The Talking Beasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 288 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

And presently Friend Mouse-deer commenced to lick hard, and Friend Elephant writhed and wriggled and made believe to be hurt, and made a prodigious noise of trumpeting.  In this way they proceeded and Friend Mouse-deer got up and sat astride upon Friend Elephant’s back.  And the Elephant trumpeted and trumpeted all the way till they met with Friend Tiger.  At this Friend Mouse-deer exclaimed, “A single Elephant is very short commons; if I could only catch that big and fat old Tiger there, it would be just enough to satisfy my hunger.”

Now when Friend Tiger heard these words of the Mouse-deer, he said to himself, “So I suppose if you catch me, you’ll eat me into the bargain, will you?” And Friend Tiger stayed not a moment longer, but fled for his life, fetching very lofty bounds.

And soon he met with the Black Ape, and Friend Ape asked, “Why running so hard, Friend Tiger?  Why so much noise, and why, just when the Rains are upon us, too, do you go fetching such lofty bounds?” Friend Tiger replied, “What do you mean by ‘so much noise’?  What was the Thing that was got upon Friend Elephant’s back, that had caught Friend Elephant and was devouring him so that he went writhing and wriggling for the pain of it, and the blood went streaming down in floods?  Moreover the Thing that was got on Friend Elephant’s back said, to my hearing, that a single Elephant was very short commons:  but if It could catch a fat old Tiger like myself that would be just enough to satisfy Its hunger.”  Friend Ape said, “What was that Thing, Friend Tiger?” “I don’t know,” said the Tiger.  “Ah,” mused the Ape, “I wonder if it could be Friend Mouse-deer!” “Certainly not,” said the Tiger; “why, how in the world could Friend Mouse-deer swallow Me?  To say nothing of his not being used to meat food.”  “Come and let us go back again,” said the Ape.

Then they went back again to find the Elephant, and first the Ape went the faster, and then the Tiger went the faster, and then the Ape got in front again.  But Friend Mouse-deer sitting on Friend Elephant’s back saw them coming and shouted.  “Hullo, Father Ape,” said he, “this is a dog’s trick indeed; you promised to bring me two tigers and you only bring me one.  I refuse to accept it, Father Ape.”

Now when Friend Tiger heard this, he ran off at first as fast as he could, but presently he slackened his pace and said, “It is too bad of you, Friend Ape, to try to cozen me in order to pay your own debts.  For shame, Father Ape!  It was only through good luck that he refused to accept me; if he had accepted, I should have been dead and done with.  So now, if you come down to the ground, you shall die the death yourself, just for your trying to cheat me.”

Thus the Tiger and the Ape were set at enmity, and to this day the Tiger is very wroth with the Ape for trying to cheat him.  And here the story ends.


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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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