.
" My m-mother," said the Brown Kit-
ten, and then he ran away as fast as he
could. He had seen the Owl more
clearly as he spoke, and the Owl's face
reminded him a little of his mother and
made him want to see her. He ran so
fast that he almost bumped into the
Skunk, who was taking a dignified stroll
through the forest and sniffing at nearly
everything he saw. It was very lucky,
you know, that he did not quite run into
the Skunk, for Skunks do not like to
be run into, and, if he had done so, other
people would soon have been sniffing at
The Brown Kitten thought that the
Skunk might be related to him. They
170 Among the Night-Time People
were about the same size, and the Brown
Kitten had been told that his relatives
were not only different colors, but differ-
ent shapes. His mother had told of see-
ing some Manx Kittens who had no tails
at all, and he thought that the Skunk's
elegant long-haired one need n't prevent
his being a Cat.
" Good evening," said the Brown Kit-
ten. " Would you mind telling me if you
are a Cat ? "
"Cat? No!" growled the Skunk.
" They sometimes call me a Wood-Kitty,
but they have no right to. I am a Skunk,
Skunk, SKUNK, and I am related to the
Weasles. Step out of my path."
A family of young Raccoons in a tree
called down teasingly to him to come up,
but after he had started they told him to
go down, and then laughed at him be-
cause he had to go tail first. He did
not know that forest climbers turn the
toes of their hind feet backward and
The Kittens Come to the Forest 171
scamper down head first. Still, it would
have made no difference if he had known,
for his toes would n't turn.
He found something to eat now and
then, and he looked for a hollow tree.
He found only one, and that was a Bee
tree, so he could n't use it. All around
him the most beautiful mushrooms were
pushing up from the ground. White,
yellow, orange, red, and brown they were,
and looked so plump and fair that he
wanted to bite them. He knew, how-
ever, that some of them were very poison-
ous, so he did n't even lick them with his
eager, rough little pink tongue. He was
just losing his Kitten teeth, and his
new Cat teeth were growing, and they
made him want to bite almost everything
he saw. One kind of mushroom, which
he thought the prettiest of all, grew only
on the trunks of fallen beech trees. It
was white, and had a great many little
branches, all very close together.
172 Among the Night-Time People
Most of the plants which he saw were
sound asleep. Every plant has to sleep,
you know, and most of them take a long
nap at night. Some of them, like the
water-lilies, also sleep on cloudy days.
He was very fond of the clovers, but
they had their leaflets folded tight, and
only the mushrooms, the evening prim-
roses, and a few others were wide awake.
Everybody whom he met was a stranger,
and he began to feel very lonely. Cats
do not usually mind being alone. In-
deed, they rather like it ; still, you can
see how hard it would be for a Kitten
who had always been loved and cared for
to find himself alone in a dark forest,
where great birds ask the same questions
over and over, and other people make
fun of him. You would n't like it your-
self, if you were a Kitten.
At last, when he was prowling along
an old forest road and hoping to meet a
tender young Wood-Mouse, he saw a
The Kittens Come to the Forest 173
couple of light-colored animals ahead of
him. They looked to him very much
like Kittens, but he remembered how the
Skunk had snubbed him when taken for
a Cat, and he kept still. He ran to over-
take them and see more clearly, and just
as he reached them they all came to a
turn in the road.
Before he could speak or they could
notice that he was there, the wind roared
through the branches above, and just
ahead two terrible great eyes glared at
them out of an old log. They all stopped
with their back-fur bristling and their
tails arched stiffly. Not a sound did one
of them make. They lifted first one foot
and then another and backed slowly
and silently away. When they had gone
far enough, they turned quickly and ran
down the old road as fast as their
twelve feet could carry them. They
never stopped until they were in the
road for home and could look back in the
174 Among the Night-Time People
starlight and be sure that nobody was
following them. Then they stared at
each other the Yellow Kitten, the White
Kitten, and the Brown Kitten.
" Did you run away to live in the for-
est ? " asked the sisters.
" Did you ? " asked the Brown Kitten.
" You '11 never tell ? " said they.
" Never ! " said he.
" Well then, we did run away, and met
each other just before you came. We
meant to live in the forest."
" So did I," said he. " And I could n't
find any hollow tree."
"Did you meet that dreadful bird?"
said they, " the one who never hears
your answers and keeps asking you over
and over ? "
" Yes," said he. " Don 't you ever tell ! "
"Ha-ha!" screamed a laughing little
Screech-Owl, who had seen what had
happened in the old forest road and
flapped along noiselessly behind them.
The Kittens Come to the Forest 1 75
" Three big Kittens afraid of fox-fire !
O-ho ! O-ho ! "
Now all of them had heard about fox-
fire and knew it was the light which
shines from some kinds of rotten wood in
the dark, but they held up their heads and
answered, " We 're not afraid of fox-fire."
"Ha-ha!" screamed the Screech-Owl
again. " Thought you saw big eyes glar-
ing at you. Only fox-fire. Dare you to
come back if you are not afraid."
" We don't want to go back," answered
the Brown Kitten. " We have n't time."
