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NOODLE

DEDICATED WITH AFFECTION to the REAL live NOODLE whose superhuman common sense inspired this story.

This is the story of Noodle, who was very long from front to back, and very short from top to bottom.


One day, Noodle was digging in the garden. He liked to dig.

But he was so very long from front to back, and he was so very short from top to bottom, that it was hard for him to dig.

The dirt that he kicked up with his short front paws always hit him in the tummy.

Digging was hard work for Noodle!

This day Noodle was digging deep into the ground because he was sure he smelled a bone. All you could see from up top was his tail. Just as he put the tip of his nose on the bone, he said out loud, "I do wish I could be some other size and shape. I could dig up this bone without so much work'

There was a whirr and a buzz and a flip-flap of wings behind him. Was it a bird?

Noodle did not look to see. He went on digging until he had worked the bone loose from the dirt and could carry it up to the top of the hole.


When he got to the top, he looked for the bird. There was no bird. But there was a little white dog with wings just like a bird's. That was what made the whirr and the buzz and the flip-flap. Noodle was surprised.

"Who are you?" he said.

"I am the dog fairy," she said.

"Want part of this nice bone I just dug up?" said Noodle.

"No, thank you," said the dog fairy. "I just came to give you your wish."

"What wish?" said Noodle.

"The one you just made when you touched the tip of your nose to that wishbone," said the dog fairy.

"Why, so it is a wishbone!" said Noodle, looking at it carefully for the first time. "I forgot. What did I wish?"

"You wished you could be some other size and shape. Now here I am to give you your wish. What size and shape do you want to be?"

Noodle scratched his ear.

"I don't know," he said.

"May I have a little while to decide?"

"Yes," said the dog fairy, "but only until this afternoon. Then you must choose."

Off went the dog fairy, with a whirr and a buzz and a flip-flap of wings. And she took the wishbone with her.

Noodle sat down to think. He could always think better sitting down. Wouldn't it be nice to be just the size and shape he wanted to be? But what size —and what shape? That was the question.

He thought and thought. "I know what I will do!" he said. "I'll ask the animals at the zoo." So off he went.

Pitter pitter patter. Patter pitter pitter. That was the sort of noise his feet made when he walked in a hurry.


It was a nice day, and all the animals were outside. The first animal Noodle saw was Mr. Zebra.

"Hello, Mr. Zebra," said Noodle.

"Hello, Noodle," said Mr. Zebra.

"What brings you to the zoo this fine day?"

"I have a question," said Noodle.

"Ask me," said the Zebra. "I know a lot of answers."

"What is the best size and shape to be?" said Noodle.

"Oh, that's easy," said Mr. Zebra.

"Just exactly my size and shape is the best one."

"Why?" said Noodle.

"I don't know why. It just is," said Mr. Zebra.

"Is it a good size for digging?" said Noodle.

"I really don't know," said Mr. Zebra. "I don't dig. But it is a fine size and shape for pulling a wagon."

"Oh," said Noodle, "do you pull wagons?"

"No," said Mr. Zebra. "But I would like to."

"I don't think I would like to pull a wagon," said Noodle. "But thank you for telling me. Good-bye."

"You are welcome," said Mr. Zebra. "Good-bye."


Noodle walked on until he came to a yard that had a deep pool of water in it.

Noodle did not see anyone, but he could see some bubbles bubbling up out of the water. So he waited. By and by there was a big pffffffffffff, and up to the top came Mrs. Hippopotamus.

"Hello, Mrs. Hippopotamus" said Noodle.

"Hello, Noodle," said Mrs. Hippopotamus. "What brings you to the zoo this fine day?"

"I have a question," said Noodle.

"Ask me," said Mrs. Hippopotamus. "But you had better hurry. I'm going to the bottom again."

"What is the best size and shape to be?" said Noodle.

"I'll tell you when I come up," said Mrs. Hippopotamus.

And she took a big breath, and down to the bottom she went.

Noodle waited.

"Pffffffffffff," said Mrs. Hippopotamus, as she came up to the top again.

"Just exactly my size and shape is the best one."

"Why?" said Noodle.

"I don't know why. It just is," said Mrs. Hippopotamus.

"Is it a good size for digging?" said Noodle.

"I don't think so," said Mrs. Hippopotamus. "But it is a fine size for going to the bottom of the pool."

"I don't think I would like that" said Noodle. "But thank you, and good-bye."

"You are welcome," said Mrs. Hippopotamus. "Good-bye." And down she went to the bottom of the pool, and up came the bubbles.

Noodle walked to the next yard.


Way over in the corner was Miss Ostrich. Her head was in the sand.

Noodle shouted, "Oh, Miss Ostrich, GOOD MORNING!"

Out popped Miss Ostrich's head, and she shook the sand out of her eyes.

"Oh, good morning, Noodle. How did you know I was here? I was hiding."

"Why, I saw all of you but your head," said Noodle. "That's funny," said Miss Ostrich. "I didn't see you."

"How silly," thought Noodle.

Noodle was going to ask Miss Ostrich what size and shape to be. But he decided not to. How could such a silly bird help him! So Noodle said good-bye, and Miss Ostrich hid her head in the sand again.

It was getting late, and Noodle was hungry. He hurried to the next yard. He had time to see one more animal before he went home to lunch.


In the next yard was Mr. Giraffe. He was busy nibbling the leaves from the top of a tree that grew over his fence.

"Good morning, Mr. Giraffe," said Noodle.

"Oh, good morning, Noodle," said Mr. Giraffe. "What brings you to the zoo so near to lunch time?"

"I have a very important question," said Noodle. "And I am getting very hungry. Could you please answer me quickly?"

"Why certainly," said Mr. Giraffe. "I'll come right down."

And he leaned way down with his neck so Noodle could ask him.

"What is the best size and shape to be?" said Noodle.

"What a silly question!" said Mr. Giraffe. "Why, just the size and shape I am, of course."

"Oh," said Noodle. "Is it a good size for digging?"

"Of course not," said Mr. Giraffe. "But who wants to dig?"

"I do," said Noodle, "for good bones to eat."

"That's silly," said Mr. Giraffe. "Nice tender green leaves from the tops of trees are best for eating. And my size and shape is just right for finding them."

"But I don't like to eat leaves," said Noodle, "and I am hungry right now. So thank you just the same, and good-bye. I am going home to lunch."

Mr. Giraffe said good-bye and stuck his neck back into the tree tops.


After lunch, Noodle took a nap. He was sound asleep until he heard a whirr and a buzz and a flip-flap of wings. It was the dog fairy.

"I came back, just as I promised," she said.

"So I see," said Noodle, as he opened one eye. But he was too sleepy to keep it open.

"Have you decided what size and shape you wish to be?" said the dog fairy.

"Yes," said Noodle with his eyes closed.

"What size and shape do you wish to be?" asked the dog fairy.

"Just exactly the size and shape I am right now," said Noodle. And he fell sound asleep.

"That is a very wise wish," said the dog fairy.

And off she flew, with a whirr and a buzz and a flip-flap of wings.

 

THE END.


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