Renno, the rhinoceros was a new student in the class.
So, he was sitting alone in a bright orange chair.
The new school was big. It had see-saws and slides. It had so many classrooms. And so many kids to make friends with. Renno was excited.
Just then he saw a rabbit sitting alone like him. He was a beautiful rabbit. He had milky white skin and long ears. He had a pink nose and big black eyes. Renno thought, he must be a new student like me. Let me go and ask him to be my friend.
Suddenly, Jeremy, the giraffe, entered the class. He was the class teacher.
“Attend to your roll calls, children” said he.
Then he called the children one by one by their names. Renno listened and memorized every student’s name.
There was Anna, the anteater , Buffy, the baboon
Esho, the elephant ….Katie, the kangaroo ,
Pancy, the porcupine and Rusty the rabbit .
Renno was happy that he now knows the name of his soon-to-be-friend. After the class, Renno went to Rusty rabbit and gave him his hand.
“Hi Rusty, I am Renno. I saw that you are sitting alone. And how wonderful it is that our names start with the same letter, R! Let’s be friends”, said Renno with a big smile. But instead of giving a smile back, Rusty rabbit started laughing.
“Look at you! What an ugly thing you are! I have seen animals with horns but I have never seen a horn on the nose. Ha Ha. And what’s with your skin? It is hard as a rock! And so dark. Eew!” mocked Rusty.
“I-I am a rhino. And rhinos are like this. They have a horn on their nose and have hard dark skin. What can I do?” Renno was holding back his tears. Mom has told that big rhino’s never cry.
“Humph, then go and be friends with ugly rhinos like you. I am happy sitting alone than sit with ugly creatures like you” Rusty was full of arrogance.
Rusty had soft, white skin. He was proud of that.
Renno reached home and burst into tears. He fell on his bed and cried hard.
Mom came hurrying from the kitchen.
“Renno, what’s the matter. Wasn’t your first day at school good?” she was worried.
“No. I won’t go to this school again. Never. I will never go to any school. Why am I so ugly? Why do I have a hard, black skin (sob)? Why do I have a horn on the nose? The rabbits don’t have it. The mice, the porcupines, the elephants and anteaters don’t have it. Then why me?”
“Because that’s a gift from God to us, my love. We must thank him for whatever we have. God gives every creature the things he would need to live in this world. ”
“I hate this gift. It’s a useless gift.” Renno cried harder than ever.
Mom knew he would ultimately learn that the gifts from God are never useless.
Few days passed. Renno was going to school with his head drooping. And he was walking very slow. School was no more interesting after that day.
He saw Rusty walking ahead of him. Renno’s heart sank.
Just then, out of nowhere a leopard pounced on Rusty. Renno was taken aback.
As the leopard held tight the rabbit, his soft skin was pierced and blood oozed out. Renno got scared. In a minute the leopard would tear apart Rusty.
He came running towards the leopard and pushed the leopard back with his horn. The leopard winced in pain.
In rage, the leopard jumped on the rhino and tried to tear his skin.
Alas, the leopard’s nails broke and fell. He tried to bite him. But his teeth fell off too!
The leopard fled in agony.
Renno, then lifted the bleeding Rusty rabbit and took him to the doctor.
Rusty was alright in a few days. He had had his lesson.
He apologised to Renno and said, “Renno, you are not ugly. You are blessed.”
A a nose with a horn,
Or a body with thorns,
The changing colours of the skin,
Or furs thick or thin.
Some with a shell,
Or with a great sense of smell
Some can even hip-hop,
For days without a single water drop.
Don’t crib, don’t fret,
You are as lucky as you can get.
God’s love for you is pure,
So you must know this for sure,
That life’s a pleasant surprise,
It’s a blessing in disguise.