"Ha-ha!" screamed the Screech-Owl.
" Have n't time ! Where are you going ? "
" Going home, of course," answered
the Brown Kitten. And then he whis-
pered to his sisters, " Let 's ! "
" All right," said they, and they raced
down the road as fast as they could go.
To this day their mother does not know
that they ever ran away from home.
But it was only fox-fire.
THE INQUISITIVE WEASELS
'""PHE Weasels were very unpopular with
1 most of the forest people, the pond
and meadow people did not like them,
and those who lived in the farmyard
could n't bear them. Something went
wrong there every time that a Weasel
came to call. Once, you know, the Dork-
ing Hen was so frightened that she
broke her wonderful shiny egg, and there
were other times when even worse things
had happened. Usually there was a
Chicken or two missing after the Weasel
The Weasels were very fond of their
own family, however, and would tell their
best secrets to each other. That meant
almost as much with them as to share food,
The Inquisitive Weasels 177
for they were very inquisitive and always
wanted to know all about everything.
They minded their own business, but they
minded everybody's else as well. If you
told a thing to one Weasel you might be
sure that before the night was over every
Weasel in the neighborhood would know
all about it. They told other people, too,
when they had a chance. They were
dreadful gossips. If they saw a person
do something the least unusual, they
thought about it and talked about it and
wondered what it meant, and decided that
it meant something very remarkable and
became very much excited. At such times,
they made many excuses to go calling, and
always managed to tell about what they
had seen, what they had heard, and what
they were perfectly certain it meant.
They went everywhere, and could go
quietly and without being noticed. They
were small people, about as long as Rats,
but much more slender, and with such
178 Among the Night-Time People
short legs that their bodies seemed to
almost lie on the ground. All their fur
was brown, except that on their bellies and
the inside of their legs, which was pure
white. Sometimes the fur on their feet
matched their backs and sometimes it
matched their bellies. That was as might
happen. You can easily see how they
could steal along over the brown earth or
the dead leaves and grass without showing
plainly. In winter they turned white, and
then they did not show on the snow. The
very tip of their short tails stayed a pale
brown, but it was so tiny as hardly to be
noticed. Any Hawk in the air, who saw
just that bit of brown on the snow beneath
him, would be likely to think it a leaf or a
piece of bark and pay no more attention
The Weasel mothers were very careful
of their children and very brave. It made
no difference how great the danger might
be, they would stay by their babies and
IN WINTER THEY TURNED WHITE.
The Inquisitive Weasels 179
fight for them. And such workers as they
were ! It made no difference to them
whether it was day or night, they would
burrow or hunt just the same. When they
were tired they slept, and when they
awakened they began at once to do
Several families lived in the high bank
by the edge of the forest, just where the
ground slopes down to the marsh. They
had lived there year after year, and had
kept on adding to their burrows. There
was only one doorway to each burrow and
that was usually hidden by some leaves or
a stone. They were hardly as large as
Chipmunk's holes and easily hidden. " It
is a good thing to have a fine, large home,"
said the Weasels, " but we build for com-
fort, not for show."
All the Weasel burrows began alike,
with a straight, narrow hall. Then more
halls branched off from this, and every little
way there would be a room in which to
180 Among the Night-Time People
turn around or rest. In some of these
they stored food ; in others they had noth-
ing but bones and things which were left
from their meals. Each burrow had one
fine, large room, bigger than an Ovenbird's
nest, with a soft bed of leaves and fur.
Some of the rooms were so near the top
of the ground that a Weasel could dig his
way up in a few minutes if he needed
another door. They were the loveliest
sort of places for playing hide-and-seek,
and that is a favorite Weasel game, only
every Weasel wants to seek instead of
hiding. There was never a bit of loose
earth around these homes, and that is the
one secret which Weasels will not tell out
of the family they never tell what they
do with the earth they dig out. It just
Weasels like to hunt in parties. They
say there is no fun in doing anything un-
less you have somebody with whom to
talk it over. One night four of them.
The Inquisitive Weasels 181
went out together as soon as it was
dark. They were young fellows and had
planned to go to the farmer's Hen-house
for the first time. They started to go
there, but of course they wanted to see
everything by the way. They would run
straight ahead for a little while, then
turn off to one side, as Ants do, poking
into a Chipmunk's hole or climbing a tree
to find a bird's nest, eating whatever
food they found, and talking softly about
" It is disgraceful the way that Chip-
munk keeps house," said one of them, as
he came back from going through a bur-
row under a tree. " Half-eaten food
dropped right on the floor of the burrow
in the most careless way. It was only a
nut. If it had been anything I cared for,
I would have eaten it myself."
Then they gossiped about Chipmunks,
and said that, although they always looked
trim and neat, there was no telling what
1 82 Among the Night-Time People
sort of housekeepers they were ; and that
it really seemed as though they would do
better to stay at home more and run
about the forest less. The Chipmunk
heard all this from the tree where he had
hidden himself, and would have liked to
speak right out and tell them what he
thought of callers who entered one's
home without knocking and sneaked
around to see how things were kept. He
knew better than to do so, however. He
knew that when four hungry Weasels
were out hunting their supper, it was an
excellent time to keep still. He was
right. And there are many times when
it is better for angry people to keep still,
even if they are not afraid of being
After they had gone he came down.
