An * after a word means you can find an explanation under the fable
ON A CLOUDLESS DAY IN THE ANIMAL FOREST, IT WAS TO HAPPEN AGAIN. Once every few years, the animals made an appointment to come together to play for a fortnight. The dolphin tumbled in the most beautiful ways, the polar bear walked as far as he could through the snow, the swallow flew his most spectacular flights and the willow grouse skated as fast as he could.
“Come”, said the dolphin to the stingray, “why don’t you join us!”
“Hmm”, hummed the stingray, “I’m no good”.
“You can swim alright, can’t you”, said the dolphin, “you could participate in that”.
“But I never win anything”, muttered the stingray and turned around. He did not like long conversations.
“It’s about the fun”, said the dolphin, “that we all see each other again and play games … “.
“Yes”, shouted out the jellyfish, the stickleback and the killer whale, “that’ll be fun if you join us. And you can invent your own game. You tell us in which way to swim and we will try to keep up”.
The stingray paused for a moment.
“Exactly”, said the tortoise from a bit of a distance because he had not arrived yet, “I’m good at lifting weights. So we all can do something!”
“You can also do things together”, said the ladybug, “ for the Games, I always practice with the vole, to do a nice dance together”.
It happened to be their turn at this very moment and everybody cried out “oh” and “ah”, because it was so touching. After that, the butterfly and the cockatoo moved to music and it looked so cosy, that it cheered everyone up. Then came the sheep with a wooden 5th leg*, that he had crafted and that was such fun!
The cheetah and the gazelle competed to be the fastest runner, while the hare confused them by constantly changing directions.
And at the end of those two weeks, everyone gathered at the big open space with the magnolia and together they would watch the fireflies dancing in the air.
“Hey”, said the giraffe, “hello stingray. You rose from the depths this time?”
“I had too”, mumbled the stingray, but then said: “it’s not as bad as I thought. I like it better than I expected”.
“Yes”, said the giraffe, “it’s heartwarming to see that everybody joins the Games in their own way. So much power, creativity and perseverance. And above all: so much fun together”.
“Yes”, he said in summary, “all in good will. That’s the joy of the Games”.
In Dutch we have a saying: I search a sheep with 5 legs; meaning you are looking for a person who is very versatile in their talents, asking the (almost) impossible combination of competences.
This is first mentioned in the fable SIMPLY
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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.
Thank you Marita Sporrong with helping me out with the last details for this translation.