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Fables of the Falls

Map of Zimbabwe
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Kavitha strikes a pose in front of the mighty Victoria Falls.
Fables have been told by cultures around the world for thousands and thousands of years. Have you ever heard of Aesop's Fables? The African tribes have fables, too. Below are a couple of my favorites from the tribes around Victoria Falls.

The Poor, Ugly Hippo

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World Trekkers meet Wonder of the World--Victoria Falls!
How was the first hippo created? The San people believe that the hippo was the last creature created. It was made up of all the 'leftovers' of those creatures before him.

The hippo was embarassed because he was so fat and ugly. He begged the Creator to let him live in the water, but the Creator said no. "With such a huge mouth and teeth he would eat all the fish," thought the Creator. The hippo begged some more. "I promise to eat nothing from the water. I will come out at night to graze on grass and plants," he said. But once again the Creator said no.

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Watch out for the hungry, hungry hippo!
After more begging, the hippo was finally told he could live in the water, under one condition. He had to come out every day to scatter his dung, so that all of the animals could examine it to make sure there were no fish bones in the dung.

That is why the hippo lives in water but eats from the land.

The Upside Down Tree

The Bushmen believe the 'Great Spirit' gave all birds, except the hyena, trees for nesting and resting.

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Does the baobab tree really stand on its head?
"Stop stealing and be good and I will give you a tree," said the Great Spirit. But the hyena was angry and would not change his ways. The Spirit gave him a baobab plant, the last one. The hyena was so cross he took the seedling and planted it upside down--with its roots spreading in the open sky. That's why the baobab is called the upside down tree.


Monica - Tall Tales from the Train

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