IT was a rugged old tree standing sturdy and big among the slender second-growth. The woodmen had spared it because it was too gnarled and too difficult for them to handle. But the Woodpecker, and a host of wood-folk that look to the Woodpecker for lodgings, had marked and used it for many years. Its every cranny and borehole was inhabited by some quaint elfin of the woods; the biggest hollow of all, just below the first limb, had done duty for two families of the Flickers who first made it, and now was the homing hole of a mother Graysquirrel. She appeared to have no mate; at least none was seen. No doubt the outlaw gunners could have told a tale, had they cared to admit that they went gunning in springtime; and now the widow was doing the best she could by her family in the big gnarled tree. All went well for a while, then one day, in haste maybe, she broke an old rule in Squirreldom; she climbed her nesting tree openly, instead of going up its neighbor, and then crossing to the den by way of the overhead branches. The farm boy who saw it, gave a little yelp of savage triumph; his caveman nature broke out. Clubs and stones were lying near, the whirling end of a stick picked off the mother Squirrel as she tried to escape with a little one in her mouth. Had he killed two dangerous enemies the boy could not have yelled louder. Then up the tree he climbed and found in the nest two living young ones. With these in his pocket he descended. When on the ground he found that one was dead, crushed in climbing down. Thus only one little Squirrel was left alive, only one of the family that he had seen, the harmless mother and two helpless, harmless little ones dead in his hands.