The Beginning of the Armadilloes

The Beginning of the Armadillos

This is the story of the the Beginning of the Armadillos
and it happened Just So.
Long Ago in the High and Far off Times
There was a Stickly-Prickly-Hedgehog and he lived on the banks of the Turbid Amazon.
Eating shelly snails and things.
and he had a friend, a Slow-Solid-Tortoise who lived on the banks of the Turbid Amazon.
Eating green lettuces and things.
But also there was a Painted Jaguar and HE ate everything he could catch.
When he couldn't catch deer or monkeys.
He would eat frogs and beetles.
and when he couldn't catch frogs and beetles.
he went to his Mother Jaguar.
And She told him how to catch Hedgehogs and Tortoises.
Son Son, said his Mother, ever so many times, graciously waving her tail.
When you find a Hedgehog you must drop him into the water
then he will uncoil and you can eat him.
When you catch a Tortoise you must scoop him out of his shell with your paw.
one beautiful night Painted Jaguar found Stickly-Prickly-Hedgehog and Slow-Solid-Tortoise.
They couldn't run away so Stickly-Prickly curled himself up
and Slow-Solid drew his head and feet into his shell.
Now listen to me you two, cos this is very important.
My Mother said that when I meet a Hedgehog I am to drop him into the water and then he will uncoil.
and when I meet a Tortoise I am to scoop him out of his shell with my paw.
Now, which of you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise?
Are you sure of what your Mummy told you? said Stickly-Prickly are you quite sure?

Perhaps she said that when you uncoil a Tortoise you must shell him out of the water with a scoop!
And when you paw a Hedgehog you must drop him on the shell.
Are you sure of what your Mummy told you? said Slow-Solid-Tortoise are you quite sure?
Perhaps she said that when you water a Hedgehog you must drop him into your paw.
And when you met a Tortoise you must shell him till he uncoils.
I don't think it was at all like that said Painted Jaguar.
Please say that again, more distinctly.
When you scoop water with your paw you uncoil it with a hedgehog.
But, said Slow-Steady, when you pour your meat you drop it into a Tortoise with a scoop.
Now do you understand.
You are making my spots ache. Just tell me simply, Which of you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise?
I shan't tell you, but you can scoop me out of my shell if you like.
Aha said Painted Jaguar, now I know that YOU are Tortoise.
Now I know that he isn't Tortoise at all.
But I AM Tortoise your Mother was quite right she said you were to scoop me out of my shell with your paw.
What will happen if I do? said Jaguar.
I don't know, cos I've never been scooped our of my shell before. If you want to see me swim away you've only to drop me into the water.
I don't believe you said Painted Jaguar You've mixed up all the things my Mother told me,
till I don't know whether I'm on my head or my painted tail.
She told me to drop ONE of you two into the water, you seem so anxious to be dropped in that I think
really you do NOT want to be.
So JUMP and be quick about it.
I warn you your Mummy won't be pleased.
If you say another word about my Mother, said Painted Jaguar,

I'll… but he never finished the sentence. He watched speechless as Slow-Solid happily swam over
to the far bank. Where he, and Stickly-Prickly were safely out of the reach of
Poor Puzzled Painted Jaguar. Who went roaring home to his Mummy.
Son Son, said his Mother, ever so many times, graciously waving her tail.
What have you been doing that you should not have done?
Well, sobbed Painted Jaguar, I tried to scoop something that said it wanted to be scooped out of it's shell. and now my paw is full of prickles.
You must have tried to scoop a Hedgehog you should have dropped HIM into the water.
I did that to the other thing and he swam away, and I haven't had anything eat all day and I'm ever so hungry.
Son Son, said his Mother, graciously waving her tail.
A Hedgehog curls up into a ball and his prickles stick out every which way at once and he
cannot swim.
I don;t like this Old Lady one little bit said Stickly-Prickly that description was far too clear even
Painted Jaguar will not forget THAT.
A tortoise cannot curl himself Mother Jaguar went on but he can draw his legs and head into his shell,
and HE is a good swimmer.
Painted Jaguar went off to the shores of the Turbid Amazon saying to himself.
Can't Curl but CAN swim, Slow-Solid that's HIM.
Curls up but CAN'T swim Stickly-Prickly that's HIM.
he'll never forget that whatever can we do?
Mmmm said Slow-Solid how about if YOU were able to swim, and I were able to curl up.
That would fool Painted Jaguar.
Excellent idea said Sickly-Prickly let's start practising now.
LOOK said Tortoise I can wrap my hind legs round my ears.
Excellent said Hedgehog , but it's straining your back-plates a little.
Ooh said Slow-Solid I've noticed that your prickles seem to be melting into one another.
When morning came they found they were both quite different from what they'd been before.
Oh won't Painted jaguar be surprised they laughed. Let's go and find him.
Good Morning, said Stickly-Prickly and how is your Dear Mummy this morning?
She is quite well thank you, but you must forgive me if I do not at this precise moment recall your names.
Don't you remember what your Mummy told you

Can't Curl but CAN swim, Slow-Solid that's HIM.
Curl's up but can't swim Slow-Solid that's HIM.

Mother Mother said Painted Jaguar. There are two new animals by the Turbid Amazon today.
The one you said couldn't swim CAN
and the one you said couldn't curl, DOES.
and they're rolling round and round and I'm ever so confused.
Son Son said Mother Jaguar. a Hedgehog is Hedgehog and a Tortoise is a Tortoise.
and can never be anything else.
But it isn't a Hedgehog and it isn't a Tortoise it's a little bit of both
and I don't know it's proper name.
Nonsense said Mother Jaguar, everything has it's proper name,
I shall call it 'Armadillo" until I find out the real one and I should leave it alone if I were you.
So Painted Jaguar did as he was told, especially about leaving it alone.
And ever since that day every Hedgehog and every Tortoise on the Turbid Amazon has been called
Armadillo precisely like Stickly-Prickly , Slow-Steady that grew to be the first Armadillo in the world