" It was lucky for me," he said, " that I
awakened hungry and ate a lunch. If I
had n 't been awake to run away there 's
no telling where I would be now. There
The Inquisitive Weasels 183
are some things worse than having people
think you a poor housekeeper."
Just as the Chipmunk was finishing his
lunch, one of the Weasels whispered to
the others to stop. " There is somebody
coming," said he. " Let 's wait and see
what he is doing."
It was the Black-tailed Skunk, who
came along slowly, sniffing here and there,
and once in a while stopping to eat a few
44 Does n 't it seem to you that he acts
very queerly ? " said one of the Weasels
to the rest.
" Very," replied another. " And he
does n't look quite as usual. I don't
know that I ever saw him carry his tail in
just that way."
" I 'd like to know where he is going,"
said another. " I guess he does n 't think
anybody will see him."
" Let 's follow him," said the fourth
Weasel, who had not spoken before.
184 Among the Night-Time People
While he was near them they hid be-
hind a hemlock log out of which many
tiny hemlocks were growing. Once in a
while they peeped between the soft
fringy leaves of these to see what he was
doing. They were much excited. " He
is putting his nose down to the ground,"
one would say. " It must be that he has
Then another would poke his little
head up through the hemlocks and look
at the Skunk. "He could n 't have found
anything after all," he would say. " I
can 't hear him eating."
" It is very strange," the rest would
Now it just happened that the Black-
tailed Skunk had scented the Weasels
and knew that they were near. He had
also heard the rustling behind the hem-
lock log. He knew what gossips Weas-
els are, and he guessed that they were
watching him, so he decided to give them
The Inquisitive Weasels 185
something to think about. He knew that
they would often fight people larger than
themselves, but he was not afraid of any-
body. He did not care to fight them
either, for if he got near enough to really
enjoy it they would be likely to bite him
badly, and when a Weasel has set his
teeth into anybody it is not easy to make
him let go. " I rather think," said he to
himself, " that there will be four very tired
young Weasels sleeping in their burrows
" He 's walking away," whispered one
of the Weasels. " Where do you suppose
he is going ? "
" We '11 have to find out," said the
others, as they crept quietly out of their
The Skunk went exactly where he
wanted to. Whenever he found food he
ate it. The Weasels who followed after
found nothing left for them. They be-
came very hungry, but if one of them
1 86 Among the Night-Time People
began to think of going off for a lunch, the
Skunk was certain to do something queer.
Sometimes he would lie down and laugh.
Then the Weasels would peep at him from
a hiding-place and whisper together.
" What do you suppose makes him
laugh ? " they would ask. " It must be
that he is thinking of something wonder-
ful which he is going to do. We must
not lose sight of him."
Once he met the Spotted Skunk, his
brother, and they whispered together for
a few minutes. Then the Spotted Skunk
laughed, and as he passed on, the Black-
tailed Skunk called back to him : " Be
sure not to tell any one. I do not want it
known what I am doing."
Then the four young Weasels nudged
each other and said, " There ! We knew
it all the time ! "
After that, nobody spoke about being
hungry. All they cared for was the fol-
lowing of the Black-tailed Skunk. Once,
The Inquisitive Weasels 187
when they were in the marsh, they were
so afraid of being seen that they slipped
into the ditch and swam for a way. They
were good swimmers and did n't much
mind, but it just shows how they followed
the Skunk. Once he led them over to
the farm and they remembered their plan
of going to the Hen-house. They were
very, very hungry, and each looked at
the others to see what they thought about
letting the Skunk go and stopping for
a hearty supper. Still, nobody spoke of
doing so. One Weasel whispered : " Now
we shall surely see what he is about. He
ought to know that he cannot do wrong
or mischievous things without being found
out. And since we discover it ourselves,
we shall certainly feel free to speak of
Collie, the watch-dog, was sleeping
lightly, and came rushing around the
corner of the house to see what strangers
were there, but when he saw who they
1 88 Among the Night-Time People
were, he dropped his tail and walked
away. He was old enough to know many
things, and he knew too much to fight
either a Skunk or a Weasel. Every one
lets Skunks alone, and it is well to let
Weasels alone also, for although they are
so small they bite badly.
Now the Black-tailed Skunk turned to
the forest and walked toward his hole.
The Screech - Owl passed them flying
homeward, and several times Bats darted
over their heads. When they went by
the Bats' cave they could tell by the
sound that ten or twelve were inside
hanging themselves up for the day. A
dim light showed in the eastern sky, and
the day birds were stirring and beginning
to preen their feathers.
" What do you think it means ? " whis-
pered the Weasels. "He seems to be
going home. Do you suppose he has
changed his mind ? "
When he reached his hole the Black-
The Inquisitive Weasels 189
tailed Skunk stopped and looked around.
