A Sparrow Calls On A Hippopotamus
: Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories
"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.
e 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."