Animal Idioms (Back to School)
List of Idioms in the Story List of All The Animals in the Story
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It was time to go back to animal school. All of the animals had had a good summer. They all lived on Gabriola Island in British Columbia. They loved living on an island, but they hated going to school, because there was no animal school on the island. This meant that they would have to take a ferry to Nanaimo every morning and take the ferry back every night. They loved school, they just didn't love going to school. It was always difficult getting on and off the ferry since they didn't all get along very well with each other. Their parents said that it was important to learn how to get along with each other and learn to recognize that they were all different. That was one of the reasons that they went to school.
The first group to get on board were the rabbit and monkey who all just hopped and scrambled up the ramp. They didn't have a special compartment and just ran around under everyone's feet or in the case of the monkey, he just went anywhere. He was always on the move, one minute hanging from the lights, the next minute chasing the other birds, or climbing on the backs of the bigger animals.
When the rabbit got on board he looked nervous because he had seen the dog on the dock. Then he saw that there was a seperate Dog and Cat Room so he decide not to rabbit when he realized that all of his group of animals were safe because the dog wouldn't be able to get at them. There were two crew members to help with this. One of the crew was really old and ready to retire. His name was Methusala and the other one other one was really young and newly married. His name was Simon. While the rabbit was getting on board he heard Simon say that the rabbit died and that he and his wife were going to have a child. The rabbit didn't understand why a rabbit had to die so that Simon's wife could have a baby, he also hoped that this dead rabbit wasn't a friend. Simon said he really wanted to have a big juicy hot dog for dinner but his wife decided that with the baby on the way he would have to start eating healthy so he only had rabbit food for lunch. The rabbit thought that rabbit food was a great idea and wondered how he could get some of it! The monkey as usual was up to monkey business hanging from the rafters knocking over anything that wasn't nailed down and running everywhere, but thought that he wouldn't mind having some of the rabbit's food either.
The next group to get on the boat, had to be escorted on leash and under the crew's arms. because the crew had to be very careful where they were all placed into their own special compartment. They were the dog, puppy, cats and kittens. There was a chair and a sofa in the Dog And Cat Room. One of the cats and the kitten scampered up onto the sofa and cuddled down together for the trip. Fortunately the cats and dogs were good friends as they had grown up together. Methusala and Simon didn't want them getting near the any of the other animals because the cats and dogs would just chase them (all in good fun of course!). There was a bug who wanted to go to school too, so he just jumped on Simon's shirt and when he got on the ferry he hopped off onto the back of the dog who was annoyed and kept trying to bite him. The bug just kept hopping around and driving the dog buggy! Simon told Methusala that love bug had bitten him when he first saw his wife and that she had putting a put a bug in my ear about starting a family for a long time and he was glad that they were going to have a baby but he was afraid it might be twins!
The cats all thought that they were the cat's meow (it seems that all cats are like this) Being cool cats was just part of being any kind of cat. Has anyone ever seen a cat who didn't look like he was the King of the World? The cats heard Methusala tell Simon that it was raining cats and dogs. Neither the cats or dogs had any idea how that could ever happen! Two of the cats who didn't get along very well with each other arranged that they were sitting kitty-corner in the room, one on the sofa and the other over by the garbage can. Methusala was having difficulty getting the compartment door to closed after they got the dogs and cats settled in. Simon said that he would take a kick at the cat. All of the cat's looked nervous because they didn't want to be kicked. Methusala said that now that the cat's out of the bag about your wife having a baby he wanted to know if there was a chance that Simon's wife was expecting twins. The cats couldn't understand why they had kept a cat in the bag and if they had let it out where it went and why in the world letting a cat out of the bag would make his wife have twins. Simon got very quiet and wouldn't say anything. Methusala asked him if the cat got had his tongue. Simon finally said that he didn't know if he could afford twins. All the cats looked at each other confused, because none of them had stolen his tongue. Just then one of the cats saw that there was an interesting looking garbage can in the corner and all this talk about food was making him hungry. He jumped up onto the can which tipped over trapping him underneath. Fortunately Methusala was there and took the garbage can off of him and said something like curiosity killed the cat which confused him since the garbage can didn't kill him and he didn't know anybody named Curiosity. The cats were glad when Simon and Methusala left because humans really said a lot of really weird things.!!