The Weasels hid themselves under some
fallen leaves. " I bid you good-morning,"
said the Skunk, looking toward the place
where they were. " I hope you are not
too tired. This walk has been very easy
for me, but I fear it was rather long for
Weasels. Besides, I have found plenty
to eat and have chosen smooth paths for
myself. Good-morning ! I have enjoyed
your company ! "
When even the tip of his tail was hid-
den in the hole, the Weasels crawled from
under the leaves and looked at each other.
" We believe he knew all the time that
we were following him," they said. " He
acted queerly just to fool us. The
wretch ! "
Yet after all, you see, he had done only
what he did every night, and it was be-
cause they were watching and talking
about him that they thought him going
on some strange errand.
THE THRIFTY DEER MOUSE
A A J HEN the days grew short and chilly,
* and bleak winds blew out of the
great blue-gray cloud banks in the west,
many of the forest people went to sleep
for the winter. And not only they, but
over in the meadow the Tree Frog and
the Garter Snake had already crawled
out of sight and were dreaming sweetly.
The song birds had long before this
started south, and the banks of the pond
and its bottom of comfortable soft mud
held many sleepers. Under the water
the Frogs had snuggled down in groups
out of sight. Some of the Turtles were
there also, and some were in the bank.
The Ground Hogs had grown stupid
and dozy before the last leaves fluttered
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 191
to the ground, and had been the first of
the fur-bearers to go to bed for the
winter. There were so many interesting
things to see and do in the late fall days
that they tried exceedingly hard to keep
A Weasel was telling a Ground Hog
something one day and it was a very
interesting piece of gossip, only it was
rather unkind, and so might better not
be told here when he saw the Ground
Hog winking very slow and sleepy winks
and letting his head droop lower and
lower. Once he asked him if he under-
stood. The Ground Hog jumped and
opened his eyes very wide indeed, and
said : " Oh, yes, yes ! Perfectly ! Oh-ah-
ah-ah-ah-ah." His yawn did n't look so
big as it sounds, because his mouth was
He tried to act politely interested, but
just as the Weasel reached the most
exciting part of his story, the Ground
1 92 Among the Night-Time People
Hog rolled over sound asleep. The next
day he said " good-by " to his friends,
wished them a happy winter, and said he
might see some of them before spring,
as he should come out once to make the
weather. " I only hope I shall awaken
in time," he said, " but I am fat enough
to sleep until the violets are up."
He had to be fat, you know, to last
him through the cold weather without
eating. He was so stout that he could
hardly waddle, his big, loose-skinned
body dragged when he walked, and
was even shakier than ever. He really
could n't hurry by jumping and he was
so short of breath that he could barely
whistle when he went into his hole.
The Raccoons went after the Ground
Hog and the Skunks were later still.
They never slept so very long, and said
they did n't really need to at all, and
would n't except that they had nothing
to do and it made housekeeping easier.
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 193
It saved so much not to have to go out
to their meals in the coldest weather.
When the large people were safely out
of the way, the smaller ones had their
best times. The Muskrats were awake,
but they had their big houses to eat and
were not likely to trouble Mice and
Squirrels. There was not much to fear
except Owls and Weasels. The Ground
Hogs had once tried to get the Great
Horned Owl to go south when the
Cranes did, and he had laughed in their
faces. " To-whoo ! " said he. " Not I !
I 'm not afraid of cold weather. You
don't know how warm feathers are. I
never wear anything else. Furs are all
right, but they are not feathers."
He and his relatives sat all day in their
holes, and seldom flew out except at
night. Sometimes, when the day was
not too bright, they made short trips out
for luncheon. It was very unfortunate
for any Mouse to be near at those times.
194 Among the Night-Time People
Now the snow had fallen and the beau-
tiful still cold days had come. The
Weasels' fur had changed from brown to
white, as it does in cold countries in
winter. The Chipmunks had taken their
last scamper until early spring, and were
living, each alone, in their comfortable
burrows. They were most independent
and thrifty. No one ever heard of a
Chipmunk lacking food unless some rob-
ber had carried off his nuts and corn.
The Mice think that it must be very
dull for a Chipmunk to stay by himself
all winter, since he does not sleep steadily.
The Chipmunks do not find it so. One
of them said : " Dull ? I never find it dull.
When I am awake, I eat or clean my fur
or think. If I had any one staying with
me he might rouse me when I want to
sleep, or pick the nut that I want for
myself, or talk when I am thinking. No,
thank you, I will go calling when I want
THE MICE MAKE WINTER THEIR PLAYTIME.
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 195
The Mice make winter their playtime.
Then the last summer's babies are all
grown up and able to look out for them-
selves, and the fathers and mother's have
a chance to rest. The Meadow Mice
come together in big parties and build
groups of snug winter homes under the
snow of the meadow, with many tiny
covered walks leading from one to an-
other. Their food is all around them
grass roots and brown seeds and there
is so much of it that they never quarrel
to see who shall have this root and who
shall have that. They sleep during the
daytime and awaken to eat and visit and
have a good time at night.
