Beaver And Porcupine
: ALASKAN STORIES
: Indian Legends Retold
Once in the old days Beaver and Porcupine were comrades and went
everywhere together. Now Beavers are much afraid of Bears, who break
down the beaver dams so as to let off the water, catch them and eat
them. But the Bear fears the sharp quills of the Porcupine, therefore
the little fellow acted as guard to his friend. Porcupine often
visited Beaver in his house, which is dry and comfortable, and
unfortunately annoyed h
s host by leaving some of his quills there.
One day Porcupine proposed to call on his friend, and Beaver offered
to carry him on his back, since the prickly one cannot swim. But
instead of taking him to his home under the dam, he took him to a
tall stump in the very middle of the lake, and there he left him!
There Porcupine was compelled to stay until the lake froze over, and
he could walk home on the ice.
Beaver contrived to explain the whole thing as a joke, and the pair
appeared to be on as good terms as ever. One fine day the Bear
"What shall I do? Save me! save me!" cried Beaver in terror.
"Certainly, friend; just get upon my back and I will carry you to
safety," replied Porcupine.
Beaver did as he was told, and was taken to the top of a very tall
tree and left to himself. He did not know how to climb and was afraid
to try to get down alone.
He took him to a tall stump in the very middle of the lake and
there he left him.
"Oh, do help me down!" he cried; but it was of no use to beg. After
staying up there so long that he grew dizzy and almost starved to
death, he finally contrived to scramble down the tree; and they say
that is why the bark of trees is rough and full of scratches to this
day. We are also told that it is on account of this happening that
people who have loved each other very much sometimes quarrel, and are
no longer friends.