The magic word

It causes bees to throb and flowers to bend.

It tickles ribs of puppies, makes pusses purr, sets tails wagging and wagtails scattering.

It rouses prides and packs and pigs and ponies.

Shouted in the right tone at the right time on the back of a bathing elephant, it is a snout of water in the face.

It is older than life.

Whispered, it brings the sloth from the canopy.

Growled, it soothes the stampede, skidding inside a cloud of sand.

If thought hard – very hard – it turns the shark from the dumbstruck diver.

It breaks the hearts of hummingbirds.

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