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KALLU OUTWITTED

Kalulu the rabbit was one of the cleverest animals in the African jungle. He was forever looking for new ways to outwit his enemies and make some profit in the bargain.

One day, as he was wandering through the jungle, he happened to see a mother monkey and her baby climb up a tree. All of a sudden, the young one slipped from the branch and fell. But before he could touch the ground, the mother swiftly reached out with her long tail, looped it around his arm and swiftly pulled him up!

The watching Kalulu was filled with wonder. What an ingenious use of one's tail! Suddenly he had an idea. Why not make use of this principle himself? Though he had no long tail, he could use a rope to lasso objects and draw them to him!

Kalulu now began experimenting on his new idea in right earnest. He gathered some forest creepers and twisted them into a strong rope. This he knotted into a lasso, and lay in wait for unwary animals to test his lasso on.

He set traps with his lasso at various places over the next few days. The trap was in the form a noose lying on the ground. Many animals, who unwittingly stepped on the noose, found themselves held fast in the jungle thickets and could only free themselves with much effort. However no one suspected Kalulu's hand in it. It took him only a couple of days to be convinced of the efficacy of his rope trick.

For the time being, he had no use for this particular weapon. But that did not prevent him from practicing it assiduously at every opportunity, till he had perfected it. After all, one never knew when it might come in useful! It was his motto to be prepared for every eventuality.

Some time later, Tembo the elephant- the king of the animals- decided to build a village for the animals. He summoned a meeting of all the inhabitants of the jungle and informed them of his decision.

All thought the village a good idea and all agreed to help in the building activity. The work was to commence the next afternoon.

All the animals reported to the building site on time, except for Kalulu. But that was nothing new. When did he ever show up on time when there was work to be done?

A couple of hours after the appointed time, when the animals were well into their work, Kalulu woke up from his siesta, yawned, stretched and thought he might join the others and put in a spot of work after all. He got up and lazily sauntered towards the work-site.

He was not even midway through when suddenly, the most delicious aroma floating through the air made him stop dead. His nose twitched as he gave himself up to a series of sniffs. What was that?

Abandoning the idea of going for work, he turned and followed his nose-which led him a long way, through many meandering forest trails. After a lengthy trek, he finally zoomed in with unerring accuracy on the source of the divine fragrance- Tembo's dwelling!

Tembo lived with his family in a clearing at one end of the jungle. He was not home, having gone to work on the village site. But his wife was here. Peeping through the bushes, Kalulu saw her stirring at a large pot that was steaming away on the fire. From the pot wafted a delectable aroma- the one that had lured him this far!"That must be Tembo's dinner," decided Kalulu.

As he watched from his hiding-place, Tembo's wife went in to get something. Seizing the opportunity, he ran up to the pot and peeped in. A dish of beans was cooking. Kalulu was already hungry, and when the wonderful aroma hit his nostrils, he felt quite dizzy with longing. He knew that he had taste the dish!

Hearing the sound of Tembo's wife returning, he hastened back to his hiding place. He watched patiently as she added seasoning and finished cooking. Finally, leaving the dish to cool, she went in (little knowing that greedy Kalulu was watching and waiting)!

This was the moment Kalulu had been waiting for. He ran up to the pot and began blowing upon it to cool it. As soon as it was somewhat cool, he ate it all up in big gulps. It was very delicious. Burping in satisfaction, he crept away.

That night, Tembo was furious when he reached home and found that his beans had been stolen. Whoever had stolen his dinner?

The next morning, he summoned Simba, the lion and ordered,"Last night, someone had the temerity to steal my dinner. No doubt he will try the same trick tonight. I want you to lie in wait and pounce upon the thief when he makes his appearance!"

Now, Kalulu was hiding in the bushes and heard the whole exchange. He had every intention of returning that evening to have one more meal of those delicious beans. But how could he steal them when the lion himself was standing guard?

Suddenly, an idea struck him as he remembered his trusty rope. He spent the night setting a trap on the ground near the cooking pot, which he concealed under some leaves.

That evening, when the animals had gone to work on the new village, Kalulu strolled out into the open and began to eat Tembo's beans, with one eye on Simba's hiding place. Having finished his meal, he ran off. As he expected, Simba leapt up and chased him. Kalulu bolted through the trap that he had set.

Alas for the poor Simba! As he ran, he did not see that he has put his foot into the noose, and the text moment, he found himself dangling in mid air! He thus remained, wriggling and squirming, until the other animals returned and released him.

Now, Simba was too ashamed to say that he had been fooled by a little rabbit, so he declared that an unknown animal had ensnared him.

The next day, the furious Tembo deputed Mbogo the buffalo to watch the beans. This time, Kalulu had set a noose between two palm trees. When Kalulu had finished his meal of the king's beans and was strolling away, the buffalo charged him. However, like his predecessor he, too, stepped on the noose, and was left dangling ignobly in the air until the animals arrived to rescue him.

Like Simba, the mighty Mbogo, too, was ashamed to admit that the rabbit had got the better of him, so he only said that an unknown miscreant had trapped him.

In this manner, in the coming days, Chita the cheetah, Mbwa the hunting dog, Chuwi the tiger, and Bweha the jackal were in turn deputed to guard the food, and all were laid low by Kalulu's trap.

At length, Nko the crab, wiser than the rest, approached Tembo privately and said,"If your wife will smear me with salt and put me into your dinner of beans tomorrow, I will catch the thief."

Tembo did not expect the tiny crab to succeed where all the mighty animals had failed; nevertheless, having no option, he decided to give it a try. Accordingly Nko was secretly smeared with salt and left in the dinner-pot.

That evening Kalulu crept up to the pot and ate up the beans as usual marveling over how the beans were even better than usual, being so deliciously salty! All of a sudden, he screamed in pain, as someone nipped his ear.

It was Nko, of course, and he clung tenaciously on to Kalulu's ear with his sharp teeth. No matter how much Kalulu tried to dislodge him, he hung on for dear life. Kalulu begged, pleaded and threatened, but all to no avail. Nko clutched the pot with his pincers while biting Kalulu's ear, so that he could not run away. He thus held Kalulu prisoner until the other animals returned, and saw who the thief was!

They decided to pay him back exactly as he had treated them. For six days he had to do without any dinner, and every day they went off to work leaving Kalulu tied by his own rope to a tree. By the end of this period, he had grown so emaciated that they took pity upon him and let him go. He loped off, promising never to play such a trick again. But do you think he can keep his word?

Moral: Evil actions lead to punishment some day.

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