Woodchuck Day February Second Sixth Secret Of The Woods
from Things To See In Springtime
WOODCHUCK DAY: COLD WEATHER
"To be, or not to be"
It was Monapini that told Ruth Pilgrim, and Ruth Pilgrim told the little Pilgrims, and the little Pilgrims told the little Dutchmen, and the little Dutchmen told it to all the little Rumours, and the grandchild of one of these little Rumours told it to me, so you see I have it straight and on good authority, this Sixth Secret of the Woods.
The story runs that every year the wise Woodchuck retires to sleep in his cozy home off the subway that he made, when the leaves begin to fall, and he has heard the warning. Mother Carey has sung the death-song of the red leaves; sung in a soft voice that yet reaches the farthest hills:
"Gone are the summer birds.
Hide, hide, ye slow-foots.
Hide, for the blizzard comes."
And Mother Earth, who is Maka Ina, cries to her own: "Come, hide in my bosom, my little ones." And the wise Woodchuck waits not till the blizzard comes, but hides while he may make good housing, and sleeps for three long moons.
But ever on the second sun of the Hunger-moon (and this is the Sixth Secret) he rouses up and ventures forth. And if so be that the sun is in the sky, and the snow on the bosom of his Mother Earth, so that his shadow shall appear on it, he goeth back to sleep again for one and a half moons more—for six long weeks. But if the sky be dark with clouds and the earth all bared of snow so that no shadow shows, he says, "The blizzard time is over, there is food when the ground is bare," and ends his sleep.
This is the tale and this much I know is true: In the North, if he venture forth on Woodchuck Day, he sees both sun and snow, so sleeps again; in the South there is no snow that day, and he sleeps no more; and in the land between, he sleeps in a cold winter, and in an open winter rouses to live his life.
These things I have seen, and they fit with the story of Monapini, so you see the little Rumour told me true.
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