How The Shad Came And How The Chestnut Got Its Burrs

: Things To See In Springtime

In the woods of Poconic there once roamed a very discontented Porcupine. She was forever fretting. She complained that everything was wrong, till it was perfectly scandalous, and Wahkonda, the Great Spirit, getting tired of her grumbling, said:

"You and the world I have made don't seem to fit; one or the other must be wrong. It is easier to change you. You don't like the trees, you are unhappy on the ground, and think everything is upside down, therefore I'll t

rn you inside out, and put you in the water." And so the Porcupine was turned into a new creature, a fish, called the Shad. That is why he is so full of little sharp bones.

Then after the old Porcupine had been turned into a Shad, the young ones missed their mother, and crawled up into a high Chestnut tree to look for her coming. Wahkonda happened to pass that way, and they all chattered their teeth at him, thinking themselves safe. They were not wicked, but at heart quite good, only badly brought up; oh, so ill-trained, and some of them chattered and groaned as Wahkonda came nearer. Then Wahkonda was sorry for them, remembering that he had taken their mother from them, and said: "You look very well up there, you little Porkys, so you had better stay there for always, and be part of the Chestnut tree." And he touched each one with his magic wand and turned it into a burr that grew tight to the tree. That is how it came about. There they hang like a lot of little Porcupines on the twigs of the tree. They are spiney and dangerous, utterly without manners, and yet most of them have a good little heart inside.