cagey

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The dictionary says it's cautious, careful, wary, or shrewd:

cagey - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

And I just can't make it out in this excerpt:

Anne of Green Gables
Mrs. Spencer said your place was named Green Gables. I asked her all about it. And she said there were trees all around it. I was gladder than ever. I just love trees. And there weren't any at all about the asylum, only a few poor weeny-teeny things out in front with little whitewashed cagey things about them. They just looked like orphans themselves, those trees did.
How can trees be cautious or shrewd?

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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    This is a child making up an adjective meaning “like a cage”. The actual adjective is cage-like, but when you don’t know this it seems logical that it would be “cagey”. She is describing young saplings which were each protected by wooden fencing.
     
    This is a child making up an adjective meaning “like a cage”. The actual adjective is cage-like, but when you don’t know this it seems logical that it would be “cagey”. She is describing young saplings which were each protected by wooden fencing.
    Yes, I understand it now. The weird thing is that the word 'cagey' appears around that time and it looked as if it was one of the first usages in literature. Now that you explained it I see it's just a coincidence.

    Thank you very much!
     
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