When the Good Lord N´Gai made his plans for all the creatures
upon the earth, he made the hippopotamus an animal of the forests and
plains. The hippopotamus however, was greedy and, finding plenty of
food all around him and no enemies to worry about, he grew fatter and
fatter and fatter. The fatter he grew the more he suffered from the
Day after day, when he waddled down to the river for his drink, he
gazed with envy at the little fishes that swam in the pool. "Oh!,"
he would sigh, "how wonderful it would be if I could live, like
N´Gai´s little fishes, in the clear, cool refreshing water!"
The hippopotamus finally decided to approach the Lord of All Creation
to ask if he could leave the forest and plains and live instead in the
water of N´Gai´s rivers and lakes. N´Gai´s answer
was "No! For my fishes are very dear to me and if you live in the
rivers and lakes you may change your eating habits, and begin to eat
those little fishes. That would never do."
So the hippopotamus sadly went back to his home in the forest and plains,
where the sun continued to beat down mercilessly on his unprotected
hide. "This is more than I can bear," moaned the poor hippopotamus.
"Please, please, good Lord N´Gai, let me live in your rivers
and lakes, I promise I will not eat your little fishes."
The Great Lord N´Gai thought the matter over, while he looked
down upon the plains which were baking in the midday sun, and eventually
his heart softened. "Very well," he agree, "I will allow
you to live in my rivers, but how will you prove to me that you will
not eat my little fishes?"
"As you can see," answered the hippopotamus, "I have
grown very fat and will never able to swim. During the day I will walk
along the river bed and at night I will come out of the water and eat
grass on the bank."
"That will not be proof that you are eating my fishes" replied
"Well then," answered the hippopotamus, "I will come
out of the water every time that food passes through my body and I will
scatter my dung on the earth with my tail. All that I have eaten will
be spread out in your sight and you will see for yourself that there
are no fish bones. Surely this will be proof enough?"
So this is the way, to this very day, the hippopotamus comes out of
the water to scatter his dung as he looks up to heaven and says "Look
N´Gai - no fishes!"