Why The Squirrel Wears A Bushy Tail
from Things To See In Springtime
"Oh, Mother, look at that Gray Squirrel!" shouted Billie. "What a beautiful bushy tail he has!" Then, after a pause he added, "Mother, what is its tail for? Why is it so big and fluffy? I know a 'Possum has a tail to hang on a limb with, and a Fish can swim with his tail, but why is a Gray Squirrel's tail so bushy and soft?"
Alas! Mother didn't know, and couldn't tell where to find out. It was long after, that little Billie got the answer to his childish, but really important question. The Alligator may use his tail as a club, the Horse, his tail as a fly-flapper, the Porcupine his tail as a spiked war-club, the 'Possum his as a hooked hanger, the Fox his as a muffler, the Fish his as a paddle; but the Gray Squirrel's tail is a parachute, a landeasy. I have seen a Gray Squirrel fall fifty feet to the ground, but his tail was in good condition; he spread it to the utmost and it landed him safely right side up.
I remember also a story of a Squirrel that lost his tail by an accident. It didn't seem to matter much for a while. The stump healed up, and the Squirrel was pert as ever; but one day he missed his hold in jumping, and fell to the ground. Ordinarily, that would have been a small matter; but without his tail he was jarred so severely that a dog, who saw him fall, ran up and killed him before he could recover and climb a tree.
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