It was snowing heavily. Drifts several metres deep. Too difficult for humans to cross on foot. Ahead lay miles of mountainous terrain. Hannibal looked out across the snowy peaks, his view limited by the ever thickening cloud. But he knew it was the most direct route to reach his objective and was undeterred by the difficult task ahead. He had a mission.
He turned to his men. "Right, what we’ll do lads is take the Romans by surprise by coming straight over the mountains and attacking them that way... yeah?”
“But how we gonna get across, Han?” said a soldier at the back. “I mean they are seriously high fukoff mountains with snow and that.”
“Elephants? Wot, them big grey things with long noses wot lives in Africa?”
“Yep. Them’s the mumble, yeah.”
“But elephants ain’t never seen no snow, Han. They live in hot places... like... like... you know, Africa.”
“Yeah and India,” another voice piped up.
“India?” said the first soldier. “Where’s that?”
“Dunno, but wot I heard is they got smaller ears.”
“Nah, nob! The elephants.”
“How’s that help ’em in snow then?”
“Dunno, do I? I ain’t no expert on elephants. Just sayin’.”
“Well, if you ask me elephants is a stoopid idea for crossing mountains.”
Hannibal strode forward. “Listen soldier. I’m gonna ignore the fact that you just called my idea stoopid if you can come up with a better one.”
The soldier realised he’d shot his mouth off and tried to save the situation.
“Uh... I didn’t mean elephants was a stoopid idea, I meant it would work better with giraffes.”
Hannibal raised an eyebrow. “Giraffes? Why giraffes? You reckon they’d be better to cross these mountains with and attack the Romans? Why's that then?”
“Err, yeah... because... well they got longer legs than elephants, for a start which means they can get through deep snow better. They got longer necks too which means they can see over the highest peaks and spot danger. Oh, and there’s no lions.”
Hannibal rubbed his chin, deep in thought. “No lions? Wot’s that gotta do with anything?”
“Uh, well giraffes, nervous bloody lot. Always on the lookout for danger, always craning their necks to keep an eye out for... you know, lions and things. So...uh, they're used to... you know, spotting trouble.”
Hannibal waved a hand in the air. “I like it, soldier. Right. Saddle up as many of them giraffe things as you can find. We’re gonna surprise the crap outta them Romans.”