Baby Mitchell was an August squirrel. That is, he was born in the month of August. His pretty gray mother found a nice hole, high up in the crotch of a tall chestnut tree, for her babies' nest; and I know she lined it with soft fur plucked from her own loving little breast,—for that is the way the squirrel mothers do.
This chestnut tree grew on the side of a steep mountain,—none other than Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in all the eastern half of the United States. It is in North Carolina, where there are a great many beautiful mountains, but none of them more beautiful than Mount Mitchell, with the great forest trees on its slopes.
One of these forest trees was the big chestnut where Baby Mitchell was born. In the warm and lovely summer he lay safe in his snug nest twenty feet above the ground.
There was a small log-cabin at the foot of the mountain, and here lived a father and mother and a very large family of very small children. There was no other house near; and the father had to go a great many miles through the woods to his work in a saw-mill that some one had set up in the mountains.
“A squirrel’s nest, in a nice hole, high up in the crotch of a tall chestnut tree.”
And the children had to go such a long way to school, over little rivers that they crossed on narrow foot-logs; and through deep shady woods, where the sun could scarcely send a ray down through the tops of the tall trees; and under tangled rhododendron bushes that were often like little trees they were so large, and in the summer time were covered with masses of splendid white flowers.
Margaret Warner Morley was an American educator, biologist, and author of many children's books on nature and biology.