An international zoo had been set up in a country which decided to place a high priority on animal conservation.
The zoo’s officials believed a diverse collection of animals from around the world would spur the spending of local entertainment dollars and serve as a means of attracting international tourists.
Among the zoo’s more popular residents were Pork Epine, the porcupine, Griz Lee Bear and Gu Rilla, a very large gorilla.
All of the zoo’s animals were well fed. The zoo provided the best diet possible for each animal. Gu Rilla thrived on many pounds of fresh ripe bananas every day. Griz Lee Bear feasted on an array of fish, beef and other tasty items. Pork Epine enjoyed fresh green plants.
Zoo officials posted signs throughout its property. The signs read, “Please don’t feed the animals” and “Danger - don’t touch the animals.” Still another sign read, “But don’t worry, these animals wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
One day, a young boy named Paul Jr. visited the zoo with his parents, Paul Sr. and Paulette, along with his Sunday school class, which was being taught a lesson about creation.
Paul Jr. loved to have his mom and dad read a story about animals to him at bedtime every evening. He possessed a spirit of adventure, so while he and his parents were visiting the zoo, an “idea light bulb” switched on in his head.
“Dad, I know you’re a writer,” said Paul Jr. “After we get back home, could you please write a story about Pork Epine, Griz Lee Bear, Gu Rilla and me?”
“Sure, Son,” said Paul Sr. “It sounds like a fun project.”
“And, Mom, since you have your new digital camera with you, would you mind snapping a few photos to illustrate Dad’s story?”
“Wonderful idea,” said Paulette. “I’ve been looking for a special project on which to work.”
Paulette snapped a variety of photos of her son, as well as several still shots and video clips of Pork Epine, Griz Lee Bear and Gu Rilla.
The sun was setting in the west as Paul Jr. and his parents prepared to leave the zoo.
Glancing down at the sidewalk, a small dark object grabbed Paul Jr.’s attention. He knelt down and retrieved the object from the steaming concrete.
“It’s a dead fly, Son,” said Paulette.
The family stopped by the zoo office to show their discovery to Mr. Purvis, the zoo’s administrator.
“I don’t understand,” said Paul Jr. “The sign said these animals wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
“Oh, I see that you didn’t read the small print,” said Mr. Purvis. “At the bottom of the sign in very small letters it reads, “Unless, of course, it’s by accident!”
To contact the writer of this column about speaking engagements and/or puppet ministry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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