But the man had failed this time, and Pero was determined that she would not risk that danger again. So, the next day, she made a little tunnel from her present home into another hole that she had carefully burrowed out.
Then for some days and weeks she was again busy collecting food. And this was hard work, as roots and plants were getting scarce. Meanwhile, the babies were growing strong and sturdy, and their tiny quills were just beginning to peep out.
Pero finished her work at last, and her second winter home was as carefully and well stocked as her first one.
She decided that she would only go out once more in order to get just two roots which she wanted, and then she would settle down for the winter. But this once more was just once too often, for, unfortunately, the man was on the watch, and, just as Pero was coming slowly out of her burrow, she received a stinging blow on the nose, which completely stunned her.
This is why the porcupine always takes special care to protect its head by rolling itself into a ball. Any blow or wound on the nose is capable of completely stunning it, and for the time being it can be handled and carried away.
Pero was a fine specimen of a porcupine. She was about three feet and a half in length, and stood about a foot and a half high. Therefore she was well worth having, and, owing to her size, she was kept alive.
When she recovered her senses, she found herself in an iron cage, with a cold, stone floor, and she realized, after many futile efforts to get out, that she was a prisoner.
Here she stayed, for the man kept her as a curiosity, and, although she fretted and grieved for a time at the loss of her babies, as the winter grew on she began to get very, very sleepy, and by the time she woke up had forgotten all about her burrow—all about her winter home, and all about her little ones.
But, as she had comfortable quarters, good food and an easy life, she grew, in time, accustomed to her prison. She made the best of it, and soon became not only quite tame, but even fond of the man who had made her a prisoner.
The day had been exceptionally hot, but a light breeze sprang up towards dusk and softly rustled the dry, dusky, jungle grass, making it bend and shimmer in graceful, undulating waves. The rustling resembled the swaying of corn, and as the breeze increased it became more and more pronounced. One part of the long grass rustled more than the other; it did not stop even when the breeze had passed over it on its way to other grasses.