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Main > Tanzanian folktales > Fairy tale "The Hare and the Lion"

The Hare and the Lion

One day Soongoo′ra, the hare, roaming through the forest in search of food, glanced up through the boughs of a very large calabash tree, and saw that a great hole in the upper part of the trunk was inhabited by bees; thereupon he returned to town in search of some one to go with him and help to get the honey.

As he was passing the house of Boo′koo, the big rat, that worthy gentleman invited him in. So he went in, sat down, and remarked: “My father has died, and has left me a hive of honey. I would like you to come and help me to eat it.”

Of course Bookoo jumped at the offer, and he and the hare started off immediately.

When they arrived at the great calabash tree, Soongoora pointed out the bees’ nest and said, “Go on; climb up.” So, taking some straw with them, they climbed up to the nest, lit the straw, smoked out the bees, put out the fire, and set to work eating the honey.

In the midst of the feast, who should appear at the foot of the tree but Sim′ba, the lion? Looking up, and seeing them eating, he asked, “Who are you?”

Then Soongoora whispered to Bookoo, “Hold your tongue; that old fellow is crazy.” But in a very little while Simba roared out angrily: “Who are you, I say? Speak, I tell you!” This made Bookoo so scared that he blurted out, “It’s only us!”

Upon this the hare said to him: “You just wrap me up in this straw, call to the lion to keep out of the way, and then throw me down. Then you’ll see what will happen.”

So Bookoo, the big rat, wrapped Soongoora, the hare, in the straw, and then called to Simba, the lion, “Stand back; I’m going to throw this straw down, and then I’ll come down myself.” When Simba stepped back out of the way, Bookoo threw down the straw, and as it lay on the ground Soongoora crept out and ran away while the lion was looking up.

After waiting a minute or two, Simba roared out, “Well, come down, I say!” and, there being no help for it, the big rat came down.

As soon as he was within reach, the lion caught hold of him, and asked, “Who was up there with you?

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