Giraffe and the Kangaroo

Eduardo Sure; Giraffe Looking Behind, 2016; Watercolor on Paper
Giraffe was happy at his zoo. He had never had to worry about getting enough food to eat. His enclosure seemed to him a lot like what he imagined a savannah might be like. He had to imagine what a savannah was like because he was born at a zoo. He did not share his enclosure with anyone, but did not feel lonely. He had plenty of other animals to talk to. In fact, that is how he spent his evenings after the zoo closed and all of the people left.

On one of those evenings, Giraffe learned from the lionesses that a new animal had been brought to the zoo. He heard the hyenas say that the new resident looked like a giant mouse with a llama face. The hyenas laughed at their description. All of the animals talked a lot about the new resident guessing at information such as where it had come from and why it was brought to the zoo. From everything that was said, Giraffe guessed that the new animal was a kangaroo. After the animals’ guesses got repetitive and boring, the conversation turned to more familiar topics – like how many people had tried to feed them that day.

A week or so had gone by, and Giraffe was not happy at his zoo. Almost everything was the same as it had been before, but he was getting less food. The food that the keeper tied up in the tree in his enclosure (to make his meals more natural) was the same. However, there was less food in the feeder that was nearer to the ground. Specifically, there was less fruit in his salad. Giraffe had enough to eat, but he did not like to have less fruit in his salad than he was used to.

After a few more days of getting less fruit, Giraffe decided to let his keeper know that he was unhappy. When the keeper arrived at his enclosure to deliver his daily meal, Giraffe watched her tie food to the tree and fill the feeder. The food that the keeper tied to the tree was the same. She also placed the usual amount of fruit in the salad, not less like Giraffe was expecting. Giraffe felt confused. He went to the other side of his enclosure to drink water and consider whether he had only imagined receiving less fruit in his salad. He wondered if maybe the keeper gave him the right amount of fruit because he was watching her. This food situation was a puzzle to him.

Giraffe almost drank too much water because he was not paying attention. He lifted his head and felt a lot of pressure in his stomach. He was going to eat anyway. He returned to his feeder and found that there was less fruit in the salad. Someone had taken some of his fruit. No one had ever stolen from Giraffe before. He felt gross. He felt offended. He felt angry. Giraffe was going to find out who was stealing from him and make it stop.

The next day, the keeper arrived at her usual time to give him his food. Giraffe inspected his salad and made sure he knew exactly what was in it. Then, he walked to the other side of his enclosure pretending not to look at his feeder. Facing away from his food, he lowered his head to drink water. Even though he was facing opposite the direction of his feeder, he could look behind him through his own legs. By spying on his food this way, Giraffe saw someone sneak into his enclosure. It was the new kangaroo. Giraffe watched the kangaroo reach into his feeder and steal fruit from his salad. Giraffe’s impulse was to run to the kangaroo and kick him with his front legs, but he thought it would not be right to hurt the kangaroo so much over a little bit of fruit. He decided that he would try asking him to stop stealing his food. If asking did not work, then he might consider kicking him.

After the zoo closed, Giraffe called a monkey over and asked it to let him out of his enclosure. Giraffe went to Kangaroo’s enclosure to confront him about what he had stolen and ask him to stop stealing. When he arrived at Kangaroo’s enclosure, he saw Kangaroo escape out of the back. Giraffe followed him staying in the shadows to avoid being seen.

Kangaroo hopped to a gorilla enclosure. Giraffe thought Kangaroo was going to steal something else, but Kangaroo did not go into the gorilla enclosure. Instead, Kangaroo took fruit out of his pouch and gave it to a female gorilla. As Kangaroo handed the fruit to the gorilla, Giraffe came out of the shadows and surprised both animals. He asked them why they were stealing his food.

The female gorilla was indignant to be accused of stealing. She stood on her hind legs and pounded on her chest. Kangaroo stepped between them and asked Giraffe if they could speak privately. Giraffe walked and Kangaroo hopped far enough away from the gorilla so that she could not hear them talk.

Kangaroo explained to Giraffe that he took the food for the gorilla. He said that the gorilla was expecting an infant. The gorilla’s keeper was feeding her too little and he felt that he had to do something to help her and the infant. He did not think Giraffe would miss the food. He was afraid that if he asked, Giraffe would not have let him have the fruit. Kangaroo told Giraffe that he was sorry for stealing his fruit.

Giraffe told Kangaroo that he should have acted with courage and asked the animals for help. Stealing was harmful but could have led to even more harm. For example; Giraffe may have kicked the life out of a foolish, but well meaning, animal when he was angry. Giraffe told Kangaroo that he would forgive him if he promised something: the promise Giraffe wanted was that Kangaroo would be brave enough to talk to the animals about any problems that he comes across in the future. Kangaroo promised that he would. Giraffe set his mind to forget the bad things that Kangaroo had done, but he wanted the good effects of what he had done to continue. So, he told Kangaroo that he could have his fruit and give it to the female gorilla.

The End