A toad once asked a giraffe to marry him.
The giraffe, whose name was Tilly, looked down and down at the toad. “A toad?” she said. “A slimy, warty, ugly, disgusting toad? I could never marry a toad!”
The toad was quite offended at her words, as you might well imagine. He became angry and said, “We are not so different. Both of us are noted for our throats. Yours is long and elegant, some might even say that it is a little too long, whereas mine is deep and wide, and swells up in a most delightful way.” He drew in his breath. His throat bulged out in an enormous brown bubble and he blurted, “Gork! Gork!”
The giraffe fell back in surprise.
The toad went on, “We both have the same brown spots, you know,” he said, “except that my skin is green while your coat is a beautiful golden brown. And we both have exceptionally attractive eyes. Your eyes are large and brown, and mine bulge out beautifully. Think of how handsome our children would be, with large, bulging brown eyes and green, furry, spotted coats!”
Tilly shivered with horror. “It’s no use asking me, Gork. I could never marry you,” she said.
The toad said, “Let me give you some time to think about it. I’ll come again tomorrow.” And he hopped away.
Tilly returned to her basket of hay and thought no more about the silly toad that day, but the next morning when he came again, she was quite pleased. “He must really love me,” she thought to herself. She asked him, “Do you really think I’m pretty, Gork? Only my friend Lallie says that my horns are too short.”
Gork said, “Only the most lovely of giraffes could make the king of all the toads fall in love with him.” Gork was not the king of the toads, but only the king’s second-youngest nephew, but he would have said anything to persuade Tilly to marry him. He was determined to win her no matter what. He could not bear to think that a mere giraffe would refuse him.
Tilly was flattered and she smiled a little shyly. She said, “My family have always been admired for their beauty, from the times when my ancestors roamed the wide plains of the Serengeti. I personally was selected from all my family to be placed in this zoo, as the most beautiful young giraffe.” She forgot that when men with nets and guns captured her, she had tried to run away with the rest of her herd, but she was slower than all the others so she was the one who had been taken.
Gork said, “Of course, that is why I chose you. Not just any giraffe would do for me, only the most beautiful of all. You must marry me.”
Tilly said, “No-one in my family has ever married a toad. I’m afraid it is impossible for me to marry you.”
Gork wasn’t put off. He was sure she would change her mind in time. “I will give you one more day to think about it,” he said.
The next day when Gork came, he brought her a large bunch of flowers. He began in his usual flattering way, “Queen of my heart, have you decided to marry me and make me the happiest toad on earth? If you were married to me, you would have a life of ease and luxury. You would have servants to do all the work. You could sit around all day long and merely give orders.”
Although she was not actually sure she knew how to sit, this sounded very good to Tilly, but she still hesitated. She had another reason for not wanting to marry Gork.
He noticed how her eyes turned often to a handsome young male giraffe, named Norman. Gork said, “If you are waiting for Norman to ask you to marry him and become his second wife, your friend Lallie has whispered to me that he has already asked her.”
Now this was a very black lie, for Lallie had not said anything to him, and she had certainly not been asked to be anyone’s second wife. But Tilly didn’t know that. She felt exceedingly jealous of her friend, Lallie. She thought resentfully that she would hate to be a mere third wife, and have Lallie looking down on her.
Gork said, “If you marry me, you will be my favourite wife, first among all my wives. You are so beautiful! None of the other giraffes walks as gracefully as you, or has such deep brown eyes. I love you with all my heart!”
Tilly said, “Very well then, I will marry you!” She could hardly wait to tell Lallie and Norman that she was going to be married to a king. Never mind that he was king of the toads, a king was a king. She stretched out her tongue to eat one of the flowers that Gork had brought her.
“Argh! Your tongue!” screeched Gork. “It is so… purple!”
“What’s the matter?” Tilly said. “All my family have tongues like this, the true purple of the Serengeti giraffe.”
“It is hideous!” Gork cried, with a great shudder. “To think that our children may have tongues of such a revolting colour, purple from one end to the other! What would the other toads say? It is impossible. I cannot marry you!”
He hopped off, pleased that he had found out in time.
Tilly sniffed and said to herself, “He was only a slimy old toad, anyway.”
One thought on “The Toad and the Giraffe”
I personally love the blue tongue, it also protects it from getting sunburnt. So glad she didn’t marry the slimy toad! Love the story too!