Happy hippo had just returned from his city trip where he had been to attend the montessori teacher’s refresher training. There he had picked up a lot of ideas for his Cubs, Calves n Chicks play school in the middle of the Springfield forest.
“Next week we are having colour week celebrations in our school”, announced Mr. Happy to the eager animal children. “On Monday all you cubs, calves and chicks should come dressed in white clothes and on Tuesday in green clothes”, continued Mr. Happy. The Cubs, Calves n Chicks play school was open for 2 days a week and had a 5 day weekend. Yippee!!!
You see, the forest animals and their children do not usually wear dresses. They usually walk about in the beautiful spots, stripes, patches and feathers given by the God. So the cubs, calves and chicks and their moms were busy throughout the weekend. The mothers thought that Tuesday’s green dress was easy to make, with so many trees, leaves, grass and moss around in Springfield. Getting a white dress, well, that was slightly difficult.
“I am going to make a dress out of snow” said the polar bear. Her cub thought it was a cool idea.
“I will fly up and get some clouds to weave a skirt for my chick”, said the Kite.
Mother Monkey had already climbed the tree and plucked cotton fruits to make a dress for her little son.
The dainty sparrow planned to pluck some jasmine flowers and string them into a dress.
On and on went the birds and animals – the mothers and fathers, leaving no stone unturned.
Only Mrs. Zebra was worried. She could not climb trees or pick up snow. She shared her worry with her friend, Mrs Rabbit. “ I wonder how I will send my son Zebbie to school on Monday. He will feel bad if he alone is not in white dress. Well, what are your plans for your daughter Bunny?”, she asked.
“Oh, I have no worries”, said Mrs Rabbit. “You see, Bunny has her father’s white skin, except for a small patch of brown on her front legs. I am going to send her as it is and I am sure no one will notice the brown colour. But I do not know how I can help you for Zebbie”, she said.
All of a sudden Mrs Zebra seemed to brighten up. “This is it”, she said and walked to the hardware store in the jungle market to buy a tin of paint. “Give me a tin of white paint”, she said. “or make it half-a-tin. You see, Zebbie is already half white”. The puzzled shopkeeper handed out half-a-tin of white paint.
Mr Zebra was aghast at her idea. “Zebbie’s black stripes are really beautiful. Don’t paint it ugly”, he said. But the mother and son did not listen to him. In the night when Mr Zebra was sleeping, Zebbie’s black stripes were painted. Infact that day Zebbie went early to school too, before his father got up.
At school none of the children recognized Zebbie and hence refused to speak to him. Infact, they thought that the Pony boy of Mr and Mrs Horse has joined the school. Even Mr. Happy thought so. Zebbie was sad and lonely that day in school. And Mrs. Zebra spent the next two days scrubbing the white paint out of Zebbie and bring back the glean on his black stripes.
- Sreelatha, Chennai