McGuffey Reader and Poetry Story 9

STORY IX – THE BEAVER

  1. The beaver is found chiefly in North America. It is about three and a half feet long, including the flat, paddle- shaped tail, which is a foot in length.
  2. The long, shining hair on the back is chestnut-colored, while the fine, soft fur that lies next the skin, is grayish brown.
  3. Beavers build themselves most curious huts to live in, and quite frequently a great number of these huts are placed close together, like the buildings in a town.
  4. They always build their huts on the banks of rivers or lakes, for they swim much more easily than they walk, and prefer moving about in the water.
  5. When they build on the bank of a running stream, they make a dam across the stream for the purpose of keeping the water at the height they wish.
  6. These dams are made chiefly of mud, and stones, and the branches of trees. They are sometimes six or seven hundred feet in length, and are so constructed that they look more like the work of man than of little dumb beasts.
  7. Their huts are made of the same material as the dams, and are round in shape. The walls are very thick, and the roofs are finished off with a thick layer of mud, sticks, and leaves.
  8. They commence building their houses late in the summer, but do not get them finished before the early frosts. The freezing makes them tighter and stronger.
  9. They obtain the wood for their dams and huts by gnawing through the branches of trees, and even through the trunks of small ones, with their sharp front teeth. They peel off the bark, and lay it up in store for winter food.
  10. The fur of the beaver is highly prized. The men who hunt these animals are called trappers.
  11. A gentleman once saw five young beavers playing. They would leap on the trunk of a tree that lay near a beaver dam, and would push one another off into the water.

THE BEAVER

  1. He crept forward very cautiously, and was about to fire on the little creatures; but their amusing tricks reminded him so much of some little children he knew at home, that he thought it would be inhuman to kill them. So he left them without even disturbing their play.

Continue to Lesson 10