Doctor Dolittle lived with his sister Sarah in a small house in the English town of Puddleby. He was a
famous physician. He loved animals and had many pets. His mice lived in the piano; he kept his squirrel in the closet. He also had rabbits, a horse, pigeons and a chicken in the basement. Among his favourite animals were a small parrot Polynesia, a pig GubGub, a duck Dab-Dab and an owl Too-Too.
Sarah did not like having so many animals around. Even his patients were not happy with so many pets. Hence, he lost a number of patients. “We are running out of money,” Sarah complained. Soon, they ran out of money and Doctor Dolittle had to sell his piano.
One day, Polynesia told Doctor Dolittle that he had the gift that he could speak with animals. Every day with the help of Polynesia, he studied the language of animals. Polynesia explained him the way animals talk, such as the movement of their ears, paws and tails. Finally, Doctor Dolittle became a veterinarian and learnt to understand the language of animals.
Doctor Dolittle became renowned throughout the animal kingdom. He made a lot of money. He bought a sad monkey called Chee-Chee and many other animals. Soon, he again ran out of all the money. One day, he got to know that there was an epidemic in Africa amongst the monkeys. Doctor Dolittle wanted to go and help but he had no money.
When Doctor Dolittle was a people’s doctor, he once helped a sick sailor. The sailor was very grateful to him. “I will give you whatever you want,” he promised. So, Doctor Dolittle decided to ask for his help. The sailor gave the doctor his ship. Soon, Doctor Dolittle was ready for the great journey to Africa. He was accompanied by his pig, parrot, crocodile, monkey, duck and his dog.
They sailed for six long weeks. The dolphins guided Doctor Dolittle’s ship across the ocean. That night, there
was a terrible storm. The waves carried the ship in every direction. They managed to save themselves and reached the land. They watched as the water swallowed up their ship. Most of the Doctor’s belongings were
lost. Fortunately, his medicine box did not sink with the ship.
Chee-Chee and Gub-Gub walked into the forest in search of food. Hours passed by but the animals did not return. Suddenly, a tribe of Africans walked out of the forest. They carried spears with them. One of them walked up to the Doctor and asked him who he was. The Doctor told him the whole story. Just then, the animals returned with the food. Doctor Dolittle and the animals were taken to King Jolliginki.
Doctor Dolittle was now presented before the King. The Doctor explained why he had come to Africa but the King did not believe him. Once, he led a stranger into his land. But he dug all the King’s gold, killed elephants and chopped trees. So, the Doctor and all the animals except Polynesia were dragged into a dungeon. It was cold, dirty and dark there.
That night, Polynesia flew into the King’s bedroom. She pretended to be Doctor Dolittle. She threatened to make the King feel sick. The King was frightened to hear his voice as the Doctor was in the dungeon. Scared, he ordered his guards to release the prisoners. The King was tricked. The prisoners ran and soon, they came across a healthy monkey. All the other monkeys also gathered and created a bridge for the Doctor to reach the land of the monkeys.
In the land of the monkeys, Doctor Dolittle could sense the sickness in the air. All around him were numerous sick monkeys. The Doctor needed help from other animals, so he sent a message to the forest animals. After a few days, King Lion came to visit Doctor Dolittle and refused to help. But when the lioness told him that it was his duty to help the animal world, he went to the Doctor and offered his help. With the help of all forest animals, the monkeys got better.
Doctor Dolittle was very tired and he slept for many days. When he woke up, the monkeys held a celebration for the Doctor. He told them that it was time for him to leave for Puddleby and pay off his debts. The monkeys thanked the Doctor by giving him pushmi-pullyu, their rarest animal. The animal had two heads on both sides of the body and no tail. Doctor Dolittle bade goodbye to all the monkeys and left.
Doctor Dolittle along with all the animals walked back into King Jolliginki’s land. They were again caught by the King’s guards but Polynesia escaped. She overheard the Prince saying that he wanted to have hair on his head. Polynesia got an idea. She hid behind the leaves and posed herself as a fairy godmother who would grant him one wish. She told him that the Doctor, who was kept in the dungeon by the Prince’s father, could help him.
Polynesia flew to the dungeon and told Doctor Dolittle about the Prince. The Prince went to the dungeon. The Doctor promised to help only if the Prince led them out of the dungeon and arranged for a ship. The Prince unlocked the dungeon and helped them escape. In return, the Doctor gave him a magic bottle. Everyone got into the ship but Polynesia and Chee-Chee decided to stay back as Africa was their home.
The ship reached a beautiful island. While they rested, they saw lots of rats coming out of the ship. The rats told the Doctor that their ship was sinking. Doctor Dolittle and the animals got plenty to eat and drink on the island. Two birds from somewhere flew towards the Doctor and told him that the Barbary pirates were on the island and their ship was empty. The Doctor and the animals boarded the empty ship.
The pirates saw them and followed them on the Doctor’s ship. But the ship sank and the sharks threatened to kill the pirates. Doctor Dolittle negotiated with the pirates. If they promised to be the farmers and remain on the island forever, the sharks would not kill them. The pirates had no choice and they agreed. The sharks took the pirates away to the island. Doctor Dolittle set off again for their journey back home.
On the pirates’ ship, Doctor Dolittle found a little boy. He was crying and didn’t know where his uncle was. The Doctor with the help of his animals found his uncle in the cave on an island. The boy was happy to see his uncle. Doctor Dolittle sailed the ship towards the boy’s village. After a small party, the Doctor headed back home. They reached Puddleby after a month. With the help of his friends, he made a lot of money and paid off all his debts.