The Sue Atkins Wednesday Story

Here’s another story from my never ending notebook and ever lasting coloured pencil.

The Porcupine

The porcupine was a strange looking creature because although he had a small little body, it was covered from head to foot with long fierce looking quills which stuck up all around his body even when they were lying down. This had its uses to the little porcupine because when he was out walking, any larger or fierce animals would avoid him so this helped to keep him safe.

The trouble was that smaller, friendlier animals would also be very wary of those dangerous looking quills and so the little porcupine spent most of his time wandering the forest all by himself.

One day he came upon a large turtle and, not being sure of this creature, he raised his quills to appear ten times bigger than his normal size. Wow, that’s amazing! Said the turtle, you can make yourself look so much bigger! All I can do is to make myself smaller. The porcupine was curious and asked the turtle to show him.

The turtle pulled in his head, pulled in his feet and did indeed look much smaller. In fact he looked just like a little stone. “I wish I was like you” said the porcupine because then all the animals wouldn’t avoid me. They could come near and not get hurt”. Well, I can come near said the turtle – look!

The porcupine began to shake because no creature had ever come so close. “Look, I can even touch you!”

Nobody had ever touched the porcupine.

“You have your quills and I have my shell and those things protect us because inside we are soft and vulnerable.

The porcupine soon realised that the other animals were just like him and so he learned to keep his quills sleek against his body so that the friendlier animals could get closer to him and be his friends.

  • What is this story asking you to think about as a parent?
  • How do you keep your children, partner, relatives, colleagues or friends at bay?
  • How do you protect yourself from getting hurt?
  • How are you modelling this example to your children in what you say, how you act and in what you do – as you are a very important role model?
  • How can you keep your quills sleek against your body and be more open and vulnerable to others?
  • What does vulnerable mean to you – strength or weakness?
  • What if you just suspended that belief for today and noticed what happened?