I have a sad little skunk story from South America today.

Once there was a gentleman jaguar and a lady skunk. Mrs. Skunk had a son, who was baptized by Mr. Jaguar, so Mrs. Skunk became his comadre (godmother). And as Mr. Jaguar had baptized the little skunk, he was Mrs. Skunk’s compadre (godfather).

Mr. Jaguar decided to go looking for food and came to Mrs. Skunk’s house. He told her that he wanted to take his godson with him so he could learn to hung. Mrs. Skunk was reluctant, but the little skunk begged her to go, so she relented and little skunk and Mr. Jaguar set off, walking toward the river.

When they got to the river, Mr. Jaguar told the little skunk that he was going to sharpen his knife, and proceeded to sharpen his claws. He told little skunk to be on guard, because the jaguar was going to sleep. When little skunk saw the animals with the big antlers, he was to wake Mr. Jaguar by scratching his belly.

“All right,” said the little skunk. Then the one with the big antlers came, and the skunk awakened Mr. Jaguar. He scratched his belly, and pointed out the deer to Mr. Jaguar, who attacked it and killed it. They ate until they were full and took what was left back to Mrs. Skunk, who also ate all she wanted.

Eventually, when all the meat was gone, little skunk volunteered to go out and get more for himself and his mother, confident because he had seen how his godfather had hunted and he was sure he could do the same.

Little skunk went down to the river. He sharpened his “knife,” then little skunk lay down to sleep, but soon he woke up. He was waiting for the animal with the big antlers, and when he came, little skunk attacked it, thinking he was as strong as his godfather, but he just hung from the deer’s neck. His claws had dug into its skin. He was carried far away and eventually fell on his back. He was left with his mouth wide open.

Since he had not come home to his mother, she wondered what happened to him. She decided to go out and look for him.

And so Mrs. Skunk went as far as the bank of the river. She was looking everywhere for her son, but couldn’t find him. She began to cry when she found the tracks where the one with the big antlers had come by running.

“They must have come by here,” said Mrs. Skunk, and began to follow the tracks.

She came to the place where her son had been left lying on his back. When the mother caught sight of him, she noticed that his teeth were showing and shouted at him: “Son, what are you laughing at? All your teeth are showing,” she said to him before she had gotten very close. When she did get close she told him: “Give me your hand. I’ve come to get you, but you’re just laughing in my face.” She put her hand on him, thinking that he was still alive, but when she noticed that he was already dead, she began to cry.

Poor little skunk. So often kids, or even more likely teenagers, think they can do whatever adults can and it often gets them into trouble. I don’t think the jaguar was very responsible though, to not help teach the skunk that each type of animal has its own skills and talents.

The photo above is of a Molina’s hog-nosed skunk. They live in mid to southern South America, preferring to live in open vegetation, shrub forest and rocky sloped areas. The skunk forages mainly at night and is omnivorous, eating birds, small mammals, eggs, insects, leaves, and fruit.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

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