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|The Talking Melon|
June 4, 2013
Bao and Gai
Adventures in Ba Sing Se
A long time ago, there was once a farmer, who lived in an ancient world, that later became known as the Elephant Spirit. He grew some of the finest melons in all the land and many spirits were envious of them. One such spirit was Anansi, who spent his day sitting on a banana tree watching the Elephant as he watered and weeded his melons. The melons were singing in Anansi's mind, "Come eat us Anansi, we are so ripe and juicy, eat us!" It made his mouth water.
One night, when Elephant left his melons unguarded, Anansi climbed down the tree and, using a thorn, he dug a hole into the biggest and ripest melon. Anansi feasted to his hearts content. He ate and ate until he felt as though his stomach would burst. Then he went to climb out, but to his surprise the hole was no longer big enough for the now fat spider. "I'm stuck! I can't get out. I will have to wait until I am thin again." So Anansi sat in the melon waiting to get thin.
He waited, and waited, growing very bored. When dawn approached, he saw Elephant return and walk over and pick up the melon, and he said, "Oh look at this fine melon. How big and ripe it is!" He turned over the melon to examine it better and Anansi fell on his head.
"OUCH!" he cried. Elephant jumped, and a way to beat the boredom came to Anansi as he rubbed his head.
"Who said that?" shouted Elephant.
"I did, the melon," replied Anansi, stifling his giggles. Elephant "hurumphed".
"Melons can't talk," he said.
"Yes we can, we talk all the time. You just never listen". Elephant had to agree with the melon, he had never tried to listen to one.
"I can't believe my ears! A talking melon! Who could believe it? I must show this to the king."
Elephant ran down the road, carrying the melon with Anansi inside. Along the way, he ran into Hippo. "Where are you going with that melon elephant?" she asked.
Elephant replied proudly, "I'm taking it to the king."
"What for? The king has hundreds of melons."
In an even prouder voice he replied. "He doesn't have one like this. This is a talking melon."
Hippo didn't believe Elephant. She scoffed, "A talking melon? What an idea! That's as ridiculous as..."
"...a skinny hippo," cried Anansi from the melon.
Hippo got so angry her face turned red. "Who said that? Did you say that, Elephant?"
Elephant raised his trunk in defense, "It wasn't me. It was the melon. I told you it talks. Do you believe me now?"
"I do! I want to go with you. I want to hear what the king says when you show him this talking melon."
Elephant waved his trunk. "Come along, then."
So Elephant and Hippo went down the road together, carrying the melon.
By and by, they ran into Warthog. He snorted, "Where are you taking that melon?"
Together, Elephant and Hippo said, "We're taking it to the king."
"What for? The king has hundreds of melons."
Hippo replied, "He doesn't have one like this. This melon talks. I heard it."
The Warthog laughed, "A talking melon? Why, that's as ridiculous as..."
"...a handsome warthog" cried Anansi from the melon, having to put his fist in his mouth to muffle his laughter.
Warthog shook with rage, "Who said that? Did you say that, Elephant? Did you say that Hippo?"
They both replied "Of course not! The melon talks. Do you believe us now?"
Warthog nodded, "I do! Let me go with you. I want to see what the king does when you show him this talking melon."
So Warthog, Elephant, and Hippo went down the road together, carrying the melon.
Along the way, they met Ostrich, Rhino, and Turtle. They didn't believe the melon could talk either until they heard it for themselves. Then they wanted to come along too.
The animals came before the king. Elephant bowed low as he placed the melon at the king's feet.
The King looked down at the melon "Why did you bring me a melon? I have hundreds of melons growing in my garden."
Elephant looked up and proudly replied. "You don't have one like this. This melon talks."
The King walked down his throne to Elephant, "A talking melon? I don't believe it. Say something, Melon." The king poked the melon with his finger. But he received no reply from the Melon.
In a slightly louder voice the King says, "Melon, there is no reason to be shy. Say whatever you like. I only want to hear you talk." Yet the Melon remained silent.
The King growled impatiently "Melon, if you can talk, I want you to say something. I COMMAND you to speak." But the melon said nothing.
The King raised his arms in frustration and turned his back. "Oh, this is a stupid melon!" Just then the melon spoke.
Anansi said, "Stupid, am I?" Why do you say that? I'm not the one who talks to melons!"
The King turned around furious, fire in his eyes and sparks dancing around his head. "How dare this melon insult me! How dare this melon show me no respect!" He picked up the melon and threw it as far as he could.
The melon bounced and rolled all the way to Elephant's house. "KPOM!" It smacked into the thorn tree and burst into pieces. Anansi picked himself up from among the bits of melon rind.
All the excitement had made him thin. And now that he was thin again, he was hungry. Anansi climbed the banana tree. He settled himself in the middle of a big bunch of bananas and started eating.
Elephant returned to his home. He went straight to the melon patch. "You melons got me in trouble with the king! From now on, you can talk all you like. I'm not going to listen to a word you say!"
Anansi replied from the banana tree, "Good for you, Elephant! We bananas should have warned you. Talking melons are nothing but trouble."
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