Once, hundreds of years ago, there lived a giraffe named Clope who did not like his long neck. He found it most impractical.
He wished his head could be closer to the ground. He was, you see, a rather social, most very extroverted giraffe, and most of the animals with whom he was acquainted dwelt lower to the earth.
Also, he had a rather weak heart, which is certainly far from ideal for a giraffe, as the blood has a long, epic journey to make to the brain. It was quite impractical. Clope thought that, if his neck were shorter, his heart would not have to work so hard, and he would not have so many dizzy spells.
Also, he found the sun at his height rather hot. He wished for more shade. Shade is almost always practical.
So, for these three reason – his friends, his heart, and his lack of shade – Clope did not like his long neck. He wished for a shorter one. Of course, this wasn’t a practical wish at all.
He tried pushing his neck down into his shoulders, as he had often seen his friend Tilly the African spurred tortoise do. But, of course, Clope was not an African spurred tortoise, so this did not work. “We are such good friends already,” Tilly yelled up at him, “and it does not matter one bit how tall you are. We can have fine conversations from this distance.” Unfortunately, Clope found Tilly’s argument unconvincing and impractical. He still wanted a shorter neck.
Next, he tried curling it up and around, as he had often seen his friend Ellis the African elephant do with his trunk. But, of course, Clope was not an African elephant, nor was his neck a trunk. Instead of helping his heart, this only made him very, very dizzy. “Your heart has learned to work with your long neck well enough,” Ellis shouted to him. “You should just learn to work with it as well.” Clope found this argument unconvincing and impractical yet again. He still wanted a shorter neck.
Next, he tried tucking his neck under his body, as he had seen his friend Ollie the Ostrich do often as he preened his feathers. But, of course, Clope was not an ostrich, nor did he have feathers, nor did using his own body as shade make him any cooler. Despair was beginning to set in by the time Ollie came to visit. Clope was beginning to resign himself to a dizzy, hot life of long-distance relationships. “You may be hotter in the sun without the canopy of leaves,” Ollie called up to him, “but at night, when the sun goes down, you can see the stars better than any of us. Will you please tell us what they look like?” Clope found this argument entirely impractical – but ever so slightly convincing. He had never really looked at the stars, but for his friends’ sakes, he decided to try it that night.
And then. Oh my. Those stars.
I wish I could tell you that, no matter how dizzy or hot he became, or how loudly his friends had to speak for him to hear, Clope never wished for a shorter neck again. He still did sometimes, but he never did at night. Instead, every night, Tilly and Ellie and Ollie gathered at the ground around Clope’s feet, while Clope stretched his neck as high above the leaves as he could. Then the friends would cry, “Tell us, please, Clope!” And Clope would tell them everything he saw – all the constellations, shining bright against the black sky. He would tell them about the stars (which are, of course, not practical at all. Clope, it turned out, did not mind this one bit.)
The story of Clope the Giraffe who Loved his Long Neck was shared and passed down and sent by storyteller and ship from Africa across the waters to Europe, to Italy, to the shop of an Italian inventor, whose friends called him Leo. After hearing the story of Clope, Leo decided that he too wanted a long neck by which to see the stars (he was not so concerned about practicality, you see). So he began inventing a sort of neck to hold up to his eye at night when the stars were bright. When the invention was complete, he knew it was only right to give credit to the story where credit was due.
So, of course, he named his invention a TellUsClope.Featured cartoon created by brgfx.
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Patty Sommer says
What a fun story, Hannah! Thank you for sharing it with us!
Karah Snyder says
This is absolutely lovely, Hannah! It brought a smile to my face and a burst of wonder to my heart. Thank you!
Is this lovely story available for purchase anywhere?
Hannah Hubin says
I’m afraid it’s only available here. Maybe someday, though. Thank you for asking and for reading!