Henry & Ho-Ho: Donkey in Distress
Henry and Ho-Ho were having a morning orange drink underneath Ho-Ho’s tree. “We have helped such a lot of people these last few weeks,” said Henry, and it has been fun doing it – especially with you to advise me Ho-Ho.”
Ho-Ho nodded; he had enjoyed himself enormously as well. If only life could carry on just like this … but where would they be able to keep finding people who needed help? So far all their adventures had happened so naturally – without trying at all.
“Let’s go to the seaside!” said Ho-Ho suddenly. It was most unlike Ho-Ho to suggest anything; he normally just waited for henry to make the decisions. “You see,” he continued, “I just have a feeling that we might be needed there.”
That was more than enough for Henry. In no time as all, they had strapped on Ho-Ho’s giant roller skates and were speeding toward the seaside. They were more than half way when Henry spotted a strange sight at the side of the road. It was a cart piled high with belongings. The donkey who had been pulling it had been released from his harness and was lying at the side of the road. A kindly looking man and his daughter were patting the animals head, with the little girl in tears.
“Woa!” shouted Henry, but Ho-Ho had already spotted the trouble and was slowing down to investigate.
“There, there old girl,” the man was saying to the poor old donkey, “it’ll be alright, you’ll see.”
It made Henry and Ho-Ho very sad to see the little girl crying and the donkey so sad and poorly.
“I’m Henry and this is my friend and elephant Ho-Ho,” said Henry “can we be of service?” (Henry had seen someone on the television say can I be of service’ and thought it sounded rather grown up).
“I don’t think you can,” said the man sighing deeply, “you see, we are on our way to Southpool but our poor donkey just can’t go any further; she is just totally exhausted. I really don’t know what you can do.”
Henry looked at the old donkey.
“You’re sure she isn’t ill or something?” he asked.
The man smiled and shook his head.
“Oh no, she isn’t ill – and I should know. Let me introduce myself,” the man continued, “Harry Biggins and this is my daughter Fiona. I’m an animal trainer and we’re just going to my new job at the circus in Southpool.” Henry and Ho-Ho whispered together for a few minutes; they both had the same idea.
“What we must do,” said Henry feeling very grown up, "is for you and your daughter to travel on Ho-Ho’s back with me and we’ll put your donkey in the cart and tow her along behind!” Harry was delighted, though he did make Ho-Ho- promise not to go too fast as he had never seen an elephant on roller skates before!
Henry, Harry and Fiona had a nice long chat during the rest of the journey and Henry found out lots of interesting things about these nice people. Harry probably knew more about donkeys than anyone else in the world, and Fiona wanted to become a tightrope walker when she grew up.
All too soon, Henry and Ho-Ho were dropping off their new friends at the circus, which was quite near the beach.
“Well, that was our good deed for today!” said Henry.
“Perhaps,” said Ho-Ho, hot and smiling, “but you never can tell.”
On the beach, Ho-Ho was soon fast asleep, but Henry was wide awake. He had enjoyed talking to Harry and Fiona so much that he was keen to meet new friends and have fun. He walked up and down the sands trying to make friends and talk to other children, but they were all far too shy.
“I wonder why they don’t like me?” muttered Henry to himself, quite unable to understand their shyness.
As he returned to his sleeping friend, he heard some children shouting and complaining to the donkey ride man;
“Your donkeys lazy,” they shouted “he won’t gallop and give us proper rides. “We want our money back.”
Just then Harry and Fiona arrived. Henry brightened up immediately and began to tell them about the unfriendly children on the beach and how they were being unkind to the poor donkey. Harry shook his head as he looked at the unpopular animal who was called Jack and was a very good and hard-working donkey normally.
“The trouble is that the poor donkey is too hot; if you gave him a straw hat he would have far mo energy and give the children better rides.”
Harry felt very sorry for the donkey; after all his own donkey had been in a similar state a few hours earlier.
“If the man would let me,” Harry said “I’d take that poor donkey and buy him a straw hat myself!”
Henry looked at Ho-Ho, who was awake and listening by now.
“I bet that the man will not let the donkey go for a hat,” said Henry, “because Jack would be gone for an hour or more and that would mean that he would lose money … unless ... “ Henry and Ho-Ho looked at each other and gave a knowing wink; they had just had the same idea for the second time that day. They went up to the donkey ride man and explained why Jack was not feeling well and how their friend Harry would take him for a straw hat.
“What about the money I’d be losing?” growled the man.
“My friend Ho-Ho will give the children rides while the donkey finds a good hat!” said Henry, solving the problem at a single stroke.
For the next hour or so Ho-Ho gave the children rides. They all loved it and were so nice to Henry who had to ride with them as the man was frightened of elephants. All the children were very curious about Henry and some offered to buy him an ice cream. Far too quickly Harry returned with Jack who was all dressed up in a really comical straw hat. The children all laughed and wanted to ride on him, and being cooler he gave them much better rides than before. The man was so pleased about how things had worked out that he offered to buy the friends whatever they wanted …. And to a hot elephant on a hot beach, there was only one thing in the world – a big bucket of ice cream.
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Going home that night Henry was very happy indeed; they had made lots of friends, they had helped Harry and Fiona and made two donkeys much happier.
“It’s really nice helping people.” Henry whispered in Ho-Ho’s ear.
“Yes especially when there’s a bucket of ice cream too!” said Ho-Ho. The two friends laughed contentedly as the sun slowly dropped behind the horizon.
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