How the Porcupine Got Its Quills (FOR SHELBY) :D :D :D
Posted July 27th, 2010 by PorcupineGal
in Hogwarts, trying to figure out why everyone's staring at my new wand. *holds up a stick up dynamite*
July 27th, 2010
Porcupines- renowned worldwide for one trait, one trait that separates them from all other creatures, one trait that plays such an important role in their survival. Their quills. Scientists assume their quills are a result of generations of adaptation to their environment. True? No. The truth is far from that. And so, dear reader, I advise you to sit down by a roaring hearth, grab a mug of hot cocoa, and enjoy the true tale of how the porcupine got its quills.
The story begins on a steamy day in the African wastelands. Torrid. Dry. Unmistakably miserable.
In fact, it was so incredibly hot, that even mighty Lion, in all his former glory, refused to take a step outside
his shady tree oasis (which was really saying something).
But for once, Porcupine felt safe. From the high, bristling branches of an ancient Saharan tree, he breathed a
small sigh of relief. Alas, he could leave the security of his home without dealing with Lion or Hyena or Snake!
He squealed with uncontainable excitement. And so, Porcupine leapt from his spot on the tree and scampered off into the wilderness.
You see, Porcupine was a medium-sized vulnerable creature- sleek brown and covered with soft, velvety fur. Humans
craved his skin for pillows and blankets. Animals craved his vulnerability. Wherever he went, he was teased,
bullied, and taken advantage of. It was truly a misery.
But now, everyone else was nowhere to be seen! They're probably all hiding out in their dens... thought Porcupine
ecstacticly, and with that, he hopped off to the watering hole.
The watering hole- a large hidden hole, one that only Porcupine knew of.
Through brustles and bristles and branches and brayers, Porcupine alas reached the watering hole...to be met with an unpleasant surprise...Everyone for miles and miles around was at the watering hole. One word to describe it all? Chaos.
Animals of all shapes and colors and sizes squirmed for a sip of water- and among them were the toughest, wildest
animals from all around. Porcupine cringed at the sight of all of them- there was Coyote and Bobcat and Lioness
and Snake and Hyena and Scorpian! All in one place.
He tried to look inconspicuous as he made his way to the bustling water hole, but he couldn't manage to get a
drink- every time he leaped in, he was pushed back out. It was utterly impossible. Porcupine had no choice but
to stay and wait until the traffic died down.
"Hey, look! Wittle Porcupine is too puny to get a drink!" a familiar voice met Porcupine's ears. Hyena came
staggering over, his mouth hanging open. He laughed noisily, so noisily in fact that everyone at the watering
hole was tempted to cover their ears.
"Go away, Hyena..." Porcupine mumbled. Hyena laughed again.
"You're pathetic!" He ran off. Good riddance. But Porcupine wasn't done yet. Soon, Snake came slithering
over, her eyes fixed in a glare.
"All you're good for...is being a human's pillow...You ssssssicken me..." Snake whipped her tail, stinging
Porcupine's poor tender cheek before slithering off. Porcupine sighed, and kicked at the dust beneath him. But
his teasing wasn't done yet...
"You are more puny than how my husband described you," a voice muttered from the shadows. Lioness, the most
beautiful creature in all of Africa, emerged. She narrowed her icy blue eyes. "If you go on like that, you'll
be dead within a few days," she cocked her head. "And I warn you, I will kill you if you remain the same
at Spring's coming. My cubs will not feed themselves," and on that happy note, she stalked off. Leaving Porcupine
scared and helpless.
That night, Porcupine felt sad and, well, pathetic. He wanted to be strong and big like Lion, but he was wimpy
and soft. He wanted something to set him apart from puppies in a pet store. He didn't want to die! He didn't
want to be a meal for Lioness's cubs!
He was wandering around in the darkness under the moonlight, feeling sorry for himself, when he stepped on
something sharp. He nearly yelped in pain, but he restrained himself. He didn't want to wake up a grumpy animal...
Cautiously, he stepped away from the thing he'd stepped on and scooped it up. He breathed a sigh of relief.
They were only branches. Wait a minute...branches? Just like that, an idea sparked in his head. Branches...
One by one, he began to stick the branches in his fur- sure, it would eventually fall off, but they would stay on
for at least a few hours... He smiled at his brilliance- of course! He would finally get to feel what it felt
like to be strong, formidable, top-of-the-food-chain!
The next morning, the sun shone on something new, something Africa hadn't ever seen before. It looked like
Porcupine...but with a whole bunch of spikes shooting out from its back. Everyone woke up early and whispered
among themselves at this new creature. Could he be an import from Australia? America, perhaps?
Alas, Lion mustered up the courage to face the creature. He strode towards it, his face solemn. "No offense,
sir...but, what exactly are you? Who are you?"
Porcupine smiled a toothy grin, " I am your worst nightmare, my good fellow. I am Porcupine. One strike of my
spikes and you will lie dead on the floor."
"Is that so?" Lion laughed heartily. "Is that you, Porcupine?!? What happened to you? Ha! This must be some sort of
joke!" He chuckled.
Porcupine chose his next words carefully- Lion was very dangerous to be around- one mistake and he could blow
his cover. "I-I believe I have just as much power as you, Lion."
Lion's chuckling stopped, and he scrunched up his eyes in anger. "You think...you are my equal?" Porcupine nodded.
"That is not so! Let us have a competition- one that will prove your true status!" he boomed- he was followed
by an uproar of cheering from the surrounding animals.
"No-no, please..." Porcupine glanced around nervously, but he was obviously too late. He moaned at what he
had just done...
The competition was held that day at noon. The sun beat down on the two animals like some sort of torture
device set on having them lose. The location of their competition? The lake. All the while, Porcupine fretted
and worried- how could he win against Lion? All he had were stupid branches stuck on his back! He couldn't win!
And besides...the branches would fall off any minute, now...
Turtle, a weary old creature, stood atop a washed out boulder, his eyes intent- even he was interested in the
competition! "The competition shall be a race- whoever reaches the mulberry tree at the far end of the lake wins.
No rematches. Ready...begin!"
And the race began. Lion was a far better swimmer than him. He was a good two feet ahead, and Porcupine's branches
were lagging against the current. No way would he win! But he had to try...
Porcupine swam harder, his eyes squeezed tight, his heart beating in his ears like distant drums. And somehow, he
managed to catch up to the heaving Lion. It wouldn't be enough, though. A tie wouldn't be enough. He had to
somehow swim faster, further...With all his might, Porcupine struggled to swim quicker...and failed. He just wasn't
fast enough. And that's about when he remembered his branches- his weapon. Quickly, he shook his back so that the
branches brustled against Lion's face. Lion shrieked in agony. Using the oppurtunity to win, he sped ahead. The
finish line was just a few feet away...and that's about when he got stuck. his foot caught on something sticky and
wet. Mud. Panic spread throughout his body- he was so close!
The mud swept up his back, over his branches, slowly pulling him in. But he had to win!
Through the murky water, Porcupine could see Lion barely a foot from the finish line. He had to win.
With all his might, Porcupine pulled and pulled and pulled. His leg ached with excruciating pain, but the
chilly water quickly numbed it. He pulled and pulled and pulled and...WOOSh! Porcupine sped upward, hit the
surface, and touched the roots of the mulberry tree. Just in time.
That night, Porcupine was celebrated as a creature worthy to be seen beside Lion himself. The branches wouldn't
come off due to the mud- but he was perfectly fine with it.
And that, my dear reader, is how the porcupine got its quills. :D :D :D
Thanks for reading this LOOOOOOOONG contest entry! :D :D :D I love porcupines... :) :) :)
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