These folk stories are a 1860’s Literature assignment from Diane’s American Literature Course.

The Loyal Canine

“I wonder if that rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine are going to stroll down here and taunt me again?” reasoned Charlie, the loyal canine, who was guarding the chicken coop one cold night.  “Those two figure that playin’ is better than workin’,” mused Charlie.

Later that day, as Charlie, the loyal canine daydreamed, that rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine devised a plan to entice Charlie to leave the chicken coop defenseless giving them the opportunity to devour all the chickens and their eggs.  “I surely believe, yes, I surely do, that if we made a look-alike porcupine then it would truly fool that there dog,” stated the prickly porcupine to the devious looking rascally raccoon.

So, the rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine gathered sticks, a hat, and a pair of gloves. Deceptively, they put together the best looking porcupine in these parts and sat it in front of the chicken coop.  Charlie, the loyal canine woke up from his daydream when he heard a rustle in front of the chicken coop. Charlie noticed the look-alike porcupine and bounded over to start a friendly conversation.

Innocently, Charlie did not realize that the porcupine was fake and that the rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine sat low, hiding behind the coop.  Charlie greeted the pseudo-porcupine, “How yer doin’ this fine and dandy day?” The look-alike said nothing and it irritated Charlie.

“How are yer doin’?” Charlie repeated, with a little more volume in his tone.  The porcupine said nothing, only stared. This made Charlie absolutely furious, “I say, I say, I’m a gonna punch ya so hard if yer don’t speak to me back!” The look-alike said nothing and the raccoon and porcupine laughed and laughed until they ran out of breath.  

Charlie punched the look-alike square in the fake nose so hard he got the fur on his paw stuck in the twigs of the fake porcupine.  Charlie commenced a yellin’ and even the chickens woke up to this ruckus. “If you don’t let me go, I say, I say, I’m a gonna kick ya so hard you a gonna feel the pain for months!”  The look-alike just stood there and sure enough, Charlie kicked the fake porcupine and got his fur on his paw stuck in the porcupine’s sticks. Charlie was stuck. As this commotion was going on the rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine decided to end this display of hysteria and came from their hiding place and up to greet the stuck Charlie.  

“Now, what happened to you Charlie?” interrogated the rascally raccoon with a devious looking eye.  

“I’m a stuck and this porcupine ain’t a letting me go, I say, I say, it a jest ain’t a buggin!” yelled the frustrated Charlie.

“Well, I am not quite sure what to do with ya.  How about I let you loose in the cat pen?” offered the prickly porcupine.  

“Oh, please, no!  Anything but the cat pen, I say, please! begged Charlie.  

“Now what about if we made ya eat non-organic dog food?” stated the rascally raccoon.  

“Feed me on a hundred bags of Blue Basics, but please don’t throw me in that there cat pen!” pleaded Charlie.

“I know, what if we tossed an artificial tennis ball instead of a real one?” said the prickly porcupine.  

“Oh, throw me a million balls until y’all can’t see me, but don’t, I say, don’t throw me in the cat pen!” pleaded Charlie.  

“Since we have no need for this dog, I will chuck him in the cat  pen anyway since he has caused me more than once, discomfort.” snickered the raccoon.

So, the porcupine and raccoon threw poor Charlie in the pit of cats.  Once Charlie had regained his balance he said, “hi,” to the cats in an unexpected casual way.  Little did the raccoon and porcupine know that the cats and Charlie were great friends and never fought.  So Charlie climbed out of the cat pen and chased that rascally raccoon and the prickly porcupine off the field. Charlie, the loyal canine never saw those animals again.  

G.B. (14)


The Sagebrush Masquerade

One bright day, a clever rabbit was walking through the forest singing happily to himself. While he was singing, he ran into Mr. Coyote.  Now, you can guess these two did not get along because Mr. Coyote was always trying to catch that clever rabbit and that clever rabbit was always outsmarting Mr. Coyote. However, one day, Mr. Coyote got an idea.  He retrieved a sagebrush and dressed it up as a cowboy. Carefully, he sat the cowboy bush by the road. Mr. Coyote then waited for the clever rabbit to come along. After waiting an hour or so, the clever rabbit came sauntering by.  

