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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Borko, the Bully

Borko, the elephant, was nothing but a big bully. Because he was so much bigger than all the animals in the jungle, he thought it was okay to push them around and make them do things they didn't want to do.

When his mama asked him to move a pile of wood out of the pathway, he made some of the other animals in the jungle do it for him. “Do it, or I'll pick you up in my trunk and hurl you across the jungle!” The other animals shook with fear and did as Borko asked.

One bright and early morning, before Borko usually got out of bed, the other animals in the jungle got together for a meeting down by the river. “I'm tired of Borko bullying me around,” said the tiger.

“I'm tired of him making me do all his work,” said the zebra.

“Well, I'm tired of everything that has to do with Borko,” said the hippo. “He comes into the river and pushes me out of the way. But what can we do?”

A small warthog raised his hand. “I know what we can do.”

Heads turned towards the meek voice. “What?” The lion roared.

“We can bring a few mice into the jungle. Elephants are afraid of mice,” the warthog said.

“Don't be silly. Borko would never be afraid of mice. He'd simply step on them or suck them up in his trunk and blow them into the river,” the zebra said.

“Elephants are afraid of mice,” the warthog said.

“Where will we find mice?” The hippo yawned.

“If we go down to the docks, where the people put their boats, we could find some mice there. I'm sure if we tempted them with cheese and jungle food, they'd do anything we asked,” the warthog said.

The animals agreed and ran about all day gathering coconuts, mangos, papayas, bananas and goat cheese. They met at the river later that evening, after Borko had gone to bed.

“Borko made me sweep his his hut today,” the lion said.

“He made me bring him ten coconuts,” the wildebeest said, “and then I had to pour the milk into his mouth. I've never been so embarrassed in my life.”

“Enough of this. Today is the last day that Borko will ever boss any of us around. I'll take the tiger and the hippo with me,” the lion said. “We'll go and find some mice and meet you here in the morning.”

The lion and tiger ran off and the hippo swam down the river. The other animals went to sleep, knowing the next day would be interesting and fun.

The lion and tiger ran to the docks. A boat was tied up and it was quiet. “Good. No people are on it. Let's go and find some mice.”

The hippo swam up to the boat. “I'm here. I'll wait in the river for you.”

The wood creaked as they stepped inside the small boat. “Psst. Mice. We've got a deal for you. If you'll come with us into the jungle and take care of an elephant for us, we'll make sure you never go hungry again. Every animal will bring you food. All you have to do is follow the elephant wherever he goes.”

A mouse stuck his nose out of a hole. “All the food we want? Never go hungry? What do you want us to do?” Three other mice followed him out of the hole.

“Just come with us,” the tiger said.

They went down to the river. “Hop on back of the hippo and he'll take you to the jungle. We'll run ahead and have some food waiting for you.” The lion lifted the four mice onto the hippo's back and it floated away down the river.

The lion and tiger ran back to the jungle and gathered the food into a pile. When the hippo showed up with the mice, they pointed to the food. “Remember our deal. All you have to do is wait for Borko to wake up and then follow him around all day. If you see him start to bully someone, run over and grab his tail.”

“You've got a deal,” said the mouse. The four of them gobbled down the food and waited for the sun to rise.

All the animals in the jungle gathered around the clearing, hiding behind bushes and in the tree tops. When Borko arrived, he shouted, “Where are you, zebra? I've got work for you to do.”

The mice squeaked and ran over to Borko.

“Yikes! Mice! I hate mice! Get away from me!” He ran around on his two back legs crying and squealing like a frightened child. “Get away from me!” The mice grabbed his tail and hung on. Borko was so afraid that he disappeared into the trees.

The mice let go of him and ran back to the clearing.

All the animals came to join them. “See, I told you elephants were afraid of mice,” the warthog said.

From then on the animals were able to do what they wanted and never had to worry about Borko again. When he came around, all the mice had to do was run towards him and he'd dash away. There was no place for a bully any longer in the jungle.

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