When the squirrel saw Jonas’s hand intruding itself into the box, he retreated to the farther corner, and curled himself up there, with his tail close down upon his back. Jonas followed him with his hand, saying, in a soothing tone, “Bunny, Bunny, poor little Bunny.”
He reached him, at length, and put his hand very gently over him, and slowly and cautiously drew him out.
Rollo and James gave a sort of hysteric laugh, and instantly clapped their hands to their mouths, to suppress it; but they looked at one another and at Jonas with great delight.
Jonas gradually brought the squirrel over the bowl, and prepared to dip his ears into the dye. It was a strange situation for a squirrel to be in, and he did not like it at all; and just at the instant when his ears were going into the dye, he twisted his head round, and planted his little fore teeth directly upon Jonas’s thumb. As might have been supposed, teeth which were sharp and powerful enough to go through a walnut shell, would not he likely to be stopped by a leathern glove; and Jonas, startled by the sudden cut, gave a twitch with his hand, and, at the same instant, let go of the squirrel. Bunny grasped the edge of the howl with his paws, and leaped out, bringing the bowl itself at the same instant over upon him, spattering him all over from head to tail with the blue dye.
The boys looked aghast for a minute, but when they saw him racing off as fast as possible, and running up a neighboring tree, Jonas burst into a laugh, which the other boys joined, and they continued it loud and long, till the woods rang again.
“Well, we have spotted him, at any rate,” said Jonas. “We will call him Leopard.”
The boys then looked at Jonas’s bite, and found that it was not a very serious one. In fact, Jonas was a little ashamed at having let go for so small a wound However, it was then too late to regret it and the boys returned slowly home.
As they were walking home, James said that the squirrel’s back looked wet, where the dye went upon him, but he did not think it looked very blue.
“No,” said Jonas, “it does not generally look blue at first, but it grows blue afterwards. It will be a bright color enough before you see him again, I will warrant.”
So they walked along home; the fender was put back in its place in the garret, the bowl in the house, and the box in the barn. Jonas soon forgot that he had been bitten, and the squirrel, as soon as his back was dry, thought no more of the whole affair, but turned his attention entirely to the business of digging a hole to store his nuts in for the ensuing winter.
All the large trees that Jonas had felled beyond the brook, he cut up into lengths, and hauled them up into the yard, and made a great high wood-pile of them, higher than his head; but all the branches, and the small bushes, with all the green leaves upon them, lay about the ground in confusion. Rollo asked him what he was going to do with them. He said, after they were dry, he should burn them up, and that they would make a splendid bonfire.