Ambrose The Skunk Hero by Howard King - Children's Stories Net

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  Ambrose The Skunk Hero
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This is a story about a baby skunk who becomes sweet smelling by eating in a rose garden.
He is not accepted by his family and decides to run away from home and start a new life.
Read this story to find out what happens to Ambrose and why he becomes a hero.

Chapter 1. The animal 'Garden of Eden'.
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Through some of the most rugged and scenic portions of old Virginia there wanders a small stream, lazily flowing slowly on its way to the river and finally to the sea.
Very few people see this unpolluted and primitive segment of the State.
It remains one of the few beauty spots of nature not overrun by well meaning, but careless people.
Here wildlife and wild flowers thrive the way mother nature intended them to.
Each one living a life without fear or even a thought of man and the troubles and problems he brings with him.
An animal 'Garden of Eden' for those four footed creatures lucky enough to be born there and live their lives there.
Deer and chipmunks played side by side not seeking to harm one another.
Almost any bird or beast native to the Atlantic coast was to be found there.
The woods resounded with the happy chirps and calls of contented residents.
The ponds formed by the stream teemed with life, crawfish, frogs, tadpoles and the creek itself supported fish of many sizes and varieties.
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Near the creek, in a den under some rocks, mother skunk was nursing her brood of six little boy and girl skunks.
You may think of a skunk as some horrid smelling creature and you are indeed right if you annoy one. On the other hand, if you choose not to irk them, you would find them friendlier than the neighbour's kitten.
They are not naturally aggressive.
They are strictly a no-no for the fox and wolves who would seek to prey upon them for their supper. Consequently, they are friendly to all, wandering at their leisure.
Only those who live near civilisation have learned to fear man who might seek to deprive them of their handsome fur pelts.
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Now having set the scene, I suspect that you have already guessed that the hero, or villain, of this story, you will have to be the judge of that, is a skunk.
You are right, the smallest and last of the litter that we told about living near the stream.
Our hero, or I shall at least call him that until something different is proven, is a boy skunk and his name is Ambrose.
You may think that Ambrose is a rather odd name for a skunk and so do I, but his mother named him for a logical reason.
You will understand after this brief explanation.
Mrs Skunk had named her first five sons and daughters and then she counted noses and there were six of them.
The sixth one, nose that is, looked to her just like a rose bud about to blossom.
She should know as there was a dense patch of wild roses right next to her burrow home.
She decided to name this one Rose, but she did not want one of her boys stuck with the name Rose, Rosie, Rosabella, Rozalle or anything like that.
She consulted with the Wise Old Owl in the hollow tree and he suggested the name Ambrose, from then on Ambrose was his name.
Now we have the hero, but no story, so without further delay let us proceed to the next episode.
Chapter 2. The sixth baby skunk gets his name.
It did not take many days before the small skunks were playing near the mouth of the cave, in the warm sunshine, trying to catch grasshoppers, bugs, worms or ants.
Early in life they learned that bees were a no-no and were left to buzz around where they pleased.
The neighbours were civil to them, but did not encourage their own children to play with the skunk family, so they mostly played and romped by themselves.
They rapidly became stronger and more venturesome.
Some of the bigger brothers and sisters were going down to the brook to catch tadpoles and frogs for their supper.
Ambrose being the smallest had to content himself with playing in his own front yard.
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One day, while his brothers and sisters were down by the brook, he ventured into a rose thicket.
Only one as small as he could have evaded the thorns and briers of this beautiful rose garden.
He made his way to a small open spot where he could lie and bask in the sun, looking up at the blue skies through the rose petals.
There were many bees, but Ambrose left them alone and they looked upon him as a friend.
There were ants, bugs and worms, the skunk's favourite foods were abundant.
It was not long before Ambrose had swallowed an inquisitive ant.
The ant had tried to investigate this mysterious stranger who invaded the ants private domain.
This ant tasted different than the other ants that Ambrose had eaten before.
The reason was this ant lived exclusively on rose petals and consequently he tasted like a rose petal.
Ambrose liked the taste and he ate more ants and more ants; more bugs, worms and slugs all tasting like rose petals.
All summer long Ambrose grew and grew and found it harder to get through the briar patch to his favourite dining spot.
He managed, because he was crazy about rose petal eating bugs.
Gradually Ambrose himself began to smell like a rose.
Such a tragedy is hard to be imagined, a skunk smelling like a rose; unthinkable, but that is what it was.
His Mother was about to disown him; his brothers and sisters would have nothing to do with him.
They would not play with him; he grew sad and despondent, so finally he decided to run away from home.
He was still pretty small and his little legs would not carry him far.
He was determined, so he came up with the ideal solution to that problem; he would ride down the little stream on a log until he came to a place where they would not mind a skunk that smelled like a rose.
Chapter 3. Ambrose leaves home
Ambrose waited and watched for two days before a suitable means of transportation came floating downstream.
He was set for his journey when the broken tree bole came drifting along.
When it touched the bank Ambrose scrambled aboard without even saying goodbye to his mother. He settled down to what was to be a long tiresome and uneventful trip.
He did meet a family of skunks, but once they got a whiff of the aroma surrounding him, they raced off in the opposite direction.
After two days and nights of floating downstream, Ambrose was feeling the pangs of hunger.
