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Making Her Way Home

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Far across the plains of Africa a mother zebra tells her three youngsters a story of the past. She begins by telling them of a Elephant named Joanna who spent all her free time at the watering hole planting grass for the cattle to graze on, and saving small bugs from the water so they wouldn’t get washed under as the caribou cross on their way to and fro work each day. She then proceeded to tell of a hippo Mrs. Bounds who taught was the teacher at the local school, and loved every little creature that ever past her. And finally introduced them to a selfish zebra, Geniene, who considered herself to be better than to look at an anteater, and worried only if the giraffes accepted her.

One day as the elephant was making her daily trip to the watering hole to water the flowers and straighten things up before the afternoon rush came in, she saws on the shore Mrs. Bounds with her hooves in the water planning her next lesson, and of course there was Geniene, floating on her back spitting cherry pits into the water and working on her stripe coloring. Joanna remarked , “that girl will never understand the damage she does in this community.” While across the banks, Mrs. Bounds muttered under her breath, “I know I taught her better than that.” Knowing a lecture was coming up Geniene decided to get out of the water before the two nags started in on her.

Just as she began to get out, up came King Marlo the tiger that lived just beyond the nearest tree, was standing behind Mrs. Bounds who was busy at work and didn’t notice he was behind her, he looked at her work told her, “impressive” and continued making his way the watering hole. He then saw Joanna fill her trunk up with water and give each individual plant its drink for the day, he told her how beautiful the flowers looked this year then made his way to Geniene. The only words he had for her were, “go to the people’s village and not to return until the full moon had risen”.

The humans always loved Geniene so she had no problems spending that time with them and was enamored by the fact that no one was there telling her not to do this or having a set of rules for her to follow. The humans made her feel so free and alive. Three nights later he full moon rose and in the morning as the sun peaked over the horizon, she got her things together and headed for home. As she passed the watering hole Joanna was nowhere to be seen and the school house was closed. Thinking nothing of it Geniene stopped for a quick drink and then went onward towards home.

Days past and still no sight of Mrs. Bounds or Joanna showed anywhere, the flowers were beginning to dry up and the schools had been closed for nearly a week. Geniene was laying in the water thinking to herself how nice it was without those two old women giving her a hard time about becoming a lady, or learning to do her share in the community. She then wrapped around her towel around her and decided to pay a visit to the King. As she rounded the tree she walked into Marlo’s tent to discover he was nowhere to be seen. Just as she was about to leave she saw there was a small envelope in the window sill with her name on it she opened it and began to read
Dear Geniene,
The stampedes are approaching quickly and there is not much time left for many of us. I have spared you please make a difference before no one is there to warn you. Its not what you take when you leave this place behind you, its what you leave behind you when you go. I’ll always be watching.
~King Marlo

Geniene’s jaw almost hit the floor it was then she realized just how much the words of the elephant and hippo meant. From that day on the zebra made her way to the school house each morning to teach the young, then to the watering hole each evening to ensure that every cow had grass and every bug was safe upon the shore.

As she finished the story only one young zebra was still awake, he looked at his mom and told her how he promised to not be a lazy zebra. Also he told her that if the stampede ever passed through his place he would not have to hide but face it knowing he would leave the earth having accomplished much because he had followed his mom’s example. With a tear in her eye she kissed her baby boy on the head and turned out the lights.

The Zebra mom laid down to rest that night hopeful that she had taught her children a valuable lesson about life and working to do each of their individual parts in the community. She laid her head own and under her pillow felt the small envelope. She opened it up just as she had done for the ten years and shocked to see the words had changed.
My dearest Geniene,
I am happy to say I’m proud of you. Raise those babies to be strong, then return with honor.
~King Marlo





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