Methusala and Simon were talking about things on board the ship and how they now had to be so careful with where all the animals had to be placed. When Methusal first started working on the ferry (in the olden days) when they loaded the animals it was a dog's breakfast. All the animals were just placed in one big compartment and it was dog eat dog . Some of the animals never made it to the other side because they would get eaten, fly away or jump overboard to avoid their natural enemies. It had been a dog's age since that was the way they loaded the ship. When they were leaving the compartment the Methusala couldn't figure out how to close the door muttered something about you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The dogs looked at each other puzzled because why were they going to school anyway! Of course they could be taught new tricks. Simon, whose wife had sent him to work with only rabbit food said to Methusala that he wished that he really wanted a hot dog for lunch! Methusala said oh you puppy, don't worry and said he wouldn't let Simon go hungry and told Simon that he had a doggy bag for his lunch and would give him some. Methusala said he wouldn't let puppy love starve his shipmate! Methusala said that working on ships has been a dog`s life but at least all of the crew helped each other out when they could. The crew member that Simon replaced had been a real hot dog and one day he had jumped from the ferry when it was too far away from the dog and had drowned. He had been a real hot dog. The dog's were very concerned that Simon was going to cook one of them for lunch and just like the cats, they couldn't understand why the Methusala had a dog in a bag and was going to eat it for lunch. At least they heard Methusala say that the Simon had let his cat got out of the bag (but nobody saw this cat get loose), but they were worried about the dog in Methusalas bag. Methusala said that it was raining cats and dogs and it was going to be a three dog night. Both the cats and the dogs thought that Methusala was a pig, one dog for lunch and three for dinner!
The next group had to be carried up because the slug was too slow and would leave the ramp slimy. The other animals called him a slug and used to laugh at him. He could never understand why they laughed when they called him a slug, since he was a slug and what was funny about that? The snake just had a mind of his own and would go anywhere except up the ramp. While Simon was carrying the snake up the ramp he told Methusala about this great clarinet player that he saw who could really blow snakes . Simon said he wished that he could blow snakes too. The snake looked nervous because he didn't want to be blown up by Simon. The worms could go up the ramp, but since they couldn't see where they were going they might fall off the ramp and clam didn't have any way at all to get up the ramp. Methusala brought the worms up in a can and the clam up in a bucket. He asked Simon how he could afford to got out to a concert when he was going to have a new baby. Simon clammed up, and and then finally yelled at Methusala and told him he was happy as a clam about the new baby but that it wasn't any of Methusala's business and told him not to open up a can of worms he had plenty of clams. Methusala couldn't understand why Simon was worried about having enough clams for twins but not worried about spending his money going to concerts but decided that he had better not open up a can of worms since Simon was so upset. The clam was just happy that Simon was happy and the worms were happy that they weren't going to open up their can and possibly dump them in the water.
The fish were in an aquarium and Simon and Methusala each took one side of the aquarium carried it up the ramp together. Simon said that when he went to the concert he felt like a fish out of water because everyone was wearing suits and ties and he was wearing shorts and a T shirt. Methusala said that if the tickets had said formal wear, he should have known to dress up. Simon said that the tickets never said formal wear. Methusala said that was a different kettle of fish and he shouldn't have felt like a fish out of water in the first place. Simon said his wife was dressed up in a nice dress anyway and had asked him if she looked good in the dress. Methusala told Simon, that he hoped that he had said yes, she looked great, because Simon's wife was fishing for a compliment. The fish were listening to this and were glad that they were still in the aquarium, although why the crew called it a kettle they didn't understand but were glad that they were still in the kettle and not out of water. They didn't like humans fishing but had never heard of a fish called a Compliment so didn't understand what that was all about.
Once they were all settled onto the ferry the chickens, duck, goose, turkey, dove, loon and owl and hawk just flew on board and found places to roost. Actually the chickens (who were early birds) scurried up and the turkey waddled up. The owl was grumpy because he was a night owl. The hawk had just been fed so didn't attack the birds, however all the birds kept a close eye on him and weren't very happy that they had to share the ride with someone who was such a hawk. Simon said that a little birdy told me that you were going to retire soon. Methusala told Simon he was a birdbrain and that retiring was for the birds and that he would be loonie to retire now. Methusala told Simon that Simon was ready for the loony bin . Simon didn't get upset because Methusala's yelling was like water off a duck's back. Simon then asked what had put such a bee in Methusala's bonnet. Methusala said that when he had started working that the politicians said that there would be a chicken in every pot, but the truth was he was having trouble paying all of his bills. He said that if he retired now he was afraid that goose is cooked and he was just too chicken to retire. Besides he told Simon if I retire now, my wife will want me to spend my time going to chick flicks! Simon realized that if Methusala was home all the time that he would be a sitting duck for his wife's requests to go to chick flicks. Simon said he would like to be a fly on the wall listening to Methusala trying to chicken out of going to a chick flick. Methusala said that he would just talk turkey with his wife give her a Canada goose and tell her that if he didn't have to go to chick flicks then he would make certain that they could become snowbirds . They could go to Arizona and read the American newspapers about the President who was a dove and how so many people were unemployed and that he was promising a chicken in every pot. The chickens and goose were not happy about all that cooking of their friends. All of the birds were proud that Simon might have a bird brain because their brains worked just fine.
