“What do you mean you aren’t pretty?” Terrance asked his friend Horace. Terrance was a toucan and since he was pretty sure he was very pretty, he felt sure everybody thought that they were pretty. But in his private thoughts, he did think Horace was pretty awful looking. Horace was a hippo.
“Well my mom always said I was pretty but then again, she was a hippo too. Terrance, hippos are just not pretty. Not like giraffes or peacocks at least.” He said jealously.
“Ok, well if you could pick one thing about a giraffe that you would want, what would it be?” Terrance said. Terrance, like all toucans, could cause wishes to come true for the people who they love or like a lot. That’s why people like having toucans for pets. It isn’t because they are nice birds. It’s the dream granting thing that makes them great.
“Well if my neck was long and elegant, why all the pretty giraffes would love me and I would have tons of friends then.” Horace said his voice full of envy.
“Ok, it’s yours.” Terrance said, he flapped his wings wide and then said ‘BAKKAH!” which is the spell.
“Hey, HEY what’s happening?” Horace said in a panic as he felt his big hippo head begin to shoot high into the sky under the most beautiful giraffe neck that was growing from his hippo body. When stopped, Horace stood there not really knowing what to do with this much neck. Then, slowly at first and then faster, his head began to sway back and forth like an out of control carnival ride. His big hippo head was too heavy for that tiny neck. All of a sudden, it toppled downward. All around the jungle, the animals heard Horace yelling for help as the ground grew closer and closer and then WUMP! It hit the ground.
“Murmph mr murtle mu” Terrance heard his friend say.
“Just a moment, let me get your head out of the sand.” The toucan said and he pulled Horace’s head back until it popped back into the air and he laid it on its side with that big giraffe neck just winding everywhere back to his body.
“This isn’t working Terrance. Not only is it dangerous, I think I look foolish with this huge neck attacked to my big fat head.
“BAKKAH” Terrance squawked and Horace was himself again.
“I still want to be pretty. Like the Pelican with those beautiful long legs. They can even sleep on just one leg. I wish I could do that,” he said lifting one of his squatty hippo legs and then putting down before he fell.
“Ok, let’s try that.” Terrance said and out went his wings “BAKKAH”. Said the bird and the spell took effect.
“Here we go again.” Horace said gasping as he shot into the air with his legs growing long and skinny under him. When he stopped, he was standing tall enough to see over the grass. He peered down at his four pelican legs quivering trying to hold up his massive hippo weight. “Wow, Terrance, my legs are so pretty.” Horace said with admiration and he started to walk toward the marshes where the other pelicans stayed. But the pelicans didn’t see Horace as pretty because of his long legs.
“Yikes!” many screamed and took flight thinking it was some kind of monster. Other’s laughed thinking Horace had come up with a strange costume. Others ran to him with Band-Aids thinking he was the scene of a terrible collision between a bird and a hippo.
“Oh Terrance, nothing is working.” Horace said bitterly.
“BAKKAH” Terrance said flapping his wings and Horace was back to normal.
“How will I ever stop being ugly?” He said with great sadness in his heart.
“Horace I told you before, you are already pretty. When you say you are ugly, you insult God our creator. Way back in the beginning of time he made hippos. He made toucans and pelicans and giraffes and even humans and each of them was perfectly made for what God wanted them to be. We are not made to look pretty to each other. Look to your friends, the hippos and be at peace that you are what God made you to be. Envy is a way of saying ‘God you did a bad job’ and that makes God very sad indeed.” The wise bird counseled his friend.
“Well I don’t want God to be sad. I want to be all He made me to be, not what he made someone else to be. I want to be the best Horace the Hippo he ever made.” Horace said his big hippo chest sticking out proudly.
“Oh Horace?” Horace and Terrance both heard a melodic female voice sing out. Just then, Henrietta Hippo stepped from behind the grasses. “Will you take me to the waterfall today?” she said looking at him with big eyes that were full of admiration.
“Wow, she is pretty.” Horace said to Terrance and then he waddled her way doing a dance to make himself more pretty to her. Off they went as Terrance looked on in amazement.
“Thos are two ugly hippos,” he said to himself. Then he flew back to his tree to see if there was a pretty toucan there who might like a trip to the waterfall too.