Sometimes they are awakened in the
daytime, as they were when the Grouse
broke through the snow near them. That
was an accident, and the Grouse felt very
sorry about it. They had snuggled down
in a cozy family party near by, and were'
just starting out for a stroll one morning
196 Among the Night-Time People
when the eldest son stumbled and fell
and crushed through the snow into the
little settlement of Meadow Mice.
The young Grouse was much ashamed
of his awkwardness. " I am so sorry,"
he said. " I 'm not used to my snow-
shoes yet. This is the first winter I have
"That is all right," said the Oldest
Mouse politely. "It must be hard to
manage them at first. We hope you will
have better luck after this." Then they
bowed to each other and the Grouse
walked off to join his brothers and sisters,
lifting his feet with their newly grown
feather snow-shoes very high at every
step. The Meadow Mice went to work
to make their homes neat again, yet they
never looked really right until that snow
had melted and more had fallen. One
might think that the Meadow Mice and
the Grouse would care less for each
other after that, but it was not so. It
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 197
never is so if people who make trouble
are quick to say that they are sorry, and
those who were hurt will keep patient
It was only the night after this hap-
pened that one of the Deer Mice had a
great fright. His home was in a Bee
tree in the forest. The Bees and he had
always been the best of friends, and now
that they were keeping close to their
honeycomb all winter, the Deer Mouse
had taken a small room in the same tree.
It helped to keep him warm when he
slept close to the Bees, for there was
always some heat coming from their
bodies. Once in a while, too, he took
a nibble of honey, and they did not mind.
The Deer Mouse did not keep much
of his own winter food where he lived.
He had a few beechnuts near by, and
when the weather was very stormy in-
deed he ate some of these. There was
room for many more in the storeroom
198 Among the Night-Time People
(another hole in the Bee tree), but he
liked to keep food in many -places. " It
is wiser," said he. " Supposing I had
them all here and this tree should be
blown down, and it should fall in such
a way that I could n't reach the hole.
What would I do then ? "
He was talking to a Rabbit when he
said this. The Rabbit never stored up
food himself, yet he sometimes told other
people how he thought it should be done.
He was sure it would be better to have
all the nuts in one place as the Chip-
munks did. And now that the Deer
Mouse had given his reasons, he was just
as sure as ever. " The Bee tree is not
very likely to blow down in that way,"
said he. " There is not much danger."
" Not much, but some," answered the
Deer Mouse. " Hollow trees fall more
quickly than solid ones. You may store
your food where you please and I '11 take
care of mine."
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 199
The Deer Mouse spoke very decidedly,
although he was perfectly polite. His
beautiful brown eyes looked squarely at
the Rabbit, and you could tell by the po-
sition of his slender long tail that he was
much in earnest. The Rabbit went home.
The Deer Mouse put away hundreds
and hundreds of beechnuts. These he
took carefully out of their shells and laid
in nicely lined holes in tree-trunks. He
used leaves for lining these places. Be-
sides keeping food in the trees, he hid
little piles of nuts under stones and logs,
and tucked seeds into chinks of fences
or tiny pockets in the ground. He had
worked in the wheatfield after the grain
was cut, picking up and carrying away the
stray kernels which had fallen from the
sheaves. He never counted the places
where food was stored, but he was happy
in thinking about them. When he lay
down to sleep in the morning he always
knew where the next night's meals were
2OO Among the Night-Time People
coming from. There was not a thriftier,
happier person in the forest. He was gen-
tle, good-natured, and exceedingly busi-
nesslike. He was also very handsome,
with large ears and white belly and feet.
The night after his cousins, the Meadow
Mice, had been so frightened by the
Grouse, this Deer Mouse started out for
a good time. He called on the Meadow
Mice, ate a chestnut which he dug up in
the edge of the forest, scampered up a
fence-post and tasted of his hidden wheat
to be sure that it was keeping well, and
then went to the tree where most of his
beechnuts were stored. He was not
quite certain that he wanted to eat one,
but he wished to be sure that they were
all right before he went on. He had
been invited to a party by some other
Deer Mice, and so, you see, it would n't
do for him to spoil his appetite. They
would be sure to have refreshments at
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 201
" I suppose they are all right," said he,
as he started to run up the tree ; " still it
is just as well to be sure."
" My whiskers ! " he exclaimed, when
he reached the hole. " If that is n't just
like a Red Squirrel ! "
The opening into the tree had been
barely large enough for him to squeeze
through, and now he could pass in without
crushing his fur. Around the edge of it
were many marks of sharp teeth. Some-
body had wanted to get in and had not
found the doorway large enough. The
Deer Mouse went inside and sat on his
beechnuts. Then he thought and thought
and thought. He knew very well that it
was a Red Squirrel, for the Red Squirrels
are not so thrifty as most of the nut-
eaters. They make a great fuss about
gathering food in the fall, and frisk and
chatter and scold if anybody else comes
where they are busy. For all that, the
Chipmunks and the Deer Mice work
2O2 Among the Night-Time People
much harder than they. It is not always
the person who makes the greatest fuss,
you know, who does the most.
A Red Squirrel is usually out of food
long before spring comes, and after that
he takes whatever he can lay his paws on.
