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"The Mighty Rabbit"

Can you imagine anything so absurd as a
tug-of-war between a rabbit and an Elephant?

Well, one day, long ago, Rabbit did challenge
Elephant. "I may be small but I'm just as
strong as you." Of course, Elephant just
laughed through his long grey trunk, and went
on bathing in the river. "If I bring a rope
with me tomorrow," said Rabbit, "will you test
your strength against mine in a tug-of-war?"

"Run away and fetch your rope, then," said
Elephant, and he went on sharpening his huge
white tusks against a rock. But before Rabbit
fetched the rope, he had one more visit to make.

Hippopotamus was grazing on the mountainside,
as was the way of hippos in those days.
"Careful where you sit," she said when she saw
Rabbit. "I might tread on you by mistake."

"Don't worry about me," replied Rabbit.
"I may be small, but I'm immensely strong.
If you like, I'll prove it tomorrow in a
tug-of-war." Hippo yawned lazily.
"I'd hate to hurt you, but if your heart's
set on it..." And she moved to a fresh hill,
having trampled the first one flat.

The next day, Rabbit arrived on the plain, staggering under the weight of a very long rope.
Elephant was already there. Rabbit gave him
the one end of the rope and Elephant coiled
it round his thick grey trunk. "Now back up,"
said rabbit, "and when the rope is taut,
we can both start pulling."

Elephant backed off deep into the jungle...
just as Hippopotamus came lumbering across
the plain. Rabbit gave the other end of the
rope to Hippo. "I've left my end over there
in the jungle. Back up and when the rope's
taut, we can both start pulling."

So Hippo tied the rope round her four blunt
teeth and clamped her huge jaw shut. Then she,
too, backed off into the jungle to take up
the slack. The tug-of-war was on.

At his end of the rope, Elephant leaned back
gently, not wanting to hurt Rabbit. At her
end of the rope, Hippo leaned back gently,
not wanting to hurt Rabbit. The rope twanged
off the ground. "Well, who would have guessed
the little fellow was so strong!" thought
Elephant, and he pulled a bit harder.

"Whoever would have guessed Rabbit could grip
the ground so well with those small,
furry feet," thought Hippo, and she pulled
a bit harder. "What's this? He nearly had me
off balance!" cried Elephant. "I'd better
use my full strength!"
"What's this? He nearly toppled me over!"cried
Hippo. "I'd better use my full strength!"

So Elephant and Hippo pulled with all their
might. They strained and grunted and panted
and bellowed, but neither could gain the advantage.

For three whole days their tug-of-war went on,
with the two great beasts anchored to the
ground where they had planted their big feet.

At first Rabbit enjoyed the sport, but after
three days he got bored. Then he nibbled
through the rope. A loud crack rang out through
the jungle as the last strand snapped apart.
Elephant flew backwards and crashed into a
thorn-bush. Hippo hurtled through the air and
landed - squuck - in the muddy river.

The jungle has never been the same. From that
day to this, Elephant can be seen rooting up
trees in search of the Mighty Rabbit who
wounded his pride - and his bottom - in the thorn-bush.

Hippopotamus hides in the river all day, and
blows bubbles. Ever since the tug-of-war,
she has refused to come out before dark.
"It's in case I meet the Mighty Rabbit," she explains.





"The Little Red Hen"

At the back of the farmyard, the frog, the
cat and the little red hen lived together
in a snug wooden house. It was cozy and clean,
but no thanks to the frog or the cat!

The little red hen did all the work, while
they lazed in a bed. She tidied the house,
lit the fire, did the washing and cooked
the meals.

"Why don't you get up?" she cried one morning.
"The weather's lovely... You could be
painting the house or chopping wood
or mending the gate."

But the frog just turned over and put his
head under the covers. And the cat said,
"How can I sleep with you squawking?"

Then the little red hen fetched a bag of flour.
"Today I'm going to bake a loaf. Who'll
light the stove for me?"

"Not me!" yawned the cat, stretching out on the bed.
"Not me!" groaned the frog from under the covers.

So the little red hen fetched wood from the
yard and lit the stove, then washed her
sooty feathers in the sink.

"Now, who's going to knead the dough for me?
It's easy, you just pull it and fold it
and press it, like this."

"Not me!" snapped the cat. "It looks like
hard work!"
"Not me!" grumbled the frog. "I didn't see
what you did."

So the little red hen kneaded the dough
herself and pushed the loaf into the oven.
Soon, the glorious smell of baking bread
wafted though the house.

"Now, who's going to fetch the butter?"

"Not me!" sighed the cat. "I'm still asleep."
"Not me! moaned the frog. "I'm too tired."

So the little red hen went down to the dairy
and asked the cow for her yellow butter.
Then she carried it back to the house.

"Now, who will cut the bread for me? she
asked, putting the loaf on the table.

"My paw's sore," wailed the cat.
"I might cut myself," whined the frog.

"But who will help me eat the loaf?"
asked the little red hen.
"I will!" cried the cat scampering down the ladder.
"So will I!" yelled the frog, leaping out of bed.

"Oh, please don't trouble yourselves," said
the little red hen. Then, tucking the loaf
under one wing and the butter under the other,
she ran out of the house into the barn.

And she ate the bread all by herself!





"The Lion and the Mouse"

One very hot afternoon, a lion was dozing
in a cool, dark cave. He was just about
to fall asleep when a mouse scuttled
across his nose.

With an angry roar, the lion raised his
paw and knocked the mouse to the ground.
"How dare you wake me up," he snarled.
"I'll crush you into the ground."
"O, please, please spare me," squeaked
the terrified mouse. "I promise to help
you one day if only you'll let me go."

"That's a joke," said the lion. "How could
a puny little mouse like you help a big
strong lion like me?" And he began to laugh.
He laughed so much that he lifted his paw...
and the mouse escaped.

A few days later the lion was out hunting
in the jungle. He was just thinking about
his next meal when he tripped over a roped
pulled tight across the path. A huge net
fell on top of him and, strong as he was,
he just could not struggle free.

And as he twisted and turned and wriggled
and writhed, the net got tighter and tighter.
The lion began to roar so loudly that even
the animals outside the jungle could hear him.

One of these animals was the little mouse,
who was nibbling at a grain of corn.
He immediately dropped the corn and ran
to the lion. "O, mighty lion," he squeaked.
"If only you'll keep still
I can help you escape."

By now the lion felt so tired that all he
could do was lie back and watch as the mouse
gnawed through the ropes of the net. He could
hardly believe it when some time later he
realized he was free.

"You've saved my life, little mouse," he said.
"I'll never laugh at the promises made
by tiny friends again."



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