She said this so often that in time she thought it really was about to happen.
One day, when she had been saying over and over again, “Suppose the Earth were to fall in, what would happen to me?” she heard a slight noise. It was only a heavy fruit that had fallen on a rustling leaf, but the little hare was so nervous that she was ready to imagine anything, and said alarmed: “The Earth is falling in.”
“The Earth is falling in, is it?” said the old brother hare and was astonished. He then repeated this to his brother hare, and he to his brother hare, and he to his brother hare until at last there were a over a thousand brother hares shouting: “The Earth is falling in.” After a little, the bigger animals began to take up the cry. First the deer, and then the sheep, and then the wild boar, and then the buffalo, and then the camel, and then the tiger, and then the elephant.
Now the wise lion heard all this noise and wondered at it. He said, “There are no signs of the Earth falling in. They must have heard something.” And then he stopped them all short and said: “What is this you are saying?”
“How do you know this?” asked the lion.
“The tiger told me so.”
The tiiger said: “I had it from the camel,” and the camel said: “I had it from the buffalo.” And the buffalo from the wild boar, and the wild boar from the sheep, and the sheep from the deer, and the deer from the hares, and the hares said: “We heard it from that little hare.”
“You saw it?” said the lion. “Where?”
“Over there, by the tree.”
“In that case,” said the lion, “I will take you on my back.” He took her on his back and asked the other animals to stay where they were until he and the hare came back. Then he showed the little hare how a fruit had fallen on a leaf and made the noise that had frightened her.
All the animals began to repeat this to one another and soon walked their way. Meanwhile, the lion and little hare heard their words more and more softly: “The Earth is not falling in,” “The Earth is not falling in,” until the sound grew so faint they could not hear it any more.