Hares are popular creatures in African folktales. They are famous for behaving badly and always getting away with it. In this Nyungwe folktale, we see what happens when Hare refuses to forgive Hippo for stepping on his foot.
This is the English version. Versions of this book have been produced by the African Storybook Project in
The Red Zebra Project celebrates African storytelling in local languages.
- Why hippos have no hair Basilio Gimo, David Ker English
- One day, Rabbit was walking by the riverside.
- Hippo was there too, going for a stroll and eating some nice green grass.
- Hippo didn’t see that Rabbit was there and she accidentally stepped on Rabbit’s foot. Rabbit yelled and started screaming at Hippo, “You Hippo! Can’t you see that you’re stepping on my foot?”
- Hippo apologised to Rabbit, “I’m so sorry, my friend. I didn’t see you. Please forgive me!” But Rabbit wouldn’t listen and he shouted at Hippo, “You did that on purpose! Someday, you’ll see! You’re going to pay!”
- Then Rabbit went to find Fire and he said, “Go, burn Hippo when she comes out of the water to eat grass. She stepped on me!” Fire answered, “No problem, Rabbit, my friend. I’ll do just what you asked.”
- Later, Hippo was eating grass far from the river when “whoosh!” Fire burst into flame and began to burn up all of Hippo’s hair.
- Hippo started to cry and ran for the water. All her hair was burned in the fire. Hippo kept crying, “My hair has burned in the fire! You burned all my hair! My hair is all gone! My beautiful beautiful hair!”
- That’s why the hippo never goes far from the water for fear of getting burned by Fire. Hare was very happy when Hippo got burned by Fire, saying, “I got her back!”
- Why hippos have no hair Story Text By: Basilio Gimo, David Ker Illustration: Carol Liddiment, Anonymous Language: English © Red Zebra Project, 2014 (original Nyungwe text copyright SIL Mozambique www.lidemo.net) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Version 3.0 Unported Licence Disclaimer: You are free to download, copy, translate or adapt this story and use the illustrations as long as you attribute or credit the original author/s and illustrator/s. The Red Zebra Project celebrates African storytelling. Our books are published in local African languages and distributed to children in rural Africa. Visit http://redzebraproject.com.
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