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New-Moon Stones

 Story by Allen Morgan

 art by Doreen Foster

Full length novel: ages 9 - 12

seventeen chapters - 160 pages


Chapter Nine (part 2)

Meanwhile back on the road, things were going from bad to worse. There were far too many rabbits and the porcupine finally lost his temper. Soon he was tossing them into the air every which way he could. This was not too successful either. After a few graceful somersaults the rabbits landed with a dull thud and then hopped back onto the road to stare some more.

"Sounds like an orchard on a windy day," observed the horse and he sat down with a sigh, his back legs sprawled out carelessly on either side. "Sit down and take a load off why don't you, this could take a while."

The porcupine soon realized the same thing and came waddling back over to the wagon again.

"Time to get out the souvenirs," he said and he pulled out a small sample case from under the seat. "If it's new-moon stones they want, then that's what they'll get!"

The porcupine flipped the case open with a flourish. It was filled with rocks of all shapes and sizes.

"Are those really new-moon stones?" asked Jennifer.

The porcupine nodded. The horse shook his head.

"They are!" insisted the porcupine.

"They're not," said the horse. "They're fakes!"


"Same thing," said the horse and he snorted in disgust.

"These stones are absolutely almost perfect," the porcupine told Jennifer. "They're as close to real as you can possibly get without actually getting there!"

"But they aren't really new-moon stones," said Jennifer.

"Well, no," admitted the porcupine. "But the rabbits won't know that, that's why they're rabbits."

He took his sample case and waddled out into the road.

"Friends," he told the rabbits warmly. "These fine stones are genuine reconstructions of actual new-moon stones! 100 percent perfect and that's no lie, why some of these stones are actually 110 and a couple go even higher, 120 percent perfect and that's the bottom line and as low as we go. Each is carefully chosen... "

"He picks them up by the side of the road," the horse whispered loudly to Jennifer.

". . . and hand selected to show all the finer points of the real thing. Why they're probably even better than the real thing and much more convenient. Saves you the trouble of having to have the real thing. I mean, why go out looking for something when you could be sitting back home with something else instead!"

The porcupine seemed to be telling the rabbits just what they wanted to hear. They crowded closer in an effort to see what was inside the sample case.

"Don't push, don't shove!" the porcupine told them. "I've got enough here for everybody! They only cost a penny a piece, more if you've got it, and I want hard cash; no cheques or checkers or promissory paw notes."

He dumped all the rocks into a pile by the side of the road and the rabbits quickly lined up. The road was suddenly clear again and Jamie and Rachael were able to sit up. They seemed a little confused, so Jennifer helped them to their feet and up into the wagon. The porcupine went down the line of rabbits collecting his fees in a burlap sack. Then he went over to the other side of the road and filled up his sample case again with a new load of rocks. Finally, he climbed up into the wagon and took his seat. The horse sighed and got to his feet. Soon he was pulling the wagon past the line of rabbits.

"Go ahead, help yourselves!" the porcupine called to them as he drove away. "They're all for you!"

continue on to part three of Chapter Nine

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