Thoreau begins this chapter by saying that a companion had come by and invited him fishing.
He then imagines a short dialogue between a hypothetical (i.e., not real) Hermit and Poet. Shmoop thinks the whole watch-what-you-eat thing might be depriving him of some essential nutrients that help him think straight.
Thoreau goes on to think about his animal neighbors, including mice and various species of birds.
He also catches some ants battling it out ferociously. For him, this battle seems as epic as anything in the <em>Iliad </em>(remember his deal with Greek literature) or the Napoleonic Wars or even the American Revolution. Considering the millions of people who died in these wars, he might be exaggerating a bit, but hey, poetic license.
On the lake, Thoreau plays a game of chase with a loon, who cunningly swims away just far enough so that Thoreau can't catch him. He notes that ducks often do the same to the hunters. Bottom line: animals are crafty.