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Full text of "Among the night people"

AMONG THE 
NIGHT PEOPLE 



D. PIERSON 




Ex Libris 
C. K. OGDEN 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



Frontisfie 



COLLIE CHASED HIM AWAY 



Page 138 



AMONG THE NIGHT PEOPLE 



CLARA DILLINGHAM PIERSON 

Author of " Among the Meadow People." " Pond People," etc 



Illustrated by F. C. GORDON 




NEW YORK 

E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY 

31 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET 



COPYRIGHT, 1902 

BY 
P. BUTTON & CO. 



ttbe fmicherbocher Dres0, "Hew ffiorh 



QL 



TO 

RACHEL W. PIERSON 

THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED 



CONTENTS 



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 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PACK 

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 




vii 



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 



x Introduction 

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 



Introduction xi 

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. 
Your friend, 

CLARA D. PIERSON. 

STANTON, MICHIGAN, 
April, i5th, 1901. 



THE BLACK SPANISH 
CHICKENS 

\ 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 
shall be. 

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 
garden. 

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 
him off. 

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 
like herself. 

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 
that. 

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 potato-crate. 

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- 
bled off. 

" 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 
answer. 

" 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 
all there." 

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- 
QUITOES 

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 
15 



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- 
grown one. 

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 
them. 

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 
reasons. 

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 
them. 

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 
stood. 

" Fly ! " cried the Oldest Brother, rais- 
ing his wings as well as he could. 

" We can't. Where to ? " cried the 
rest. 

" 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 
before morning." 

" Did he say that ? " cried the other old 
Mosquitoes. 

" 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- 
DREN 



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 
30 



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 
way. 



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 

3 



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- 
pulpit berry. 

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 
not." 

" 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 
can." 

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 
off." 

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 
punished her. 

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 
Raccoons again." 

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 
day's sleep. 



THE TIMID LITTLE GROUND 
HOG 

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. 

43 



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 
even parsnips." 

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 
you?" 

" 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," 
said he. 

" Neither would we," answered the sis- 
ters. 

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 
sister. 

" I wish she 'd come now," said the 
smallest sister. 

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 
afraid." 

" 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 
tremble." 

"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 
know." 

When another Crow cawed, the small- 
est sister said, " Was that his cousin, the 
Screech Owl?" 



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 
and play. 

" 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 
mother. 

" 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 
darkness ! 




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 

55 



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 
Brother. 

"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 
party." 

" 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 
empty." 

" 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 
talking." 

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 
of that. 

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 
that. 

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 
in company." 

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 
very discouraging." 

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 
matted coat. 

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 
yourselves." 



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." 

5 



66 Among the Night-Time People 

" And you walked flat-footed," said Lit- 
tle Brother. 

" Well, why should n't I, if I want to ? " 
said she. 

The children began to cry : " P-peo- 
ple will think you don't know any b-bet- 
ter," said they. " We were d-dreadfully 
ashamed." 

" 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 
grown up." 

"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- 
BIRD'S NEST 

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 

68 



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 
babies. 

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 
inside. 

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 
wait. 

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 
Skunk. 

" 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- 
how." 

" 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 
below. 

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 
forefeet. 

" 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 
Skunk. 

" But we' 11 never tell," said the Black- 
tailed Skunk. 

" Now," they added together, " let 's 
eat everything." 

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. 

6 




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 
82 



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 
should. 

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 
themselves. 

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 
of it. 

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 
way. 

" 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 
evening." 

" 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 
since sunset?" 

" 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 
farmer. 

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 
weeds." 

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 
the east. 

" 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 
here?" 



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 
handle. 

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 

94 



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 

7 



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 
bristles. 

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 
up. 

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 
knew best." 

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 
better. 

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 
world. 

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 
slender feelers. 

" 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. 



Page 109 



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 
MUSKRAT 



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 
about it. 

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 
faint bitterness. 

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 
perfume. 

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 
them there. 

" 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 
well grown." 

"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 
high land." 

" That is what I said," answered the 
young husband, slapping his tail on the 
water to make himself seem more 
important. 

"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 
their babies. 

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 
his burrow. 

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 
walls." 

" Why ?" asked a little Muskrat. 

" Sh ! " said his mother. 

" The question is," said the old Musk- 
rat who had first spoken, "where we shall 
build." 

" 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 
them." 

"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 
homes there." 

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 
he felt. 

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 
after all. 

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 
fresh air. 




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 
131 



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 
catch them. 



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 
another. 

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 
do." 

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 
impatience. 

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 
easily enough." 

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 
hole." 

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 
some more. 

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 
still. 

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 
even. 

" 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- 
FLIES 

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 
148 



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 
day. 

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 
responsibility. 

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 
berries. 



152 Among the Night-Time People 

" Did you ever see such luck ?" said the 
Smaller Firefly. " If it is n't birds it is 
snakes." 

" 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 
me first." 

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 
green leaf. 

" 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 
ask us." 

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 
water." 

Another weak voice from the brown- 
tipped one replied, " Gtschagust ! So 
did I." 

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 
good. 

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 
daytime." 



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- 
night." 

" 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 
you." 

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- 
fly laws. 




THE KITTENS COME TO THE 
FOREST 

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 
160 



The Kittens Come to the Forest 161 

does not prove that they were bad Kit- 
tens. It just shows that they were young 
and thoughtless. 

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 
was going. 

" 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 
mother." 

"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 
him. 

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 
had gone. 

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, 

176 



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 
to it. 

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. 



Page 178 



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 
something. 

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 
disappears. 

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 
everything. 

" 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 
eaten. 

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 
mouthfuls. 

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 
found something." 

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 
murmur. 

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 
to-morrow." 

" 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 
hiding-places. 

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 
it- 
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 
190 



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 
awake. 

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 
so small. 

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 
company." 




THE MICE MAKE WINTER THEIR PLAYTIME. 



Page 195 



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 
worn them." 

"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 
and forgiving. 

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 party. 



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 
everything safe. 

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 
happy. 

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 
HAWK-MOTH 

""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 
208 



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- 
time. 

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 
easily. 

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 
the branches. 

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 
have squeaked. 

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 
first. 

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 
a lesson. 

" 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 
to him. 

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 
green. 

" 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 
leaves perfectly." 

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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