The Ostrich and the Elephant
Since once upon a time, or perhaps even before,
The Ostrich and the Elephant had always been at war.
Whenever there was any fruit that children couldn’t reach,
The Elephant would use his trunk to pick a piece for each.
But Ostrich told them not to use that unhygienic hose.
“Oh! Don’t eat that! It has been picked by someone else’s nose!
My neck is long and agile, and so I will fetch your fruit.
You children shouldn’t socialise with such an oafish brute.”
In Madame Panther’s Day School, which was of highest repute,
The children studied hard to find the cause of this dispute.
But no one had the answer as to what had caused the feud.
Or could explain why two fine chaps would be so very rude.
Wise Queen Nefertiti – the very first zebra to reign –
Called a special meeting for the leaders of the plain.
“We must act,” the Queen began, “this nonsense has to end.
A golden chest for anyone who changes foe to friend.”
The animals all spoke at once: “It simply can’t be done.
That golden prize is priceless, but that price is too hard won.”
Then a silent, sleepy sloth opened up one eye,
“Tell those two that I would like a pillow from the sky.”
“Who is this clown?” The Lion roared, “he only thinks of sleep!”
But Nefertiti turned to him and urged the Sloth to speak.
“The Ostrich and the Elephant are stubborn, tough, and proud.
So, let us send them on a quest to pluck me down a cloud.
Of course, they can’t complete the task. I don’t care what they bring.
To weave a web of friendship, it’s the journey that’s the thing.”
Nefertiti thought awhile then she nodded her assent.
She wrote down the instructions and the royal decree was sent.
Two cheetah cubs then took the scrolls as fast as they could run.
They scorched across savannah sands beneath the midday sun.
The Ostrich grabbed a fishing net. The Elephant, a jar.
They planned to climb a mountain, though it did look kind of far.
They collected their provisions and started on their way,
They walked and talked and talked and walked throughout a night and day.
When they came upon the summit the whole world was in view.
Below them stretched out everything. But here it was just two.
And with sudden intuition, perhaps some magic too,
The Ostrich and the Elephant knew what they had to do.
The secret of their sorcery the world will never know,
But they came back arm in arm with a fluffy cloud in tow.
They went to Nefertiti and they both politely bowed,
Then presented to the Sloth his new pillow made of cloud.
The Sloth could not stop smiling; sleep was his greatest pleasure.
He told the Queen she could keep the gold chest full of treasure.
The unexpected afternoon had left the Queen quite stunned.
But she declared the gold would make a brand-new friendship fund.
“To foster fragile friendships,” was the fund’s stated intent;
The Ostrich and the Elephant would choose how it was spent.
And so once upon a time they invited every beast
To the most majestic party; the Ostri-phanto Feast!