He kept an eye out for a likely place to get something to eat and came upon a rose garden. Ambrose did not know that he had reached the outskirts of a large town, that this was a cultivated and planted rose garden.
It had a rose gardener and belonged to a very wealthy owner.
The little brook wandered through the rose garden by design.
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Anyway, by this time, Ambrose was so hungry; he would have gotten off at the foot of the Washington Monument if he thought there were ants there.
This place looked just like the place he was searching for.
He was busily mopping up ants and slugs when he was spotted by the gardener, who placed a basket over him.
The gardener then ran as if his life was threatened.
He went inside and called the Wildlife Service, which had a man newly stationed in the area.
Shortly after the Ranger arrived, and after donning gloves and a mask, he extracted Ambrose from under the basket.
He placed a collar around his neck, took him a mile or two up the creek and turned him loose. The collar around his neck, which he tried hard to remove, had an electronic chip inside.
The Wildlife Service was keeping track of the skunks in the area and Ambrose was the first one to be caught and collared.
He had to have a name, a rather unusual name of seven letters so the Service could keep track of him and the name, Ambrose, was chosen.
Now officially, by the authority of the state of Virginia, Ambrose really became Ambrose.
Ambrose saw immediately, when he was turned loose, exactly where he was; he had floated down the same stream.
He could not forget the enormous rose garden where he had been captured.
He settled down by the brook and waited for a log to come floating by so he could once again reach the garden. He was sure he had learned his lesson and could easily hide from the gardener who had caught him.
On the third day, a suitable log came along and Ambrose managed to climb on.
He was tired and sleepy as he had watched for a log continuously for three days; he cuddled up in a crotch and went sound asleep.
During the night he passed through the garden and never knew it.
When he finally awoke, he was floating down the middle of the Potomac River.
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Meanwhile, the Ranger who was monitoring the signal from his collar was at a complete loss. The first few days there had been very little movement from his first subject, namely Ambrose.
Now his tracking device showed him miles away, in the middle of the Potomac River; a skunk swimming like that did not make sense.
The signals were growing fainter and more distant with the passing of every minute, soon he would be out of signal range entirely.
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The Ranger could not let that happen; he got into his Patrol car and started in the direction of the signal from Ambrose's transmitter.
The signals were coming in stronger and he knew he was closing in on his quarry.
Chapter 4. Ambrose becomes a hero.
The log that Ambrose was riding on became lodged on some rocks in the River.
Luckily Ambrose was not too far from shore.
He saw that there was no other way to reach the bank, so he plunged in the water and bravely paddled to shore.
Skunks are not noted for their swimming ability, but in case of necessity they can do it.
Again, basking in the sun to dry himself, Ambrose was discovered by a small boy and his mother.
She had stopped the car to take a few pictures.
They saw the collar around Ambrose's neck and they thought he was someone's pet.
They put him in their car hoping to somehow reunite him with his master.
He was so clean and smelled so sweet.
They had no idea that they had an almost full grown skunk in the car with them!
Two hoodlums, just having pulled a job in Pittsburgh, were on their way home by the back roads when their car broke down.
It was near where the little boy's mother had parked.
Seeing the car they knew that whoever owned it would soon be back.
They crouched down on the floor in the back and waited.
Before the boy's mother could start the car one of the thugs threatened to harm them if they made any trouble.
They did not make any trouble so one of the men got in the front seat and they all drove away.
The Ranger who was following the signals was completely baffled again.
He had been right on the trail of Ambrose and now he was rapidly getting farther away; he accelerated his car.
The thugs did not wish to drive so fast as to get mixed up with the Police.
The Ranger was soon in sight of the car; he knew then that Ambrose was in the car.
Imagine the surprise of the lookout when he discovered an official car of some kind was following them. They dodged and dived into every side road in a vain effort to shake the pursuer.
It was no use as Ambrose's collar signalled every turn.
The Ranger did not know that there were crooks in the car; he just wanted Ambrose back and in his woods where he belonged.
The crooks turned into a blind lane and the Ranger was right behind them.
The car stopped, but these were old experienced criminals; they threatened their hostages. The Ranger, taken back by this sudden turn of events, was forced to play a passive role in this exciting drama.
He thought if he could make it back to his car radio, he could call for assistance. Meanwhile, Ambrose was crouched on the floor by the driver's seat, paying little attention to the theatrics of the humans involved in the whole affair.
He always suspected they were odd anyway.
The driver started to get out of the car to stop the Ranger phoning for help.
He made the unpardonable mistake of stepping on one of Ambrose's toes.
Ambrose was now a fully fledged skunk and he retaliated with full force.
In a closed car such an attack amounted to almost murder.
The two thugs, as well as the boy and his mother, made an unceremonious exit from the vehicle.
The Ranger, who was familiar with skunks, was able to overcome the thieves and he bound them. He called the Sheriff, who arrived shortly with a change of clothes for the victims.
They cleaned up by the river and the crooks were taken away.
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The Pittsburgh Police Department had a miniature badge made proclaiming Ambrose an Honorary Policeman and attached it to his collar.
The little boy's grandfather was the owner of the rose garden and when he found out about this he had the Ranger release Ambrose in the rose garden.
He gave instructions to the gardener not to ever bother him again.

The End

P.S. The moral of this story is - 'Don't stand on a skunks toe'.
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