'Alex and the Zebra' by Steve Isaak


Alex, six, playing with dolls in her playground, saw the light purple zebra, standing in the plains beyond the high cyclone fence bordering her backyard. 
She dropped her dolls and watched the purple zebra.
The zebra appeared to be a colt – a male foal – rubbing noses with his mother, who happily made blowing noises through her loose equine lips.
            His mother, like the rest of their herd, was white with black stripes.
            He’s different from the others, like me, the adopted Asian girl thought.  Why is he different?
            Raising their long necks, the ostriches, who’d been grazing near the zebras, hissed warnings: predators approaching.
            The birds hightailed it, their brown butterball bellies and wings shaking.  Seconds later, the zebras, with accompanying whinnies and loud snorts, followed the ostriches.
            Alex ran inside her house to tell her red-haired mother, Stephanie, about what she’d seen.
            Stephanie paused in her vegetable cutting to kneel beside her daughter, smiling and pulling Alex close when the little girl, breathless, finished her tale.
            “That’s great,” Stephanie said.  “Why don’t you draw some pictures of them?”
            Thus began Alex’s famous career obsessions: purple zebras and painting them.
            She never saw a real live purple zebra again.

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