The Adventures of Prickly Porky  by Thornton Burgess

Peter Rabbit Tells His Story

W HEN Peter Rabbit could get his breath after his long hard run from the Green Forest to the dear Old Briar-patch, he had a wonderful story to tell. It was all about a stranger in the Green Forest, and to have heard Peter tell about it, you would have thought, as Mrs. Peter did, that it was a very terrible stranger, for it had no legs, and it had no head, and it had no tail. At least, that is what Peter said.

"You see, it was this way," declared Peter. "I had stopped longer than I meant to in the Green Forest, for you know, my dear, I always try to be home by the time jolly, round, red Mr. Sun gets out of bed and Old Mother West Wind gets down on the Green Meadows." Mrs. Peter nodded. "But somehow time slipped away faster than I thought for, or else Mr. Sun got up earlier than usual," continued Peter. Then he stopped. That last idea was a new one, and it struck Peter as a good one. "I do believe that that is just what happened—Mr. Sun must have made a mistake and crawled out of bed earlier than usual," he cried.

Mrs. Peter looked as if she very much doubted it, but she didn't say anything, and so Peter went on with his story.

"I had just realized how light it was and had started for home, hurrying with all my might, when I heard a little noise at the top of the hill where Prickly Porky the Porcupine lives. Of course I thought it was Prickly himself starting out for his breakfast, and I looked up with my mouth open to say hello. But I didn't say hello. No, Sir, I didn't say a word. I was too scared. There, just starting down the hill straight towards me, was the most dreadful creature that ever has been seen in the Green Forest! It didn't have any legs, and it didn't have any head, and it didn't have any tail, and it was coming straight after me so fast that I had all I could do to get out of the way!" Peter's eyes grew very round and wide as he said this. "I took one good look, and then I jumped. My gracious, how I did jump!" he continued. "Then I started for home just as fast as ever I could make my legs go, and here I am, and mighty glad to be here!"

Mrs. Peter had listened with her mouth wide open. When Peter finished, she closed it with a snap and hopped over and felt of his head.

"Are you sick, Peter?" she asked anxiously.

Peter stared at her. "Sick! Me sick! Not a bit of it!" he exclaimed. "Never felt better in my life, save that I am a little tired from my long run. What a silly question! Do I look sick?"

"No-o," replied little Mrs. Peter slowly. "No-o, you don't look sick, but you talk as if there were something the matter with your head. I think you must be just a little light-headed, Peter, or else you have taken a nap somewhere and had a bad dream. Did I understand you to say that this dreadful creature has no legs, and yet that it chased you?"

"That's what I said!" snapped Peter a wee bit crossly, for he saw that Mrs. Peter didn't believe a word of his story.

"Will you please tell me how any creature in the Green Forest or out of it, for that matter, can possibly chase any one unless it has legs or wings, and you didn't say anything about its having wings," demanded Mrs. Peter.

Peter scratched his head in great perplexity. Suddenly he had a happy thought. "Mr. Blacksnake runs fast enough, but he doesn't have legs, does he?" he asked in triumph.

Little Mrs. Peter looked a bit discomfited. "No-o," she admitted slowly, "he doesn't have legs; but I never could understand how he runs without them."

"Well, then," snapped Peter, "if he can run without legs, why can't other creatures? Besides, this one didn't run exactly; it rolled. Now I've told you all I'm going to. I need a long nap, after all I've been through, so don't let any one disturb me."

"I won't," replied Mrs. Peter meekly. "But, Peter, if I were you, I wouldn't tell that story to any one else."