Duncan Saves The Day

January 21, 2009
By
A long time ago in a land far, far away there was a beautiful forest. The forest, in fact, was much more than just beautiful; it seemed to be almost magic . . . because within its borders every creature, big or not so big, smart or not so smart, young or not so young was happy and accepting of one another. That is, they were happy until the day that meanness invaded the forest. In this case, that meanness came with the name: Harry.
One day while walking through the forest, Harry, along with his two friends Hugo and Winston, saw another hippo that they had never seen before, so they walked over to him. When they got closer, they noticed that the new guy was different than them.
As they approached the smaller hippo, they began to snicker to each other. “What’s your name, shrimpy?” asked Harry showing off for the others.

His smile turned into a frown. He answered sadly as he turned to walk away, “My name is Duncan.”

As Duncan continued to walk away, Harry, the leader of the group, Hugo, and Winston followed him, continuing to tease poor Duncan just because he was smaller than them. Just then Ethel, Duncan’s mom, came out from behind a tree.

“Duncan, it looks like you found some new friends,” said his mother.
“Yes, this is Harry, Winston, and Hugo,” Duncan said looking at his mom sadly. “Let’s go home.”

“Your new friends seem pretty nice,” Ethel said as they continued to walk home side-by- side.

The next morning, Duncan decided to go for a walk so that he could think about what had happened the previous night. He hoped that he wouldn’t run into Harry, Hugo, and Winston again. He had just entered a large opening in the forest when he decided that it looked like a good place to sit down to rest. Just as he sat down, he heard something. He turned around to see what it was, and there they were. As they came closer and closer, he could feel himself getting very nervous, and his stomach began to twist up into knots.

“Good morning, Duncan,” Harry said with a little smirk on his face. Hugo and Winston followed him, their faces plastered with that same little smirk.

“Good morning,” Duncan said with his sad and scared face looking down at the ground, afraid to look up at them and waiting for them to begin teasing him about his size. Duncan got up and headed back home with his head down to the ground.

Just then, something very large fell from the tree that hung above the four hippos. None of them knew what it was, but the one thing that they did know was that they were stuck and had no way of getting out. It was a cage; there were large wooden bars that ran up and down from the ground. “Duncan, do you think you can fit between the bars and get out?” asked Winston.

Duncan walked over to the bars and just stared at them for a minute. Then, Duncan stuck his head and one leg outside the bars . . . then his next leg . . . and then he was finally out! Winston and Hugo looked at Duncan in surprise as he stood outside the cage looking in at them.

“You did it, Duncan. You got yourself out of this cage. None of the rest of us can do that,” Hugo said.
Harry walked to the other side of the cage because he was upset that Duncan had actually been able to do something that he couldn’t do. “Fat lot of good it does for us, Hugo. Duncan’s free, but you, me, and Winston are still in this stupid cage.”

Duncan looked at them and said, “Give me some time and let me think about how I can help get you guys out of here. I will be back before dark to get you out, I promise.” Duncan walked away trying to think of a way to be able to get the other three hippos out of the cage.
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Just before dark, Duncan arrived back at the cage, with a saw in hand. He found Harry, Winston and Hugo all lying around the cage waiting for him to come back to get them out. As soon as they saw Duncan, Winston hurried over to the side of the cage. “Duncan, I’m so glad you’re finally back. Did you figure out a way to get us out of here?”

Duncan looked at them with a little smile on his face and said, “I brought this saw. I am going to try to use it to cut the bars apart. Then you guys can just push right through the bars to get out.”

As Duncan approached the cage, he got the saw ready in his hand and began sawing away at the first bar. After a couple of minutes, he finally got through the first bar and started on the next one. Duncan cut apart four bars in a row so that they could walk right through the bars and lift them with their heads as they walked through.

After they were all out of the cage, they heard a noise coming from the trees. They all looked at each other, and Hugo said, “Let’s get out of here.”

They all took off and hid behind a large pile of bushes to see what was making the noise. Just then they saw three very large men, dressed all in black, walk over to the cage which they had just gotten out of, thanks to Duncan. The four hippos sat quietly behind the bushes and just watched the three men walk around the cage. One of the men noticed that four bars that had been cut apart. “Guys, look at this. Someone or something cut these bars apart, and so whatever was caught in here was somehow set free.”

Quietly Harry said, “Let’s get out of here in case they start searching the area looking for evidence or the “something” that could have been caught in here.”

The four hippos quietly got up from the bushes that they had been hiding behind and headed away to somewhere safer. Once they got far enough away, Harry, Winston and Hugo all looked at Duncan and said, “Thank you, Duncan. You saved us from those men! Who knows where we would be right now if it wasn’t for you!”

Duncan looked at them, trying to hide the smile that was starting to appear on his face. “You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help you guys,” he said.

Winston looked at Harry who quickly put his head down and looked the other way, pretending not to notice Winston. Winston, realizing what Harry was doing, nudged him to get his attention.

“What?” Harry snapped, whipping his head around to look at Winston.

Winston and Hugo were both staring at him now. “Ask him what we were talking about while we were waiting in the cage.”

Harry moaned and then looked at Duncan, “Would you like to hang out with us tomorrow?”

“And . . .” Hugo said looking at Harry with a very stern face, intent on reminding Harry that he needed to make things right with Duncan.
“ . . . and,” Harry added, noting the threat in Hugo’s eyes. “We would really enjoy having another guy to hang out with us.” Although Harry’s hesitant voice sounded like he really didn’t want Duncan to hang out with them for the day tomorrow, Duncan’s warm response began to make him like the skinny kid just a little bit better.

“That sounds great,” stated Duncan. “Well, I will see you guys tomorrow morning then, he added as he headed home. Have a good night.”

Winston looked at Duncan, with a huge smile, and his face filled with excitement. “Good bye, Duncan. See you tomorrow.”

The four hippos then headed their separate ways towards their homes. The next morning Duncan was awake very early. He couldn’t sleep anymore; he was so excited that the other hippos, who had teased him before, had asked him to spend the day with them playing. At about eight o’clock Duncan headed for the big opening where they had been the day before. When he got there, Harry, Hugo, and Winston were already there waiting for him.

“Good morning, guys,” said Duncan. You could hear the excitement in his voice, along with the smile on his face.

“Good morning, Duncan,” said Hugo and Winston.

“Oh yeah. Good morning!” Harry finally blurted out after Winston gave him a little nudge.

The first game that the four of them played was partner hide-‘n’-go-seek. Hugo and Winston quickly paired up with each other leaving Duncan and Harry to be partnered together. Pairing Duncan and Harry together gave them a good chance to work with each other and get to know each other better. By the end of the game, the two of them were talking and laughing with each other and seem to be having a good time. Duncan’s size made him a little better at this game. Duncan was skinnier than the other three, so he was able to hide in more places like behind trees and in smaller areas.
After they were done with that game, Hugo walked over to Duncan. “You’re pretty good at this, and you had some pretty good hiding spots too.”

For the rest of the day the four hippos continued to play together, running and laughing and acting like they were all enjoying themselves.
Just before dark, Duncan looked at his three new friends and said, “I had better be getting home now. My mom is going to start to wonder where I am.”

As Duncan was walking away, he heard a voice. He stopped and turned around to see Harry looking right at him. “We would really like it if you would join us again tomorrow . . .”





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