A Sparrow Calls On A Hippopotamus





"The hippopotamus who lived in the zoo had a very strange caller the

other day," said daddy.



"Into the animal house flew a sparrow. The keeper called out to him:



"'Where are you going, sparrow?' But the sparrow did not answer. He flew

right through the animal house until he reached Mr. Hippopotamus' cage.

Mr. Hippopotamus was having his bath, and he would not be interrupted.



"The sparrow was rather annoyed that Mr. Hippopotamus didn't want to

come right out of the water to talk to him, and he scolded from his

perch on the wire of the cage. There he sat scolding away, and the

hippopotamus kept on splashing and spluttering as he took his bath.



"Soon the hippopotamus came up from the water and sat in the corner of

his cage, and the sparrow hopped over to a wire a little nearer.



"'Mr. Sparrow, I am sorry to be late for your call,' said the

hippopotamus, 'but the truth is I wanted to look my best.' And his

great, long, funny old face grinned, and he showed his big teeth.



"'That's all right,' cheerfully chirped the sparrow. 'I have plenty of

time to-day. My family have gone a-shopping for bread crumbs which they

find every day in a certain back-yard. And I have nothing to do. I've

come to tell you the news of the world outside.'



"So the sparrow told Mr. Hippopotamus all about the wild scampers the

sparrows had been having. He told about their quarrels and how they had

made up again. And he bragged about their friends and relations, the

song sparrows, who had been very friendly this year.



"When Mr. Sparrow began to be boastful, the old hippopotamus said:



"'You think I'm finer than my cousins in that cage over there?' And Mr.

Hippopotamus pointed to some other members of his family. They were very

much smaller and their coats looked just like chocolate. 'And,' he went

on, 'when the children see those silly cousins of mine they always say,

"Why, they look just like tins of chocolate taffy left to cool." They

never can say anything quite so stupid about me.'



"'Well,' said Mr. Sparrow, 'I must be off now, as it's time the bread

crumbs and the family were coming home.' He spoke about the bread crumbs

first, you notice. 'But I'll come and see you soon again, old hippo,'

and the little sparrow flew off."





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