Prickly Porky grinned weakly and rather foolishly. “It wasn’t greed, Unc’ Billy. It wasn’t greed at all,” he replied.
“Then what was it, may Ah ask?” demanded Unc’ Billy severely.
“I thought of something funny right in the middle of my meal, and I laughed just as I started to swallow, and the piece of bark went down the wrong way,” explained Prickly Porky. And then, as if the mere thought of the thing that had made him laugh before was too much for him, he began to laugh again. He laughed and laughed and laughed, until finally Unc’ Billy quite lost patience.
“Yo’ cert’nly have lost your manners, Brer Porky!” he snapped.
Prickly Porky wiped the tears from his eyes. “Come closer so that I can whisper, Unc’ Billy,” said he.
A little bit suspiciously Unc’ Billy came near enough for Prickly Porky to whisper, and when he had finished, Unc’ Billy was wiping tears of laughter from his own eyes.
JIMMY SKUNK AND UNC’ BILLY POSSUM TELL DIFFERENT STORIES
The little people of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest didn’t know what to believe. First came Peter Rabbit with the strangest kind of a story about being chased by a terrible creature without legs, head, or tail. He said that it had come down the hill where Prickly Porky the Porcupine lives in the Green Forest. Jimmy Skunk had been sent to call on Prickly Porky and ask him if he had seen any strange creature such as Peter Rabbit had told about. Prickly Porky had said that he hadn’t seen any stranger in that part of the Green Forest, and Jimmy had straightway returned to the Green Meadows and told all his friends there that Peter Rabbit must have had something the matter with his eyes or else was crazy, for Prickly Porky hadn’t been away from home and yet had seen nothing unusual.
At the same time Unc’ Billy Possum was going about in the Green Forest telling everybody whom he met that he had called on Prickly Porky, and that Prickly Porky had told him that Peter Rabbit undoubtedly had seen something strange. Of course Jimmy Skunk’s story soon spread through the Green Forest, and Unc’ Billy Possum’s story soon spread over the Green Meadows, and so nobody knew what to believe or think. If Jimmy Skunk was right, why Peter Rabbit’s queer story wasn’t to be believed at all. If Unc’ Billy was right, why Peter’s story wasn’t as crazy as it sounded.
Of course all this aroused a great deal of talk and curiosity, and those who had the most courage began to make visits to the hill where Prickly Porky lives to see if they could see for themselves anything out of the ordinary. But they always found that part of the Green Forest just as usual and always, if they saw Prickly Porky at all, he seemed to be fast asleep, and no one liked to wake him to ask questions. Little by little they began to think that Jimmy Skunk was right, and that Peter Rabbit’s terrible creature existed only in Peter’s imagination.