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The Chief Engineer
written by "Abbott, Henry, 1850-"
... along until they caught up. This game of tag, played by the girls and the beaver I watched for twenty minutes or more and each time the girls came near enough to the animal he managed to throw water on them. I feel certain that he enjoyed the game quite as much as the two girls, and while I did not hear the beaver laugh, I thought I saw a grin on his face. The cottage where our family live during the summer, stands on a bank about thirty feet above the water and fifty feet from the shore of the lake. A number of shade trees have been planted on the grounds about the house. Among these were two poplar trees which we had carefully nursed for five years, and they were growing fine. One of them was directly in front of the cottage and twenty feet from the steps. It was six inches in diameter. The other tree was four inches in diameter and about thirty feet from one side of the house. A mile up the lake was a large beaver house. The shores near this house on both sides of the lake, were lined with poplar trees and an island near by was covered with them. One night a beaver from this colony came down the lake and cut down the poplar tree in front of our door, cut it into suitable lengths and towed it back up the lake to his house. In the morning all that was left where my tree stood, was a stump and some chips. The following night he came again and cut the other tree. He must have made several trips to tow back to his storage pile the lumber he cut at my front door. The Cottage I have devoted some time to speculating as to the motive that might conceivably actuate a perfectly sane and intelligent beaver to haul his lumber more than a mile, when in doing so he would have to pass by hundreds of other equally good trees, many of them within a few rods of his house. The only reasonable answer I have been able to secure to this conundrum is that the beaver probably thought it would be a good joke on me; and I have a mental picture of him laughing in his sleeve as ...

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