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Gerald The Giraffe And Jemimas New Year Resolution
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It's the New Year and suddenly Gerald the giraffe, the zoo's most popular animal, is feeling sad and depressed and has gone off his food.
Mr Reynolds, the zoo keeper, feels very concerned and tries to cheer him up. When that doesn't work he becomes determined to find out how to get him back up on his feet once again.
It was only a few days into the New Year and all the animals at the zoo had already made their resolutions; all except Gerald the giraffe, who sat in his enclosure looking very dejected and unhappy.
Mr Reynolds, the zoo-keeper, who was an elderly man with a deep kinship for all animals, was taking his morning stroll through the zoo; whistling merrily and greeting each and every one of the animals.
But when he reached Gerald's enclosure, he noticed a large crowd of people gathered around it.
He immediately grew concerned and squeezed his way through them, calling out,
"Please move aside everyone, thank you."
Before long he reached the enclosure and caught sight of Gerald, who heard his approaching footsteps and peered up at him.
His eyeballs moved up slowly, which made him appear even more miserable.
Mr Reynolds walked up to him slowly and gently stroked his neck.
"Hey Gerald; what's the matter with you today, hmm? Why aren't you up and about?" He leaned forwards and whispered into Gerald's right ear.
"I shouldn't really be telling you this, but you're the most popular and loved animal in the zoo, and that's a fact! But don't let that go to your head."
He chuckled, trying to cheer him up, but to no avail.
He then pulled out a large juicy red apple from his inner left-side coat pocket.
"Look, your favourite fruit! An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Hah hah!" Again, no response.
Gerald lowered his body even more and turned his head to the other side.
Mr Reynolds gave a deep sigh, "Listen Gerald, I need to finish my morning round and inspect the remaining animals, then I'll be back to visit you.
In the meantime please try to get up; after all, you're much too large and tall for me to lift you!"
He smiled, but Gerald was not amused.
Mr Reynolds left the apple beside him then left the enclosure.
"I wonder what's upsetting Gerald; he doesn't appear ill, thank goodness, but he is feeling very sad. Now, what could possibly be causing it?"
Mr Reynolds momentarily stood before the large crowd and looked through the sea of faces. He recognised most of them, as they were regular visitors.
"Hmm; someone's missing."
His eyes searched around and he thought hard and tried to conjure up a face in his mind, but simply couldn't.
'Oh well, maybe I'll remember some time during the day.'
By late evening Mr Reynolds had completed his duties and as it was closing time; he locked the zoo gates.
He then remembered mentioning to Gerald that he would re-visit him and proceeded towards his enclosure; by the time he had reached it, everything suddenly came back to him.
His face lit up and his eyes beamed with joy. He snapped his fingers with an enlightened look.
Jemima Brand, that's it! Ah, now I know exactly how to get Gerald back on his feet again.
He concealed his excitement and straightened his face, as if nothing had happened, then approached Gerald.
"Gerald; I know you're upset and I can't bear to see you like this. Please get some rest and maybe you'll feel better in the morning. Goodnight."
Gerald, who was exceptionally intelligent, seemed to sense something was going on and he too play-acted and pulled a long face and bowed his head.
The next day Mr Reynolds was up very early and unlocked the zoo gates.
He was very anxious to get in touch with Jemima, who was Gerald's most favourite visitor. They shared a deep kinship with each other.
Mr Reynolds also happened to know her parents, who had invited him to their home on numerous occasions.
Luckily they lived only a short walking distance from the zoo.
When Mr Reynolds arrived, he rang the bell and Jemima's mother opened the door, smiling.
"Oh! Mr Reynolds; how nice to see you. Happy New Year to you. What brings you here?"
"Happy New Year Mrs Brand, is Jemima in?"
"I'm afraid not. Her Dad's taken her for a long weekend drive to the countryside to visit his farm."
"Oh, do you know when they'll be back?"
"Well, I expect them back by this Monday. Is everything alright Mr Reynolds? You look a bit worried."
"Actually Mrs Brand; one of my zoo animals, Gerald the giraffe, has been feeling very lonely and sad, and he's also lost his appetite. I understand he's quite attached to her and I wanted to accompany her to the zoo and give him a surprise."
"Aww, that's so nice of you to say that, Mr Reynolds; I'll definitely let Jemima know once she gets back. Thank you again for coming over."
Within fifteen minutes, Mr Reynolds arrived back at the zoo, looking pale and lost.
'It's a long weekend and Gerald is refusing to eat or drink. Now I really am worried.'
The next morning he prepared a large silver bowl of Gerald's favourite food, which included; grass, twigs, leaves, crackers with grain and tree bark, apples and bananas.
He also added some carrots as well.
Fingers crossed, he hoped this would tempt his appetite back again.
As he made his way to Gerald's enclosure, he said to himself, 'I might even tell Gerald that Jemima is coming to see him next week and...'
Suddenly his words were drowned by the sound of loud chuckles and manic laughter, accompanied by the trotting sound of heavy hoofs moving around.
Just then the enclosure gates partially opened and Jemima's father emerged, with a triumphant smile on his face.
"Happy New Year, Mr Reynolds."
He then moved aside and opened them fully. "Behold!"
Mr Reynolds jaw dropped and he was completely flabbergasted at the sight before them.
From out of his enclosure Gerald appeared, and on his back was Jemima.
"I...I'm lost for words; it's like a dream come true."
He was so engrossed with the scene that his right hand with the basket slackened and it was about to fall.
Suddenly Gerald galloped full-stride up to him and caught it in his mouth. He knelt down, so Jemima could climb off.
Once she had, she took the basket and fed him with her own hands, as Mr Reynolds watched in astonishment.
Jemima then turned to Mr Reynolds and said,
"I'm sorry but it was my idea to make up the story about going off for the weekend as I was in bed with a bad cold and my parents didn't want anyone else to catch it. One of my friends rang and told Mum about Gerald; so when I recovered I knew I just had to come here to see him. I also wanted to give you a surprise."
Her father gave her a loving hug and Mr Reynolds smiled warmly and was still overcome with emotion, simply lost for words.
Then Jemima added,
"Gerald and I have also made our New Year Resolutions. Gerald promises to stay fit and healthy and mine is to visit Gerald every weekend, and that's also my promise to him!"
Once Gerald had eaten his full meal, Jemima returned back home with her father.
As they walked off, Mr Reynolds looked up to the sky, smiled and said, like a philosopher,
"Bless the beasts and the children."
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