The next group to board the ferry had no problem getting up the ramp, but they found that they were a little cramped for space. The horse and pony galloped up the ramp. The horse started nipping at the ponies tail which bugged the pony. The monkey jumped up onto the horse back and started jumping around. All this horseplay was too much for the pony who had been happy as a clam up to that moment. He was looking forward to going to school for the first time. Methusala grabbed for the monkey and told him to hold your horses. The monkey thought that might be fun so he grabbed the pony and the horse's bridles and started swinging back and forth while hanging on to their heads. Both the pony and the horse were getting mad. When Simon or Methusala grabbed them by their bridle they were gentle, but having a monkey swinging from your head was a horse of a different colour, it hurt! Simon started to laugh at Methusala. He said he couldn't imagine Methusala's wife living in Arizona and running around the golf course in a pony tail tucked out of the back of a baseball hat and wearing shorts and golf shoes. (Methusala's wife always wore her hair long and wavy and usually wore a housedress.) Simon said that it would be more fun than a barrel of monkeys to see that. Methusala got mad at Simon and told him to get off your high horse because your wife would look just as funny. Simon disagreed because his wife always wore her hair in a pony tail and wore shorts when she went out for a jog. (It's a thing most young woman do anyway!) The pony couldn't understand why someone would cut off his tail so that they could stuff their own hair in it. He liked his tail and if someone cut it off, he wouldn't be able to flick it around and look cool.
Then the goat scampered up the ramp. The cariboo strode majestically and the pig and the hog just waddled up the ramp. The raccoon just scurried along with the rats and mole. Who knows where the rats and mole went once they got on board, since no one could ever find them. The bull was like a bull in a China shop and just pushed his way on board knocking over the goat and almost squashing the racoon. Methusala told Simon and told him he should have taken the bull by his horns and led him on instead of just letting him smash his way on board. Simon said that he was sorry and he had made a caribouboo, but he thought the bull was usually pretty quiet and he should have remembered. He said it had been a coon's age since he had loaded the bull. Methusala told Simon that was hogwash, it was only last June that we loaded him and then called him a stupid puppy. Methusala said that the bull is our cash cow because we get paid by the pound for every animal on the ferry and he was the heaviest animal and was worth the most money. Simon said that he wouldn't be Methusala's goat or his scapegoat either and that although Methusala had been loading the ferry for a coon's age that he was after all only a puppy. Simon told Methusala he was an old goat and if next time he should take the bull by the horns and tell Simon that he wanted him to take the bull by the horns. Methusala said they should stop all this monkey business and have their lunch. Methusala said his lunch was just a Pig in a Poke anyway but he was looking forward to a good pig out. Simon thought Methusala was just a pig! The pig hoped was just glad that he was in a boat not a poke, because he didn't want to be someone's lunch. The goat had no intention of escaping in the first place and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.
The second last group had to come on one at a time and be put away in private quarters. They were the wolf and crododile. No one wanted to be anywhere near them especially the wolf who really didn't want to be near the crocodile. The crocodile wouldn't have minded sharing his compartment with the wolf. Methusala and Simon kept on fighting and finally Simon started to cry. Methusala didn't realize that he had been so rough on the puppy who he thought was a pretty nice man even though he was so young. He decided that he would give Simon all of his doggy bag for lunch since he knew Simon only had rabbit food for his lunch. Simon quickly pigged out on Methusala's lunch and then started to laugh at Methusala. Methusala didn't understand why Simon was suddenly laughing and then he realized that the tears were only crocodile tears and that Simon had been a wolf in sheep's clothing and tricked him out of his lunch.
Finally the bear came on board. The crew and all the animals were afraid of him and everyone made a place for him. Even the wolf and crocodile who were locked up, kept a close eye on him. After they loaded the bear Methusala told Simon that they had better bear down and close all the outside doors because their looked like there was a bad storm coming and that they had better make certain all the animals, ropes, doors and windows were secure.
