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A Squirrel That Live in a House-by Harriet Beecher Stowe-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:The Squirrel That Live in a House

Written by:Harriet Beecher Stowe

Category:Children,Fiction, Classics

Page 1:

Once upon a time a gentleman went out into a great forest, and cut
away the trees, and built there a very nice little cottage. It was
set very low on the ground, and had very large bow-windows, and so
much of it was glass that one could look through it on every side and
see what was going on in the forest. You could see the shadows of
the fern-leaves, as they flickered and wavered over the ground, and
the scarlet partridge-berry and winter-green plums that matted round
the roots of the trees, and the bright spots of sunshine that fell
through their branches and went dancing about among the bushes and
leaves at their roots. You could see the chirping sparrows and the
thrushes and robins and bluebirds building their nests here and there
among the branches, and watch them from day to day as they laid their
eggs and hatched their young. You could also see red squirrels, and
gray squirrels, and little striped chip-squirrels, darting and
springing about, here and there and everywhere, running races with
each other from bough to bough, and chattering at each other in the
gayest possible manner.

You may be sure that such a strange thing as a house for human beings
to live in did not come into this wild wood without making quite a
stir and excitement among the inhabitants that lived there before.
All the time it was building, there was the greatest possible
commotion in the breasts of all the older population; and there
wasn’t even a black ant, or a cricket, that did not have his own
opinion about it, and did not tell the other ants and crickets just
what he thought the world was coming to in consequence.

Old Mrs. Rabbit declared that the hammering and pounding made her
nervous, and gave her most melancholy forebodings of evil times.
“Depend upon it, children,” she said to her long-eared family, “no
good will come to us from this establishment. Where man is, there
comes always trouble for us poor rabbits.”

The old chestnut-tree, that grew on the edge of the woodland ravine,
drew a great sigh which shook all his leaves, and expressed it as his
conviction that no good would ever come of it,–a conviction that at
once struck to the heart of every chestnut-burr. The squirrels
talked together of the dreadful state of things that would ensue.
“Why!” said old Father Gray, “it’s evident that Nature made the nuts
for us; but one of these great human creatures will carry off and
gormandize upon what would keep a hundred poor families of squirrels
in comfort.” Old Ground-mole said it did not require very sharp eyes
to see into the future, and it would just end in bringing down the
price of real estate in the whole vicinity, so that every decent-
minded and respectable quadruped would be obliged to move away;–for
his part, he was ready to sell out for anything he could get. The
bluebirds and bobolinks, it is true, took more cheerful views of
matters; but then, as old Mrs. Ground-mole observed, they were a
flighty set,–half their time careering and dissipating in the
Southern States,–and could not be expected to have that patriotic
attachment to their native soil that those had who had grubbed in it
from their earliest days.

“This race of man,” said the old chestnut-tree, “is never ceasing in
its restless warfare on Nature. In our forest solitudes hitherto how
peacefully, how quietly, how regularly has everything gone on! Not a
flower has missed its appointed time of blossoming, or failed to
perfect its fruit. No matter how hard has been the winter, how loud
the winds have roared, and how high the snow-banks have been piled,
all has come right again in spring. Not the least root has lost
itself under the snows, so as not to be ready with its fresh leaves
and blossoms when the sun returns to melt the frosty chains of
winter. We have storms sometimes that threaten to shake everything
to pieces,–the thunder roars, the lightning flashes, and the winds
howl and beat; but, when all is past, everything comes out better and
brighter than before,–not a bird is killed, not the frailest flower
destroyed. But man comes, and in one day he will make a desolation
that centuries cannot repair. Ignorant boor that he is, and all
incapable of appreciating the glorious works of Nature, it seems to
be his glory to be able to destroy in a few hours what it was the
work of ages to produce. The noble oak, that has been cut away to
build this contemptible human dwelling, had a life older and wiser
than that of any man in this country. That tree has seen generations
of men come and go. It was a fresh young tree when Shakespeare was
born; it was hardly a middle-aged tree when he died; it was growing
here when the first ship brought the white men to our shores, and
hundreds and hundreds of those whom they call bravest, wisest,
strongest,–warriors, statesmen, orators, and poets,–have been born,
have grown up, lived, and died, while yet it has outlived them all.
It has seen more wisdom than the best of them; but two or three hours
of brutal strength sufficed to lay it low. Which of these dolts
could make a tree? I’d like to see them do anything like it. How
noisy and clumsy are all their movements,–chopping, pounding,
rasping, hammering. And, after all, what do they build? In the
forest we do everything so quietly. A tree would be ashamed of
itself that could not get its growth without making such a noise and
dust and fuss. Our life is the perfection of good manners. For my
part, I feel degraded at the mere presence of these human beings;
but, alas! I am old; a hollow place at my heart warns me of the
progress of decay, and probably it will be seized upon by these
rapacious creatures as an excuse for laying me as low as my noble
green brother.”

In spite of all this disquiet about it, the little cottage grew and
was finished. The walls were covered with pretty paper, the floors
carpeted with pretty carpets; and, in fact, when it was all arranged,
and the garden walks laid out, and beds of flowers planted around, it
began to be confessed, even among the most critical, that it was not
after all so bad a thing as was to have been feared.

Filed in: Children, Classics, Fiction

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