I am a Giraffe and my name is Daisy. I come from a hot country a
long way off, called Africa; I am quite grown up now and shall not
get any bigger. Don't you think I am big enough as I am? I do.
There is no other animal which is as tall as I am; I am taller than
the Elephant or the Camel, but of course I am not as strong as the
You need not be at all afraid of me, because I will not hurt you.
No, thank you, I do not want to eat you up at all; I should not
like to eat little boys and girls; indeed, I don't think I could if
I tried, and I am sure I do not want to try. I eat leaves and grass
and hay and things like that; I can reach the leaves of the trees
because I have such a long neck.
One day a lady came to see me here and she had some very
nice-looking green things on the top of her head, and I thought
that I would like to eat them as they looked so nice; so I just
bent my head over the top of the bars of my cage and took a bite at
them. But they were not at all nice, really, and the lady made such
a fuss! She thought I was going to eat her up, I believe. I heard
afterwards that the things I had eaten were the flowers on her hat,
and they were not real flowers at all. I don't think people ought
to have such things in their hats if they don't want us to eat
them. Of course, I thought the lady had brought them on purpose for
me, so I didn't see why I shouldn't eat them. But I don't think
that lady will come quite close to my cage again.
I lived here alone for quite a long time, because they would not
get a playmate for me. You see, there are not nearly so many of my
family now as there used to be, and then we don't like traveling
over the sea at all. But now I have a playmate and he is a very
nice little chap; of course he is not as fine and big as I am, but
he will grow up in time and I shall be very glad to have some
company. I can really run quite fast when I have room, but here
there isn't room enough; and I don't very much mind, because I'm
quite content to walk about gently, thank you. And then I have to
take great care of my health, you know, because I'm rather delicate
and not like the Ostrich, who seems to be able to eat almost
anything. Why, he tells me that he is very fond of rusty nails, and
as for pennies he considers them most delicious. It's a very funny
sort of taste, I think. No, it's no good for you to offer me nuts,
thank you, because I couldn't crack them.
My horns, were you asking about? We all have horns, both gentlemen
and lady Giraffes, but they are always quite small, like mine.
They're not much use to us, you know, for when we want to fight any
one we use our feet—we can give very strong kicks with our
fore-feet, if we like. But, on the whole, we don't like fighting;
we find that it's much safer to run away—you see, we can run so
fast that there are not many creatures who can catch us.
I am, as I have said, very particular about my food, and I don't
like thorns or thistles, so when I come across a plant with prickly
thorns on it, I carefully pick off the leaves with my tongue and
leave the thorns behind. I don't believe you could do that with
your tongue, but mine is a very useful tongue, and I shouldn't like
to change it with anybody. I sometimes find it rather awkward to
get anything on the ground, which is just between my front feet; I
have to put my legs very wide apart, and then bend down my neck,
like this. I suppose it does look rather funny, so I don't mind if
you do laugh at me. But then, you know, you look just as funny to
me, with your very small legs and no neck at all to speak of, and
no horns and no tail; I sometimes wonder how you can get on at all.
I come of a very old family, you know; I believe that you men have
known about me for a very long time.
If you will excuse me now, I think I will go in, as I am rather
afraid of catching cold; it wouldn't do for me to get a sore throat
or a stiff neck, would it? Good-by I I'm so pleased to have met