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Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 143 pages of information about Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories.

Opening his huge jaws, he put his mouth to the ground, and, pushing his lower jaw in front of him, cut down the corn as though with a sickle.  He ate leisurely as he went along, and his supper took him some time, for, as he had an enormous appetite, and could carry from five to six bushels of food in his body at a time, it was a big meal.

On he straggled, cutting down as he went, and dragging his awkward, splay-footed body after him until the beautiful field of corn was utterly destroyed, for before he left it he had walked nearly all over it.  If what he had eaten had been all that he destroyed, that would have been bad enough, but he trampled and ruined far more than he ate, and the owner of the field, when he saw it the next day, was nearly wild with rage and disappointment.  He had spent so much time and trouble over his crops, and so much damage had been done lately by these tiresome animals, that it was getting very serious indeed.  He resolved that something must be done, and done quickly.  Guns and bullets were no use; he would get up a party and try harpoons.

But of all this Hippo knew nothing, and, having finished his evening meal, returned in the same leisurely way he had come, and, laying his huge body down in a nice soft spot, he went to sleep and slept all next day.

When he woke up, he had a good time in the water, swimming long distances, taking long dives, and amusing himself by sinking his enormous body to the bottom of the river, and coming up again every now and then to breathe.  He made plenty of fuss over it, too, puffing and grunting in his own peculiar way.

Having had such a good feed the night before, Hippo was in no particular hurry for his evening meal, and, as several of the other hippopotami were also enjoying themselves, he stayed where he was.  His wife was resting in a shallow part of the river close by, her whole body under water with the exception of a part of her back and head.  Her baby calf was sitting on dry land, as it were, for his mother had taken him under water a good many times, but had to bring him up to the top so often for him to breathe that she had grown tired of it, and so had put him on her back, where he was not only dry but safe.

Hippo took very little notice of his wife and child.  He was not at all demonstrative, and, as long as he knew they were safe, did not trouble himself farther about them.  So that he had plenty to eat, could have nice swims and dives, and was not molested in any way, Hippo was a very peaceable animal; but once interfere with him in any way, and it was another matter altogether.

And this particular evening something did interfere with him, and it not only annoyed Hippo, but made him furious with rage and anger, and a furious hippopotamus is an extremely dangerous creature.  It happened in this way.

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