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Ombu the Okapi

2006-07-13 22:53

  Ombu was a little okapi, who lived with his family in the middle of a very hot jungle. Now, like all okapis, Ombu was a strange animal - sometimes he looked like a giraffe, and at other times he looked like a mule.

  “Really, Mummy,” he would say, “I do wish we looked like one thing or the other, I'm tired of being two animals.” Actually, what he meant was, that from the front he did look like a mule, and from the back, he looked just like a giraffe. But, of course, he didn't have a long neck, which would have been most useful when his mummy sent him our to find leaves for tea.

  “Oh! Stop grumbling, Ombu - perhaps one day you'll decide you like being an okapi,” said his mother.

  “Run along now and enjoy yourself, or I'll find you some work to do.”

  Off trotted Ombu to play in the jungle. His favourite game was to race the pretty butterflies in and out of the trees. While he was playing, he heard a bang.

  “Help!” he cried. “Hunters!” And he ran as fast as he could and hid himself behind a large bush. Through the leaves he saw a sort of field, and running like the wind were three giraffes. The men were firing their guns into the air, just to make them run into a trap.

  “Oh dear!” sighted Ombu, “maybe they will have to live in a zoo - far, far away.” He was so frightened in case the hunters caught him too, that he quickly decided to turn round and go home. He must have shaken all the branches on the bush, because at the moment, he heard a man shout, “Look! There's another one over by that tree.”

  “Goodness!” cried Ombu. “They are chasing me.” And the next moment he turned round to see how close they were.

  “Why, you silly fellow,” laughed a tall bearded man to his friend, “that's a mule.”

  “That's funny,” said his friend. “I'm sure it was a giraffe.”

  “Well, it's a mule, old friend,” said the bearded man, patting Ombu on the head, while Ombu was taking good care to hide the other half of himself in the bushes.

  As soon as the men had gone, Ombu ran all the way home - faster than he had ever run before. “Oh, Mummy, I like being an okapi!” he said when he saw her.

  “I think it's much more fun, and very much safer - yes, I think I like being two animals instead of one.”

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