ONCE THERE WAS a man who decided to build a rhinoceros from a kit.

His sister, who had never liked rhinoceroi, warned him that no good would ever come from it. “You’ll get trampled flat like a tortilla, that’s what will happen,” she said. “You can’t keep a rhinoceros around the house.”

“It’s not a terribly big one,” he answered. “And I like building things.”

“It will stomp you into a jelly,” she assured him. But he kept working, screwing the back legs into assembly no. 5 as shown in fig. 3-b.

Later on one of his friends stopped by to see how he was doing.

“Still building that rhinoceros,” the friend said in a slightly patronizing way.

“Just about halfway done,” the man said, attaching the hindquarters to the spine as shown in fig. 13-h.

“Don’t hold much with rhinocerosesses,” the friend said. “They stomp all over you and expect you to like it.”

“It’s only a medium-sized one,” the man said, and he continued fiddling with his screwdriver and glue gun.

After a little while, a woman came to read the gas meter. “Building a rhinoceros?” she asked, just to make pleasant conversation.

“I’m getting close to finished now,” the man answered, attaching shoulder assembly (3) to abdominal cavity (4) as shown in fig. 21-m.

“I knew a guy who bought a ready-made rhino from K-mart,” the meter-reader said. “That thing stomped him flatter than Cleveland.”

“It’s not the most powerful model,” the man responded, and he snapped the shoulders into place with a satisfying click.

At last the man was ready to screw the horn in place to complete his rhinoceros.

“Don’t do it,” his sister warned him. “It’ll squash you to tapioca.”

“Don’t do it,” said the friend. “You’ll get trampled for sure.”

“Don’t do it,” said the meter-reader, who was still hanging around for some reason. “You’ll be flattened in seconds.”

But the man screwed the horn in anyway, and now he and his rhinoceros are the best of friends, running a small antique shop from a storefront near their home. Which just goes to show you what a lot of meddling busybodies the people around you are, and I wouldn’t listen to them at all if I were you.