V. Mrs. Chipmunk is Glad

After Sandy Chipmunk had dug his chamber underneath Farmer Green's pasture, he liked the inside of his house quite well. But the looks of the outside did not please him at all. He wanted a neat dooryard. And how could he have that, with that yawning hole through which he had pushed earth and stones, which still littered the grass a little distance away?

Luckily, Sandy knew exactly what to do. So he set to work to close the big work-hole. It was no easy task--as you can believe. But at last he managed to pack the hole full of dirt.

Then he had no door at all. And there he was in the dark, inside the hall that led to his chamber and storeroom. But that did not worry Sandy. You see, he knew just what he was about. And before long he had dug a new doorway--a small, neat, round hole, which you would probably have walked right past, without noticing it, it was so hard to see in the grass that grew thickly about it.

You might think that at last Sandy's house was finished. But he was not satisfied with it until he had made still another doorway, in the same fashion. He knew that it was safer to have an extra door through which he could slip out when some enemy was entering by the other one. Then Sandy Chipmunk's house was finished. And he was greatly pleased with it.

But his work was not yet done. He had to furnish his chamber. So he began to hunt about for dry leaves, to make him a bed. These he stuffed into his cheek-pouches and carried into his house. But he didn't march proudly up to one of his two doors. Oh, no! He reached it by careful leaps and bounds. And when he left home again he was particular to go in the same manner in which he had come.

It made no difference which of his doors Sandy used. He always came and went like that, because he didn't want to wear a path to either of his two doors or tramp down the grass around them. If he had been so careless as to let people notice where he lived he would have been almost sure to have enemies prowling about his house. And if a weasel had happened to see one of Sandy's neat doorways he would have pushed right in, in the hope of finding Sandy inside his house.

In that case the weasel would probably have pushed out again, with Sandy inside him. So you can understand that Sandy Chipmunk had the best of reasons for being careful.

After he had made a soft, warm bed for himself, Sandy set to work to gather nuts and grain, to store in his house and eat during the winter. He was particular to choose only well cured (or dried) food, for he knew that that was the only sort that would keep through the long winter, down in his underground storeroom.

He gathered other food, too, besides nuts and grain. Near Farmer Green's house he found some plump sunflower seeds, which he added to his store. Then there were wild-cherry pits, too, which the birds had dropped upon the ground. All these, and many other kinds of food, found their way into Sandy Chipmunk's home.

Much as he liked such things to eat--and especially sunflower seeds--he never ate a single nut or grain or seed while he gathered them for his winter's food. And when you stop to remember that he had to carry everything home in his mouth, you can see that Sandy Chipmunk had what is called self-control.

His mother had always told him that he couldn't get through a winter without that. And so, when Sandy brought her to see his new home, after it was all finished, and his bed was neatly made, and his storeroom full of food, Mrs. Chipmunk was delighted.

"I'm glad to see--" she said--"I'm glad to see that all my talking has done some good."