Have you ever heard the little poem about "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood"? Well, this story is about Pudgy Woodchuck who did chuck some wood.
Pudgy was getting tired of just eating any old thing near his house. He wished very much that he could change holes. At first, his mother shook her head, but Pudgy begged so hard that she finally gave him a lunch and sent him out to search for a better place.
He chased around in circles for a while, then set off in the direction of the church. Johnny Junebug had told him there was a large garden near there. He pushed his way through the brush and soon found himself on the edge of a large field. On one side was a church, and on the other side was a huge woodpile. Pudgy sat up on his haunches and sniffed the sweet, fresh air. Ah! He was sure this was the place. That looked like radishes over there. He quickly jumped along to where the fresh green shoots showed above the ground. Before eating the radish tops, he looked around for danger, but saw only a few chickens scratching in the dirt. In a few minutes, Pudgy had eaten so much he could hardly waddle. Now, he would lie in the sunshine and rest. He was too stuffed to search for a good hiding place, so he just crawled over near the woodpile at one edge of the garden. Soon, Pudgy was dozing, and wishing that he never had to move again.
Pudgy was soon jarred out of that sleep in the sunshine. First, came a shout, "There's a woodchuck, Charlie. Shoot him!" This was followed by the crash of a shotgun and the rattle of tiny shots all around Pudgy. One stung him in the shoulder, but already he was moving out of danger. He whisked around and dashed into a hole under the woodpile, just as the boom of another shot shook the air. Pudgy's idea was all right, but his fat round body was almost too large for the hole. As he pushed and struggled to reach safety, the woodpile started to tumble down. Pudgy stopped. Large chunks of wood crashed all around him. Every second, he expected to be crushed.
The two boys watched the wood roll down. "Well, I guess that finishes the woodchuck for sure," said one as they went away in the direction of the woodshed.
The boys were wrong! The many chunks of wood had made a cave all around Pudgy, and not a single large piece had touched him. For a short time, Pudgy was much too scared to move, but finally he shook the chips and bark off his back and started to search for a way out.
The situation looked bad for Pudgy. All around him there was just wood, and no holes large enough to squeeze his fat body through.
Pudgy was not discouraged. He began to push and shove on a loose piece of wood. Slowly and surely he made a hole larger and longer. Each time he shoved a chunk of wood out of the way, he held his breath for fear the pile would shake down on top of him. Pudgy kept on chucking wood. Each piece that he chucked aside brought him nearer to the sunshine. Soon, he had a hole that reached to the edge of the woodpile and was large enough for him to squeeze through. Pudgy was not careless now. He pushed just his nose outside and spent several moments looking around for danger.
As soon as Pudgy was sure that all was safe, he dashed toward home as fast as he could. On the way, Jackie Jaybird screamed at him. This made Pudgy almost jump out of his skin, but it also made him rush along faster. He did not stop until he tumbled into his mother's kitchen. She was sorry that he had run into so much trouble, but she laughed at his tale of chucking such a lot of wood.
"How much wood did you chuck, Pudgy?"
"I don't know for sure," answered Pudgy. "It was just enough to get me out of that woodpile. What I am sure of is that I won't wish to change holes any more!²