Sunday, March 20, 2011

The giraffe, the snake and the tortoise

Once upon a time, there was a giraffe, a snake and a tortoise. As it happens in all fairy tales, they had this periodic argument about who was the superior creature of the three. As it happens in all arguments, all their arguments kept ending in stalemates.

So they decided upon a judge. None less than a human would be eligible to become the judge - they all agreed upon that. After all, they were the smartest. So what they were the only species who killed others, of their own species or otherwise, for reasons other than food or self-defence.

So they selected a random human being. With glasses, I presume, since everyone looks smarter (and sexier) in glasses.

The human being gave them three tasks. The winner would emerge as a representative of the supreme species, he said.

The First Task:
"You all need to go to the airport. The first to reach there wins."

The giraffe laughed. Silently, of course, since giraffes apparently do not have a voice. And even if they did, who'd hear?

The snake wasn't too happy. He could slither very fast, but competing with a giraffe wasn't the easiest of things. He hissed.

The tortoise said nothing. Tortoises never say anything, you see.

The giraffe tried to run through the busy roads. The imposing buses and the speeding cars intimidated him, and soon his pace reduced to a mere tiptoed walk. He chose to walk on the pavements and road-dividers, and got extremely nervous when he had to cross the road. Even the pavements weren't safe - there were irritated office commuters, bored housewives with prams and enthusiastic students, and he had to stoop for the occasionally misplaced lamppost.

The snake, likewise, struggled temporarily. Then an idea struck him: he wrapped itself around one of the legs of the giraffe, who couldn't shrug him off, and his pace got reduced even more. Thus the two of them paved their way through the bustling humanity, albeit at a slow pace.

The tortoise thought for a while, then saw some barrels being loaded in a truck. He climbed up the incline, slid into the truck and jumped down at the airport (there must be a valid reason for barrels being taken to the airport, but let's not discuss that at this point of time). He fell upside down, and his shell protected him from being seriously hurt.

The human, on his expensive car, had of course beaten all three of them to the airport. He judged the tortoise as the winner way before the other two made it there.


The Second Task:

"This, my friends", said the human, "is a swimming pool. The fastest to the other end wins."

This was tailor-made for the tortoise. Though he wasn't as equipped as a turtle, he could swim somewhat, especially in a pool intended for toddlers. He huffed and puffed a bit, but made it in the end.

The giraffe had no idea how to swim (one can blame his genes for that). He decided to walk, but his hooves couldn't hold on to the slippery surface beneath, and he fell. Mind you, he still didn't drown, this being a very shallow pool. He became the first giraffe in recorded history to crawl, that too in water, but couldn't get past the tortoise.

The snake, being a land snake, was too intimidated for all this. He simply slithered its way around the pool and gave a walkover.

The tortoise won, again. Technically he should have been declared winner at this point of time, but that would have cut the story too short.

The Third Task:

"You need to get inside that McDonald's and bring an intact hamburger out of it".

The giraffe looked at the golden arches in its eye. This song possibly passed his mind, but he shrugged off the feeling. He tried to enter the outlet, but of course he couldn't. The door was too short. He kicked open the door and tried to head-butt inside (and confused a couple of kids in the process), but simply couldn't get in. In fact, he could see a hamburger on the nearest table, but could only witness it being consumed by one of the most obese of our species around.

The snake slid in through the open door. His presence intimidated everyone, and soon the entire outlet became empty. He slithered from table to table, trying to grab a burger, but the moment he had one in his mouth, the cheese melted, making the insides of his mouth slimier, and he auto-swallowed the burger. Enraged, he tried one burger after the other, the best he could manage was swallow each and every one (and thereby result in a steep spike in his cholesterol level). He smashed his tail on the polished floor in anger, but to no avail.

The tortoise walked very slowly inside the joint, empty by now. From the door he could see a solitary unattended burger on a tray on the counter. He walked up to them. He slid his limbs inside his shell. Then, with only his mouth poking out, he said:
"Hello! See, how similar we look! Would you be my friend and care for a walk outside?"
With that, he immediately slid his head inside as well.

The burger had a cautious look. A stream of thoughts passed through its mind. He knew he was already living on borrowed life. So why not make the full of it? Taking a walk in fresh air with a lookalike was surely a better option than sitting down on a paper-covered McDonald's tray, with a red box of identical French fries, a snobbish cardboard glass full of Pepsi, a bunch of withering, pale paper napkins and a paper-clad striped plastic straw for company?

It didn't hesitate any more. It jumped down, and walked alongside the tortoise, out of the room. It overlooked the fact that his newly found mate had now magically procured a foursome of limbs and even a head. "He must be from Burger King", he thought.

Of course, the tortoise was declared the winner. The human, for his sincere efforts as a judge, got a dusty hamburger as a token.

Moral:No matter what the story is, or who the competitors are, if there's a tortoise involved in a competition, he always wins.


***

Postscript: This story has a history. There's this certain girl who insists on me telling a story every night I'm around (please refer to the third incident here); apparently she wasn't quite content with all this - she wanted stories customised for her, and insisted on impromptu responses.

This was triggered off as a response to a request for a story involving a man, a giraffe, a tortoise and a snake.

21 comments:

  1. I wish all the children on this earth get a father like you. I wish I had a father like you. :(

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  2. One of your best post till date... really enjoyed reading it

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  3. I wish I had met someone like you. My child needed a father like you.

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  4. I've been following your blog for some time, and this is the first time I'm commenting. I wish I could invent such stories off-hand for my son.

    Have you read Kipling's "Just So Stories"?

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  5. What a delightful story! My niece would love this one!!

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  6. Wonderful stuff. Made me nostalgic. Now I shall have to go back to my fairytales again.

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  7. Got something for my son tonight. Thanks!

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  8. wow!
    you can even fart rainbows!
    moral:a little imagination can save you,make thekid happy,household peaceful.

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  9. Some day... if Great Bong can do a "May I Hebb...", then we shall definitely hope for a book from you. Please start thinking of a name for "Part 1" :) - in about five years :), I'll ask you for it!

    PS: Your thoughts on Meluha.

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  10. Wonderful and cute...

    What about Rubu's comment??? this is more important than the others.

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  11. i shall get married and have a child some day... i wish my partner is able to create such stories to my child in future... i shall have to find someone like that... keep writing, meanwhile!

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  12. they should clone you,you know,a fitting pied piper,story telling uncle for the enthu kids.one who excels at making stories and keeping little people happy,tuning in with their sensitivity.

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  13. Hidden Rays: THAT good? :O
    AC: Yes, I've read Just So Stories. An incredible book - I mean, I feel privileged that it got mentioned under my post.
    Apoorva: Shall read Meluha and get back to you. Any chance of an ebook?
    Ichhe dana: This is the only story till date that Rubu has wanted to hear on three successive nights.

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  14. So how many tortoises are there in the World Cup?

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  15. eta ami age porini kano? too good!!
    aro lekh, ebar amio emon sob story r jonyo bayna korbo! :)

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  16. A fantastic presentation. Very open and informative.You have beautifully presented your thought in this blog post.

    Thanks,
    Olive Ridley Sea turtle

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  17. tomar lekha sobche valo goppo!!!!!!!! khuuuub sundor!!:)

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  18. Seriously.... you have some imagination Abhishek... brilliant... I shall remember to refer to this post again when my son starts demanding stories .... :)

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  19. you forgot to mention it was a ninja turtle.

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