The clever rabbit suddenly stopped and stared at the cowboy bush, “Howdy there!” greeted the clever rabbit.  The sagebrush said nothing and Mr. Coyote stayed low in the tall grass close by.

“Nice weather we’re having,” exclaimed the clever rabbit.  Again, the sagebrush said nothing,and Mr. Coyote stayed low.  

“Are you deaf or what?” hollered the clever rabbit. “Now, if you don’t answer me I will punch you so hard that you will see stars till next month!” exploded the rabbit.  The cowboy-brush said nothing and Mr. Coyote stayed low. So, the clever rabbit drew back his fist and, Wham! The clever rabbit got his hand stuck in the cowboy brush.

During the ensuing struggle, the other hand was captured.  The clever rabbit yelled, “Now, if you don’t let me go, I will kick you so hard you’ll be spittin’ out my spurs for weeks!”  The cowboy brush said nothing and Mr.Coyote stayed low. Then the clever rabbit drew back his legs and, Bam! His legs were captured.  The clever rabbit, now totally ensnared, struggled to get free, but it was no use, he was stuck.

Mr. Coyote strolled out of the bushes, pompously looked at the rabbit, and started to laugh.  He laughed so hard he cried. Once he recovered, Mr. Coyote declared, “I think I am going to keep on walking and leave you here for the vultures.”  

The clever rabbit retorted, “As long as you don’t throw me in that hole.”  

Mr. Coyote hissed, “I think I’ll hang you.”  

The clever rabbit persisted, “Hang me high in the oak tree, but don’t throw me in that hole yonder.  

Mr. Coyote smiled a devilish smile and picked that clever rabbit up and tossed him right in that hole. Mr. Coyote remained on guard to be sure that clever rabbit was gone for good.  

After waiting anxiously for twenty minutes, by Mr. Coyote gazed upon the ridge to the east.  To his astonishment, the clever rabbit was sitting high on a rock smiling down at him. Mr. Coyote heard the clever rabbit chortle, “Born and raised in a hole, born and raised in a hole!”  The clever rabbit hopped away. Mr. Coyote ate plants.

B.B (16)


Coyote and Wolf

One day, Coyote was chasing a rabbit.  However, it was too fast for him, and he was forced to give up the chase.  He got a drink from the nearby river and stared forlornly at his wobbly reflection in the gently flowing water.  He said to himself, “I’m not good for anything. I can’t catch my own food, so I have to eat everyone else’s leftovers.  I’m not big and beautiful likeWolf, and – -”

“Did I hear my name?”  There was Wolf, grinning complacently as usual.  Coyote jumped. “Um, nooo. I was just getting a drink, so I’ll just not bother you.”

He edged away, but Wolf wasn’t fooled.  

“Oh no, really Coyote, I’d love the company.  You wouldn’t think of leaving me. Would you?”

Wolf’s tone turned threatening at the end.  He loved to capture Coyote and remind him again and again of his inability to catch rabbits, his less than sightly appearance, and anything else that caught Wolf’s savage eye.  

Coyote gulped.  “Well, um, I guess I could spare a few minutes.”

“Oh, I’m soo sorry Coyote.  I forgot. I have to go,” Wolf said in a disgustingly sarcastic tone as he slowly swaggered away.

Coyote sighed with relief, but as he bounded away–SNAP!–something closed around his leg!  He jerked around so violently that his leg slipped out of the trap that held it. He was ecstatic!  The trap could not hold him. He was good for something! Just then, Coyote heard a long, drawn out howl of despair.  He walked toward the sound, curious. On the other side of the spring, just past a few trees, he saw Wolf, caught in another of the same traps!  However, Wolf’s larger leg could not escape the trap as Coyote’s could. Coyote swallowed his fear and offered Wolf his help, but prideful Wolf would not accept.  

