Ms. Hilda, Harold and Poor Young Jake
Once upon a time in the land of tall grass and hot days lived a lonely little hippo named Hilda. She bothered no one, and kept to herself, never venturing out until night had descended. In her nights of wandering hither and there, she came upon a water hole she somehow had missed. “What is this?” she asked herself with great delight. “Wow, its a waterhole that appears to be just right for a lonely little hippo like me.” Hilda ventured right in and settled herself, in a patch of soft mud near a clump of sweet grass.
She nibbled and wiggled and nibbled some more. Yes Ms. Hilda felt happy like never before.
Each night she would wander and eat on the way, but always stopped to lounge in her new found water hole. But one night as she began to head home, she was grazing and contemplating which way to go...when out of the bush appeared a curious beast. A hyena was circling her, smelling the air, as it watched her and wondered just what he could dare.
Ms. Hilda was highly insulted by this, so when he came close, she charged at him with great gusto. The hyena ran but circled back around, this time gathering a relative that had been watching the scene. Having quite enough of their silly games, Hilda turned one way and then the next, daring these silly beasts to come within chomping distance.
The oldest hyena, his name was Harold I think, was circling along with his younger brother Zeke. In the midst of their adventure Zeke muttered under his breath...”this is the last time I let you decide on what’s for dinner.” Harold snarled and growled as he grew more and more impatient. Teasing Hilda seemed the best way to take out his frustration, so around her he went.
Hilda sensed that the hyenas were not in agreement, and made it clear she wasn’t going to play anymore. She focused in on the nearby bush and off she went, while Harold and Zeke made a last ditch attempt to annoy her in hopes that she’d trip.
When Hilda was gone, all safe and secure, Harold called a quick meeting and told Zeke just this:
“When you were quite small Zeke, merely a pup, your mother entrusted me with bringing you up. She said that there might someday be a time, when sitting you down for a chat would be fine. So today is that day and if I might say...listen up now Zeke, this could say you one day. A hippo is much like the wolf in disguise; she can look most appealing until her mouth opens wide. And if you’re so close that you can count all her teeth, you might just as well close your eyes and feel peace. Nothing will save you from the bite of the hippo, she’ll snap you in half, and let you be someone’s dinner. So take this to heart as I tell you again...do not dance with Ms. Hilda, I can guarantee she will win.”
With that young Zeke walked away from Harold, he looked at the moon and howled calmly. Perhaps his big brother was telling the truth, he ought to listen, he thought to himself. Just then in the distance he heard an elephant trumpet and took off in a run just as fast as a rocket. Harold sighed and followed, finding more words to tell, only this time it would be elephant feet he would warn young Zeke about. Sometimes Harold wondered what others might think, if they saw a hyena chasing hippos in circles at night. Being glad no one else had been around, Harold trotted off quickly to gather Zeke one more time.
We won’t tell Harold that we saw them that night, as his pride would be injured and Zeke would be sad. But we will keep an eye on the water hole, and smile when Ms. Hilda waddles in for a rest. She knew we were watching. and she'll smile inside with great pride.