I love hippos.

I am aware that in reality, they are dangerous and horrendously smelly. That doesn’t matter.

I think it has something to do with Moomins. If you don’t know what a Moomin is, stop reading this immediately and go and read this instead.

Hippos bear more than a passing resemblance to Moomins, so I like to imagine that hippos also share their enthusiasm for quiet adventure and zen philosophy.

Last year, two friends of mine got married. They were living in Mali, so for wedding favours, they commissioned the carver who lived across the street from them to carve 70 wooden animals for their guests. I’m not normally one to go crazy for wooden animal carvings, but these were truly beautiful and full of personality. Magill and I received a lion and a water buffalo.

I was immediately fond of my lion, and started planning which bookcase to put him on.

But then I looked across the table and saw a hippo.

He was adorable, with his absurdly large nose and stumpy little legs. Dear Reader, I coveted him.

Did I mention that the wedding had an open bar? Well, it did. I’m not normally much of a drinker, but you know what they say about Rome and Romans. I got extremely tipsy. And when I get tipsy, I turn into a bit of a kleptomaniac. I’ve never given into this temptation to steal that comes upon me. No, that’s a lie. That night at the wedding, I pinched two miniature jars of complimentary jam that were meant to be for breakfast the next morning. But I did not steal a hippo.

Some months later, I confessed about the jam and the hippo coveting to my friend the groom. He promised to bring me home a hippo the next time he came home from Mali.

Then, Dear Reader, I waited. Waiting for hippos is hard. I occasionally looked at my lion and wondered if I should have tried to trade him for a hippo. Being tipsy doesn’t do much for my negotiating skills, but maybe I could have found someone drunker than I was…

But you know what they say about good things and waiting.

This month my friends moved back to Canada, and they brought me a present.

He is enormous and perfect. He is also the same size, shape, color, and approximate weight as my cat Beans. Thus we have named him Beans 2.  See?

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, except that I have awesome friends. But I already knew that.  Long live the Moominhippo!