Giraffe and His Long Neck
The Tasty Tamboti Tree
Long, long, ago somewhere in Africa… When all the people and animals were new… Before Giraffe stretched his neck, Giraffe would forage for food in the shrubs and bushes and small trees that grew in such abundance. But his favorite food of all foods were the juicy leaves of the Tamboti tree. Now, the Tamboti tree grows tall and is much loved by Rhino and Kudu, but of the two, it was Kudu that most bothered Giraffe. Kudu as a greedy antelope would often eat his whole fill from the lowest branches, leaving nothing for poor Giraffe who loved Tamboti ever so much!
Now you see, before poor Giraffe stretched his neck, he was like his cousin Okapi – I hope you know Okapi? He lived elsewhere in deepest, darkest, Africa – and was not so very tall also. In fact, Giraffe and Kudu were about the same height as one another, both having long legs and graceful necks – although somewhat shortish. Giraffe then was even more shortish than Kudu.
But even worse than this, Kudu had the benefit of his long and curly horns, with which he hooked and pulled down the nice juicy bits and thereby made short work of the lower branches of all trees, even stripping them bare in front of Giraffe.
Giraffe’s Best Laid Plan
Then one day, Giraffe came upon his most favorite, a Tamboti tree. This mighty tree was growing alongside a large and sturdy log! On seeing the log under the Tamboti tree, Giraffe had such a smart plan. Quickly he searched all around for Kudu, intending to keep his next move a secret. Kudu was nowhere in sight, so straight away, using the log as a step, Giraffe reached higher than ever before and each bite seemed much more delicious than the last.
Giraffe was happily eating his fill, stretching and straining every which way to reach higher into the tree, forgetting he was on a log, when suddenly! Whoosh… Dislodged by his efforts, the log slipped out from under him, rolling down the slope, out of reach of his frantic feet.
Then worstest of all, Giraffe stretched his neck as he hung there, caught by his head in the cleft of two branches. How long he dangled there is anyone’s guess – he struggled, he strained, he pulled but try as he might, he could not break free, for the reason that his legs and feet draggled in mid air.
It was getting late, with the sun moving towards the distant mountains, with the trees growing long shadows all around Giraffe, when Monkey happened by…
“Hullo… what have we here?” said Giraffe’s simian friend, looking him straight in the eye, having bounded onto the branch where poor Giraffe had jammed his neck and helplessly hung.
Help was on its Way
Unfortunate Giraffe managed to mumble out for Monkey to get him help, through his clenched teeth, although his neck was really getting very sore and stiff.
“I’ll get Baboon,” and with that Monkey disappeared through the trees to find his cousin.
When Monkey returned, he brought not only Baboon but Elephant and Warthog too, whom he had passed along the way.
Then before Giraffe could say mmmfff… Elephant, monkey and baboon were tugging on his legs with warthog cheering them on. First one, then the other, stretching all four, until they all touched the ground. Suddenly Giraffe now standing on his own stilts, freed his own neck.
See? And that’s how Giraffe became the tallest animal of them all, with stretched everything.
Since that strange day of Giraffe’s big stretch, he found he could reach everywhere the other animals couldn’t, high into the trees he most wanted.
So now all giraffe go about with long, long necks and legs, able to nibble the tallest trees, eating the delicious flowers and tastiest shoots, only they can reach!
Now you know how Giraffe stretched his neck and everything else.
The moral of the story you say? Well.
Be careful where you stick your neck out, if you don’t know what you’re doing.