The Rhinoceros Hunt part 4/4

The Rhinoceros Hunt part 4/4

It was then half past  five. A bamboo  trumpet sounded. Like a startled  daydreamer,  the male rhino roared,  then dashed to the west.  Ignoring  the shouts  of the people,  it  ran on, plunging  into the crowd. Then the rhino bellowed again, calling for its child and wife. The  three  ran  in a line,  the child in the middle,  and they escaped  through  a gap  in the crowd.

The people were stunned. Many of  them fell in their haste to run away. I lost my head too. I ran and climbed  one of the  tall  trees, then hung on tightly and closed my eyes. The rhinos  seemed  to be right below me, heaving deep breaths. I felt dizzy, lost my grip on  the tree and  fell on  the rhino's back, it seemed.

I had  fallen on Lahiam, who had been crawling  around at the  foot of the tree. It had been Lahiam panting  a while ago, not  the rhino. Lahiam winced and complained  that his back hurt.

The others had been just as frightened  as I had. Lahiam had been unable  to stand up. I heard  there were  even some who couldn't  help peeing  in their pants. It was the hunters who ran the fastest and were  the first to climb trees. There was a dignitary  from the town who was said  to be brave. But when he saw  the  rhinos approaching, he quickly flung his rifle away and climbed the nearest tall  tree.
"The  rifle, sir, the rifle!!" people yelled  to him. And what was his reply? "You can  take  the rifle and use your eyes for bullets  !"
story for children

The rhinos had vanished; we could no longer even  hear them. Everyone climbed down from the trees and gathered together. With the rhinos a safe distance away,  their courage reappeared and  they  told each other tall tales. Then we returned to the base camp. The viceroy  felt very guilty, having blown  the trumpet to stop the people from getting too close  to the  rhinos but having startled  the rhinos  instead. Thinking  it  impossible  to pursue  them, he dismissed  the party  right  then. At about 9: 00 p.m. we set off  for home. We arrived here just when the drum  for the dawn meal was being  beaten.

Bad  luck! Having taken all that  trouble, we returned  from .the hunt empty-handed. All the way home, whenever  I saw something  black crouching  by  the side of  the road, my heart jumped.  It always seemed to be the  rhinos.

"Maybe  your  luck is as bad as mine, Suanta," I said.  "How big was  the male  rhino?"

Suanta  replied: "Oh,  it was big, sir, bigger than a buffalo. It was about  ten feet long, with a thick neck, a bald head, and a large snout.  It had a crooked horn, sir, very  frightening, but you couldn't  see its eyes."

"And what were  its  teeth like?"  asked Momo.

"I  don't know.  I  couldn't  see clearly, but if I  haven't forgotten,  its teeth were like a pig's, only much bigger. Oh, it was really  terrible!"

"And how big was the baby  rhino?"  I asked.

"Oh, small, sir, about the size of a young buffalo.  I've really had enough of rhinos! If the master ever wants  to take me on a hunt again,  I won't join in as quickly  as I did  last time."

The End

Related Stories

The Rhinoceros Hunt part 1/4  Read
The Rhinoceros Hunt part 2/4  Read
The Rhinoceros Hunt part 3/4  Read
The Rhinoceros Hunt part 4/4  Read 

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