The Adventures of Prickly Porky  by Thornton Burgess

Jimmy Skunk Takes Word to Mrs. Peter

W HEN old Granny Fox found Prickly Porky, with his thousand little spears all pointing at her, standing between her and Peter Rabbit, she was the angriest old Fox ever seen. She didn't dare touch Prickly Porky, for she knew well enough what it would mean to get one of those sharp, barbed little spears in her skin. To think that she actually had caught Peter Rabbit and then lost him was too provoking! It was more than her temper, never of the best, could stand. In her anger she dug up the leaves and earth with her hind feet, and all the time her tongue fairly flew as she called Prickly Porky, Jimmy Skunk, and Unc' Billy Possum everything bad she could think of. Her yellow eyes snapped so that it seemed almost as if sparks of fire flew from them. It made Peter shiver just to look at her.

Unc' Billy Possum, who, by slipping up behind her and biting one of her heels, had made her let go of Peter, grinned down at her from a safe place in a tree. Jimmy Skunk stood grinning at her in the most provoking manner, and she couldn't do a thing about it, because she had no desire to have Jimmy use his little bag of perfume. So she talked herself out and then with many parting threats of what she would do, she started for home. Unc' Billy noticed that she limped a little with the foot he had nipped so hard, and he couldn't help feeling just a little bit sorry for her.

When she had gone, the others turned to Peter Rabbit to see how badly he had been hurt. They looked him all over and found that he wasn't much the worse for his rough experience. He was rather stiff and lame, and the back of his neck was very sore where Granny Fox had seized him, but he would be quite himself in a day or two.

"I must get home now," said he in a rather faint voice. "Mrs. Peter will be sure that something has happened to me and will be worried almost to death."

"No, you don't!" declared Jimmy Skunk. "You are going to stay right here where we can take care of you. It wouldn't be safe for you to try to go to the Old Briar-patch now, because if you should meet Old Man Coyote or Reddy Fox or Whitetail the Marshhawk, you would not be able to run fast enough to get away. I will go down and tell Mrs. Peter, and you will make yourself comfortable in the old house behind that stump where I was hiding."

Peter tried to insist on going home, but the others wouldn't hear of it, and Jimmy Skunk settled the matter by starting for the dear Old Briar-patch. He found little Mrs. Peter anxiously looking towards the Green Forest for some sign of Peter.

"Oh!" she cried, "you have come to bring me bad news. Do tell me quickly what has happened to Peter!"


"Do tell me quickly what has happened to Peter!"

"Nothing much has happened to Peter," replied Jimmy promptly. Then in the drollest way he told all about the fright of Granny Fox when she first saw the terrible creature rolling down the hill and all that happened after, but he took great care to make light of Peter's escape, and explained that he was just going to rest up there on Prickly Porky's hill for that day and would be home the next night. But little Mrs. Peter wasn't wholly satisfied.

"I've begged him and begged him to keep away from the Green Forest," said she, "but now if he is hurt so that he can't come home, he needs me, and I'm going straight up there myself!"

Nothing that Jimmy could say had the least effect, and so at last he agreed to take her to Peter. And so, hopping behind Jimmy Skunk, timid little Mrs. Peter Rabbit actually went into the Green Forest of which she was so much afraid, which shows how brave love can be sometimes.