|THE MAKE-BELIEVE SERIES|
|Whiffet Squirrel||The Mouse’s Tail|
|The Yaller Dog||Miss Patty Peep|
Copyright, 1917, by
Cupples & Leon Company
Whiffet, Skiffet and Skud were three little red squirrels who lived with their father and mother in a tiny brown house in the old chestnut tree. First, I must tell you how the Squirrel family came to live in this dear little house. You see it happened this way. Father and Mother Squirrel started out very early one morning in the spring, to hunt a new home as they did not feel safe any longer living under the old pine stump, with the children getting large enough to run about. They both scampered up the old chestnut tree at the back of the farm house to see if they could find a nice deep hollow that would make a safe home for their little ones. When Mother Squirrel had gone about half way up the tree trunk, and as she climbed around a big limb, she almost bumped her head against what seemed to be a brownish wall. She peeped around the corner of the brownish wall and what do you suppose she saw? She held her breath in rapture for there before her bright little eyes sat the cutest little brown house resting right on the big limb. It was far more wonderful than any home that she had ever dreamed of. It had a sloping red roof and two little round doors. A good sized porch jutted out in front and each little door was several inches above the porch. Mother Squirrel very cautiously placed her two front feet on the porch and listened intently but all was very quiet. Of course the folks who owned the house might be still asleep or they might be away. She crept quietly to the first little round door and peeped in. She saw a cute little room entirely empty. “The family must be away” she thought. Boldly she peeped in through the second little door and saw another cute little room just like the first and also empty. Then she walked in and explored both rooms and found a sort of cubby hole closet at the back of each. “What a fine place for storing nuts,” said Mother Squirrel to herself, “but it would be much handier with a door between the two rooms.” Then she walked out on the porch and looked around. The little house was shut in almost completely by the thick green leaves except for a patch of blue sky that showed above the roof. “I wonder who this little house belongs to” thought Mother Squirrel to herself with an envious sigh. Just then she looked up at the patch of blue sky and her bright eyes caught sight of a small sign on the peak of the roof which she had not noticed before. On the sign were printed the words “FOR RENT” in bright red letters.
When Mother Squirrel saw the sign “FOR RENT” she nearly fell backwards off the porch in her joy and excitement. She began to chatter and scream in a loud shrill voice which brought her husband scampering to the spot at top speed. Father Squirrel was quite as excited and delighted over the house as was his wife. “It was surely meant for us” he said; “we’ll move in at once. You’d better stay here, my dear, in case anyone should come along while I go back to the old stump for the children and our things. I had better get the moving done before many people are out.” Off he scampered and Mother Squirrel began at once to plan her housekeeping arrangements and started to gnaw a door between the two rooms with her sharp little teeth. As she was working busily at her task a shadow fell across the door and she heard a strange chirping voice say: “My love, I am sure this is just the place we’ve been looking for.” Her heart began to beat violently with alarm. Peeping through the door she saw two large fat Newly-wed Robins standing on the porch in an affectionate attitude gazing admiringly up at the house. “The nerve of some people” thought Mother Squirrel, shaking with indignation. “They seem to think it’s a bird house. It’s that ‘FOR RENT’ sign. The idea of their talking about our house like that! But I’ll fix them.” Mother Squirrel poked her head out of the little round door very suddenly and glaring with a very fierce expression, she exclaimed in a loud voice: “THE CAT’S COMING”!
The Newly-wed Robins both turned very pale and flew—I think they’re flying yet. Mother Squirrel chuckled to herself but decided to take no more risks so she climbed up the roof and took down the “FOR RENT” sign.
Soon Father Squirrel and the children Whiffet, Skiffet and Skud, each carrying a bag came scampering up the tree trunk. Mother Squirrel made them nearly die laughing when she told them how she had frightened the Newly-wed Robins.
Then Father Squirrel turned the “FOR RENT” sign over and painted on the other side the words “NO TRESPASSING” and placed it on the corner of the porch.
This is how the Squirrel family found their new home but I will tell you something that they do not even suspect. The little brown house is a bird house built by Tom the farmer’s son for his little sister Polly.
The thickening leaves had hidden it from view and little Polly had forgotten all about it.
Whiffet, Skiffet and Skud led a jolly life in the old chestnut tree. They played from the topmost branch to the lowest limb but Mother Squirrel would not let them go down the tree trunk to the ground for fear of cats. Whiffet Squirrel the tiniest of the three could think of more mischief than her two big brothers Skiffet and Skud put together. She was not afraid of anything and was always bossing her brothers and leading them into trouble.
