How The Chipmunk Got The Stripes On Its Back

: Nature Myths And Stories For Little Children

Do you all know the little striped chipmunk which lives in our woods?

He has a cousin in far off India called the geloori.

It is said the stripes came on the back of the geloori in a wonderful


One day the great Shiva saw a little gray chipmunk on the seashore.

He was dipping his bushy tail into the sea, and shaking out the water on

the shore.

Twenty times a minute he dipped it into the ocean.

In wonder, Shiva said, "What are you doing, little foolish, gray,

geloori? Why do you tire yourself with such hard labor?"

The geloori answered, "I cannot stop, great Shiva.

"The storm blew down the palm tree, where I built my nest.

"See! the tree has fallen seaward, and the nest lies in the water; my

wife and pretty children are in it; I fear that it will float away.

Therefore all day and all night I must dip the water from the sea.

"I hope soon to bale it dry.

"I must save my darlings even if I spoil my tail."

Shiva stooped and with his great hand stroked the little squirrel.

On the geloori's soft fur from his nose to the end of his tail, there

came four green stripes! They were the marks of Shiva's fingers, placed

there as signs of love.

Shiva raised his hand, and the water rolled back from the shore. Safe

among the rocks and seaweeds, the palm tree lay on dry land.

The little squirrel hastened to it; his tail was now high in the air. He

found his wife and children dry and well in their house of woven


As they sang their welcomes to him, the geloori noticed with delight

that each smooth little back was striped with marks of Shiva's fingers.

This sign of love is still to be seen upon the back of chipmunks.

That is the reason why in India, good men never kill them.

A man who loves both children and chipmunks says, when he tells this

story, "Perhaps our squirrels, though Shiva never stroked them, would be

grateful if we left them, unharmed, to play in the maples in our