Story by Margo Wayman
|Hakim was the
biggest, noisiest, and laziest of all the hippos in the river. While the rest of the
hippos swam, ate, and played, Hakim would sleep.The others were always getting angry with
him because he took up so much space in the mud at the side of the river. Sometimes there
was no room for any of the others. When they wanted to sleep, Hakim would snore. He snored
so loudly that all the birds and monkeys had gone off to live in another part of the
jungle so they could get some sleep.
One day, one of the hippos went over to Hakim and said, "Hakim, you are just too
noisy. None of us can sleep, and you are so big that none of us get a chance to lay in the
mud. And, besides that, you are lazy. We want you to leave. We want you to go and move
down the river by the elephants. Keep them awake all night!"
Hakim was surprised. He hadn't realized that he bothered the other hippos that much.
"If I promise not to snore or lay in the mud anymore, can I stay here?" he
The three hippos looked at each other, then one said, "All right. But you have to be
||The whole day
long Hakim tried his hardest to be as quiet as he could.
He stayed awake so he wouldn't snore, and he didn't go near the mud. He sat in the middle
of the river, watching a bird dive into the water to catch a fish. He watched as a white
feather flew off the tail of the bird and floated down to where he was sitting. Hakim
looked all around but he couldn't see where the feather landed. Suddenly he let out a big
All the sleeping hippos woke up. They looked over to where Hakim was.
"Uh, sorry. I just sneezed. It won't happen again," Hakim apologized, but soon
he sneezed again. "AAAAAAAACCCCCHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
The hippos looked at him angrily. "Uh, sorry again. Just another small sneeze,
guys," he apologized once more, but then he sneezed again.
Hakim felt very bad. The hippos were angry with him now. He didn't want that, so he left
and swam slowly down the river. The AAAACHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO's got quieter and quieter until
the others couldn't hear them anymore.
"That's much better," one said, then they all went back to sleep.
A group of elephants from down river had their eyes on the spot where the hippos usually
lay. They had heard that Hakim had left, so they came to check it out. They looked around
and didn't see Hakim. One of them yelled, "Hey! You hippos! We've decided that we
want this spot in the mud. You guys are going to have to leave!"
The startled hippos looked at each other in surprise. One of them called back to the
elephants, "Oh yeah! Why should we care what you want?" The other hippos agreed
and yelled, "Yeah, why should we care?"
The biggest elephant, Tough Rashid, walked over to the muddy bank. "See these sharp,
pointed tusks? Well, in case you haven't noticed, you don't have any. If you don't leave
right now, we'll jab you with them!"
The hippos looked at each other. One said, "Why now? Why do you want our spot?"
Tough Rashid sneered, "You used to have Hakim here. He was the only one we were
afraid of. Now he's gone, and now you have to go. We have always wanted this spot."
The elephants filled their trunks with water and sprayed the hippos,
then cried, "Go! Go! Go!"
The hippos had no choice. They were not as big as the elephants and they had no tusks. So
they left and went further down the river. One of them mumbled, "Maybe if we find
Hakim and ask him nicely, he'll help us get our spot back!"
They searched and searched for Hakim, but they couldn't find him. Then they heard a faint,
"That's him!" one of them cried. They followed the sneezes until they found
Hakim. He was laying on a bunch of leaves, and looked very sad.
"Hakim, we want you to come back and live with us again. We're sorry for chasing you
away," he apologized.
"AAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Hakim let out the loudest
sneeze any of them had ever heard. A little white feather came flying out of his nose. It
flew up into the air, then fluttered back down to the ground.
"A feather? Is that what was making you sneeze?" Hakim was asked.
"I think so," he answered, waiting to see if he would sneeze anymore, but he
didn't. "That's it! I'm cured!" He was so happy.
The hippos then told him about Tough Rashid and how the elephants had taken over their
spot in the river. Hakim got very angry. "Well, we will have to show those elephants
just who is the toughest!"
They stomped back to the river bank near their spot. There were the elephants, blowing
water on each other and having fun. "I hope you boys are enjoying yourselves,"
Hakim yelled loudly. The elephants stopped and looked over at the very big, and very angry
hippo. "All right, Tough Rashid. I'm back! This is our spot. You get out of the water
and back down the river, where you belong, or I'll really get mad. You don't want me to
get mad, do you Tough Rashid?"
The elephants were scared. They ran out of the water and down the river bank as fast as
they could. "And don't you ever come back!" Hakim yelled after them.
That night Hakim snored loudly, but the others didn't care. They were back home and didn't
have to worry about Tough Rashid and his gang, ever again....as long as they heard Hakim
snoring, they knew they would be safe.
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