Henry Meets Ho-Ho


One morning Henry woke up feeling quite sad.  “I wonder why I feel so sad” thought Henry to himself looking up at the ceiling, “after all, today is my birthday”.

“Happy birthday Henry” said his mother, opening the bedroom door.  She had brought him breakfast in bed as a special treat.  (Normally this was strictly forbidden as Henry could be very messy, but today was after all his birthday).

“Would you like to open your presents?” she asked.  There were presents from his uncles, aunts, cousins, granny, granddad and lots of other people.

“I wonder why I am so sad with all of these presents?” thought Henry again.  The presents were wonderful with train-set, lots of books, a fire engine with a loud bell, some colouring crayons and a big stripy kite.

“Now what would you like to do today?” asked Henry’s mum after he had opened all of his presents. Henry thought for a little while…. “It think I’ll stay in bed please mum.”  She looked at him for a few moments, wondering.  Henry was a strange little boy:  you could never tell what he was going to do or say next, and he would sometimes seem to disappear for hours on end.  Finally she laughed:  “Whatever you say birthday boy” she finally said tidying away some of the wrapping paper.

“I really can’t understand why I am so sad,” thought Henry, “after all I have everything that I want”,

His mum made everything into a big ball.  “Oh, I nearly forgot,” she said “there is a card from your uncle Dennis”.  From the tome of her voice when she spoke about the mysterious Uncle Dennis, Henry could tell that she was really a little embarrassed about him.  Henry hand never met him, but from what he had heard, Uncle Dennis was really exciting and funny, so he was very pleased that he had remembered his birthday.

“Read it out, please!” asked Henry, suddenly cheering up.

His mum opened the envelope and looked rather relieved at the contents.  “Why it isn’t even a birthday card!” she said, “just a photograph of a tree!” she turned it over.

“What does it say, what does it say?” cried Henry.  “It’s only one of his silly rhymes” she said.

“Please mummy, please read it out!” said Henry.

“Oh very well …” she agreed:

“To my dearest nephew, Henry, the nicest birthday dish, just go into the garden, and find your dearest wish”.

“What does that mean?” asked Henry.

“Nothing at all probably” said his mother, “your uncle Dennis has always been very wild and unpredictable”.

But Henry was now quite excited, and soon put on his red shorts and sandals; he had total faith in uncle Dennis, and if uncle Dennis said “go into the garden, and there your secret wish, “ there really must be some kind of surprise in store …. Henry was beginning to forget how sad he was.




Henry had soon explored the garden; he had looked in the flower beds, in the greenhouse, in the rhododendron bushes, but there was no sign of this present.  He finally gave up and sat down underneath the old damson tree in despair …. Surely Uncle Dennis wouldn’t let him down … there must be another clue.


“I’ve got it!” shouted Henry at last, “the tree, there was a picture of the tree!”  In a trice he was up on his feet and looking up into the tree.  He looked along every branch, every twig and every leaf, but there was no sign of his present.  Then he remembered the rhyme, “’My dearest wish’!” said Henry, “I have to make a wish!”

The only trouble was that Henry did not know what to wish for, and the longer he thought the more confused he became; there was nothing that he really wanted.  He knew he was sad, but you can’t wish not to have something.  Finally he mad up his mind.  “I shall wish and wish that things turn out OK” he decided.  So saying he began to wish and shake the tree.  He began to wish and in that wish so many pictures came into his mind, pictures of places he had read about in books, stories of good friends and picnics and laughter; pictures of adventures, the seaside and fairgrounds.  Soon the tree began to shake, the leaves began to tremble, a bright ray of sunshine broke from amongst the leaves, for a second Henry was dazzled, and suddenly – ‘plop’ – something dropped onto the grass from high amongst the branches.

“My present!” cheered Henry rushing over to look at the little pink thing lying there on the grass.

“It’s an elephant!” gasped Henry staring in surprise.  Then to his utter astonishment, the tiny creature began to grow.  It grew and grew until it was enormous – an enormous smiling elephant – the most friendly looking creature that Henry could ever imagine.  Henry smiled back delightedly.

“What’s your name?” asked Henry. The elephant began to laugh – a deep, jovial infectious laugh.

Ho-Ho, Ho, Ho”, in the nicest jolliest laugh that made Henry want to laugh to.

Ho-Ho, you are called Ho-Ho? Asked Henry laughing helplessly.

“I suppose I must be – you just called me that!” replied the elephant laughing even more.

Henry and Ho-Ho could not stop laughing.

“Where do you come from?” asked Henry with tears in his eyes.

Ho-Ho scratched his ear and peered up into the tree: “I think I must live up there” he finally said.  “Yes, in the trees, hanging by my trunk from a twig!”  Henry laughed even more uncontrollably at the idea of this enormous elephant in a tree.


“And because the first ting I do when I wake up is to start laughing,” continued Ho-Ho, “I have to let go with my trunk and I fall to the ground.


The two friends laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks.






But it was all true, for Ho-Ho could make himself very tiny as well as being a normal elephant-sized elephant, and so he could sleep each night in the tree hanging by his trunk.  Henry once asked Ho-Ho, “Are you really very big or really very small?

“Well” said Ho-Ho “I’m really very big, and I’m really small.”

Both Henry and Ho-Ho found this very funny indeed.



************click here to see picture


That night Henry went to bed feeling very, very happy.  It wasn’t because of his birthday or because he had been given lots of presents; it was because he had been given a new friend, and though he didn’t know it at the time, he was to have many, many adventures and happinesses with his special magic friend Ho-Ho the elephant.



©bernard shevlin

click here for next story

click here to go back to index of stories