I am Herbie, the Herbivore. You may have heard about me before, in the story where I told Dippie how to defeat a T. Rex. That was a long time ago. After that, I went to live in a cave with Spiny and some other herbivores. Of course, some of them laid eggs, and now there are a lot of us.
Our days were a lot of fun. Every day – and the weather was perfect – not too hot, and not too cold – the little herbivores went outside the cave and started their jumping practice. Higher and higher! “But jumping’s not everything, is it?” I said to Spiny. To survive, you’ve got to be able to run fast for a long time.
“Spiky and Stegs are alright,” said Spiny. “They can use their spikes and armour plates to cool down.”
“Hm,” I said. “But we haven’t got spikes and armour plates.”
“No,” said Spiny. “But what we have got is very, very long tongues. If we stick them out, it keeps us cool! And something I have noticed, a lot of the little herbivores are quite pale. I think it helps them keep cool when it’s hot. And we can go and run in the forest, where it’s always cooler….”
“It’s safer too,” I said. The trees are our friends, and their branches make it hard for the big carnivores to get through.”
“Come on, herbs,” I called, “we’re going to have a sports day in the forest below. First one down gets to choose the first sport!”
Everyone rushed down the mountain and onto the plain. I had a quick look around. There was Dippie in his usual spot. “Hello,” he said. “It’s nice to see you two.”
“Will you take us to the forest, Dippie? We’re going to have a Sports Day!”
“I haven’t time for sport,” said Dippie. “I spend all my time eating!”
Dippie isn’t fat, but we herbivores simply have to spend a lot of time eating. A little grass doesn’t get you very far.
Soon the little herbivores joined us, and Spiky and Stegs brought up the rear.
“Right,” I said to the first herbivore who reached me. “You’re first. What’s your name? What sport shall we start with?”
“I haven’t got a name,” said the little herbivore. “We can’t remember all our names, there are too many of us. My best friend is called Anything. Just call me Something. I’d like to do some running.”
“And a very good sport that is for us, Something.” I said. “We herbivores need to be good runners, and never forget it.”
“I am a good runner,” said Something. “That’s why I chose running for the first competition.” I looked at him, – he was pale, just as Spiny said.
“Dippie,” I said. “Make your way to that bush over there, – you can be referee.”
“What’s a referee?” said Dippie (who had a very small brain). “What do I have to do?”
“You decide who wins,” I said.
While Dippie was going over to the bush, I tried to get the little herbivores into a line. This was hard, – they kept on running off. “Stegs will rattle his armour plates.” I said. “Don’t run till you hear them.”
Stegs loved rattling his plates, and was quick to do so. Off they ran. Most of the little herbivores were not very fast, but Something whizzed out in front, and of course he won, and Dippie waved his tail to signal this.
“Well done,” I said. “Now you can be Leader,” and the competition is Follow my Leader!”
Something jumped for joy and set off. “It’s Follow my Leader, everyone, and Something is the Leader!” I called. Something jumped high in the air, zigzagged over a tree trunk, and then ran off. The other herbivores were soon so far behind him that they gave up.
“We’re tired,” they said and flopped down. Sometime later, Something joined us. “What happened?” he said, “they were supposed to be following me.” “They did, Something,” said Spiny. “But they couldn’t keep up.”
“That’s not fair,” said Something. “It was Follow my Leader.”
“Never mind, Something,” I said. “I’m going to put you in charge of running practice. We’ll do that every morning after our graze.” Something looked pleased, but none of the other little herbivores did.
“Never forget,” I said, “that the herbivore that can’t run is the herbivore that will be eaten. And now we’re going to run home!”
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