This story deals with a child's view of the world and the difficult moral questions she raises during the story session with her father.
Jack (Joanne's father) had become accustomed to or putting it more precisely obligated to telling stories out of his head to his daughter Joanne during the evenings and Saturday afternoons. This tradition itself was now two years old and Joanne had been two when it started. These stories were almost the same except for some slight variations. It started with a creature usually named Roger (Roger fish, Roger squirrel, Roger chipmunk), who had some problem and went with it to the wise owl. The owl directed him to go the the magician, who would solve his problem in exchange for a few pennies more than the creature had and in the same breath would direct the creature to go to a place where he could find it. Then, the roger creature would be so happy and would return home just in time to hear the train whistle that brought his daddy home from Boston.
On this particular day, a Saturday, it was time for Joanne's nap. So Jack had to tell her a story. So he began his story and asked Joanne what the creature should be named. It seemed they had studied about a new animal at school today for she enthusiastically said "skunk, Roger skunk". The character was set and so began the story. Jack was now ready to start the story and was filled with creative enthusiasm. The story started with the creature being unable to play and make friends with other creatures because he smelled awful. The creature having no other option went to seek the advice of the wise old owl who directed him to go the magician. Roger skunk found his way to the magicians house and sought his help. The magician with his magic wand turned the awful smell that roger had into a smell that was of roses. The roger creature then as directed gave the magician the pennies he had and as per the instruction of the magician went to the well to get the extra pennies.
Then roger skunk went back home. As he reached home his mother was disappointed with roger skunk as she thought that it was not right to change one's identity to please their friends. She said real friends are the ones who accept you for who you are and not for who you want to become. She then took roger back to the magician and hit the magician with the umbrella she had been carrying. The magician then performed his magic and roger no longer smelled of roses. After that they returned home just in time to hear the whistle of the train blow that brought Roger skunk's father home and from that day on, Roger skunk was content in being himself.
Throughout this story Jack wanted to teach his daughter Joanne about moral values, but his daughter Joanne (Jo), who was just a child, reacted differently to the story's ending. She want the wizard to hit Roger's mother and let Roger smell of roses and not change him. This was a child's perspective of things. To a child, friends mean everything and they do not understand moral values and the importance of parents.
Jack had faced similar problems like roger had faced so he was trying to tell Jo that whatever parents say or do for them are in their best interest. But Jo was adamant and wanted another ending for the story.
After the story ended jack went down to help his wife Clare paint the furniture. When he reached downstairs he saw that the woodwork, a cage of moldings and rails and baseboards all around them ,was half old tan and half new ivory and he felt caught in an ugly middle position, and though he as well felt his wife's presence in the cage with him, he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything
NOTE: Jack had a son named Bobby two years old, Clare was three months pregnant.