Sometimes the Chipmunks tell them that
they should be ashamed of themselves and
work harder. Then the Red Squirrels sigh
and answer, " Oh, that is all very well for
you to say, still you must remember that
we have not such cheek pouches as you."
The Deer Mouse thought of these
things. " Cheek pouches ! " cried he. " I
have no cheek pouches, but I lay up my
own food. It is only an excuse when
they say that. I don't think much of
people who make excuses."
He passed through the doorway several
times to see just how big it was. He
found it was not yet large enough for a
Red Squirrel. Then he scampered over
the snow to a friend's home. " I 'm not
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 203
going to the party," said he. "I have
some work to do."
"Work?" said the friend. "Work?
In winter?" But before he had finished
speaking his caller had gone.
All night long the Deer Mouse carried
beechnuts from the old hiding-place to a
new one. He wore quite a path in the
snow between one tree and the other.
His feet were tiny, but there were four
of them, and his long tail dragged after
him. It was riot far that he had to go.
The new place was one which he had
looked at before. It was in a maple tree,
and had a long and very narrow opening
leading to the storeroom. It was having
to go so far into the tree that had kept
the Deer Mouse from using it before. Now
he liked it all the better for having this.
" If that Red Squirrel ever gnaws his
way in here," he said, " he won't have any
teeth left for eating."
When the sun rose, the Deer Mouse
204 Among the Night-Time People
went to sleep in the maple tree. The Red
Squirrel came and gnawed at the opening
into his old storeroom. If he had gnawed
all day he would surely have gotten in.
As it was, he had to spend much time
hunting for food. He found some frozen
apples still hanging in the orchard, and
bit away at them until he reached the
seeds inside. He found one large acorn,
but it was old and tasted musty. He
also squabbled with another Red Squirrel
and chased him nearly to the farmyard.
Then Collie heard them and chased him
most of the way back.
When night came and he ran off to
sleep in his hollow tree, he had made the
hole almost, but not quite, large enough.
He could smell the beechnuts inside, and
it made him hungry to think how good
they would taste. " I will get up early
to-morrow morning and come here," he
said. " I can gnaw my way in before
breakfast, and then ! "
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 205
He went off in fine leaps to his home
and was soon sound asleep. In summer
he often frolicked around half of the
night, but now it was cold, and when the
sun went down he liked to get home
quickly and wrap up warmly in his tail.
The Red Squirrel was hardly out of sight
when the Deer Mouse came along his
path in the snow and up to his old store-
room. His dainty white feet shook a lit-
tle as he climbed, and he hardly dared
look in for fear of finding the hole empty.
You can guess how happy he was to find
All night long he worked, and when
morning came it was a very tired little
Deer Mouse who carried his last beech-
nut over the trodden path to its safe new
resting place. He was tired but he was
There was just one other thing that he
wanted to do. He wanted to see that Red
Squirrel when he found the beechnuts
206 Among the Night-Time People
gone. He waited near by for him to
come. It was a beautiful, still winter
morning when the hoar-frost clung to all
the branches, and the shadows which fell
upon the snow looked fairly blue, it was
so cold. The Deer Mouse crouched
down upon his dainty feet to keep them
warm, and wrapped his tail carefully
around to help.
Along came the Red Squirrel, dashing
finely and not noticing the Deer Mouse
at all. A few leaps brought him to the
tree, a quick run took him to the hole,
and then he began to gnaw. The Deer
Mouse was growing sleepy and de-
cided not to wait longer. He ran along
near the Red Squirrel. " Oh, good-morn-
ing ! " said he. " Beautiful day ! I see
you are getting that hole ready to use.
Hope you will like it. I liked it very
well for a while, but I began to fear it
was n't safe."
" Wh-what do you mean ? " asked the
The Thrifty Deer Mouse 207
Red Squirrel sternly. He had seen the
Deer Mouse's eyes twinkle and he was
afraid of a joke.
" Oh," answered the Deer Mouse with a
careless whisk of his tail, " I had some
beechnuts there until I moved them."
" You had ! " exclaimed the Red Squir-
rel. He did not gnaw any after that.
He suddenly became very friendly. " You
could n't tell me where to find food, I sup-
pose," said he. " I 'd eat almost anything."
The Deer Mouse thought for a min-
ute. " I believe," said he, " that you will
find plenty in the farmer's barn, but you
must look out for the Dog."
" Thank you," said the Red Squirrel.
" I will go."
" There ! " said the Deer Mouse after
he had whisked out of sight. "He has
gone to steal from the farmer. Still,
men have so very much that they ought
to share with Squirrels."
And that, you know, is true.
THE HUMMING-BIRD AND THE
""PHE Hawk-Moths are acquainted with
* nearly everybody and are great so-
ciety people. They are invited to com-
panies given by the daylight set, and also
to parties given at night by those who
sleep during the day. This is not be-
cause the Hawk-Moths are always awake.
Oh dear, no ! There is nobody in pond,
forest, meadow, marsh, or even in houses,
who can be well and strong and happy
without plenty of sleep.
