"JUNE 10, 19—
"Cousin Jimmy and I felt like murderers last night. We were. Baby-killers at that!
"It is one of the springs when there is a crop of maple-trees. Every key that fell from a maple this year seems to have grown. All over the lawn and garden and old orchard tiny maple-trees have sprung up by the hundreds. And of course they have to be rooted out. It would never do to let them grow. So we pulled them up all day yesterday and felt so mean and guilty over it. The dear, tiny, baby things. They have a right to grow—a right to keep on growing into great, majestic, splendid trees. Who are we to deny it to them? I caught Cousin Jimmy in tears over the brutal necessity.
"'I sometimes think,' he whispered, 'that it's wrong to prevent anything from growing. I never grew up—not in my head.'
"And last night I had a horrible dream of being pursued by thousands of indignant young maple-tree ghosts. They crowded around me—tripped me up—thrashed me with their boughs—smothered me with their leaves. And I woke gasping for breath and nearly frightened to death, but with a splendid idea for a story in my head—The Vengeance of the Tree."