Prickly Porky in "Unc' Billy Possum Tells Jimmy Skunk A Secret"
Unc' Billy Possum Tells
Jimmy Skunk A Secret
"Be sure before you drop a friend
That you've done nothing to offend."
A friend is always worth keeping. Unc' Billy Possum says so, and he knows. He ought to, for he has made a lot of them in the Green Forest and on the Green Meadows, in spite of the pranks he has cut up and the tricks he has played. And when Unc' Billy makes a friend, he keeps him. He says that it is easier and a lot better to keep a friend than to make a new one. And this is the way he goes about it: Whenever he finds that a friend is angry with him, he refuses to be angry himself. Instead, he goes to that friend, finds out what the trouble is, explains it all away, and then does something nice.
Jimmy Skunk and Unc' Billy had been friends from the time that Unc' Billy came up from ol' Virginny to live in the Green Forest. In fact, they had been partners in stealing eggs from the hen-house of Farmer Brown's boy. So when Jimmy Skunk, who had made a special call on Prickly Porky to find out if he had seen the strange creature without head, tail, or legs, told everybody that Prickly Porky had seen nothing of such a creature, he was very much put out and quite offended to hear that Unc' Billy was telling how Prickly Porky had said that Ryder might really have some reason for his queer story.
It seemed to him that either Prickly Porky had told an untruth or that Unc' Billy was telling an untruth. It made him very angry.
The afternoon of the day when Unc' Billy had dared Reddy Fox to go at sun-up the next morning to the hill where Prickly Porky lives he met Jimmy Skunk coming down the Crooked Little Path. Jimmy scowled and was going to pass without so much as speaking. Unc' Billy's shrewd little eyes twinkled, and he grinned as only Unc' Billy can grin. "Howdy, Brer Skunk," said he.
Jimmy just frowned harder than ever and tried to pass. "Howdy, Brer Skunk," repeated Unc' Billy Possum. "Yo' must have something on your mind."Jimmy Skunk stopped. "I have!" he snapped. "I want to know whether it is you or Prickly Porky who has been telling an untruth. He told me that he hadn't seen anything like what Ryder Rabbit said chased him, and you've been telling around how he told you that Ryder may have had good grounds for that foolish story. If Ryder saw that thing, Prickly Porky would know it, for he hasn't been away from home this summer. Why would he tell me that he hasn't seen it if he has?"
"Don' be hasty, Brer Skunk. Don' be hasty," replied Unc' Billy soothingly. "Ah haven't said that Brer Porky told me that he had seen the thing that Ryder says chased him. He told the truth when he told you that he hadn't seen any stranger around his hill. What he told me was that—" Here Unc' Billy whispered.
Jimmy Skunk's face cleared. "That's different," said he.
"Of course it is," replied Unc' Billy. "Yo' see Ryder did see something strange, even if Brer Porky didn't. Ah have seen it mahself, and now Ah invites yo' to be over at the foot of Brer Porky's hill at sun-up to-morrow mo'ning and see what happens when Brer Fox tries to show how brave he is. Only don' forget that it's a secret."
Jimmy was chuckling by this time. "I won't forget, and I'll be there," he promised. "I'm glad to know that nobody has been telling untruths, and I beg your pardon, Unc' Billy, for thinking you might have been."
"Don' mention it, Brer Skunk, don' mention it. Ah'll be looking fo' yo' to-morrow mo'ning," replied Unc' Billy, with a sly wink that made Jimmy laugh aloud.