Once upon a time, like a few million years ago, there lived a herd of small pony-like animals on a steppe. It was a pretty big herd for a herd at that time. All together around 26 and a half;one of them was even smaller than the others. Not that he was bothered with that, because every time one of the pony-like creatures made a joke at his expense, he was witty enough to react and leave them standing with their mouths open. His name was Equus.
Because it was several millions of years ago they didn’t have the problem with the humans, simply because of the fact that there weren’t any humans. At least not as we know them now, the noisy and intruding kind. No, at that time the predecessors of humans where much too pre-occupied with themselves, trying to figure out where all those things at the end of their arms and legs were good for, what one could do with them and the fact that the sun, the moon and the stars had to be some kind of divine god. That, and staring at each other, wondering where on earth that other two-legged creature came from.
Now, those were the days.
Equus wasn’t just small; he also was ambitious and liked to eat the good leaves. He liked to eat leaves better than he did grass., Grass was abundant in the steppe, but he went for the leaves in the trees. In order to get to them, he had to stand on his hind legs and stretch his neck as much as he could. The rest of the herd laughed at him, but he didn’t care. He got the best snacks around!
Talking about that, there was one lady in the herd and she was particularly fond of Equus. She liked his attitude, his humor, his persistence and his brown eyes. Equus noticed this and as there weren’t a lot of diamonds around (plus the fact that a pony-like creature isn’t interested in diamonds at all), he picked the best leaves he could find and gave them to her.
They fell in love and she gave birth to a great-looking small pony-like creature and together they couldn’t be happier. Until the moment another beautiful pony-like creature girl was born. That was when they became even happier.
Equus and the Lady both made it a habit to pick the highest leaves, standing on their hind legs stretching their necks. The rest of the herd found them strange and peculiar, especially when they saw that Equus and the lady taught their children to do the same. The distance grew between the herd and them…
Life went on, years went by, and the Equus family grew taller when their children got children and their children got children and all of them started to dislike grass and all of them reached for the higher leaves. It was a funny looking bunch, all those animals standing on their hind legs, stretching their necks, enjoying the green delights. The distance between them and the original herd grew even more. The Equus family was still laughed at, but they didn’t care. They were happy by themselves.
Life went on and a thousand years went by and the Equus family was still mocked and laughed at by the herd. What lunatics you are, the herd shouted, why reach for the unreachable leaves, when the best grass is on the ground, everywhere. The only thing you have to do is bend your head and eat! Any sane animal knows that. The Equus family didn’t care. They had each other. Besides, which animals in their right mind would eat food they had just walked on?
Life went on and a million years went by and the Equus family wasn’t living with their original herd anymore. They left for new areas, with better and higher trees, still enjoying the best leaves high up in the trees and still enjoying themselves.
Their herd was huge and had spread out in the world, but the root of the original Equus family was still together. As a matter of fact, one of the males was still called Equus, in honor of his greatgreatgreatgreatgreat….etc grandfather. And this Equus was well-equipped. He easily reached the highest possible, most tasteful leaves of any tree. With his head in the sun, he was enjoying the day, when suddenly he heard a voice…
The voice said: “Equus, I am so proud of you and your long, long line of ancestors. Resisting the usual, going for the highest and the best, not letting yourself be influenced by what the other members of the herd say. I am proud of the way you have developed. I am proud of what you have achieved and how happy you have been, no matter what happened.”
Equus was confused and looked around, but didn’t see anyone.
The voice continued: “Therefore I will give you, and everybody in your herd, a specially designed coat so everybody will recognize you. But most importantly, I will give you, and all the animals in your herd, a new name. A new name for your species, an honorary title that is. From now on your species is called Giraffe.
The Lonely Pony is part of The World Of Beast and is a fable. It is not the way Giraffes have developed, but is a metaphor to explain that sometimes, the misfits, the unusual, the ones that go against the grain are the ones that are celebrated.