THE GIRAFFE

by Anonymous

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 Elephant is.

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 you.