Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next

 

118   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

intelligent curiosity prompts him to a close interview, but his fears defeat his well-meant intentions.

I have mentioned that our squirrel was driven to eat fir browse when his stock of stored-up cones was exhausted — and thereby hangs a pretty tale if I can manage to tell it aright :

In the early autumn, the last of September, or even a little earlier, whoever will go into the pine forests will soon find that the red squirrels are cutting off the cones that grow on the upper branches and allowing them to drop. After working at that for a while they come down and carry them away and hide them under old logs and stumps and roots ; and once I saw one stowing them by the half-bushel in a water-hole where he had built quite a little wharf in that way, taking some pains to put them in place.

If we examine the cones at this time they will be found to have a seed under each scale, excepting near the small end of the cone. It will be seen that the cone itself is but a protecting growth to cover the seed — each one for itself ; and the pine has no other intention than to get the seeds ripe and let the winds sow them. At this green stage the seeds are filled with a milky juice containing all the nourishing ele-


Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next