A platypus parable

August 10th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized


For nearly twenty years, Lois and I traveled the United States, as well as a two-week tour to Australia, with “The Platypus Players.” Here’s one of Mr. Platypus’ favorite stories:

It looked rather strange, it looked rather odd,
Lying there shining on billabong sod.
It looked round and square, it looked thin and fat,
Platypuses stared and asked, “What is that?!”

They stroked at their bills and gave it some thought.
One platypus said, “I think that we ought
“To run to our home and bring back some cheese,
“These six shiny strings will slice it with ease.”

Platypus two cried, “No, no, no, no, no!”
“You’ll lose six slices right down that black hole!”
“I’ve given it thought. I think that I know.
“This is the world’s only six-arrow bow!”

Three tapped his flippers and thumped with his tail,
“No, no, no, no! It’s the world’s smallest jail!
“These six tiny bars keep criminals snug,
“You can lock up a snail, a crayfish or slug.”

The fourth creature said, “There’s no way it’s that!
“This strange looking thing’s a fancy door mat!
“Just rub your flippers over these strings,
“And mud ‘tween your toes is gone with a zing!”

Proudly they placed it outside of their door,
Their billabong floor was muddy no more,
“We finally know why this thing is made,
“By Gibson Guitars in U. S. of A.”

But soon their doormat was no longer there
Cleaning the floor of their platypus lair.
One of those creatures, the ones with no fur,
Had taken their prize with him or with her.

Yes, a human took their doormat away.
And pulled out the cheese and dug out the clay.
And turned some bright knobs on top of the thing,
And strummed on the wires and started to sing.

The platypuses thought, It doesn’t slice cheese,
Shoot arrows, jail snails, clean flippers with ease.
Guitars make music. That’s why they are played!
I wonder
, they thought, why people were made.

As the human sang and strummed the guitar
The four were amazed with bills all ajar
The he or the she seemed to sing to the air,
At least to Someone who didn’t seem there.

“I will praise You, God, I’m wonderfully made.
“To love and adore You all of my days,
“Your wonderful works are worthy of song,
“From morning to night and all the day long.”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Copyright © 1987, 2001 James N. Watkins

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