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Why The Hippo Doesn’t Eat Fish

Why The Hippo Doesn’t Eat Fish

Long long ago, when the world was still young, the Good Lord N’gai made a place for all the creatures upon his earth. He decided where each creature would live and what each creature could eat.

According to the plan of Lord N’gai, the hippopotamus was free to roam in the forests and plains. There was plenty of food and the greedy hippopotamus soon grew fit. The bigger his belly got, the more he suffered in the African sun.

Once fiercely hot day, he waddled down the river. As he gazed at the little fish swimming happily in the cool pools he had a thought. ‘Oh,’ he sighed, ‘I wish I could live in the refreshing water like the fish!’

He shouted up to the heavens.

‘Please, Good Lord N’gai,’ he bellowed, ‘your fiery sun is burning me up! Let me leave the roasting plains and live in your cool rivers.’

Lord N’gai looked at hippopotamus’s big mouth, long teeth and hungry belly.

‘No,’ replied Lord N’gai, ‘I love my fish and if you lived in the rivers and the lakes, you would eat them. It has to be dry land for you, hippopotamus.’

At this news, the hippopotamus began weeping and wailing. He made the most awful noise, begging Lord N’gai to change his mind. He pleaded and pleaded until his voice grew hoarse.

The great Lord N’gai looked down upon the plains baking in the heat of the tropical sun. Eventually his heart softened.

‘Very well, hippopotamus,’ he said, ‘I will let you live in my rivers and lakes, but you must swear never to eat my little fish.’

‘Oh great Lord N’gai,’ cried hippopotamus, ‘I promise most faithfully that I will eat only grass, never a single fish. And every day I will prove this to you my lord.’

‘So be it,’ said Lord N’gai and hippopotamus galloped down the riverbank and splashed into the stream, grunting with delight. He had the most wondrous time of his life, enjoying the cool water.

So to this day, hippos always scatter their dung on the riverbank, so Lord N’gai can see that it contains no fish bones. And you can still hear them roaring with joy that they are allowed to live in the cool waters.

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