A dog who was known for her eagerness, though some may have called it plain meddlesomeness, spent a great deal of time in search of fresh smells and adventure. Intrusive she may have been but she was also a friendly sort. While sniffing and traveling she came across many fellow wanderers and meeting others was one of her greatest pleasures. No matter how startling the appearance of a fellow wanderer she always approached like an old friend. In other words, the dog had little use for manners and never understood when others were not so keen to converse.
On one of such journeys, the dog found herself trotting down a narrow path. She closed her eyes, touched her nose to the ground, and picked up an unfamiliar smell. Delighted by the prospect of a new encounter, the dog kept her nose in the dirt and allowed the scent trail to guide her. It wasn’t long before she found herself eye to an eye and nose to nose with a strange looking creature indeed.
The dog had never seen such an odd little face in her life. It had two eyes and what looked like a nose but the stubby legs and the wide body were covered in a mysterious sort of fur. The astonishing mammal blinked once and the dog blinked back. Ever curious, the dog continued to sniff, putting her face right into the neck of the other animal.
“What are you doing?” squeaked the smaller being. “Don’t you know I could hurt you?”
This made the dog giggle. “How could you hurt me? I am a dog with big teeth and you are a rodent-smelling thing. Do you want to play?”
The odd creature, being a quill-covered porcupine, had no desire to interact further with such a silly beast. He had twigs to eat and clover to find and had no time for leisure. Besides, he was a slow-moving animal and knew the dog’s kind of games were not games he liked to play.
“Certainly not,” said the porcupine and with that last he circled around to furrow back in the bush. As he turned his tail swished and hit the dog in her interfering black nose.
“Ouch!” cried the dog and she sprung back. She would have jumped forward again to give chase to the spiny animal but she was stopped by the leash attached to her collar. The dog did not understand why the porcupine had been so rude as to cause her pain. Rubbing her nose with a paw, she wandered away.
It wasn’t too long before the dog met the porcupine again. This time there was no leash to restrain her. When she spotted a pointy tail wagging out of a thicket, she bounced over to say hello, wagging her tail in response.
“Hello, you odd creature!” The dog shoved her nose under the belly of the smaller animal. “Would you like to play today?”
The porcupine was quite startled. He had been enjoying an early breakfast of bark and willow leaves and did not appreciate the nosey dog interrupting his meal.
“Eep!” the porcupine shouted. Abandoning his food, he shuffled as quick as he could over to a nearby tree. Much to his dismay, the dog followed right behind.
“But why?” asked the dog, leaning forward to sniff his neck. As she leaned with her tonque flicking out a quill caught her just below her eye. “Eieeeeeee!” The dog cried out, shaking her head in pain.
“I warned you!” squeaked the porcupine. He seized the moment of the dog’s surprise to shimmy up the tree. “Leave me alone!”
“But why?” The dog persisted. Even though her eye watered from the spiney jab, she placed her front paws on the trunk of the tree. Her tail wagged vigorously behind her. “I just want to taste you!”
“Don’t you learn?” asked the porcupine from his spot on a branch above the dog’s head. “I have already hurt you twice. I will hurt you again.”
The dog started up at the strange-looking animal, tilting her head. She couldn’t understand why she had been hurt but didn’t think it had anything to do with the creature in the tree. He was so small and so slow. She was so big and so fast. It must have been a mistake.
Eventually the dog was called away from the tree with the promise of dinner and the porcupine was left to his own devices. He hoped it was the last he would see of the ignorant beast. But it was not to be so.
A few days later, just as the porcupine was meandering off to bed, the dog appeared at the rise of a hill in the meadow. The sun had yet to rise and the porcupine hoped he would not be seen. Alas, the dog took a big sniff of the air and then started to wag her tail in his direction. With nowhere to hide, the porcupine crouched his stubby legs and curled up into as much of a ball as he could.
“Hello again!” The dog bounded over. “Would you like to play?”
The porcupine did not answer. Instead, he curled up tighter. The dog jumped in a circle around him, barking and laughing. When he didn’t respond, she shoved her face underneath him to get a good whiff.
“Ow!” cried the dog. “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
The porcupine lifted his head, expecting to see the dog running away. He was surprised when she continued to stand in front of him, tail still high in the hair. The porcupine immediately lost his patience.
“I don’t understand you,” he declared. “Three times we have met and three times I have hurt you. How many times will it take you to learn? What kind of animal are you?”
The dog puzzled over this question, thinking the spikey fellow even stranger than ever. What kind of animal did she look like? After much deep thought the dog answered as honestly as she could.
“I am a Shiva.”
The porcupine’s shoulders hunched and he let out a sigh. All of a sudden he understand. If a Shiva had infiltrated the forest, there was no hope for solitary creatures like him. It was time to find a new home.
Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on you. Fool you three times… You must be a Shiva.
Before anyone worries, no Shivas were seriously injured in the telling of this story. Shiva has encountered several porcupines and has once chased one into a tree, but any wounds were strictly to her pride.