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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 143 pages of information about Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories.

He was sick and feeble for some time after this, and his pack despised him for it, but after awhile he recovered and was himself again.  But whether he had had a shock, or whether he still had a tiny bit of affection for his old master in that treacherous heart of his, will never be known.

As soon as he was strong again lie led his pack to a new neighborhood, and, as he was never seen or heard of again, he probably shared the fate of most wild animals and died a tragic death.

PERO, THE PORCUPINE

Not far away was a funny, bristly-looking ball, which moved and rustled and squirmed about, and yet for the life of him the little dog, Jock, could not make out what it was.

There seemed to be no head nor tail, nor beginning nor end.  But it was not still for a single moment, and the long, sharp things that rustled so much, and made such a curious sound, were from ten to fifteen inches long.

These things, which looked like quills, were thick in the middle, tapering to each end, and had little black and white rings all the way round them.

Jock could not imagine what it could be, but at this moment the round, prickly ball began to move towards him, and Jock backed away, sniffing and snarling, and keeping at a safe distance from those sharp-pointed things which looked like big, thick needles.

When the prickly ball was quite close to him, it moved round, and then, to his surprise, Jock saw a peculiar head with small ears, tiny eyes—­very like a pig’s—­and a thick, heavy nose or muzzle.

It was evidently an animal, but Jock had never seen anything like it before.  The front part of its body was covered with hair, and upon the head and neck there were some very long, stiff hairs, which formed a curious sort of crest, and this crest the animal moved up and down in the fiercest manner imaginable.  All the rest of its body was covered with long, sharp quills or spines, which looked like hundreds of small, prickly spears sticking out all over it.  Its legs were short, and on its feet were sharp and strong claws.

Suddenly Jock knew what it was.  It was a porcupine.

Now Jock had not been out in West Africa very long, and, though he had been told by his dog friends of the porcupine, this was the first time he had really seen one, and he did not care for the experience at all.

However, he was not going to be afraid of a porcupine, and, as it did not look particularly fierce, but rather stupid, and moved in a very slow and clumsy manner—­the curious rustling appearing to be the only noise it could make—­Jock stuck up his tail, drew himself up and barked.  Barked loudly and angrily, and tauntingly, and the porcupine, instead of going away or running at him, or doing any of those things Jock expected it would do, simply turned its back and rustled its quills more fiercely than before.

This made Jock angrier than ever, and he barked and growled and snapped, his teeth, and, had it not been for the prickly spines, would have given the porcupine a good bite.  As it was, he felt nothing but contempt for it, but his contempt was short-lived.

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