Thinking things through

Philosophy for Juniors

Humfry Hippo
Thoughtful Tales for Little Ones


Selfishness and Guilt




Philosophy for Seniors

A Matter of Life and Death

Humfry hippo moves home

Tale 1 gives an opportunity for children to talk about:

  • Empathy – imagining what it must feel like to be facing someone else’s problems, in this case, Humfry the Thirsty Hippo.
  • Their own experiences of feeling thirsty.
  • What they would do in the same situation.
  • The importance of friends.
  • Whether their own comfort is more important than being with friends.

Tale 1: Humfry has to leave home

This is Humfry…

“Hello Humfry!”

Humfry has a problem.

The waterhole where he lives has dried up. He has nothing to drink and nowhere to rest in the heat of the day. He feels pretty miserable! “I need water! I am so thirsty!”, he grumbles to himself.

Can you imagine how he feels? Have you ever been really thirsty? What do you think he should do?

He must have water soon. So, he sets out to search for it. The sun is really hot. He can feel it burning his back. He walks and walks and walks, trying to find a new water hole.

Hippos have sensitive noses. They can smell water from a long distance.

After searching for what seems like ages, Humfry’s nostrils start to twitch and he smells water in the air.He is very excited and lifts up his head, pricks up his ears and runs as fast as his little legs will carry him.

Why do you think he is so excited?

At last, after a long search, Humfry has found a new waterhole and, without a moment’s hesitation, he plunges in. His hot skin almost sizzles as it hits the water. The sun is so hot, and he feels as if his blood is going to boil. It wouldn’t really boil, but it is such a relief to be able to cool off.

Humfry soon found that the water was good to drink, so he drank and drank until he could drink no more. Even though he was in the water, the sun was burning his back, so he needed to get out of the sun.

There were tall trees on the opposite bank overhanging the water, where he could rest in the shade. But, how would he get there? Fortunately, hippos swim very well. They can even walk along the bottom of a pool under water – so long as they take a deep breath first! Humfry swam across to the trees and settled down in their shade.

Can you swim? How do you think Humfry feels now?

He thinks to himself, “This is the perfect place for me. There is plenty of clean water to drink, and shade to keep me cool.”

After relaxing for a while, Humfry finds himself thinking about the old home that he left behind many hours before. He is already missing his hippo cousins and friends and begins to feel a little sad and lonely.

Have you ever felt lonely? What do you think he should he do? Should he stay in his new home with its fresh, cool water? Or should he take the long walk back to where he lived before, to find his friends?

Should we find out what happens next?

Empathy is communicating that incredibly healing message of, “You are not alone.”

Brené Brown

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