Once upon a time, in a murky swamp, there lived a lone hippo. This hippo, named Hippo, had never seen the world outside before.
Some days, especially if those days were warm and comfortable, Hippo would daydream about the vast world that exists outside.
He'd imagine how wonderful it'd be to swim up waterfalls with migrating salmon, or dance in the snow with awkwardly waddling penguins,
or even jump onto a thick patch of cloud from the top of the highest mountain and float in the sky with the birds.
As the sun set, reality quickly dawned for the hippo. Hippo didn't understand why he lived in this swamp. More so, he didn't understand why he lived there alone.
As he was floating there, Hippo realized that he hated both the swamp and being alone in it.
It wasn't too long after that that he decided firmly to go and chase his dreams, to rush off into the distant unknown to find a place where he could truly feel alive, as opposed to just living.
He slowly climbed out of the thick, swampy water and began his odyssey.
As Hippo was walking, all he could reflect upon was how much he hated being alone back at the murky swamp and how happy he would be once he could swim with real fish,
or dance with non-imaginary penguins. Before long, he noticed that he had left the swamp altogether. Hippo found himself standing on something hot, yellow, and soft.
It was very difficult to walk in. By now, Hippo wasn't feeling very well and, in every direction he looked, there was no water in sight. Hippo didn't care, however.
He kept on pressing forward one step at a time. He didn't care about water. He didn't care about his burning feet.
Hippo didn't know much, but he knew that that swamp was the last place he wanted to be.
He kept on walking and walking. He didn't know how many days it had been, but on the last of these days, he couldn't walk any longer and collapsed sideways within the desert furnace.
His throat was parched and he could hardly breathe. He knew well that this was the end of his journey. He wanted to cry, but no tears would gather behind his eyes.
All he really wanted was to be happy. He was willing to do anything and give anything for something that he thought was so simple.
He didn't really care about salmon or penguins, he just wanted someone to show him that he existed in this world.
Just one person he could call a friend and he would have died happily without regret. But, as he laid there motionlessly, Hippo felt immensely frustrated.
He was frustrated at how pathetic and powerless he was, frustrated at his circumstances, frustrated at how unfair the world was,
frustrated at the thought of how happy and rich his life could have been. Soon, however, his thoughts seem to slowly fade away.
Hippo began to feel really tired, and, a moment before his eyes closed, he noticed two large bird-like silhouettes circling around him in the sky.
He smiled the warmest smile he could remember ever smiling. He felt that maybe his luck was finally beginning to pick up.