Boy And Squirrel.

A poem by Juliana Horatia Ewing

Oh boy, down there, I can't believe that what they say is true!
We squirrels surely cannot have an enemy in you;
We have so much in common, my dear friend, it seems to me
That I can really feel for you, and you can feel for me.

Some human beings might not understand the life we lead;
If we asked Dr. Birch to play, no doubt he'd rather read;
He hates all scrambling restlessness, and chattering, scuffling noise;
If he could catch us we should fare no better than you boys.

Fine ladies, too, whose flounces catch and tear on every stump,
What joy have they in jagged pines, who neither skip nor jump?
Miss Mittens never saw my tree-top home--so unlike hers;
What wonder if her only thought of squirrels is of furs?

But you, dear boy, you know so well the bliss of climbing trees,
Of scrambling up and sliding down, and rocking in the breeze,
Of cracking nuts and chewing cones, and keeping cunning hoards,
And all the games and all the sport and fun a wood affords.

It cannot be that you would make a prisoner of me,
Who hate yourself to be cooped up, who love so to be free;
An extra hour indoors, I know, is punishment to you;
You make me twirl a tiny cage? It never can be true!

Yet I've a wary grandfather, whose tail is white as snow.
He thinks he knows a lot of things we young ones do not know;
He says we're safe with Doctor Birch, because he is so blind,
And that Miss Mittens would not hurt a fly, for she is kind.

But you, dear boy, who know my ways, he bids me fly from you,
He says my life and liberty are lost unless I do;
That you, who fear the Doctor's cane, will fling big sticks at me,
And tear me from my forest home, and from my favourite tree.

The more we think of what he says, the more we're sure it's "chaff,"
We sit beneath the shadow of our bushy tails and laugh;
Hey, presto! Friend, come up, and let us hide and seek and play,
If you could spring as well as climb, what fun we'd have to-day!

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