Mrs. Schuster and the Porcupine

The Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 1993 | Go to article overview

Mrs. Schuster and the Porcupine


THERE was an old woman lived up Travis in a little log cabin all by herself, Mrs. Schuster. Her husband had died in a cave-in and she got a little money, enough to go on living in the cabin. She chopped her own wood and hauled her own water and once in awhile someone would come to visit, but not very often.

One evening after supper she was at the creek getting a couple of buckets of water to wash up with. It was in the fall. She always left the door open a bit so she wouldn't have to put the buckets down to open it because the knob was difficult and it took two hands to open. So she got back, it couldn't have been more than five or ten minutes, and pushed open the door and there was a porcupine on the table eating up the rest of her supper. Well, Mrs. Schuster went into quite a tizzy trying to shoo that porcupine out of there but porcupines don't normally shoo very easily. They have their defences so well set up they don't think to run away when someone comes up to them. They rather tend to want to get in a corner, curl up, and let whoever it is take a bite of quills if they want to.

Mrs. Schuster got the porcupine off the table all right but then he went under the bed, and poke as she would with the broom, she couldn't get him to budge out of there.

She left the door open then, lit her lamp as it was now dark and went to wash her dishes at the other end of the cabin. It was, as I say, a little cabin, one room, a table in the middle, a bed and a stove at either end, so she couldn't go very far away from the bed without leaving the cabin. But she did up her dishes and banked the fire in the stove.

She went out to the outhouse and came back and looked under the bed but the porcupine hadn't budged. She poked at him again with the broom but he didn't even wiggle. She stood awhile by the stove and wondered what to do but there seemed to be nothing else she could do. So she carefully got into bed, left the door open and tried to sleep.

MRS. SCHUSTER didn't sleep well that night and in the morning she got out of bed very carefully as soon as it was light and the first thing she did was look under the bed and by golly that porcupine was still there. …

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