Thimba to the rescue!
Cornelius Gulere
Catherine Groenewald

Gobani was a very tall man. The villagers called Gobani the Gentle Giant, because he was quiet and friendly. He was not like the bad giants you read about in some stories.

During the day Gobani worked in his garden. His hoe was very short and he had to bend right down to work with it. His back must have hurt from all the bending down.


Thimba lived next door to Gobani. It made him sad to see Gobani struggling with his short hoe, or bending down to get through his door.

Thimba decided to help Gobani. He spoke to the village elders and asked them for help. But before they could help, they needed to know exactly how tall Gobani was.


Thimba asked Gobani, "How tall are you?" Gobani estimated, "I am about 2,5m tall." He lay down on the bed and explained, "I know my mattress is 1,5m long. You can see that my legs hang over the end for at least another metre. So that means I must be at least 2,5m tall."

Thimba could now tell the elders that Gobani was 2,5m tall. That is very tall!


Thimba could now start working on his secret plan.

Thimba, Gobani and his pet chicken, Choke, set off for market on Gobani's tiny bike. Gobani had to lift his feet above the handle bars in between peddling. Thimba hid inside the basket, too frightened to watch the road as the bike swerved from side to side.


At the village square, Gobani got off his bicycle, and a swarm of friendly villagers surrounded him. The village chief welcomed him. "Hello Gentle Giant," he said. "Young Thimba told us that you face problems in your life, being so tall."

"We want to help you. We will make sure that everything you need is the right size for you. Soon your problems will disappear. Just wait and see."


The villagers worked around the clock to make sure everything Gobani needed was made the correct size.

Look at his new hoe. Compare the length of the new hoe with his old one. The new one looks twice as long. How long do you think it is? More than one metre? Less than two metres?


Next the villagers helped Gobani build a taller door frame with a new door for his house. It was a bit taller than Gobani, so he no longer had to stoop down to get inside. Just right!

Look closely at the picture. Gobani is about 2,5 metres tall. How tall do you think his new door frame is?


Next came a brand new bed and mattress with extra-long sheets and blankets to cover Gobani's long body from head to toe.

At last he could look forward to hours of peaceful rest and sleep. His feet would no longer hang over the end of the mattress. Look how his whole body is now completely covered. There is even some space left over at the end.


The chief asked one of the village steel workers to make a giant-sized bicycle for Gobani. It had a basket that was big enough for both Thimba and Choke to sit in.

The saddle, the handle bars and the peddles were just the right height. Gobani did not have to drag his legs on the road or swing them over the handle bars to keep them out of the way.


The carpenters made Gobani a new table to sit at with legs that are at least 1,5m tall. Now when he sits down to eat, his feet touch the ground.

Thimba sits next to him on a very tall stool. He needs a ladder to reach the top. Count how many rungs he has to climb to be level with Gobani. How tall do you think the ladder is?


Gobani's new hoe made it easy for him to plant and harvest. His garden became a forest! Gobani leaves baskets of fruit outside his front door for the villagers, to show how thankful he is for their help.

And this all began with young Thimba's dream to make life easier for his friend, the Gentle Giant.

You are free to download, copy, translate or adapt this story and use the illustrations as long as you attribute in the following way:
Thimba to the rescue!
Author - Cornelius Gulere
Adaptation - Penelope Smith
Illustration - Catherine Groenewald
Language - English
Level - Read aloud