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Squirrel and John Muir

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    A SPLENDID STORY THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN TRUE

    When author/artist Emily Arnold McCully set her sights on famed naturalist John Muir and a little girl whom he met in Yosemite in 1868 the result was a splendid story which isn't totally true - but, it could have been. At that time Muir was 30-years-old. He'd been to college, worked at several jobs, and felt a strong call to commune with nature and discover its laws. When he arrived in Yosemite hoping to prove his theory of glacial formation, he was hired by James Hutchings, an English journalist bent on attracting tourism to the area. Hutchings was also bent on one other task - taming his spirited daughter, Floy. Here was a girl who never wanted to grow up because then she'd have to be a lady. A thought quite repellant to the rebellious young miss whose nickname was Squirrel. She happily spent hours 'talking to the family's pet parrot, balancing on a plank by the woodpile, making mud pies, and capturing frogs.' As the story develops Muir and Squirrel soon become the best of friends as he shows her how to see through his eyes the incredible surroundings in which she lives. It is not known whether or not Floy grew up to be a lady, but it is known that John Muir became famous and the world has benefitted by what he learned. - Gail Cooke

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