The Hawk-Moths were awake more or
less during the day, but it was not until
the sun was low in the western sky that
they were busiest. When every tree had
a shadow two or three times as long as
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 209
the tree itself, then one heard the whir-r-r
of wings and the Hawk-Moths darted
past. They staid up long after the day-
light people went to bed. The Catbird,
who sang from the tip of the topmost
maple tree branch long after most of
his bird friends were asleep, said that
when he tucked his head under his wing
the Hawk-Moths were still flying. In
that way, of course, they became ac-
quainted with the people of the night-
There was one fine large Hawk-Moth
who used to be a Tomato Worm when
he was young, although he really fed as
much upon potato vines as upon tomato
plants. He was handsome from the tip
of his long, slender sucking-tongue to the
tip of his trim, gray body. His wings
were pointed and light gray in color, with
four blackish lines across the hind ones.
His body was also gray, and over it and
his wings were many dainty markings of
2io Among the Night-Time People
black or very dark gray. On the back
part of it he had ten square yellow spots
edged with black. There were also twenty
tiny white spots there, but he did not
care so much for them. He always felt
badly to think that his yellow spots
showed so little. That could n't be helped,
of course, and he should have been thank-
ful to have them at all.
Another thing which troubled him was
the fact tha't he could n't see his own yellow
spots. He would have given a great deal
to do so. He could see the yellow spots
of other Hawk-Moths who had been To-
mato Worms when he was, but that was
not like seeing his own. He had tried
and tried, and it always ended in the
same way his eyes were tired and his
back ached. His body was so much
stouter and stiffer than that of his butter-
fly cousins that he could not bend it
When he got to thinking about his
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 211
yellow spots he often flew away to the
farmer's potato-fields, where the young
Tomato Worms were feeding. He
would fly around them and cry out :
" Look at my yellow spots. Are they
not fine ? " Then he would dart away
to the vegetable-garden and balance him-
self in the air over the tomato plants.
The humming of his wings would make
the Tomato Worms there look up, and
he would say : "If you are good little
Worms and eat a great deal, you may
some day become fine Moths like me and
have ten yellow spots apiece."
Sometimes he even went down to the
corner where the farmer had tobacco
plants growing, and showed his yellow
spots to the Tomato Worms there. He
never went anywhere else, for these
worms do not care for other things to
eat. Everywhere that he went the To-
mato Worms exclaimed : " Oh ! Oh !
What beautiful yellow spots ! What
212 Among the Night-Time People
wonderful yellow spots ! " When he flew
away they would not eat for a while, but
rested on their fat pro-legs, raised the
front part of their bodies in the air, folded
their six little real legs under their chins,
and thought and thought and thought.
They always sat in that position when they
were thinking, and they had a great many
cousins who did the same thing. It was
a habit which ran in the family.
When other people saw them sitting in
this way, with their real legs crossed un-
der their chins, they always cried : " Look
at the Sphinxes!" although not one of
them knew what a Sphinx really was.
And that was just one of their habits.
This was why the Hawk-Moths were
sometimes called Sphinx-Moths.
It was not kind in the Hawk-Moth to
come and make the Tomato Worms dis-
contented. If he had stayed away, they
would have thought it the loveliest thing
in the world to be fat green Tomato
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 213
Worms with two sorts of legs and each
with a horn standing up on the hind end
of his body. That is not the usual place
for horns, still it does very well, and these
horns are worn only for looks. They are
never used for poking or stinging.
Before the Hawk-Moth came to visit
them, the Tomato Worms had thought
it would be quiet, and restful, and pleas-
ant to lie all winter in their shining brown
pupa-cases in the ground, waiting for the
spring to finish turning them into Moths.
Now they were so impatient to get their
yellow spots that they could hardly bear
the idea of waiting. They did not even care
about the long, slender tongue-case which
every Tomato-Worm has on his pupa-case,
and which looks like a handle to it.
One day the Tomato Worms told the
Ruby-throated Humming-Bird about all
this. The Humming-Bird was a very
sensible fellow, and would no doubt have
been a hard-working husband and father
214 Among the Night-Time People
if his wife had not been so independent.
He had been a most devoted lover, and
helped build a charming nest of fern-wool
and plant-down, and cover it with beauti-
ful gray-green lichens. When done it
was about as large as half of a hen's egg,
and a morning-glory blossom would have
more than covered it. The lichens were
just the color of the branch on which it
rested, and one could hardly see where it
was. That is the nicest thing to be said
about a nest. If a bird ever asks you
what you think of his nest, and you wish
to say something particularly agreeable,
you must stare at the tree and ask :
" Where is it ? " Then, when he has
shown it to you, you may speak of the
soft lining, or the fine weaving, or the
stout way in which it is fastened to
After this nest was finished and the
two tiny white eggs laid in it, Mrs. Hum-
ming-Bird cared for nothing else. She
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 215
would not go honey-hunting with her
husband, or play in the air with him
as she used to do. He tried to coax her
by darting down toward her as she sat
covering her eggs, and by squeaking the
sweetest things he could think of into
her ear, but she acted as though she
cared more for the eggs than for him,
and did not even squeak sweet things
back. So, of course, he went away, and
let her hatch and bring up her children
as she chose. It was certainly her fault
that he left her. She might not have
been able to leave the eggs, but she could
Now that the Ruby-throated Humming-
Bird had no home cares, he made many
calls on his friends. They were very
short calls, for he would seldom sit down,
yet he heard and told much news while
he balanced himself in the air with his
tiny feet curled up and his wings moving
so fast that one could not see them.
