Jataka: The Rabbit and the Coconut

There was once a rabbit who was sleeping beneath a coconut tree. All of a sudden a coconut fell down and landed on his head. The rabbit woke up, shrieking. "The sky is falling!" he shouted. "It's the end of the world!"

The rabbit then ran off as fast as he could. Another rabbit saw him and asked, "What's wrong, my friend?"

"It's the end of the world!" the rabbit shouted. "The sky is falling!" The other rabbit raced after him, and soon hundreds of rabbits were running in fear.

A deer asked what had happened. "It's the end of the world," the rabbits shouted, and so that deer, and then hundreds of deer, started running with the rabbits.

The jackals joined in, as did the elephants. The animals ran shrieking together through the jungle. "The sky is falling! It's the end of the world!"

Finally, they ran into the lion, who asked very calmly, "What are you all shouting about?"

"The sky is falling! It's the end of the world!" they replied.

"Who told you that?" asked the lion.

"The jackals told us," said the elephants.

"The deer told us," said the jackals.

"The rabbits told us," said the deer.

"And who told you?" he asked the rabbits.

The first rabbit crept forward and said, "I did, sir."

"Show me!" ordered the lion.

The rabbit then led the lion to the tree, and he saw the coconut lying there. "Foolish rabbit," he said, "the sky is not falling. It was just a coconut that hit you on the head."

They then returned to the other animals and announced the good news. "The sky is not falling," the rabbit shouted happily, "and it's not the end of the world!"

In this way the lion saved the animals from themselves.

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