“I am Zeno, Zeno the Zebra!” the animal shouted cheerfully when he had come to the spot where Alice and her travel-companion stood. When the Zebra offered one of his muddy hoofs for a handshake, Alice remembered what her dear uncle always said: “It is bad-mannered to refuse someone’s handshake”
That is all very well, Alice thought to herself, but it is also rude to offer your hoof for someone to shake without washing it first.
The little girl smiled an uncertain smile while she took the Zebra’s paw in between the tips of her thumb and index finger and slowly moved her hand up and down. “How do you do?” Alice said while she curtsied.
“What are you doing here?” the Zebra blurted out enthusiastically. He quickly turned his eyes to Alice’s companion, the Friendly Minotaur, and then back to Alice, wanting to make sure he was addressing them both. Earlier today, the Friendly Minotaur had felt quite sleepy (as minotaurs often do), but the Zebra’s stripes had left him as wide-eyed and awake as when he saw his labyrinth for the first time.
In his deep, friendly voice, the minotaur answered the Zebra: “We want to find the Architect, who designed my home, the labyrinth in which I live.” He paused and took a deep breath. “The Architect lives on a hill beyond the Queen’s garden.” He paused again because he wasn’t used to talking so much. He took another breath and slowly continued: “so first we need to find the Queen to ask her permission to pass through her garden…”
Alice, being the impatient little girl that she was, didn’t want to wait for the Minotaur to finish his story. “Do you know where we can find her?” She interrupted. Zeno the Zebra frowned as he scratched his side with one of his muddy hoofs. Alice saw that he was very careful not to touch any of his white stripes while scratching himself. Surely, that would leave his fur looking all muddy, she thought to herself.
“Hmm, I suppose I COULD tell you where she is,” the Zebra said while his frown deepened, “but you should know that she is a VERY unpleasant person. Are you sure you want to go to her?”
“I am VERY certain”, Alice replied, even though she didn’t quite know what it meant to be VERY certain of something. She knew what it meant to be certain of something, and she felt that adding ‘very’ to it made it sound more convincing…
Will Zeno the Zebra tell Alice where to find the Queen? Find out in next week’s episode!
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