The Adventures of Prickle and the Elf- Part 1

Last month for Folktale Week, I completed a short story with my daughter Clare as a main character. It also featured a shapeshifting ("from hedgehog to pinecone and back again") hedgehog named Prickle. At the time of writing that story, I asked my son if he wanted to be in it or if he wanted his own story. Not surprisingly, he wanted his own, so here it is! He chose to be an elf, so the main elf character in this story is based on him. 

I wasn't planning on including Prickle in this one...but it turns out I miss him (!) and couldn't keep him away so here he is- back again on a new adventure in the forest! This is Part I- I am not sure how many parts to this story there will be, probably at least four or five, so check back soon!

Many thanks again to Oliver the Hedgehog- he is the beloved animal companion of a friend of mine and provides all the adorable inspiration for Prickle illustrations! 

Part One: 

Prickle the Hedgehog had been out foraging all night. He had set out after his evening breakfast of crunchy dried mealworms to collect more food for his cellar of winter provisions. Prickle was an industrious sort of fellow and never let the sleepiness after waking or the comfort of his warm stump keep him from the task of making sure he was set with all he needed before the winter snows arrived. 

It was a beautiful clear night in early December. It was cold, but the kind of cold that was crisp and almost friendly- especially for a round and amply padded hedgehog like Prickle. He had bustled along- collecting here, nibbling there, and packing all sorts of yummy future deliciousness into a small sack he hung from one of his quills and brought along with him.

He had been quite enjoying himself, but now he noticed that the deep dark of a moonless night in the woodland was growing lighter. He poked his head out of the fern under which he had been digging and looked around. 

Prickle the Hedgehog in a Fern- Original Illustration by Becky MacPherson

"Hmmm," he thought. "It's getting to be morning. I'd better get back to my house."

However, after he got his bearings and figured out where he was, he realized that in his focused concentration he had forgotten to turn around halfway through his nocturnal adventure to head back towards home. 

"I am quite far..." he thought, considering this. The bright day light hours are not safe for a hedgehog out and about alone and he knew he had to find a safe place to curl into a ball and sleep the day away until it was night again and he could continue his foraging. 

There are plenty of dark places in the wood for small person like Prickle, but Prickle had grown accustomed to his familiar cozy stump and didn't relish the idea of spending the day in a hiding place that was not his own.