The Amazing Tree

From southwest Tanzania comes this folktale of a time without rain and an amazing tree with ripe fruits that will not fall. The hungry animals decide to ask wise Tortoise how to get these fruits, and little Rabbit offers to find him. They send the big animals instead—-first Elephant and Water Buffalo, then Rhino, Giraffe, and Zebra, and finally Lion and Leopard. Tortoise tells them that they can only get the fruits if they call the tree by its name, but they all forget it. Finally the animals send Rabbit, who learns that it is called “Ntunguru meng’enye.” She returns to the other animals, who are now weak with hunger, and calls the tree by name. “And the fruits started falling like rain!” They thank Rabbit and realize that everyone is important no matter their size.

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