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Lessons

 
On the plains of Africa,
Some wild Dogs did roam.
They were a close knit pack,
And had a happy home.

There were a few young Pups
That had a wild streak.
Easily distracted
When their elder tried to speak.

As the oldest Dog,
It was his job to teach the pack.
How to work together,
How to hunt and how to track.

But as he would begin,
The Pups would hear a noise,
Or see something in the distance,
And off would run the boys.

Old Dog began to think
On how to make them stay
And pay better attention
And not run off to play.

"I must be interesting,
Make it fun for them to learn.
I must amuse AND teach
For their attention to return."

Off for a walk he went
And in the distance, saw some Gnus.
One was teaching his own youngsters,
Who were observant and amused!

Old Dog was so impressed
How the Gnu made learning fun.
All the Calves were fascinated-
Each and every one!

When the lesson finished,
Old Dog approached the Gnu-
"You're the best teacher I've seen-
Can you teach me to teach like you?"

"The young Pups I instruct
Get so preoccupied!
They won't sit still and listen
No matter how hard I had I tried!"

"I've watched you and your herd-
You make the learning fun
With all the tricks you do.
Can you show me how it's done?"

Gnu saw the Old Dog's problem
And he agreed to help.
Old Dog was very thankful
And let out a grateful yelp.

And so begun their study.
The first idea Gnu shared
Was to make his voice more pleasing.
The Old Dog simply stared.

"Make my voice more pleasing?
How will that tip help me?"
Gnu said, "Pups will listen more
To lectures sung in different keys."

"Gnus are very vocal-
It helps to make them laugh.
Singing lessons to them
Attracts a day-dreaming, bored Calf."

So the Old Dog tried it,
But without much success.
His singing hurt their ears
And caused them much distress.

Gnu tried to teach him pitch,
Teach him notes and teach him clef.
But it was soon plain to see
Old Dog was too tone deaf.

Next Gnu suggested art-
Drawing pictures in the dirt
So the Pups have illustrations
To keep them learning and alert.

With his hoof he drew a lake,
With Hippos and a tree.
"Seeing pictures as you teach
Helps them learn more easily!"

Old Dog reached out his paw
And was scratching on the ground.
When he finished, he looked up,
But Gnu had simply frowned.

"I'm not sure what that is?
Some kind of cantaloupe?
Old Dog shook his head-
"I drew an antelope."

"So drawing's not your thing.
We'll move on to something new.
We'll find tricks that will delight
Your little Puppy crew."

They tried acting out the lessons,
They tried jokes and juggling.
But it was clear to the Old Gnu
That Old Dog was struggling.

Gnu tried to teach him more.
Like molding figures out of clay.
But uglier things you could not find-
Just a brown, lumpy display.

Weaving leaves, creating games,
Building models with some sticks.
It sadly became clear 
You can't teach Old Dogs Gnu Tricks.

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