| Among the Forest People|
|by Clara Dillingham Pierson|
| A charming series of nature stories for young children, including tales of red squirrels, great horned owls, rattlesnakes, and bats. No one can read these realistic conversations of the little creatures of the wood without being most tenderly drawn toward them. Within the context of each story children learn many entertaining facts about the lives and habits of these little people of the forest. Ages 5-7 |
 "COME," said Mamma Bat, flying toward her home in the
cave, "it is time that you children went to bed. The
eastern sky is growing bright, and I can see the fleecy
clouds blush rosy red as the sun looks at them."
The little Bats flitted along after her, and Papa Bat
came behind them. They had been flying through the
 all night, chasing the many small
insects that come out after the sun has gone down, and
passing in and out of the tangled branches without ever
touching one. Indeed, Mamma Bat would have been
ashamed if children of hers flew against anything in
the dark. There might be some excuse for such a
mistake in the daytime, for Bats' eyes do not see well
then, but in the night-time! She would have scolded
them well, and they would have deserved it, for Bats
have the most wonderful way of feeling things before
they touch them, and there are no other people in the
forest who can do that. There are no other people who
can tell by the feeling of the air when something is
near, and the Bats made much fun of their friend, the
Screech Owl, once, when he flew against a tree and fell
to the ground.
And now the night was over and their mother had called
them to go home. One of the little Bats hung back with
 cross look on his face, and twice his
father had to tell him to fly faster. He was thinking
how he would like to see the forest in the daytime. He
had never seen the sun rise, and he wanted to do that.
He had never seen any of the day-birds or the animals
that awaken in the morning. He thought it was pretty
mean to make poor little Bats go off to bed the minute
the stars began to fade. He didn't believe what his
father and mother said, that he wouldn't have a good
time if he did stay up. He had coaxed and coaxed and
teased and teased, but it hadn't made a bit of
difference. Every morning he had to fold his wings and
go to sleep in a dark crack in the rock of the cave,
hanging, head downward, close to the rest of the
family. Their father said that there never was a
better place to sleep than in this same crack, and it
certainly was easy to catch on with the hooks at the
lower ends of their wings when they
themselves up for the day. But now he just
wouldn't go to bed, so there!
"It is your turn next," said Mamma Bat to him, when the
rest of the children had hung themselves up.
"I'm not going to
bed," the little Bat answered.
"Not going to bed!" said his father. "Are you crazy?"
"No," said the little Bat,
"I don't believe the child is well," said Mamma Bat.
"He never acted like this before.
I'm afraid he has
overeaten." And she looked very anxious.
"I am well, and I
haven't eaten too much," said the
little Bat. "I think you might let a fellow have some
fun once in a while.
I've never seen the sun in my
life, and there are whole lots of birds and animals in
the forest that I've only
Papa and Mamma Bat looked at each other without
 "I won't go to bed!" said the little Bat.
"Very well," said his father. "I shall not try to make
you. Fly away at once and let us go to sleep."
After he had gone, Mamma Bat said, "I suppose you did
right to let him go, but it seems too bad that children
have to find out for themselves the trouble that comes
The little Bat flew away feeling very brave. He
guessed he knew how to take care of himself, even in
daylight. He felt sorry for his brothers who were in
the cave, but he made up his mind that he would tell
them all about it the next night.
The eastern sky grew brighter and brighter. It hurt
his eyes to look at it, and he blinked and turned away.
Then the song-birds awakened and began to sing. It was
very interesting, but he thought they sang too loudly.
 at night is a quiet place, and he
didn't see the sense of shouting so, even if the sun were
coming up. The night-birds never made such a fuss over
the moon, and he guessed the moon was as good as the
Somebody went scampering over the grass, kicking up his
heels as he ran. "That must be a Rabbit," thought the
little Bat. "The Screech Owl told me that Rabbits run
in that way. I wish I could see him more plainly. I
don't know what is the matter with my eyes."
Just then a sunbeam came slanting through the forest
and fell on his furry coat as he clung to a branch.
"Ow!" he cried. "Ow! How warm it is! I don't like
that. The moonbeams do not feel so. I must fly to a
shady corner." He started to fly. Just what was the
matter, he never knew. It may have been because he
couldn't see well, it may have been because he was
getting very tired,
 or it may have been because
the strangeness of it all was beginning to frighten
him; but at all events, he went down, down, down until
he found himself pitching and tumbling around in the
A Crow had seen him fall, and cried loudly, "Come!
Come! Come!" to his friends. The Rabbits, who were
feeding near by, came scampering along, making great
leaps in their haste to see what was the matter. The
Goldfinches, the Robins, the Orioles, the Woodpeckers,
and many other birds came fluttering up. Even a Blue
Jay sat on a branch above the Bat and shrieked, "Jay!
Jay! Jay!" to add to the excitement. And last of all,
the Ground Hog appeared, coming slowly and with
dignity, as a person who can remember his grandfather
"What is the cause of all this commotion?" he asked.
He might have said, "What is the matter?" and then they
would have understood him at once, but
 he was too
haughty for that. He thought he had to use big words
once in a while to show that he could. If people
didn't understand them, he was willing to explain what he
"We've found such a queer bird, sir," said the biggest
little Rabbit, without waiting to find out what a
"commotion" was. "Just see him tumble around!"
"Bird? That is no bird," said a Woodpecker. "Look at
his ears and his nose. He
hasn't even a bill."
"Well, he flies," said the biggest little Rabbit,
"because I saw him, so he must be a bird."
"Humph!" said a Chipmunk. "So does my cousin, the
Flying Squirrel, in a way, yet he is no more bird than
"And this fellow hasn't a feather to his skin!" cried
"I don't say that my son is right," said Papa Rabbit,
"but this creature has wings." And he gave the Bat a
 poke that made him flutter wildly for a minute.
"Yes, but what kind of wings?" asked the Goldfinch. "A
pair of skinny things that grow on to his legs and have
hooks on both ends."
"He must be a very stupid fellow, at all events," said
the Ground Hog. "He doesn't talk, or walk, or eat, or
even fly well. He must come of a very common family.
For my part, I am not interested in persons of that
kind." And he walked away with his nose in the air.
Now the other forest people would have liked to watch
the Bat longer, but after the Ground Hog had gone off
in this way, they thought it would show too much
curiosity if they stayed. So one after another went
away, and the little Bat was left alone. He fluttered
around until he reached the branch where the Blue Jay
had been, and there he hung himself up to wait until
 "Oh dear!" he said, "I wonder how long a day is.
I am hot and blind and sleepy, and if any more of the
forest people come and talk about me, I don't know what
I shall do. They don't think me good-looking because
my wings grow to my legs. I only wish I could see what
they look like. I believe they are just as homely."
And then, because he was a very tired little Bat, and
cross, as people always are when they have done wrong,
he began to blame somebody else for all his trouble.
"If my father and mother had cared very much about me,"
he said, "they would never have let me stay up all day.
Guess if I were a big Bat and had little Bats of my
own, I'd take better care of them!" But that is always
the way, and when, long afterward, he was a big Bat
with little Bats of his own, he was a much wiser
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