Read CHAPTER XII - PRICKLY PORKY MAKES HIMSELF AT HOME of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

Peter Rabbit’s party promised to be a great success.  When old Mr. Toad, who had overheard Sammy Jay’s plan, had told Peter Rabbit all about it, he had also told Peter that Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel were hiding in an old hollow log close by.

Peter had whispered the news in the ear of each of the little forest and meadow people and had told them how Prickly Porky was even then sitting with his back against the opening in the hollow log.

Every one had thought this the best joke ever, for, of course, they all knew that Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel could not get out past the thousand little spears hidden in the long coat of Prickly Porky.

Prickly Porky settled himself very comfortably and began to tell stories about his home, way up in the North Woods.  Every few minutes he would rattle the thousand little spears in his coat, and though no one could see Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel inside the hollow log, every one could guess just how little shivers were running up and down the backbones of the two little scamps held prisoners there.

Prickly Porky told how in the cold, cold winter the snow piled up and piled up in his far northern home, until nearly all the forest folk who lived there had to make a long journey into the South, or else went into warm, snug hollows in the trees or caves in the rocks and slept the long winter through, just as Johnny Chuck does.  He told how the Indians came through the great forest on big webbed shoes, that kept them from sinking into the snow, and hunted for Lightfoot the Deer, and how they never bothered Prickly Porky, but always treated him with the greatest respect.  He told so many, many interesting things about the great North Woods, that all the little meadow people and forest folk gathered close around to listen, but every few minutes, while he was talking, he would shake his thousand little spears, and then every one would smile.

Inside the hollow log Reddy Fox was getting stiff and sore, because, you know, he didn’t have room enough to even turn over.  Worse still, he was so hungry that he could cry.  You see, he had crept in there very early in the morning without any breakfast, because he had planned that when Sammy Jay should break up Peter Rabbit’s party, he would steal all the good things he wanted.  Now, he could smell them, and hear the others talking about the feast they were going to have, and he knew that not so much as a tiny, tiny crumb would be left for him, when Prickly Porky should choose to let him out.

Shadow the Weasel felt just as uncomfortable as Reddy Fox, and Shadow is very short-tempered.  Every time Reddy moved and squeezed Shadow, Shadow would snap at him.  Now, of course, they could hear everything that was said outside, and the things that were said were not pleasant to listen to.  Bobby Coon and Billy Mink and Johnny Chuck and Little Joe Otter and Jimmy Skunk told about all the mean things and all the sharp tricks that Reddy Fox and Shadow had done.  It made the two little prisoners so angry that they ground their teeth, but every time they made the least little movement, Prickly Porky would shake his thousand little spears and settle himself still more firmly against the opening in the hollow log.  He certainly was enjoying himself.  It tickled him almost to pieces to think how easily he had trapped smart Reddy Fox, the boaster.

So they waited all the long day for the coming of Unc’ Billy Possum’s family, and when at last they did arrive, there was the merriest surprise party ever seen.  Only Sammy Jay, Blacky the Crow, Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel were unhappy, and of course no one cared for that.