Mrs. Frisby concludes that the food she has found in the hollow stump must have been left by an animal that had been killed by a hunter.
Mrs. Frisby's husband had died the previous summer, but she had managed to keep herself and her four children fed through the fall and the bitter winter. It is February now, and although she still has ample stores in her pantry, the family has been eating the same thing everyday for quite some time. Mrs. Frisby ventures out in search of a "a bit of carrot, a frozen parsnip, or something green" - anything to add a little variety to their diet. She is pleasantly surprised to find, in the corner of the garden, a stump with a hole filled with "a winter's supply of food, carefully stored and then, for some reason, forgotten or abandoned".
Mrs. Frisby reasons that the food had most likely been stored by a squirrel or a ground hog. She remembers that that,
"back in November there had come from that (area)...the sound that sends all of the animals in the forest shivering to their hiding places - the sound of hunters' guns shooting, the sound that is accompanied, for someone, by a fiery stabbing pain...and then he never needs his stored food again".
Mrs. Frisby is not sure exactly what kind of animal left the food, but she pragmatically concludes that "food is food", and busily gathers a portion of her discovery to take back to the children (Chapter 1).