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    The Diverting History of Little Whiskey

    by Harriet Beecher Stowe
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    And now, at the last, I am going to tell you something of the ways
    and doings of one of the queer little people, whom I shall call
    Whiskey.

    You cannot imagine how pretty he is. His back has the most beautiful
    smooth shining stripes of reddish brown and black, his eyes shine
    like bright glass beads, and he sits up jauntily on his hind
    quarters, with his little tail thrown over his back like a ruffle.

    And where does he live? Well, "that is telling," as we children say.
    It was somewhere up in the mountains of Berkshire, in a queer,
    quaint, old-fashioned garden, that I made Mr. Whiskey's acquaintance.

    Here there lives a young parson, who preaches every Sunday in a
    little brown church, and during week-days goes through all these
    hills and valleys, visiting the poor, and gathering children into
    Sunday schools.

    His wife is a very small-sized lady--not much bigger than you, my
    little Mary--but very fond of all sorts of dumb animals; and by
    constantly watching their actions and ways, she has come to have
    quite a strange power over them, as I shall relate.

    The little lady fixed her mind on Whiskey, and gave him his name
    without consulting him upon the subject. She admired his bright
    eyes, and resolved to cultivate his acquaintance.

    By constant watching, she discovered that he had a small hole of his
    own in the grass-plot a few paces from her back-door. So she used to
    fill her pocket with hazel-nuts, and go out and sit in the back
    porch, and make a little noise, such as squirrels make to each other,
    to attract his attention.

    In a minute or two up would pop the little head with the bright eyes,
    in the grass-plot, and Master Whiskey would sit on his haunches and
    listen, with one small ear cocked towards her. Then she would throw
    him a hazel-nut, and he would slip instantly down into his hole
    again. In a minute or two, however, his curiosity would get the
    better of his prudence; and she, sitting quiet, would see the little
    brown-striped head slowly, slowly coming up again, over the tiny
    green spikes of the grass-plot. Quick as a flash he would dart at
    the nut, whisk it into a little bag on one side of his jaws, which
    Madam Nature has furnished him with for his provision-pouch, and down
    into his hole again. An ungrateful, suspicious little brute he was
    too; for though in this way he bagged and carried off nut after nut,
    until the patient little woman had used up a pound of hazelnuts,
    still he seemed to have the same wild fright at sight of her, and
    would whisk off and hide himself in his hole the moment she appeared.
    In vain she called, "Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey," in the most
    flattering tones; in vain she coaxed and cajoled. No, no; he was not
    to be caught napping. He had no objection to accepting her nuts, as
    many as she chose to throw to him; but as to her taking any personal
    liberty with him, you see, it was by no means to be thought of.

    But at last patience and perseverance began to have their reward.
    Little Master Whiskey said to himself, "Surely this is a nice, kind
    lady, to take so much pains to give me nuts; she is certainly very
    considerate;" and with that he edged a little nearer and nearer every
    day, until, quite to the delight of the small lady, he would come and
    climb into her lap and seize the nuts, when she rattled them there,
    and after that he seemed to make exploring voyages all over her
    person. He would climb up and sit on her shoulder; he would mount
    and perch himself on her head; and when she held a nut for him
    between her teeth, he would take it out of her mouth.

    After a while he began to make tours of discovery in the house. He
    would suddenly appear on the minister's writing-table when he was
    composing his Sunday sermon, and sit cocking his little pert head at
    him, seeming to wonder what he was about. But in all his
    explorations he proved himself a true Yankee squirrel, having always
    a shrewd eye on the main chance. If the parson dropped a nut on the
    floor, down went Whiskey after it, and into his provision-bag it
    went, and then he would look up as if he expected another; for he had
    a wallet on each side of his jaws, and he always wanted both sides
    handsomely filled before he made for his hole. So busy and active
    and always intent on this one object was he, that before long the
    little lady found he had made way with six pounds of hazel-nuts. His
    general rule was to carry off four nuts at a time--three being
    stuffed into the side-pockets of his jaws, and the fourth held in his
    teeth. When he had furnished himself in this way, he would dart like
    lightning for his hole, and disappear in a moment; but in a short
    time up he would come, brisk and wide-awake, and ready for the next
    supply.

    Once a person who had the curiosity to dig open a chipping squirrel's
    hole found in it two quarts of buckwheat, a quantity of grass-seed,
    nearly a peck of acorns, some Indian corn, and a quart of walnuts; a
    pretty handsome supply for a squirrel's winter store-room--don't you
    think so?

    Whiskey learned in time to work for his living in many artful ways
    that his young mistress devised. Sometimes she would tie his nuts up
    in a paper package, which he would attack with great energy, gnawing
    the strings, and rustling the nuts out of the paper in wonderfully
    quick time. Sometimes she would tie a nut to the end of a bit of
    twine and swing it backward and forward over his head; and after a
    succession of spry jumps, he would pounce upon it, and hang swinging
    on the twine, till he had gnawed the nut away.

    Another squirrel, doubtless hearing of Whiskey's good luck, began to
    haunt the same yard; but Whiskey would by no means allow him to
    cultivate his young mistress's acquaintance. No indeed! he evidently
    considered that the institution would not support two. Sometimes he
    would appear to be conversing with the stranger on the most familiar
    and amicable terms in the back-yard; but if his mistress called his
    name, he would immediately start and chase his companion quite out of
    sight, before he came back to her.

    So you see that self-seeking is not confined to men alone, and that
    Whiskey's fine little fur coat covers a very selfish heart.

    As winter comes on, Whiskey will go down into his hole, which has
    many long galleries and winding passages, and a snug little bedroom
    well lined with leaves. Here he will doze and dream away his long
    winter months, and nibble out the inside of his store of nuts.

    If I hear any more of his cunning tricks, I will tell you of them.
    If you're writing a The Diverting History of Little Whiskey essay and need some advice, post your Harriet Beecher Stowe essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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