Sunday, 18 November 2012
The rhino and the giraffe - a story about division and unity
The following is an original story by me. I hereby grant free and unlimited rights to use and modify this story so long as it is credited appropriately. - Andy Pakula
In the deep, deep jungle, it happened one day that a baby rhinoceros had grown strong and adventurous enough that his mother allowed him to wander out of her sight for the very first time. On that very same day and at nearly the same time a mother giraffe also judged that her young daughter was at last old and sensible enough to wonder out of her sight.
And so it was that a young male rhino and a young female giraffe bumped right into one another in a small jungle clearing.
"Hello there!" said the young rhino. "Hello to you!" said the young giraffe. Having known no other animals besides their mothers, both young creatures were curious and eager to explore.
Having no idea what they themselves looked like, they very soon accepted their differences and began to frolic together. They ate some tasty leaves. They jumped over low-lying vines - an activity that the giraffe seemed to excel at. They knocked over some slender trees - a skill that seemed to belong mainly to the rhino.
After a while, they heard the mother rhino calling and they knew it was time to part. "Let's meet here again tomorrow" said the giraffe. The rhino beamed a big rhino smile. They had become fast friends.
The next day, they frolicked and explored together again. And then the next day and the next. The two friends joined together every day now and took every opportunity to enjoy each others' company.
As months passed and the two young animals grew and matured, they increasingly appreciated the strengths of the other. The rhino was delighted when the giraffe would reach high in the trees and bring down a fruit that he especially enjoyed. The giraffe loved the way that her solid, heavy friend could clear a path through the thickest jungle with his body.
One day, as they played together and enjoyed their shared adventures, an adult giraffe happened to come along and see them. Looking first at the giraffe and then at the rhino, the adult giraffe spoke to the younger giraffe with a tone of shock: "what are you doing with this... this... creature" he said nodding in the rhino's direction. "We're friends" said the young giraffe brightly. "We're playing."
The older giraffe drew himself up to his fullest height and stared in disbelief. "You are a giraffe! He is a rhino. Giraffes and rhinos do not get along. Now go home immediately!"
The young giraffe hung her head from her long neck and obediently headed toward home. The young rhino watched her go and trudged off toward his own home, leaving a trail of large wet rhino tears behind him.
The next day, the young rhino awoke from a dream of playing with his dearest friend and then remembered the events of the preceding day. Sadness overcoming him, he tried to go back to sleep and to his happy dream. His mother nudged him. "What is wrong? You are not yourself today." He began to cry and his sad story came tumbling out. "I'm sorry you're sad, said his mother, but that older giraffe was right. Rhinos and giraffes do NOT associate with one another. You need to forget her and stay with your own kind."
The young giraffe, too, moped around. She ate some leaves and even noticed one of the fruits that her rhino friend loved so much. It only made her sadder.
The days and weeks and months passed and the two friends began to get over their sorrow at the loss of their close friendship. They began to make more friends of their own kind too.
And then one day, a strange and frightening noise was heard in the jungle. It was a roaring noise the animals had never heard before. In the distance, the rhino heard loud voices that did not belong to any animal he had ever heard. And then he heard a voice that he did know well. It was the voice of a giraffe - a giraffe who was once his dearest friend. That voice was yelling for help.
The rhino, now quite a large and imposing creature, turned toward the yelling and ran through the jungle as fast as he could. Trees and vines tumbled ahead of him. He didn't care what he might run into as he ran.
And then, he emerged into a clearing and there he saw strange creatures with only two legs. They had odd fur of different colours. And worst of all, the creatures had tied long ropes to his friend and at the other end the ropes were tied to a strange creature with four black circular legs. It made the terrible roaring noise and this creature was pulling his friend along. Other giraffes were standing just at a safe distance and they were watching helplessly.
The young rhino did not give it one more moment of thought. He charged at the strange animal with the round legs, struck it hard, and knocked it onto its back. The two-legged creatures began yelling and running away.
The rhino's friend was free and she and the other giraffes ran away. The rhino too ran with them.
When they had reached a safe distance, the young giraffe and rhino came close together. With tears in their eyes, they vowed they would never be separated again, whatever the other giraffes and rhinos might say.
The elder giraffe who had caused their separation then spoke: "I have never seen such bravery from any animal before." And then he spoke directly to the young giraffe and rhino: "I was terribly wrong when I separated you. I was a fool. Please forgive me. From now on, rhinos and giraffes are friends."
There was great joy in the jungle that night as rhinos cleared a space for a great feast and giraffes brought them their favourite high-growing fruits. Rhinos and giraffes have been friends ever since.