Horace had a routine.  He liked to have a routine.  He also liked his new friend Ally.  She was the household cat and she was quite gentle.  She liked to play, but she was very careful not to use her claws on Horace.  It was nice to have a home and it was nice to have a friend.

Horace explored almost everyday.  He had only been here a few weeks and there was so much to explore.    Horace had found out where Ally kept her food.  He was very careful to only take the smallest amount, and only when he was very hungry.  She also had a wonderful water bowl.  It was so big it was almost like a pond.  He only ever made the mistake of taking a swim in her water bowl once.  Ally was a very gentle creature, but she didn’t like Horace in her water bowl.  Fortunately he was a bright little hippo, he didn’t usually make the same mistake a second time.

On one of this exploratory walks Horace made a discovery.  This was a very nice home but it didn’t have any trees.  It didn’t have any flowers, and it didn’t have any grassland.  When he sat down and thought about it, Horace realized that there was no outdoors.  In his previous home there was a big outdoors with lots of trees and flowers and grass.  It also had butterflies and grasshoppers and a big blue sky.  Horace didn’t realize how much he would miss them until they were gone.

Now Horace realized that he would have to go looking for the missing trees.  It never dawned on him that anyone could live without the green stuff.  And so it began.  He started with the places he knew well.  He looked in the mirror just in case something was hiding behind the glass.  He looked underneath the couch; he had heard all kinds of things got lost behind cushions on couches.  But there were no trees.  Maybe he had it wrong, maybe there were no trees.  Maybe Horace needed to look for shrubs.  They were smaller, and easier to care for than trees.  So that is what he did, he went looking for the missing shrubs.

Horace thought he would ask his friend Ally to help but she was just about to settle down for her afternoon nap.  As she was gently cleaning her whiskers she mused for a moment and then suggested that perhaps Horace was looking for the balcony.  So he thanked her and went to search on his own.


As Horace had spent most of his life in a house with a backyard he did not at first understand what a balcony was.  But ever the optimist he was sure he would figure it out.  And so with a smile on his face and a dance in his steps Horace went looking for the missing shrubs.

For any of you who have gone on a quest to find something that was missing, you know how hard it is.  You get thirsty so you have to stop and take a drink.  You get hungry so you have to stop and get something to eat.  And eventually you get very, very tired.  Horace had spent all day looking for the elusive balcony and his missing shrubs.  He was tired.  And if you’re looking for something when you were tired you will probably miss it.  So Horace decided to have a nap.  He crawled into his nest and lay down gently on top of the straw.  He was afraid if he snuggled into the straw he would sleep too long and miss the balcony.  Horace inhaled the welcoming scent of the straw and gently drifted off to sleep.

When we sleep our minds have the ability to unravel the mysteries we create during the day.  And so it was for Horace.  He dreamed of deep green lawns and tall trees.  He dreamed of bushes and the sweet smell of rain soaked leaves. And most of all he dreamed of the blue sky.  He knew it existed in his new home but he just couldn’t find it.

Eventually Horace awoke.  He felt refreshed.  He felt a renewed sense of adventure.  He would find this balcony, he knew it was close.  And so with a shake of his tail Horace began again.  He knew it wouldn’t make much sense to go to the places he had already been that day so he tried another idea.  Horace had seen a door that he didn’t know where it went and today he was going to find out.

When you are 2 in. tall it is a little difficult to open doors.  It does help when the hu-man forgets to close the door all the way.  Fortunately for Horace that is exactly what happened today.  It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of grunting and groaning but Horace managed to open the door.  What he saw next made his heart sing and his tail wag.  It really was here.

Right in front of Horace were his beloved bushes. The big blue sky was right where it was supposed to be, as if it had been waiting for him. There were stones to climb, flowers to nibble and leaves to rub along his back.  Horace opened his mouth wide and started to sing.  He knew he had more passion than talent but he loved every off key note.  It had taken hard work and exhausting searches, but Horace had found his missing shrubs.


Join Horace on his next adventure: HORACE HAS A LUNCHEON.



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