“What is it?” said Jonas. “O, I see it,” said he.
It was a little squirrel clambering up a raspberry-bush, eating the raspberries as he went along. He would climb up by the little branches, and pull in the raspberries in succession, until he got to the topmost one, when the bush would bend over with his weight until it almost touched the log.
“Let us catch him,” said Rollo, very eagerly; “do let us catch him; I will go and get our steeple trap.”
Jonas did not seem to be so very much delighted as the boys were. He said he was certainly a cunning little fellow, but “what should we do with him if we should catch him?”
“O,” said Rollo, “we would put him in a little cage. It would be so complete to have him in a cage! Do, Jonas, do.”
“But you have not got any cage.”
“We can get one,” said James. “We can buy one with our half dollars.”
“Well,” said Jonas, “it will do no good to set the trap now, for he will be away before we could get back. But I will come down to-night, and set the trap, and perhaps we shall catch him, though I do not exactly like to do it.”
“Why?” said the boys.
“O,” replied Jonas, “he will not like to be shut up all night, in a dark box, and then be imprisoned in a cage. He had rather run about here, and gather raspberries. Besides, you would soon get tired of him if you had him in a cage.”
“O no,” said Rollo, “I should not get tired of him.”
“Did you ever have any plaything that you were not tired of before long?”
“Why,—no,” said Rollo; “but then a real live squirrel is a different thing. Besides, you know, if I get tired of him, I need not play with him then.”
“No, but a real live thing must be fed every day, and that you would find a great trouble. And then you would sometimes forget it, and the poor fellow would be half starved.”
“O no,” said Rollo; “I am sure I should not forget it.”
“Did you remember your reading-lesson this morning?”
“Why,—no,” said Rollo, looking a little confused. “But I am sure I should not forget to feed a squirrel if I had one.”
“You don’t know as much as I thought you did,” replied Jonas.
“I thought you knew more about yourself than to suppose you could be trusted to do any thing regularly every day. Why, you would not remember to wash your own face every morning, if your mother did not remind you. The squirrel is almost as fit to take care of you in your wigwam, as you are to take care of him in a cage.”
Rollo felt a little ashamed of his boasting, for he knew that what Jonas said was true. Jonas said, finally, “However, we will try to catch him; but I cannot promise that I shall let you keep him in a cage. It will be bad enough for him to be shut up all night in the box trap, but I can pay him for that the next day in corn.”