Monday, December 20, 2004

The Funny, Strange, Dangerous Animal

Which animal is responsible for most human deaths in a year? Well, if you thought snake, mosquito or shark (like me), then you are wrong. Its the Hippo! This question was asked in the last Landmark quiz. May be it concerns only Africa and not the whole world - am not sure.

And here's an article that led me believe it :

The general feeling is that a hippo is a bigggg yawny animal. Here are some cute poems (from the minstrels) about the Hippo that show how underestimated the beast is.

"I Had a Hippopotamus"

I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed
And fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread.
I made him my companion on many cheery walks,
And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks.

His charming eccentricities were known on every side.
The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide.
He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles,
Who could not but remark on his hippopotamuscles.

If he should be affected by depression or the dumps
By hippopotameasles or hippopotamumps
I never knew a particle of peace 'till it was plain
He was hippopotamasticating properly again.

I had a hippopotamus, I loved him as a friend
But beautiful relationships are bound to end.
Time takes, alas! our joys from us and robs us of our blisses.
My hippopotamus turned out to be a hippopotamissus.

My housekeeper regarded him with jaundice in her eye.
She did not want a colony of hippopotami.
She borrowed a machine gun from her soldier-nephew, Percy
And showed my hippopotamus no hippopotamercy.

My house now lacks the glamour that the charming creature gave.
The garage where I kept him is as silent as a grave.
No longer he displays among the motor-tires and spanners
His hippopotamastery of hippopotamanners.

No longer now he gambols in the orchard in the Spring;
No longer do I lead him through the village on a string;
No longer in the mornings does the neighborhood rejoice
To his hippopotamusically-modulated voice.

I had a hippopotamus, but nothing upon the earth
Is constant in its happiness or lasting in its mirth.
No life that's joyful can be strong enough to smother
My sorrow for what might have been a hippopotamother.

-- Patrick Barrington

"The Hippopotamus"

Behold the hippopotamus!

We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

-- Ogden Nash

"Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich"

A hippo sandwich is easy to make.
All you do is simply take
One slice of bread,
One slice of cake,
Some mayonnaise
One onion ring,
One hippopotamus
One piece of string,
A dash of pepper --
That ought to do it.
And now comes the problem...
Biting into it!

-- Shel Silverstein

The next time you are near a Hippo (in the zoo or in an African safari), be extra careful ;-)