How the Porcupine got its Quills

Posted by on March 2, 2009 in Home School, Your Class | 0 comments

Home School students in Elizabeth Walter’s writing class, Spring Garden Township, were asked to read two Rudyard Kipling stories and then write “Just So” stories of their own.

How the Porcupine got its Quills
By Lucas Evans, Grade 8

The scratchy blanket of leaves crunched underneath Porcupine’s leather-like feet as he ambled along the reddish, brownish, yellowish, colored forest. Autumn had reached its peak and the tall tree’s bare branches barely could bear the cold crispy breeze.

Porcupine was an ordinary porcupine that looked like any other ordinary porcupine. He had a fairly large snout, a short, stubby tail, and ordinary short and soft, brown colored fur. He was not proud for the way he looked. He just thought that he looked like a sleepy, sluggish, slow, sloth.

As Porcupine proceeded through the woods, he heard something above him and looked up. Bolting through the bare branches was a massive Bald Eagle, aiming his sharp talons directly at Porcupine. The bird was a huge jet, traveling very fast, but luckily Porcupine jumped to the side and dodged the enormous bird. The eagle grieved over his failure, then retreated back to his nest. Porcupine got up and, making sure he was gone, picked up a pine cone and hurled it up into the air after the bird. After reaching a height of about four feet from the ground, the pine cone fell back and landed on Porcupine’s head. Despite the stupidity of the throw, Porcupine was proud of his defense against the eagle, and walked cockily away.

After reaching his home, Porcupine gathered a meeting with some of his fellow ground dwelling animals. He wanted to talk about defenses against the birds, therefore he called for Bear, Opossum, Squirrel, Fox, and Rabbit.

“I have gathered you all here today to discuss matters of defense against the predators of the air,” began Porcupine.

“I’m leaving” growled Bear.

“What?” asked Porcupine in disbelief.

“I don’t need any defense. Look at me.” Saying this, Bear turned his big body around and slowly disappeared into the woods.

After stating the same point as Bear, Fox swiftly turned and rushed off the scene.

“Well, at least you guys understand me,” Porcupine said, turning to the smaller animals.

“No,” Opossum quickly stated. “My death strategy never fails-”

“Except when your cousin tried it,” Porcupine reminded, trying to convince Opossum to listen to him, but failed and instead made Opossum burst into tears and run away.

Then Rabbit told Porcupine that he had burrows all around the woods, and Squirrel said the trees are where he hides, and then they both hastened after Opossum to try to cheer him up.

Poor Porcupine felt left out and as vulnerable as a lightning rod is to lightning. He was the only animal that didn’t have any type of defense against the birds. Porcupine sat there for a lonely while then strolled homeward, feeling sorry for himself. On his usual path home, many mournful thoughts still possessed his head, which could have been the reason he did not hear the familiar sound of wings beating behind him. He realized he was certain prey when he saw his feet gradually ascend off the ground. He looked up and saw the brownish, yellowish tinted color of a falcon’s chin feathers, then looked straight ahead, wide-eyed and frantic.

To Porcupine’s and Falcon’s amazement, a bit of luck reached Porcupine. The fur that Falcon clutched was released from Porcupines skin, leaving a chunk of brown fur in Falcon’s talons, and Porcupine free from Falcon but not free from the laws of gravity. Luckily, Porcupine’s fall was softened, but it was unlucky that the cushion was a thorn bush. A few (ordinary six inch long) thorns had pierced Porcupine. He jumped a mile high in pain, but managed to heal himself and remove the brown spikes.

Porcupine sat there, holding his arm where it hurt, when he got an idea. He looked at the long thorns, then to his fur. He jumped over to the bush and snapped off as many spikes as he could find, then stuck them into his fur. When his task was complete, he admired his back and tail. Thorns stuck out off his fur every where. Though they came out a little easily, he had made himself a great defense, and it turned out it worked terrifically, for on the way home, an eagle trying to snatch him from the ground but failed and gained three spikes in his feet.

Porcupine loved his new defense so much that he kept it for the rest of his life, and whenever you see a porcupine, it’ll always have spikes, and henceforward, whenever you see a thorn bush it’ll always have small, stubby, short, thorns.

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