‘Ye know squirrels are a savin’ people. In the day o’ plenty they think o’ the day o’ poverty an’ lay by fer it. All at once one uv ’em thought uv a few kernels o’ corn, he hed pushed through a little crack in the tin floor one day a long time ago. It happened there was quite a hole under the crack an’ each uv ’em bad stored some kernels unbeknown t’ the other. So they hed a good supper ‘n’ some left fer a bite ‘n the mornin’. ’Fore daylight the ship made her pott ‘n’ lay to, ’side liv a log in a little cove. The bullfrogs jumped on her main deck an’ begun t’ holler soon as she hove to: “all ashore! all ashore! all ashore!” The two squirrels woke up but lay quiet ’til the sun rose. Then they come out on the log ’et looked like a long dock an’ run ashore ‘n’ foun’ some o’ their own folks in the bush. An’ when they bed tol’ their story the ol’ father o’ the tribe got up ’n a tree an’ hollered himself hoarse preachin’ ’bout how ‘t paid t’ be savin’.
‘"An’ we should learn t’ save our wisdom es well es our nuts,” said a sassy brother; “fer each needs his own wisdom fer his own affairs.”
’An the little ship went back ‘n’ forth ‘cross the cove as the win’ blew. The squirrels hed many a fine ride in her an’ the frogs were the ferrymen. An’ all ’long thet shore ’twas known es Frog Ferry ‘mong the squirrel folks.’
It was very dark when he finished the tale an’ as we lay gaping a few minutes after my last query about those funny people of the lake margin I could hear nothing but the chirping of the crickets. I was feeling a bit sleepy when I heard the boards creak above our heads. Uncle Eli raised himself and lay braced upon his elbow listening. In a few moments we heard a sound as of someone coming softly down the ladder at the other end of the room. It was so dark I could see nothing.
‘Who’s there?’ Uncle Eb demanded.
‘Don’t p’int thet gun at me,’ somebody whispered. ’This is my home and I warn ye t’ leave it er I’ll do ye harm.’