There were, but a few short weeks ago, four squirrels living in the Yard. Now there are three. The passing on of number four, a foot-and-a-half from nose to tail, marks the decline of animal life on compus. Three squirrels and 47 pigeons remain.
Various theories may explain the squirrel's mysterious death. A possible underlying cause was the severe winter which limited the peanut-throwing tourist trade. A variation of the nut theory insists that freshmen were feeding salted peanuts to number four, who then became overweight and fell victim to heart disease.
The cruel chopper and rain theories are other possibilities. The former blames tree "trimmings" for leaving the squirrel without home and food caches. Possibly number four had to climb to such heights before reaching a branch that he died of over-exertion. Equally fatal is the rain theory, which visualizes the creature scampering innocently across the Yard, then sinking into the mud with only a brown bubble for a headstone.
Regardless of its cause, this untimely death is noted and mourned. Yet a new and graver problem confronts these gray sprites. Unless there is soon a fourth squirrel to pair off the trio, only two will survive the spring.