216 Among the Night-Time People
When the Tomato Worms told him
how they felt about the Hawk-Moth's
yellow spots, he became very indignant.
" Those poor young worms ! " he said
to himself. " It is a shame, and some-
thing must be done about it."
The more he thought, the angrier he
became, and his feathers fairly stood on
end. He hardly knew what he was
doing, and ran his long, slender bill into
the same flowers several times, although
he had taken all the honey from them at
That night, when the sun had set and
the silvery moon was peeping above a
violet-colored cloud in the eastern sky,
the Ruby-throated Humming-Bird sat on
the tip of a spruce-tree branch and waited
for the Hawk-Moth.
" I hope nobody else will hear me talk-
ing," said he. " It would sound so silly
if I were overheard." He sat very still,
his tiny feet clutching the branch tightly.
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 217
It was late twilight now and really time
that he should go to sleep, but he had
decided that if he could possibly keep
awake he would teach the Hawk-Moth
" I wish he would hurry," said he. " I
can hardly keep my eyes open." He did
not yawn because he had not the right
kind of mouth for it. You know a yawn
ought to be nearly round. His beak
would have made one a great, great many
times higher than it was wide, and that
would have been exceedingly unbecoming
Yellow evening primroses grew near
the spruce-tree, and the tall stalks were
opening their flowers for the night.
Above the seed-pods and below the buds
on each stalk two, three, or four blos-
soms were slowly unfolding. The Ruby-
throated Humming-Bird did not often
stay up long enough to see this, and he
watched the four smooth yellow petals
218 Among the Night-Time People
of one untwist themselves until they
were free to spring wide open. He had
watched five blossoms when he heard the
Hawk-Moth coming. Then he darted
toward the primroses and balanced him-
self daintily before one while he sucked
honey from it.
Whir-r-r-r ! The Hawk-Moth was
there. " Good evening," said he. " Rather
late for you, is n't it ? "
" It is a little," answered the Hum-
ming-Bird. " Growing a bit chilly, too,
is n't it ? I should think you 'd be cold
without feathers. Mine are such a com-
fort. Feel as good as they look, and that
is saying a great deal."
The Hawk-Moth balanced himself be-
fore another primrose and seemed to care
more about sucking honey up his long
tongue-tube than he did about talking.
" I think it is a great thing to have a
touch of bright color, too," said the Hum-
ming-Bird. " The beautiful red spot on
THE HUMMINQ-BIRD AND THE HAWK-MOTH. Page 218
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 219
my throat looks particularly warm and
becoming when the weather is cool. You
ought to have something of the sort."
"I have yellow spots ten of them,"
answered the Hawk-Moth sulkily.
"You have?" exclaimed the Hum-
ming-Bird in the most surprised way.
" Oh yes ! I think I do remember some-
thing about them. It is a pity they don't
show more. Mrs. Humming-Bird never
wears bright colors. She says it would
not do. People would see her on her
nest if she did. Excepting the red spot,
she is dressed like me white breast,
green back and head, and black wings
and tail. Green is another good color.
You should wear some green."
The Hawk-Moth murmured that he
did n't see any particular use in wearing
" Oh," said the Humming-Bird, " it
is just the thing to wear neat, never
looks dusty " (here the Hawk-Moth drew
220 Among the Night-Time People
back, for his own wings, you know, were
almost dust color), " and matches the
The Hawk-Moth said something about
having to go and thinking that the prim-
rose honey was not so good as usual.
" I thought it excellent," said the
Humming-Bird. " Perhaps you do not
get it so easily as I. Ah yes, you use a
tongue-tube. What different ways differ-
ent people do have. Now I like honey,
but I could not live many days on that
alone. What I care most for is the tiny
insects that I find eating it. And you
cannot eat meat. What a pity ! I must
say that you seem to make the best of it,
though, and do fairly well. Oh, must
you go ? Well, good night."
The Hawk -Moth flew away feeling
very much disgusted. He had always
thought himself the most beautiful per-
son in the neighborhood. He rather
thought so still. Yet it troubled him to
Humming-Bird and Hawk-Moth 221
know that others did not think so, and
he began to remember how many times
he had heard people admire the Ruby-
throated Humming-Bird. He never liked
him after that. But neither did he brag.
The young Tomato Worms soon for-
got what the Hawk-Moth had said to
them, and became happy and contented
once more. The Ruby-throated Hum-
ming-Bird never cared to talk about it,
yet he was once heard to say that he
would rather offend the Hawk-Moth and
even make him a little unhappy than to
have him bothering the poor little To-
mato Worms all the time.
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