(from Elk and Penguin Stories)
Two penguins, Connerly and Peepers, were sharing a package of Fritos in front of Connerly’s condo when the Elder Peruvian approached them.
“We have Fritos,” said Connerly. “Would you like some?”
The Elder Peruvian did not speak English, and Peepers, who was holding the bag of Fritos at the time, did not extend the bag in his direction. The Elder Peruvian simply smiled and walked by.
“That’s the third time this week that the Elder Peruvian walked by us without so much as a word,” noted Connerly with a bit of frustration. “You think maybe we have cooties or something?”
Peepers didn’t respond, other than to hand the bag of Fritos back to him.
“We are being shunned, Peepers,” Connerly continued. “We have no Elder Peruvians among our friends. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“I’ll bet the Elder Peruvian doesn’t have any penguins among his friends either,” theorized Peepers.
Connerly nodded, not that he agreed with Peepers. He was thinking up a plan and didn’t want to lose his focus.
The next day, Peepers arrived in front of Connerly’s condo at 11 a.m. to see five large paintings of Peruvian landscapes on easels along the sidewalk.
“Is this about becoming friends with the Elder Peruvian?” asked Peepers, even though he had no doubts about Connerly’s intentions.
“He should be here in eighteen minutes,” Connerly said. “He passes by here every day at 11:18, like clockwork.”
The Elder Peruvian did not let the penguins down. He approached Connerly’s condo at the predicted time. He stopped in front of each painting, offering comments that neither penguin could understand.
The Elder Peruvian pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket in front of the fifth painting. He used it to wipe away a tear. He gave both Connerly and Peepers a hug before he continuing on his walk.
“Well, Peepers, we did it,” Connerly said. “We are now friends with the Elder Peruvian.”
“We don’t understand a word he says,” Peepers pointed out. “And he doesn’t understand a word we say. Worse than that, I don’t think he likes Fritos.”
“Peepers, there is a big difference between being friends with someone and understanding them,” said Connerly.
Peepers nodded, and the two penguins smiled at each other. All was well between them that day until Connerly realized Peepers forgot to bring the Fritos.