The next day, Coyote returned to the trap, but Wolf was gone.  Later one of Wolf’s relatives said he had been turned into a stuffed animal.  Coyote was shocked that Wolf had been so prideful as to die for it. He told Wolf’s relatives that, but pride runs in that family, and they did not listen.   

L.W. (15)
Prairie Dog and the New Himself

One day, Prairie Dog went for a walk outside on a cool spring morning. Prairie Dog was not a smart prairie dog and was a disgrace to his fellow prairie dogs.  Because he had to constantly hide from his predators, he was continually

wishing he was big and scary so he could scare them away.  Busy thinking about being scary, he did not see the root in the path.  He tripped and toppled over the ten foot drop next to him. Growing right there was a hawthorn tree. As you know, hawthorns are full of long thorns that are very sharp.  He shouted at Hawthorn, “Ouch! Would you put me down already!”

Hawthorn gently shook Prairie Dog out of her branches and while doing that said, “Well, Prairie Dog, if you had been watching where you were going, this probably would not have happened.”  She suddenly screamed. “Oh, that isn’t Prairie Dog! Please, whatever you are don’t hurt me!”

Prairie Dog looked surprised and asked, “Whatever is the matter?  Of course, I am Prairie Dog.”

She shook her branches and said, “Look at yourself.”

Prairie Dog went over to the pool of water and screamed himself.  He had gotten bruised a dark brown and black. He was full of hawthorn spines and had swelled up considerably.  What was he? He went back home sobbing. On the way, Hawk swooped to snatch him up, but screamed at the sight of him.  Prairie Dog realized that Hawk was afraid of him. Hawk normally tried to eat him, but he was flying away very fast.

Meanwhile, Hawk flew to the meeting hall of BDHA.  This was the association of Big Dangerous Hungry Animals. Normally, he came feeling large and sophisticated.  You see, to be in the BDHA, you had to be very dangerous. But this time, Hawk felt faint and terrified.  He flew in screaming, “A Spiny Prickly, a Poky Prick, a Porky Pine!” All the BDHA members started shouting to make Hawk stop shouting, until finally BDHA leader, Mountain Lion yelled the loudest of all.  Everyone knew that meant to be silent. Everyone was silent.

“What is the meaning of this ruckus?”

Hawk explained.  All the animals looked frightened.  They decided to go

ask Porky Pine, for that is what they decided to call it, to not hurt them, and they would not hurt it.  

When they saw Prairie Dog’s new Himself, they realized it was more

terrible than they had ever imagined.  Mountain Lion came up and stopped in front of The Porky Pine.  

He said hesitantly, “O great Porky Pine, we have come to ask you not to

hurt us.  We will do anything to avoid being pricked by you.  Please tell us something we can do for you, that we might not be killed by your mighty spines.”  He looked pleadingly into Prairie Dog’s astonished face.

Of course, Prairie Dog assumed a high and mighty attitude.  “Well, I won’t if

you promise never to try to catch, kill, eat, or do anything of the sort to me.  Otherwise . . . I might not be so forgiving.”
“Of course, of course!  We promise with all our hearts.”  Mountain Lion and the rest of the BDHA members looked so relieved.  

Fortunately for Prairie Dog, he stayed scary.  He had gotten

bruised so much it went completely through him and his fur grew in dark.  The hawthorn thorns were embedded so deeply they would not come out, and so soon Prairie Dog was exactly what he had wished to be.  Very scary.

Only a few times did the BDHA members forget their promise.  Even then Porky Pine did not come after them, because they had gotten full of spines and were in so much pain, he did not have the heart to.  Porky Pine was very happy, for he was left alone and was never eaten.

If you are wondering how the spelling of Porky Pine,(P-O-R-K-Y

space P-I-N-E) got changed to the difficult spelling it is now, just ask the Frenchman.  He heard it from one of the animals and decided to make it look more sophisticated and so called it Porcupine (P-O-R-C-U-P-I-N-E).  And that is the story of how Porcupine got his spines.


L.J.W. (13)

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