After everything was secure the boat set sail for Nanaimo which was only a 20 minute ferry ride. Because the animals had so many problems getting along and it had been a a coon's age since they had all been in the same boat, it had taken longer to get onto the ferry than it did for the whole ride. As they rounded Jack's Point which was quite near their destination, the winds and waves became horrible and the ferry started to take on water. As the ferry struggled to make it to the dock, it was suddenly swept onto the rocks near Protection Island and a big hole was punctured and the boat started to sink. As they drifted off the rocks the boat started to drift right near Newcastle Island. The captain ordered Methusala and Simon to get all the animals off the boat and into the life rafts. The crew just wanted to leave the animals to themselves, because the knew how hard it would be to get them all off safely (from the weather, the water and each other)
Methusala opened the doors and all the birds just flew out and went over to Newcastle island. When they got to the island they flew to the pavillion and got under cover. The hawk and the owl landed on the roof of the pavillion and just sat and stared. The crew opened the door to the Dog and Cat compartment and while they got the slug, snake, worm and clam and fish aquarium into a life raft, the dogs and cats just hopped in on their own. The bug went along for the ride as did the monkey! The horses, bull, cariboo, pigs , goat and bear were too big for the life raft and the crew just let them go and hoped they would swim ashore. They didn't know what to do with the rabbit , wolf, and raccoon so put them in the liferaft with the dogs and cats and the others. Noone cared about finding the mole or the rats, but they had slipped into the liferaft and were hiding under the seats. The rats had heard about how they were usually the last to abandon a sinking ship and didn't want to go down with the boat. The Captain, Simon and Methusaa got into the other liferaft and took the animals life raft in tow.
As they neared the dock at Newcastle Island the line connecting the two life rafts snapped. The animals liferaft was swept onto the docks, but the crew's liferaft was swept out into the harbour. The crews liferaft ended up drifting ashore at the Nanaimo Yacht Club. There was no way for the crew to get back to the animals because by this time the storm was too fierce for any boat!
When the liferaft hit the dock the dog grabbed the line and took it onto the dock, where he promptly forgot about it and went about his business. The monkey saw the line and thought it would be fun to run around with it. As he jumped around the dock with the line it got tangled up on some pilings but this meant that the liferaft was now securely tied to the dock. The monkey decided that he would go chase the dog.
In all the confusion nobody remembered the crocodile but when the boat sank, he just swam out of the wreckage and went over to the shore where all the other animals were now gathered. When he came on shore all the other animals (even the bear) moved up onto the island and away from the shore. They were all safe and sound.
When they all gathered together and went on shore they were pleased to see that all of the trees were in leaf and that there was a lot of food that would be perfect to eat. They rejoiced that they were in the clover . (And for the grazers in the group, there was a lot of clover to eat) Some of the animals noticed that there was another building nearby with another field and decided that that looked like a better place to go because everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The goat wanted to to grass on someone, but everyone knows that goats can't talk and there was no one in charge (although the bear seemed to act like he was in charge) After all, if a bunch of the animals went to the other side of the fence to eat there would be more for him to eat. What mattered for now was that they were all safe and sound!
Come back in October 2011, to find out what happened to the crew and the animals next. In the meantime, Read another story
List of animals in the story
rabbit,slug, snake, worm, clam, fish, horse, pony, cat, dog, puppy ,kitten, bird, chicken, duck, goose, chick, chicken, dove, loon, owl, bug, turkey, hawk, owl, bear, bull, wolf, cariboo, hog, coon, monkey, rats, goat, pig, mole, crocodile
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The following pages link to pages with pictures of all the idioms of animals with these groupings.
rabbits, slimy animal, plants, fish, horses, cats, dogs, birds, bugs, big animals (not horses), rodents
List of All the Idioms in this Story
These link to definitions, useage and pictures of each one
All rabbit idioms
happy as a clam
open a can of worms
All slimy Animal idioms
in the clover
to grass on someone
Grass Is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence
All Plants Idioms
fish for a compliment
fish out of water
kettle of fish
All fish idioms
get off your high horse
hold your horses
horse of a different colour
All horse idioms
cat's out of the bag
curiosity killed the cat
kick at the cat
raining cats and dogs
cat got your tongue
All cat idioms
you can't teach an old dog new tricks
dog eat dog
three dog night
raining cats and dogs
All dog idioms
a little birdy told me
bee in her bonnet
Goose is Cooked
chicken in every pot
fly on the wall
for the birds
like water off a duck's back
All bird idioms
put a bug in my ear
All bug idioms
bull in a China shop
in a coon's age
Pig in a Poke
take the bull by the horns
the goat or ...Scapegoat
wolf in sheep's clothing
All Big Animals idioms
make a mountain out of a mole hill
All Rodent idioms
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Lesson Plans and Activities.
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