A rabbit lived near a swamp. His name was Brabit. He was a naughty and fun loving animal. And he loved to tease the crocodiles that lived in the swamp. Every crocodile hated him. Every crocodile wanted to eat him. But he was too quick for them.
Brabit would often play near the crocodiles. He would mock them. And, if any crocodile tried to catch him, he would run away as fast as he could. Once he was out of trouble and at a safe distance, he would laugh loudly. The chasing crocodile could do nothing but glare at him with angry eyes.
But one day Brabit foolishly mocked a lion. The lion lost his temper. He pounced on the silly rabbit. Even before the rabbit could think of running away, the lion caught him. But Brabit was brave and clever. He kept his nerve.
“Sir, it was foolish of me to make fun of you. I am truly sorry. If you let me go I would surely come to your help if you ever fall into some trouble,” he said to the lion.
The lion was amazed at his temerity.
“You think a small animal like you can be of any help to me? You think a strong animal like me can ever fall into trouble?” asked the lion, unable to control his curiosity.
“Sir, you are certainly strong and clever. But anyone can fall into trouble, life is like that.”
“And pray, how would you help me, if ever I am in trouble?” lion asked politely.
“I would analyse the problem and then decide the best course of possible action,” Brabit replied fearlessly.
Lion laughed loudly, “You are a cunning fellow. I will accept your offer. But if you fail to help me when I fall into trouble, I will kill you.”
He let the rabbit go.
Now, it so happened that just one week later a herd of wild buffaloes was passing by the swamp. They were going towards north; to the green pastures of north.
Buffaloes saw the lion. He was reclining under a tree. Lion too saw the buffaloes. He roared to scare away the herd. But the buffaloes felt insulted. They did not like the lions who roared at them.
“This lion needs to be taught a lesson. Why did he roar at us when we did not bother him?” said the leader of the herd.
“Yes, this lion needs to be taught a lesson,” said all the buffaloes in one voice.
The herd charged in anger. The lion knew that he had invited a trouble. He could only escape towards the swamp. But swamp was full of crocodiles. Crocodiles were as nasty as the buffaloes. Lion knew that he was trapped. He had no option but to fight the wild buffaloes and defend himself.
Brabit was, as usual, playing near the swamp. He had heard the lion’s roar. He had seen the buffaloes charging towards the lion.
“Sir, now you are in real trouble. You surely need my help,” Brabit said to himself.
Rabbit knew that he would have to do something quickly for a single lion, however strong, would be no match to a herd of angry wild buffaloes.
He looked at the crocodiles. The crocodiles were enjoying mild sun, reclining near the swamp. He thought of a plan and ran towards the swamp.
“Well, you silly and lazy lizards, why don’t you go and take a swim in the swamp? I want to recline here and enjoy the sun. Get up and get lost,” he shouted at the crocodiles.
The crocodiles hated being addressed as silly and lazy lizards. All of them began to tremble in rage.
“I think we need to teach this rude fellow some manners. What do you say, friends,” asked the leader of the crocodiles.
“We would rather eat him and not teach him,” all crocodiles said in one voice.
The crocodiles attacked the rabbit. He ran away. But this time he did not run as fast as he could. He ran but slowly. The crocodiles felt that they could catch him and they kept chasing him.
The rabbit cleverly ran towards the herd of buffaloes. The crocodiles foolishly kept following him.
Suddenly the buffaloes sensed the approaching crocodiles. The crocodiles were angry and were chasing the rabbit. But, by now, the rabbit had vanished. The buffaloes thought that the crocodiles were charging at them.
They stopped attacking the lion who had defended himself bravely. They turned towards the crocodiles and looked at them suspiciously. The crocodiles also looked at the buffaloes suspiciously. They were a bit scared; they had come too far from the swamp. They felt safe only when they were near the swamp. But they did not show their fear and growled at the buffaloes.
Buffaloes did not want to fight the crocodiles. They retreated and quietly left for the green pastures of the north. The crocodiles too retreated to their swamp.
The lion heaved a sigh of relief. Then he saw the rabbit who was hiding in a nearby bush.
“Sir, did my plan work?” Brabit asked the lion.
“Exceedingly well,” said the lion.
“Sir, you think a small animal like me could be of some help to you?” asked the rabbit. He had a broad smile on his face.
“I can say one thing for sure; in this world even the strongest one needs friends. Let us be friends and for ever,” said the lion. He shook Brabit’s hand.
The lion and the naughty rabbit became friends.
© i b arora
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