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

The Hare and the Lion

“Why,” said Bookoo, “Soongoora, the hare. Didn’t you see him when I threw him down?”

“Of course I didn’t see him,” replied the lion, in an incredulous tone, and, without wasting further time, he ate the big rat, and then searched around for the hare, but could not find him.

Three days later, Soongoora called on his acquaintance, Ko′bay, the tortoise, and said to him, “Let us go and eat some honey.”

“Whose honey?” inquired Kobay, cautiously.

“My father’s,” Soongoora replied.

“Oh, all right; I’m with you,” said the tortoise, eagerly; and away they went.

When they arrived at the great calabash tree they climbed up with their straw, smoked out the bees, sat down, and began to eat.

Just then Mr. Simba, who owned the honey, came out again, and, looking up, inquired, “Who are you, up there?”

Soongoora whispered to Kobay, “Keep quiet;” but when the lion repeated his question angrily, Kobay became suspicious, and said: “I will speak. You told me this honey was yours; am I right in suspecting that it belongs to Simba?”

So, when the lion asked again, “Who are you?” he answered, “It’s only us.” The lion said, “Come down, then;” and the tortoise answered, “We’re coming.”

Now, Simba had been keeping an eye open for Soongoora since the day he caught Bookoo, the big rat, and, suspecting that he was up there with Kobay, he said to himself, “I’ve got him this time, sure.”

Seeing that they were caught again, Soongoora said to the tortoise: “Wrap me up in the straw, tell Simba to stand out of the way, and then throw me down. I’ll wait for you below. He can’t hurt you, you know.”

“All right,” said Kobay; but while he was wrapping the hare up he said to himself: “This fellow wants to run away, and leave me to bear the lion’s anger. He shall get caught first.” Therefore, when he had bundled him up, he called out, “Soongoora is coming!” and threw him down.

So Simba caught the hare, and, holding him with his paw, said, “Now, what shall I do with you?” The hare replied, “It’s of no use for you to try to eat me; I’m awfully tough.

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