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Camping at Cherry Pond
written by "Abbott, Henry, 1850-"
...tly behind us and a shower of water poured over my head and down the back of my neck. The grandfather beaver, the largest of his tribe, had come out through one of the cellar passages, under the boat, had come to the surface behind us, had lifted his tail, which was as broad and flat as Bige's paddle, and slapped the water with it, throwing spray at least six feet into the air. When I caught sight of him he was in the act of diving, but he presently came to the surface again, about fifty feet away, and started swimming toward the opposite shore. I wanted his portrait for my collection, so we went paddling after him. Five or six times we got near enough to focus the camera on him and press the button at just the instant when he slapped the water and dove under. The result was a half-dozen pictures of fountains but no beaver. A Beaver Fountain We were now a half-mile away from the house up the pond and for the first time realized that we were victims of a perfidious beaver trick. His sole purpose was, clearly, to allure us as far away from his house and his family as possible, and he had won. About fifteen years previously a fire had burned over nearly a hundred acres of forest on the northern shore of Otter Pond, and this was now grown up with poplar and white-birch saplings. The bark of both these trees is used as food by the beavers, and they were now busily at work cutting down, clearing away, and storing for winter use this second growth of timber. Unlike the bear. Brother Beaver is very thorough and economical in his operations. Nothing is wasted. He cuts down a tree with his chisel-shaped teeth, takes out a chip just such as comes from a lumberman's ax, cuts the tree into approximately four-foot lengths, trims out the branches, and carries away every scrap of it, even the small twigs. Nothing is left where the tree fell but stump and chips. What is not required for immediate use is piled up under water to keep the bark soft and fresh for winter cons...

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