September 06, 2004

I gnu it was in there somewhere

OK, jes' for those of ya'll that have any interest of any kind, I wrote out a quick two pages of a children's book idea I have been contemplatin' here of late. It is actually more of somethin' I am doin' so as to possibly assist the facility in some future fund-raisin' efforts. I have placed my initial thoughts in the extended entry.

The newest gnu

Ned was the youngest of the herd. He had not arrived at the time when the rest of this year's calves had been born. He now worked very hard to get strong. When his slower movements offended any of the adults in the herd, his hindquarters were often prodded by one of adults. Ned was a gnu, or so had dad had said. His mother had told him that most of the world called their species wildebeests, his father preferred the traditional designation.

His father had said they were a pampered herd. His father said that their forebears had moved across the open plains continually in a search for food and water in amounts sufficient to sustain herds of thousands and thousands of gnus. They were a part of a captive herd that lived within the confines of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

Ned did not think life was so easy. Those zebras were always very pushy and those little blackbuck antelopes were quite formidable with those long horns. He always gave those big scary ostriches a wide berth. The hardest part of this life was caused by every other member of his generation., Since all of them were at least two weeks older than himself, they were also just a little bit bigger and stronger than he. That made him the target for all of their pranks. He now worked very hard to get strong.

In the shadows of the trees, Ned was charging a fallen limb. He ran full speed toward it over and over, attempting to catch the tip of one of the outer branches with the tip of his emerging horn without slowing. He had done so three times, today and was feeling pretty proud of himself when he felt the hard poke in the side of his body.

One of his enemies had launched a surprise attack. Ned felt himself losing his balance. He knew his worst nightmare was happening while he was feeling himself tip over and hit the ground. No matter what, there was no way any gnu could be more embarrassed than by getting itself knocked over. He could not be any more vulnerable to attack. His head hit a big rock as it came into contact with the ground. All went black.

When Ned regained consciousness, he found himself laying on the ground with the rest of his herd amassed around where he was laying. "What are you doing down there?" one of the older adults asked.

"I don't know," Ned said, as he searched his mind for any memory of any sort. Ned did not remember anything other than he was a part of this big group of animals surrounding him.

"You had better get up," said another older adult. "Unless you want one of the keepers to come checking on you."

"Get up," said Nell, one of the three older and larger members of his age group, as she prodded at him to move. "I didn't kill you, did I?"

Ned got up. "Kill me?" he asked Nell. "I tripped over a rock. I'm fine."

The older members of the herd wandered off, discarding the incident to what it was - the petty squabbles of the young calves. They had not laughed. Their only concern was to his well-being. He found himself surrounded by Nell and the remaining members of his generation, Nikki and Newton. "That was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my three months of life," Nikki said as the last of the adults wandered to warm themselves in a large meadow full of sunlight.

"Are you hurt?" Newton asked, eyeing Ned's flanks as he circled around Ned. "I do not see any signs of injury, but those rib injuries can be very painful."

"I feel fine. What's all the fuss about me?"

"The story going on around the ostriches is that you were knocked out by that fallen branch over there," said Nikki. "Its the biggest story to hit the front pasture in years, and they are standing at the fence spreading the word to the emus right now."

"It seems they didn't see me hit you in the flank as you charged full speed at that branch, and think that it was due to your collision with that branch that caused to be thrown to the ground."

"So why is everyone talking about it?"

"They don't know what to think about you. Nothing like that has ever occurred in anyone's memory," Newton added.

"I think I had better talk to my mother and father about it," said Ned. "Does anyone know what they look like?"

"They look like everyone else looks, remember that we are gnus, after all," Nell said.

"So, how do we tell one another apart? I cannot seem to remember much, right now."

"We have individual aromas. Your mother's scent should have been imprinted upon your brain at birth," Newton said. "You should just walk into the herd and sniff around. If everything works like it is suppose to, you ought to be able to smell her sooner or later."

"Thanks," Ned said and he trotted across to the sunlit meadow where all the adult gnus were standing around, trotting in and among them, skipping and merrily dodging a back kick here and there. They all smelled alike, though, and he was unable to smell anything familiar. He trotted over to a vacant lot, lost and unsure of what to do.

"Well, she disowned you pretty quickly, didn't she," said Nikki as she trotted in to join him in his thoughts. Ned watched as Nell and Newton raced across the meadow to join them.

As they trotted in, Ned responded, "I was unable to smell any difference among any of the herd. They all smelled exactly the same as you and I."

"This is bad," said Nell. "We had better go see the adults about this."

It's copyrighted, ya'll, by me.

Posted by Tiger at September 6, 2004 08:58 PM