In the river, beyond the clearing. At the edge of the jungle. Lived a hippo by the name of Flippo. His name was really Phillip. But everyone called him Flippo, because he liked to do back flips. This was really quite a feat due to his enormous girth. Flippo had a lot of friends. His friends visited him often. Today the otter brothers Merry and Maro along with Dolly the duck came for a visit.
It also gave him a chance to frolic and play. It also gave him an excuse to ask his grandfather to read him stories. His grandfather knew great stories and loved to tell them. Merry, Maro and Dolly Flippo’s grandfather’s stories.
Sometimes Flippo’s parents Maxwell his father and Marny his mother would make treats for them to eat while they listened to grandfather’s stories. They all hoped today would be no different, because they love to eat treats. Sometimes it was a cake, often it was cookies. But whatever they made it was always delicious. Also there was always ice cold lemonade to drink with their snacks.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Hippopotamus. How are you today? Is it okay if we visit with Flippo today?” “Sure” said Mrs. Hippopotamus. “It is okay. Isn’t it Maxwell?” “It certainly is dear” said Mr. Hippopotamus. “Just don’t go bothering Mr. Crocodile today as he has a toothache and is in a foul mood. Also be sure to stay in the shallows at this side of the river, and don’t go into the middle because the currents are unusually strong.” “Okay Dad” said Flippo. “I’ll stay close to the bank. Come on guys let’s go so we can get back in time for lunch, and hopefully Gramps will be up so we can get a story.”
They left the house running in a hurry to get to the water to play. As they slid down the bank of the river to the water they bumped into Harry the Gnu coming up the slope, and sending him tumbling down the slope into the water. “Oops we’re sorry Harry.” They all shouted as one. “In our haste we didn’t see you coming. We really are sorry.” “It’s okay.” said Harry. “I was just coming over to see where you all were anyway. At least I won’t have to walk all the way to your house now” he said to them. “What are you all going to do today for fun?” asked Harry. “We’re all going swimming and playing in the river before lunch” said Dolly. “Do you want to come along with us?” inquired Dolly. “Yes, I would like that a lot as it is very hot today” answered Harry.
“What should we do first” asked Merry. “I think we should play first. Then we can swim after so we will be nice and cool for lunch” said Maro. “Splendid idea” said Flippo.” Let’s go.”
“What game are we going to play today? Should we play Ring around the roses or hide and go seek?” asked Dolly. “Why don’t we play both” replied Flippo. They played for a very long time until they all became very tired.
“Let’s go swimming now” said Harry. “No I think we should wait and rest a while first” said Flippo. “We don’t want to go swimming when we are tired” said Flippo. “That might be dangerous if we are too tired to swim away if we get caught by the current. Father says they are very strong today, and he made us promise that we wouldn’t go out too far from the bank where the currents are at their strongest. It would be foolish to swim when you are tired” continued Flippo. “Suit yourself Flippo, but I’m going. Does anybody else want to come” asked Harry. “We all think you should listen to Flippo, Harry” said Dolly.
“Well I’m going anyway; I’m too hot and sticky to wait. Besides I won’t go out far, there shouldn’t be any danger in that” said Harry as he stepped into the water. “Okay” said Flippo. “I’ll watch you anyway just in case anything unforeseen happens. Please be careful Harry?”
So as they rested they all kept a watch on Harry as he swam. Suddenly Harry screamed “Help me I have a cramp.” They all started running to the water’s edge shouting “Hold on Harry we’re coming as fast as we can.”
Fortunately Mr. Crocodile was close by taking a relaxing swim to ease the pain of his toothache. So as soon as he heard the commotion he swam over to Harry and told him to climb up onto his back and he would take him safely to shore. When Flippo, Merry, Maro and Dolly got to the water’s edge they saw Mr. Crocodile bringing Harry safely to the shore on his back. “Are you okay” they all asked. “Yes I am. Thank you, Mr. Crocodile for saving my life. I guess I should have listened to your advice Flippo, and then I wouldn’t have gotten into so much trouble. I’m sorry, to have caused all of you so much worry.” “Thank you Mr. Crocodile” said everybody. “How is your toothache? Better we hope.” “Much better, and thank you all for asking” replied Mr. Crocodile. “I would suggest that you all put an end to swimming for the rest of the day as I am going home now, and I won’t be here should any further mishaps occur” he continued. “We will and thank you again” said Flippo quite sincerely.
“Let’s go guys”. Off they went skipping all the way home. Happy to be safe, sound, and together. When they got to Flippo’s house they told Mr. and Mrs. Hippopotamus what had happened. They were very glad that they were all safe and that Mr. Crocodile had been nearby and able to help them. Then they sat down to a lovely lunch.