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一只不想做国王的兔子(下)

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But Tembo wouldn't listen. He was thinking of his own children. They would be safe, but only if he could find other animals for Kali to gobble up.

 

Outside Kali's palace Hare stood shaking and cringing. He had to think of something fast.

 

"Maybe I can escape by jumping in the water-hole," he said. But when he looked down and saw his own reflection shivering on the pool's surface, he stopped in his tracks. Already Kali had spotted him.

 

"Come inside, Hare!" roared the lion. "I can't wait to eat the only one who didn't vote for me."

 

But Hare didn't move. He felt braver now and he called back, "But Majesty," he wheedled. "I am very confused. I can see two kings. Please tell me, which of you is to eat me?"

 

"TWO KINGS!" snapped Kali angrily. "What do you mean two kings?" In one bound he was breathing down on Hare.

 

"Well, there's you Majesty," stammered Hare, "and there's that other one down there." Hare pointed down into the water-hole.

 

Kali looked and Kali saw. What - another lion?

 

"I'll have no rivals!" cried the cruel one, and at once he leaped on the other lion. Down into the pool sank Kali as he tried to grab his enemy. Soon the waters closed over him, and he was gone.

 

"You've killed our king," said Tembo the elephant in amazement.

 

"No I didn't," said Hare. "Anyone could see that he jumped into the water-hole all by himself. Besides, you didn't think I was going to stand here and be eaten did you? That would be as foolish as choosing a bully for a king!" And with that he ran away, before anyone else could think of eating him.

 

"Whew! That WAS a close shave," said Hare from the safety of his baobab tree. "But I'll bet those silly animals will send old rhino round to ask ME to be the king. Some people never learn."

 

And so it happened. Just as Hare was dropping off to sleep, there was a boom, boom, booming across the plains. "Oh no!" he sighed. "Why am I always right?" He flattened his ears, closed his eyes tighter and pretended to snore. "Anyone can see I'm much too busy to be king. Much, much too busy.


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