XXV. The Lion and the Hare
Once upon a time there was a Lion, who used to
eat up one of the animals of the forest every day. They had to
come up one after another, when called for. At last it came to
the Hare's' turn to be eaten, and he did not want to be eaten at
all. He hesitated and he waited about, and when at last he had
the courage to come, he was very late. The Lion, when he saw the
Hare coming, ran towards him. The Hare said
Uncle Lion, I know I am late, and you have cause to be angry. But
really it is not my fault.' There is another Lion in our part of
the forest, and he says that he is master, and you are nobody.
Indeed, when I showed him that I certainly would come to you, he
was very angry."
" Ha! " said the Lion, roaring; " who says he is
my master? Show him to me. I'll teach him who is master of the
Come along then," said the Hare.
They went a long way, until they came to a well.3 The Hare looked
down into the well. "He was here just now," said he.
The Lion looked in, and at the bottom 4 he saw what looked like
a Lion in the water. He shook his head-the other Lion shook his
head. He roared-the echo of a roar came up from the bottom of the
well. " Let me get at him! " roared the Lion. In he jumped-splash
! Nothing more was ever heard of that Lion, and the animals of
the forest were glad to be left in peace.5 They put their heads
together,6 and made this poem, which is always sung in that
forest on Sundays:
The Hare is small, but by his wit 7
He now has got the best of
By folly 9 down the Lion fell,
And lost his life within 10 the well."
1 The hare has long ears and a short tail, and can run very Swiftly.
It is like a rabbit, but larger. 2 You must not blame me. I am
not the cause of the delay. 3 We go to a well to fetch water.
4 The lowest part, where the water was. 5 opp : war ; in peace,
at rest. 6 Or: they all thought hard (a great deal). 7 Or: cleverness.
8 The lion got the worst of it, s Or: through being foolish.
10 Or : inside.