Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories.

And when a whole year had gone by, Hippo’s wife had another husband, and in due course of time another baby calf, and had just the same sort of trouble as she had gone through with Hippo’s son.  But she had forgotten all about Hippo’s son by that time, and not only Hippo’s son, but Hippo himself.

But Hippo was not forgotten by the hunters.  Some of them had cause enough to remember him, for he had killed their relatives in his fierce attack on that memorable night when he had first felt their harpoons.  They had, however, other things to remember him by which were better.  One thing was the money which they had received for his hide and ivory teeth, and which had been spent in replacing the damaged crops; and the other was a pair of magnificent tusks which they had kept as a memento of him, and which hung in the hall of the pretty African house in which the hunters lived.

And when visitors came to the house and admired the tusks, the hunters would relate the story of the terrible beginning and triumphal end of the capture of Hippo, the hippopotamus.


There is an old Eastern legend to the effect that, once upon a time, ostriches, in addition to being the largest and strongest birds on the face of the earth, were also the proudest, the most contemptuous, and the most egregiously conceited birds in creation.

So inflated with pride were they at their superior size and strength, that they looked down upon all their feathered companions, taunted and twitted them, and were forever exhibiting their wonderful powers of flight and beauty of form.

On one occasion they intimated to the smaller birds that they were going to fly to the sun, and winged creatures from far and wide, of all sizes and species, and of all colors, came to witness this wonderful feat.

Phoebus, the sun god, furiously angry at such unheard of presumption, waited until they were a little way up, and then punished them by suddenly singeing off their wings.

Deprived of their power of flying, the ostriches fell so heavily to the earth, and struck the ground so violently, that it made a deep mark on their breasts.  This has been reproduced in all succeeding generations from that time to this.

This is the reason that ostriches have such tiny wings, and that one and all have this peculiar mark on their breasts.  Never, from that time to this, has any ostrich been able to fly.  But even this has not entirely subdued their pride and arrogance, and their insufferable conceit.

Osra, who was an African ostrich, had his full share of pride and conceit.  He certainly was a very fine, full-grown male bird, and the beautiful, white, flowing feathers of his tail and wings were exceedingly handsome.

He stood eight feet high, and measured over six feet from the tip of his beak to the end of his tail, while his weight must have been fully two hundred pounds.

Project Gutenberg
Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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