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
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
"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!"