Digital Dimdima

ANIMAL TALES

Whining & Dining

Mosquito spotted Iguana basking near the pond. She flew up to him and said, "Hey, Iguana, I just saw a farmer digging up potatoes that were as big as me!" Iguana was annoyed at being disturbed and snapped, "What's a mosquito compared to a potato? I'd rather be deaf than hear such nonsense!" And he stuck twigs in his ears and stomped off. When Python saw Iguana pass by, he said a friendly ‘Hello'. Iguana seemed not to hear. "Iguana is angry," thought Python. "I better hide," and quickly slithered into Rabbit's hole.
Rabbit was so startled she jumped out of her burrow and hared away. Crow saw her and cawed loudly in alarm. Monkey heard Crow and leaped from branch to branch, shrieking disaster. Crack! A branch broke under Monkey's weight. It fell into Owl's nest, crushing one of her babies. When Owl returned, she was overcome by sorrow and stopped hooting. The Sun did not rise the next day as he depended on Owl's wake-up call.
Lion summoned all the animals. He asked Owl why she hadn't woken the Sun.
"Monkey killed my owlet," she said sadly. "I am in no mood to awaken the Sun."
When Monkey was questioned, the entire chain of events was revealed. It was Iguana who had caused all the trouble! Iguana, of course, didn't hear a thing because he still had twigs in his ears. Lion pulled them out, chuckling.
"Now, Iguana, what's all this? Python says you snubbed him this morning."
"What! I never…I never even heard him!"stuttered Iguana."It was Mosquito! She narrated a tall tale that spoiled my whole morning!"
When Owl heard they'd found the culprit, she let out a loud hoot. The Sun rose and the animals cheered.
"That's better!" said Lion. "But where is Mosquito? She must be punished!" All the animals looked around eagerly. But Mosquito was nowhere to be found. She had been eavesdropping all the while and felt so wretched, she dared not show her face. To this day, she suffers a guilty conscience. She buzzes and whines in people's ears, even as she dines on their blood: "Zeeee, zeeee…Is everyone still angry with me?"
And an irritated slap is all she gets for an answer!

— Adapted from an African folktale retold by Verna Aardema. This story was made into a 9-minute animation film in 1984 and is used in classroom projects all over the USA.

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