One morning early she ran out on the large limb on which the little brown house rested and found that it almost reached to one of the windows of the farmhouse. Peeping in the window she saw a pretty little girl asleep in a small white bed. She leaped lightly to the window-sill and looked around her. In one corner of the room she saw many toys and dolls of every description, but the thing that attracted her the most was a dear little doll’s trunk. It was standing at the foot of the doll’s bed. “Just the right size for a squirrel” she thought to herself. Just then Polly turned over in her sleep and Whiffet scampered up the limb and back home as fast as she could run. Of course she told Skiffet and Skud all about what she had seen and she began to plan right away how they could get the little trunk. Yes I will have to confess that they sometimes took things which did not belong to them but as they were only squirrels no one had ever told them any better.
Needless to say Whiffet kept her plan a secret as she knew that Mother Squirrel would never consent. The following morning, just after daylight, as soon as Father and Mother Squirrel had started out to hunt their food for the day, the three little squirrels, Whiffet leading the way, crept softly down the limb to the window-sill. The little trunk was standing in the same place and Polly was sleeping soundly. A chair stood beneath the window and they leaped to the chair seat then to the floor and crept softly toward the trunk. Whiffet as usual bossed her brothers and made them each take a handle of the trunk and carry it across the floor to the chair. Skiffet then climbed to the chair seat and reached down and pulled valiantly at his end of the trunk while Skud pushed from below. It was pretty heavy but they got it safely to the chair seat. They had to be very careful about making a noise as the window was near Polly’s bed. Next Skiffet climbed to the window sill and pulled again while Skud boosted from below. It was almost up when Skiffet’s foot slipped and he fell over backwards losing his hold of the trunk; down it fell to the floor with a loud bump. The little squirrels trembled with fear thinking that the noise would awaken Polly but she only turned on her other side, and in a few minutes they started to lift the trunk again. This time they were more careful. They succeeded in getting it safely to the window sill, but to hoist it to the tree branch was too risky a feat for them to try, so Whiffet decided to open the trunk and see what was inside. She lifted up the lid very softly and found that it contained enough pretty clothes for a whole doll family. In one of the trays was a doll’s tiny white hand mirror, comb, brush and powder puff. Whiffet was so taken up with these things she nearly forgot everything else, but Skiffet reminded her that they had better carry the doll’s clothes home at once as it was getting late and Polly might wake up any minute.
They had to make several trips but at last the trunk was emptied; they shut down the lid and left it standing on the window sill. There was much excitement over the new clothes and Father and Mother Squirrel were as delighted as the children. I wish you could have seen the Squirrel family all dressed up in their finery. Skiffet fell in love with a cunning red sweater, and Skud took possession of a tiny pair of blue overalls.
As for Whiffet she became very vain. She looked into the mirror every day and powdered her nose regularly. She was very proud of a pale blue evening dress which she found in the bottom of the little trunk, and with slippers to match, her bliss was complete.
Two or three days later little Polly went to her doll’s trunk to get a dress that she wanted and was very much surprised to find the trunk entirely empty. She hunted everywhere but not a single one of the things could she find. Polly felt very badly at the loss of her doll’s clothes but especially missed the doll’s toilet articles as they were the only ones she had. The mystery was not solved until one day late in the month of October, when the leaves began to fall. Tom was looking up in the chestnut tree when he caught a glimpse of the bird house. “I wonder if any birds did use it” thought Tom. He climbed up and peeped in the little round doors. The two little cubby holes at the back were full of chestnuts and in a corner of each room lay a pile of doll’s clothes. “Oh Polly,” he shouted, “come here quick; I’ve found out who stole your doll’s clothes. It’s the squirrels.” Polly came running; with Tom’s help she climbed the tree and peeped into the house. (Of course the Squirrel family were all out walking when this happened). “Did you ever” she cried. “The mischievous little rascals. What do you suppose they wanted them for?” She reached her little hand through the “bedroom” door and picked up a pile of the doll’s clothes. Underneath she found the little mirror, brush, comb, and powder puff where Whiffet had carefully hidden them. Polly was delighted to find her treasures. “I will take these home,” she said, “but I will leave the doll’s clothes, for no doll would care to wear them now.” “We’d better climb down” said Tom, “for the squirrels can’t be far away and we don’t want to scare them off.” “I wonder what became of the ‘FOR RENT’ sign,” said Polly. Just then a big red squirrel came scolding and chattering down the tree trunk towards them. (It was Father Squirrel). Tom and Polly climbed down quickly.
That night when Whiffet went to look for her mirror and powder puff she exclaimed angrily, stamping her little blue slippered foot, “the nerve of some people.”
So now Whiffet has to go without powdering her nose, and she can’t tell when her hat is on straight for she has no mirror. Skiffet and Skud have left off combing their top “Fur” as they have no comb or brush, but I’m sure that Polly’s doll is very glad indeed to get her own tiny things again.