Irish Farmer

Drowning the Squirrel – An Anecdote and Lesson

I was about six years old, one morning going to school, a ground squirrel ran into its hole in the road before me, as they like to dig holes in some open place, where they can put out their head to see if any danger is near. I thought now I could have fine fun.

As there was a stream of water just at hand, I determined to pour water into the hole till it should be full, and force the little animal up so that I might kill it. I got a trough from beside a sugar maple, used for catching the sweet sap, and was soon pouring water in on the poor squirrel. I could hear it struggle to getup, and said, “Ah, my fellow, I will soon have you out now.”

Just then I heard a voice behind me, “Well, my boy, what have you got in there?” I turned and saw one of my neighbors, a good old man, with long white locks, that had seen sixty winters.

“Why,” said I, “I have a ground squirrel in here, and am going to drown him out.”

Said he, “Jonathan, when I was a little boy, more than fifty years ago, I was engaged, one day, just as you are, drowning a ground squirrel; and an old man like me came along, and said to me, ‘You are a little boy; now, if you were down in a narrow hole like that, and I should come along and pour water down on you to drown you, would not you think I was cruel? God made that little squirrel, and life is as sweet to it as it is to you. And why will you torture to death a little innocent creature that God has made?”

He said, “I have never forgotten that, and never shall. I never have killed any harmless creature for fun since. Now, my dear boy, I want you to remember this while you live, and when tempted to kill any poor little innocent animal or bird, think of this and mind God don’t allow us to kill His pretty little creatures for fun.”

More than forty years have since passed, and I never forgot what the good man said, nor have I ever killed the least animal for fun since.

Now, you see it is ninety years since this advice was first given, and it has not lost its influence yet; how many little creatures it has saved from being tortured to death I cannot tell, but I have no doubt a great number, and I believe my whole life, has been influenced by it. Now, I want all the dear little boys, when they read this, to keep it in mind; and when they see pretty birds or harmless animals playing or hunting their food, not to hurt them. Your Heavenly Father made them, and He never intended them to be killed for fun. I don’t think, when the blessed Jesus was a little boy, He would have killed such innocent creatures for fun, and every little boy should try to be as much like Jesus as he can. The Bible says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: September 28, 1867
Title: Drowning The Squirrel
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

Related Posts

Tags: ,

Stay Connected

Connect with Accessible Archives on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to stay up to date on news and blog posts or get our latest blog posts by email.

Positive SSL