Hippo

Bedtime story 1: Why the hippo scatters his dung

This is a bushman story left on my pillow one night while I was staying at the Mweya Safari Lodge in Uganda. Hope you enjoy it!

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

“This is a story about why Hippo scatters his dung. When the Creator was giving each animal a place in the world, the pair of hippos begged to be allowed to live in the cool water which they loved so dearly.

“The Creator looked at them, and was doubtful about letting them live in the water: their mouths were so large, their teeth so long and sharp, and their size and their appetites so big. He was afraid that they would eat up all the fish. Besides, he had already granted the place to another predator – the crocodile. He couldn’t have two kinds of large, hungry animals living in the rivers. So the Creator refused the hippos’ request, and told them they could live out on the open plains.

“At this news, the two hippos began to weep and wail, making the most awful noise. They pleaded and pleaded with the Creator, who finally gave in. But He made the hippos promise that if they lived in the rivers, they must never harm a single fish. They were to eat grass instead. The hippos promised solemnly, and rushed to the river, grunting with delight. And to this day, hippos always scatter their dung on the river bank, so the Creator can see that it contains no fish bones. And you can still hear them laughing with joy that they were allowed to live in the rivers after all.”

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