There was a little, nervous hare who was always afraid that something dreadful was going to happen to her. She always kept saying: “Suppose the Earth were to fall in, what would happen to me?”

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.”

She ran away as fast as she could. Soon she met an old brother hare who said: “Where are you running to, mama hare?”

And the little hare said: “I have no time to stop and tell. The Earth is falling in, and I am running away.”

“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?”

The elephant said: “I said that the Earth was falling in.”

“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.”

The lion said: “little hare, what made you say that the Earth was falling in?”

The little hare said: “I saw it.”

“You saw it?” said the lion. “Where?”

“Over there, by the tree.”

Well,” said the lion, “come with me and look again.”

“No, no,” said the hare, “I would not go near that tree for anything, I’m so nervous.”

“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.

The hare said: “Now I see the Earth is not falling in.”

The lion said: “Shall we go back and tell the other animals?” And they went back. The little hare stood before the animals and said: “The Earth is not falling in.”

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.

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