"These leaves are delicious! Yummy.
I could eat a million of them. In fact, I think I will!" Tabansi said. He
raised his head and his long neck reached up to the tallest branches of
the tree. He bit off a few branches and then sat down on the roots of the
"Tabansi, giraffes are supposed to
stand up and eat. Why are you sitting down?" Zina asked. A few other ants
came and stood next to her.
"Iím tired of standing all the time.
I want to sit down and gobble up all these leaves. They are delicious!"
the giraffe said, shoving more leaves in his mouth.
"Tabansi," Safiya hissed.
Tabansi looked at the trunk of the
tree across from him. "Hello Safiya. Youíre all coiled around that tree.
Shouldnít snakes be slithering under the leaves or hiding under a rock or
something?" the giraffe asked.
"Hiss. If you donít quit eating all
those leaves, youíre going to get fat. Hiss."
"Donít be silly. Theyíre just
leaves. I canít get fat from eating them."
Tabansi ate all the leaves off the
branches. Though it was difficult, he stood up and pulled a few more
branches down and sat back down. It didnít take him long to finish them
off. Each time he stood up, it was more difficult than the time before.
"Youíre getting fat, Tabansi," Zina
"Hiss. Very fat," Safiya said.
Tabansi ignored his friends and ate
every leaf he could find. "These are so delicious," he mumbled, wiping
bits of leaves off his face. Finally, after several hours, the giraffe was
full. "Oh, Iím so full."
"Look at your tummy," Zina said.
"Youíre fat now."
Tabansi looked down at his yellow
belly. He patted it with his hoof. "Iím not fat. Iím pleasingly plump," he
said. "Now Iím feeling rather thirsty. I think Iíll go down to the river
and have a drink." But when the giraffe tried to stand up, he couldnít
"Whatís the matter? Hiss. Too fat to
get up?" the snake hissed again.
"Of course not. Iím just stuck
because Iíve been sitting for too long," Tabansi argued.
"I think you canít get up because
your belly is full of leaves," Zina said.
"Iíll show you all. Iím not too fat.
Just watch," he said. He rolled on his side and tried to get up, but he
couldnít. He rolled to the other side and tried to stand, but he still
couldnít. He leaned forward and then leaned backward, but no matter what
he tried, Tabansi couldnít stand up. "I think Iím stuck," he finally
admitted. "I guess I ate too much! Can you help me?"
"How can a few ants and a snake help
a big giraffe to stand up? Iím afraid youíre going to have to stay there
all night long," Zina said. She and the other ants wandered away into the
"I hope a lion doesnít come by and
find you lying here, especially a hungry lion," the snake teased and
slithered down the tree into the bushes.
All night long Tabansi had to sit
slouched against the tree. His tummy hurt from eating too much. He heard
owls hooting and monkeys chattering and all sorts of strange noises that
frightened him. There would be no sleep for Tabansi tonight!
In the morning the ants came by to
see how the giraffe was doing. Tabansi looked tired and frightened. "I see
you didnít get eaten by a lion," Zina laughed. The other ants started
giggling too. "Can you get up?"
Tabansi yawned. He rolled onto his
side and started to stand up. After a lot of struggling and moaning and
groaning he found himself on his four hooves. "I did it! I stood up!" He
was so happy. "Iím never going to eat that much again and Iím never going
to sit down when I eat. From now on, itís standing up for me."
That day Tabansi didnít eat very
much. He spent the day walking around, enjoying the treetops. When he
heard the lions roaring later on in the day, he was glad that they hadnít
come by the night before when heíd been stuck on his back!