Jasmine likes to be told stories, particularly in the car. Before the engine has even started up, a little voice pipes up from the back seat.
"Mummy/Daddy, can you tell me a story?"
To be honest, creating stories on the spot has never been my strong point. I need, at the very least, pens, paper and, most importantly, time.
Daddy, however, has proved very good at coming up with stories at a moment's notice. And, on one car journey a week or so ago, he told us the story of Stubby the Giraffe. This has since become one of Jasmine's favourite stories and I have been meaning to write it down ever since:
"Stubby the giraffe was the size of a cat. He had a short neck and even shorter legs. Stubby lived in Africa and ate berries and leaves from the smallest bushes. However, Stubby had to share the food on these bushes with other small animals - dogs, chickens, even mice. And even though Stubby was the size of a cat, he was not as fast. Indeed, Stubby could not run at all, and by the time he had plodded over to the bushes to eat, all of the fattest, juiciest berries and thickest, greenest leaves had been gobbled up by the dogs and chickens and mice. Stubby was always hungry and it made him sad that he was not as fast as the other small animals.
That evening, as the sun began to set, Stubby curled up alone and felt sorry for himself. Then, suddenly, he had an idea; a splendid idea that just might work.
Stubby jumped up, squeezed his eyes shut, gritted his teeth and then he
with all his might.
There was a POP and Stubby opened his eyes to find that he was taller. His legs had grown so long that he was now more the size of a cow than a cat. Stubby smiled to himself, settled down for the night, and looked forward to breakfast.
The next day, Stubby woke up and was already smiling. He could not wait to taste the berries and leaves of the tall bushes; the bushes that he could never have reached the day before. Slowly, he made his way to some lovely green bushes and licked his lips. But, to Stubby's dismay, as he got closer, he heard the sound of hooves and, quick as a flash, three horses had raced to the bushes and now stood together, scoffing all of the huge red berries and thick green leaves.
Stubby's face fell and he stopped walking. He knew now that by the time he eventually reached the bushes, all of the best food would have already been eaten, just like before.
Stubby slumped down to the ground and curled up in a ball as best he could with his new, longer legs. Stubby was sad and spent the day sitting beneath the hot red sun, wondering how he would ever eat again now he had strong, fast wild horses to compete with. Then, as afternoon became evening, Stubby suddenly had another brilliant idea.
He jumped up, squeezed his eyes shut, gritted his teeth and then he
with all his might.
There was a POP and Stubby opened his eyes to find that he was taller. But this time, it was not his legs that had grown, it was his neck. Stubby looked around him at the magnificent view and then looked down at his feet, which now seemed miles away. Stubby was amazed by what had happened and slowly lowered himself to the ground to rest before morning.
The next day, Stubby was up bright and early. He stood tall, and spotted a beautiful tree in the distance and decided that he would eat there for breakfast. Stubby began the long, slow walk to the tree. Around him, other animals began to wake and they looked up in amazement at this tall, elegant creature and whispered to each other; wondering who this animal might be and where it had come from.
Stubby felt proud. He was still as slow as ever, but he was now the tallest animal in the whole of Africa and this meant that, when he finally reached his chosen tree, he was able to eat as much of the fruit as he wanted to - the fattest, juiciest berries and thickest greenest leaves were now his.
Stubby the giraffe was never hungry or sad again.