Prickly Porky in "Ryder Has To Tell His Story Many Times"
Ryder Has To Tell His
Story Many Times
"Once you start a story you cannot call it back;
It travels on and on and on and ever on, alack!"
That is the reason why you should always be sure that a story you repeat is a good story. Then you will be glad to have it travel on and on and on, and will never want to call it back. But if you tell a story that isn't true or nice, the time is almost sure to come when you will want to call it back and cannot. You see stories are just like rivers,—they run on and on forever. Little Mrs. Ryder Rabbit knew this, and that is why she advised Ryder not to tell any one else the strange story he had told her of the dreadful creature without legs or head or tail that had chased him in the Green Forest.
Ryder knew by that that she didn't believe a word of it, but he was too tired and sleepy to argue with her then, so he settled himself comfortably for a nice long nap.
When Ryder awoke, the first thing he thought of was the terrible creature he had seen in the Green Forest. The more he thought about it, the more impossible it seemed, and he didn't wonder that Mrs. Ryder had advised him not to repeat it.
"I won't," said Ryder to himself. "I won't repeat it to a soul. No one will believe it. The truth is, I can hardly believe it myself. I'll just keep my tongue still."
But unfortunately for Ryder, one of the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind had heard Ryder tell the story to Mrs. Ryder, and it was such a wonderful and curious and unbelievable story that the Merry Little Breeze straightway repeated it to everybody he met, and soon Ryder Rabbit began to receive callers who wanted to hear the story all over again from Ryder himself. So Ryder was obliged to repeat it ever so many times, and every time it sounded to him more foolish than before.
He had to tell it to Jimmy Skunk and to Johnny Chuck and to Danny Meadow Mouse and to Digger the Badger and to Sammy Jay and to Blacky the Crow and to Striped Chipmunk and to Happy Jack Squirrel and to Bobby Coon and to Unc' Billy Possum and to Old Mr. Toad.
Now, strange to say, no one laughed at Ryder, queer as the story sounded.
You see, they all remembered how they had laughed at him and made fun of him when he told about the great footprints he had found deep in the Green Forest, and how later it had been proven that he really did see them, for they were made by Buster Bear who had come down from the Great Woods to live in the Green Forest. Then it had been Ryder's turn to laugh at them. So now, impossible as this new story sounded, they didn't dare laugh at it.
"I never heard of such a creature," said Jimmy Skunk, "and I can't quite believe that there is such a one, but it is very clear to me that Ryder has seen something strange. You know the old saying that he laughs best who laughs last, and I'm not going to give Ryder another chance to have the last laugh and say, 'I told you so.'"
"That is very true," replied Old Mr. Toad solemnly. "Probably Ryder has seen something out of the ordinary, and in his excitement he has exaggerated it.
The thing to do is to make sure whether or not there is a stranger in the Green Forest. Ryder says that it came down the hill where Prickly Porky the Porcupine lives. Some one ought to go ask him what he knows about it. If there is such a terrible creature up there, he ought to have seen it. Why don't you go up there and ask him, Jimmy Skunk? You're not afraid of anybody or anything."
"I will," replied Jimmy promptly, and off he started. You see, he felt very much flattered by Old Mr. Toad's remark, and he couldn't very well refuse, for that would look as if he were afraid, after all.