Three Hundred Games & Pastimes - complete online book

A Book Of Suggestions For Children's Games And Employments.

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What Shall We Do Now?              171
mole blundering blindly along. If by any chance a mole is caught in a trap while you are in the country, be sure to examine its little hands and feel the softness of its fur. Perhaps the farm boy will skin it for you ; although it is more likely he will skin it for himself, because it is a great thing to have a moleskin waistcoat—for which, of course, scores of moles are needed.
Sometimes the rustling is a snake on his way to a sunny spot where he can bask and sleep. Very slender brown speckled snakes, or blind-worms, are quite harmless, and so are the large grass-snakes, which are something like a mackerel in lines and markings. The adder, however, which is yellowish brown in colour with brown markings and a " V " on his head, is dangerous and should be avoided.
Now and then one meets a hedgehog plodding along, apparently not only blind but deaf too. You may even drop chips of wood on his back and stamp on the ground, and he will not notice you. Hedgehogs have been known to bump their heads against the boot of the person watching them and still to refuse to be disturbed. They can, however, run when they like. They stretch themselves out straight and scamper like young pigs. If you find a hedgehog asleep and want to catch him, the way is to spread a handkerchief over him and carry him in it, holding the corners. Hedgehogs are useful in clearing the kitchen of blackbeetles ; but although for a while they do this work fairly well, sooner or later they always vanish.
It has been said (and denied) that in the late summer, when the apples begin to fall on windy nights, hedgehogs flock to the orchards to pick them up. Their method is to collect several apples together and then roll over them, coming to their feet on the other side with two or three sticking to their little squills. Thus loaded they make for home again and eat the apples in comfort. To meet a hedgehog on its way home carrying half a dozen pippins on his back would be a real adventure.
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