The moment he escaped, the boys exclaimed, “O, catch him, catch him,” and were going to run after him; but Jonas said that it would do no good, for they could not catch him again now, and had better stand still and see what he would do.
He soon began to run along on the beam; thence he ascended to the scaffold, and made his way towards an open window. He jumped up to the window sill, and then disappeared. The boys all ran around, outside, and were just in time to catch a glimpse of him, running along on the top of the fence, down towards the woods again.
“Do let us run after him and catch him,” said Rollo.
“Catch him!” said Jonas, with a laugh, “you might as well catch the wind. No, the only way is to set our trap for him again. I meant to let him go, myself; but he is not going to slip through our fingers in that way, I tell him.” So Jonas went down that night and set the trap again.
For several days after this, the trap remained unsprung, and the boys began to think that they should never see him again. At last, however, one day, when Rollo was playing in the yard, he saw Jonas coming up out of the woods with the trap under his arm. Rollo ran to meet him, and was delighted to find that the squirrel was caught again.
Jonas contrived to tighten the wires of the lender, by weaving in other wires so as to secure the little prisoner this time; and when he was fairly in his temporary cage, the boys were so pleased with his graceful form and beautiful colors, especially the elegant stripes on his back, that they begged hard to keep him; and they made many earnest promises never to forget to feed him. Jonas said, at last,
“On the whole. I believe I will let you keep him, but you must do it in my way.”
“What is your way?”
“Why, after a day or two, we must carry him back to his raspberry-bush, and let him go. But you may give him a name, and call him yours, and you can carry some corn down there now and then, to feed him with,—and then you will see him, occasionally, playing about there.”
James and Rollo did not exactly like this plan at first, but when they considered how much better the little squirrel himself would like it, they adopted it; and Rollo proposed that they should tie a string round his neck for a collar, so that they might know him again.
“I can get mother to let me have a little pink riband,” said he, “and that will be beautiful.”
“It would be a good plan,” said Jonas, “to mark him in some way, but he might gnaw off the riband.”
“O no,” said James, “he could not gnaw any thing on his own neck.” Rollo thought so too, and they both tried to bite their own collar ribands, by way of showing Jonas how impossible it was.
“I don’t know exactly what the limits are of a squirrel’s gnawing,” said Jonas. “Perhaps he might tear it off with his claws.”