Forest Neighbors


Life Stories of Wild Animals

Some thirty years ago, while out on one of his landlooking trips in the woods of Northern Michigan, my father came upon a little lake which seemed to him the loveliest that he had ever seen, though he had visited many in the course of his explorations.

The wild ponds are very apt to be shallow and muddy, with low, marshy shores; but this one was deep and clear, and its high banks were clothed with a splendid growth of beech, maple and birch.

Tall elms stood guard along the water's edge, and here and there the hardwood forest was broken by dark hemlock groves, and groups of lordly pine-trees, lifting their great green heads high above their deciduous neighbors. Only in one place, around the extreme eastern end, the ground was flat and wet; and there the tamarack swamp showed golden yellow in October, and light, delicate green in late spring.

Wild morning-glories grew on the grassy point that put out from the northern shore, and in the bays the white water-lilies were blossoming. Nearly two miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide, it lay basking and shimmering in the sunshine, a big, broad, beautiful sheet of water set down in the very heart of the woods.

I have said good-by to the Glimmerglass, and it may be that I shall never again make my home by its shores. But the life of the woods goes on, and will still go on as long as man will let it.

I suppose that, even as I write, the bears are "holeing up" for the winter, and the deer are growing anxious because the snow is covering the best of their food, and they of the cat tribe are getting down to business, and hunting in deadly earnest.

The loons and the ducks have pulled out for the Gulf of Mexico, and the squirrels are glad that they have such a goodly store of nuts laid up for the next four months. The beavers have retired to their lodges—that is, if Charley Roop and his fellows have left any of them alive. The partridges—well, the partridges will just have to get along the best way they can. I guess they'll pull through somehow. The porcupines are all right, as you will presently see if you read this book. They don't have to worry. Down in the bed of the trout stream the trout eggs are getting ready—getting ready.

And out on the lake itself the frost is at work, and the ice-sheet is forming, and under that cold, white lid the Glimmerglass will wait till another year brings round another spring-time—the spring-time that will surely come to all of us if only we hold on long enough……

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