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Huberta (a True Story. Details Culled From the Library of the Johannesburg Sunday Times)

Jeremy Taylor
Language: English



I'll tell you the story of Huberta the Hippopotamus,
Who one day
Left her home in the Umbolosi
And wandered, far away.
Now she wandered for many a mile,
On a long and lonely exile,
Far away from the sugar plantation,
She knew when she was a child.

Well no one can tell you why she went to Durban,
For she gave no explanation,
But around midnight, she gave the city a fright,
By her appearance at the police station.
Furthermore we shall never know,
Why through the country club she didn't go,
And was finally seen, like a beauty queen,
Gazing in the chemist's window.

And then she visited Port St Johns,
Where she made a cursory call,
And the people there just stood and stared,
As she walked in through the town hall.
They said, "Johnny don't go too near.
Huberta, you can't stay here.
You're far to ugly for us to love,
Too clumsy for us to fear."

Huberta, why did you leave home?
What made you want to walk alone?
Who knows what lies in store for you,
And who can tell what men will do?

At last Huberta found a pool,
On a farm near King Williams town,
And finally, it seemed that she
Had decided to settle down.
But the public for interviews sought her,
And especially the reporters.
But Huberta was shy, and refused to comply,
Plunging back into the dark waters.

One day some Zulus passing by
Began to pelt Huberta with stones.
But hearing their cry, a witch doctor nearby,
At once consulted his sacred bones,
And forthwith proclaimed that Huberta
Was the risen spirit of Chaka.
And later, it's said, three men lay dead,
All punished for their misdemeanour.

Whenever horses or cows came by,
She invited them to stay.
She wagged her tail and advanced politely,
But always they ran away.
And then the sorrowful sight,
Huberta would sadly capsize.
Back into the pool where the muddy water,
Would hide the tears in her eyes.

Huberta, why don't you go home,
You know, you know, your turn will come.
For in this world of men and guns,
They'll spill your blood where the river runs.

Early in the morning four farmers came,
Their hands all sweaty, and their eyes aflame,
They said, "You've got no right to be on our land.
We'll teach you a lesson that you'll understand."
But Huberta made no effort to run,
So they dried their hands, and they levelled their guns,
They fired in her nose, in her eyes, in her head,
They fired in her belly till the river ran red,
Red blood, blood red. River, don't cry.
You know Huberta was born to die.

Huberta, why did you leave home?
What made you want to walk alone?
A fish can live where a dog will die.
A man can't go where the swallows fly.


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