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“LOOK WHOM I RAN INTO”, SAID THE COCKATOO TO THE BUTTERLFY. The butterfly fluttered joyfully towards him and gave the cockatoo a big hug, glad that the cockatoo was home again.
“Well, well, who do we have here! I am the butterfly”, greeted the butterfly the newcomer.
“Porcupine”, said the porcupine, who did not have many words yet because everything was still very new to him.
“Please, do come in”, said the butterfly, “then we’ll drink some of our best nicely-long-lying juice”.

A little farther away, the grumpy bear fumbled at the door of the mosquito.
“Hey, mosquito”, said the grumpy bear, “did you see that?”
“No, no. What? Tell me, tell me!” said the mosquito who was ever so curious.
“I just saw a sort of hedgehog”, said the grumpy bear, “but it was one with very long spines. I’ve never seen such long spines before”.
“My goodness”, said the mosquito, “long stingers! Would that be dangerous? I have to warn everybody”.

“Watch out for hedgehogs with long stingers. They are dangerous”, he whispered in the horn.

The hedgehog also heard it and crawled out of his hole, curious.
“Oh, oh, oh”, said the dragonfly, and gasped for breath, “my goodness, what is going on?”
“A hedgehog with long stingers, what does that look like?” wondered the sheep.
“Stingers”, murmered the stingray, “what about stingers?”
Outside, they ran into the grumpy bear.
“Don’t panic, don’t panic”, grumbled the grumpy bear, “he will just cut his stingers. Then all is solved”.
“Why”, asked the sheep, “must his stingers be cut? If he has long stingers, he has long stingers, hasn’t he?”
“Well”, said the dragonfly, “maybe because they are dangerous, such long stingers. Doesn’t the hedgehog has normal short ones?”
“O”, said the sheep.
“But”, murmured the stingray, “what’s wrong with long stingers all of a sudden? I’m not hurting anyone, am I?”
But his muttering got lost in the chatter of the other animals.
“Now you see”, said the grumpy bear, “I knew it when I first saw that strange cockatoo. The butterfly may have fallen in love with him when he came by last summer, but it remains a strange bird and now look what he’s been taking along with him”.
“Oh my dear”, moaned the dragonfly, “what are we to do?” and she gasped for breath again.
“Less stingers, less, less, less”, said the grumpy bear, “who is in favor?”
“Let us”, said the giraffe, “first start a conversation with him. Just ask the porcupine who he is and what he is doing here. Then we get to know him. And who knows, if he sees the hedgehog, he will also want short stingers or spines, but never knew it existed. Or he leaves them to be long, like the stingray. Who does not hurt us with them either”.
“O yes, of course”, said the dragonfly relieved, “first get to know each other”.

Thank you Marita Sporrong for translating this fable together with me and for providing me with the lovely montage of the animals.

Click the video to hear this fable read aloud.
You will remain on this page, so, you can listen to the video and read the words while listening.

I’m caught by the animal stories by the Dutch author Toon Tellegen and when I gave one of his books away, I let that present be accompanied by some own writings in this style. That’s how my own fables came to be, with animals and characters of my own, but inspired by the books of Toon who set the tone. Perhaps a new parallel universe of his animal forest will develop here 🙂

A part of those fables has been published in ‘Mensaberichten’, in those days the club magazine of the society Mensa Nederland.

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