Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What the Rat Said

Walking along the river, Rat saw Lion, king of the beasts, taking a swim.

“How shabby the king’s coat looks,” thought Rat.

He went along until he met Rabbit, to whom he related everything he’d seen, along with the appraisal that the king had let himself go because he was old and enfeebled and so weak that he surely wouldn’t be around much longer. Rabbit’s ears perked up when he heard this news. The next time Lion passed his burrow, instead of bowing his head, Rabbit stared, trying to ascertain how long the old king had to live.

Lion growled and bared his teeth, but Rabbit kept staring. Lion roared and stalked toward him, but Rabbit remembered that the king was old and weak and didn’t even nod. Finally, Lion leaned over Rabbit and gave him a clout on the head before tossing his mane and walking on.

When Rabbit regained his senses and licked his wounds, he thought he should let Rat know that the old king was hale and hearty as ever. So he went down to the river, found Rat, and boxed his ears.

Moral: Gossip hurts three people--the one who repeats it, the one who hears it, and the one it is about.

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