“Yes, it is sprung, I believe. Yes, it is certainly sprung.”
“O, then we have caught him,” said the boys, capering about. “Let us go and see.”
“Perhaps we have caught him,” said Jonas, “but it is not certain; sometimes the trap gets sprung accidentally. However, you may go and ask your father if he thinks it worth while for me to leave my work long enough to go down and see.”
Rollo came back with the permission granted, and they all set off; Rollo and James running on eagerly before.
When they came to the trap, they found it shut. Jonas took it up, and tipped it one way and the other, and listened. He heard something moving in it, but did not know whether it was anything more than the corn cob. Then he said he would open the trap a very little, and let Rollo peep in.
He did so. Rollo said it looked all dark; he could not see any thing. Then Jonas opened it a little farther, and Rollo saw two little shining eyes, and presently a nose smelling along at the crack.
“Yes, here he is, here he is,” said Rollo; “look at him, James, look at him;—see, see.”
They all peeped at him, and then Jonas took the box under his arm, and they returned home.
Jonas told the boys he was not willing to keep the squirrel a prisoner very long, but he would try to contrive some way by which they might look at him. Now, there was, in the garret, a small fire-fender, which had been laid aside as old and useless. Jonas recollected this, and thought he could fix up a temporary cage with it. So he took a small box about as large as a raisin-box, which he found in the barn, and laid it down on its side, so as to turn the open side towards the trap, and then moved the trap close up to it. He then covered up all the rest of the open part of the box with shingles, and asked James and Rollo to hold them on. Then he carefully lifted up the cover of the trap, and made a rattling in the back part of it with the spindle. This drove the squirrel through out of the trap into the box.
When Jonas was sure that he was in, he took the old fender and slid it down very cautiously between the trap and the box, so as to cover the open part entirely, and make a sort of grated front, like a cage. Then he took the trap away, and there the little nut-cracker was, safely imprisoned, but yet fairly exposed to view.
That is, they thought he was safely imprisoned; but he, little rogue, had no idea of submitting without giving his bolts and bars a try. At first, he crept along, with his tail curled over his back, in a corner, and looked at the strange faces which surrounded him. “Let us give him a little corn,” said Rollo; “perhaps he is hungry;” and he was just slipping some kernels in between the wires of the fender, when Bunny sprang forward, and, with a jump and a squeeze, forced his slender body between two of the wires that were bent a little apart, leaped down upon the barn floor, ran along to the corner, up the post, and then crept leisurely along on a beam. Presently, he stopped, and looked down, as if considering what to do next.