by Lisa Lewis
In reply to your letter, Mr. Kipling wishes me to tell you that, when they were little, the Hedgehog and the Porcupine would never stand still to have their hair brushed. So it all got stuck together into little points that turned into bristles afterwards.The portrait of Ham with the tin lid may echo something Kipling had seen in Cecil Rhodes’s zoo at Groote Schuur, near Capetown. A house in the grounds there was made available to the Kiplings for winter holidays.
When he grew up the Hedgehog used to shave, and that is why his bristles are always short now. But the Porcupine went about boasting of his long back-hair, and it grew and it grew till presently it turned into quills. [Ibid., p. 46.]