Before reading this post, you should at least be passingly familiar with this children’s book.
It was all fun all the time when the Hippopotamus ran off with the other animals. The Armadillo tried to warn her. He wasn’t like her. She was a tropical animal, but his range overlapped with these temperate beasts. He knew the tyranny of seasons. But she would not listen, and so off she went on her run. She imagined that this would be the start of many glorious friendships. Look at how close they all were, the Moose and the Goose, the Bear and the Hare, the Cat and the Rats, and, of course, the Hog and the Frog.
The Cat and the Rats were the first. Only ever running pals, and not especially close ones, it happened very quickly. It was before the weather even turned. That Cat hadn’t been fed and worked up such an appetite on the jog. Suddenly, the Rats looked delectable. True, they weren’t tuna, which was her favorite, but they were plump and juicy. They never saw it coming. The Hippopotamus was shocked and disgusted. But not the Armadillo.
The Hog and the Frog were next. There was a chill in the air and the foraging wasn’t as good. The Hog was depending more on slop. You can’t blame a frog for mistaking slop for a bog. It was an accident, but by the time the Hog realized what she was eating, it was too late. The Hippotamus offered consolation. But not the Armadillo.
Winter came in hard and the Bear had spent too much time running. He was too thin and not at all ready for hibernation. Under pressure, bears will eat anything. The Hare was a friend, but what was friendship with winter coming? A few millimeters of fat meant more. The Hippopotamus was becoming distraught. But not the Armadillo.
The Moose and the Goose took the longest. The Armadillo had known they would be last as neither could easily eat the other one, but it was only a matter of time. The Moose was a homebody, but come winter, the Goose wanted to travel. It wasn’t long until a smooth-talking, fast-moving Gander came along talking about migration and the unnatural inter-species love affair ended. The Hippopotamus was positively beside herself. But not the Armadillo.
The Bear wasn’t finished. Winter passed and the Hippopotamus sobbed. A thaw came and the Bear pulled himself out of his den. He was famished and there were the Cat and the Hog and the Moose. It was quite the buffet. The Armadillo reminded her that she should have known. He had told her that seasons wreak havoc on these temperate animals. That she didn’t understand. It wasn’t the same as the dry and wet seasons she knew. The Hippopotamus didn’t want to hear it any more. She snapped her giant jaws at him and lumbered back home.
The Armadillo didn’t have to wonder about staying or going. He curled into a ball and rolled on down the road. But yes, the Armadillo.