“So here’s the plan,” said Judy. “We are going to have a party and invite all of the people in the three town surrounding us. We will feed them, entertain them and then, we will let them walk through the rhino heard and be chosen by a rhino. Once the rhino chooses a family, and the family agrees, the rhino will go to her or his new home and be taken care of by those who will love her or him. All of the rhinos, will have one day a week when they get together in our field to play together. They will be free to visit the castle anytime they wish, but they will each have their own family, who will treat them with love and care. So, basically, the families will have a rhino along with their dog, or cat.”
“What if people don’t want a rhino of their own?” asked Burt.
“Don’t be silly,” laughed Judy. “Who wouldn’t what a rhino of their own? I mean, I know they used to be the enemy but once people get to know them, they’ll see how gentle they are.”
“And we’ll get to see them once a week?” asked Joseph.
“You can visit them anytime you like and Joseph. And you get first choice. You can pick as many rhinos as you like, for your very own.”
Joseph was overcome. Burton put his hand on his friend’s back and patted him.
“Thank you, Miss,” said Joseph.
“No thanks necessary, they are your rhinos too. You will be in charge of making sure the people who take them, treat them fairly and kindly. If you would like to do that.”
“I would, Miss. And I’ll want Rosy to go to Resa, Miss. Resa makes our clothing and is in charge of entertainment. She has a big heart and will make sure Rosy has a wonderful life. She’ll set up play dates with the others and she can cook and bake. She also has cats. Rosy loves cats. And Runway should go to Holly, she’s a poet, who inspires everyone. Runway loves to be read to and Holly will do just that. She’ll read to her and they’ll enjoy each other’s company. Runway will be happy and have a wonderful home. And Roland should go to Beth, she’s the teacher of young children and she’ll be good to him. She understands people and she will know just what Roland needs to be happy and healthy. She’ll read him a bedtime story each night. He’ll like that. She knows how to play and she knows all kinds of interesting things, which is nice, because Roland is very curious.”
“That sounds wonderful, Joseph.
“Thank you, Miss. I will be keeping the old guy. He’s seen too many battles. He’s had too many wounds and his right, rear, foot hurts him when it rains. It will be good for him to rest and have a bit of peace and a few apples.”
Judy got up and pulled Joseph out of his chair. She put her arms around him, inhaled the sweet smells of the stables and snuggled into his shoulder. Then she waited. Eventually, he put his arms around her and leaned his head against hers. “I love you Joseph,” she said softly.
“I love you too, Miss.”
She pulled away and said, “You are in complete charge of the rhinos. Whatever you want to do, just do it.”
He nodded and walked away.
Danny jumped onto the table. “I like him,” he meowed. “He’s right about the old rhino. Even I feel bad for him.”
The fox walked past them with a strawberry in his mouth and just kept going.
Danny looked at the fox and said, “Doesn’t everything that isn’t a cat seem weird to you?”
Judy ran her hand down his back and said, “Only sometimes.”