THE EARTHQUAKE – A folk tale

Summary, Notes and solved exercises


Once upon a time, there was a rabbit near the Western Sea. He lived in an earthhole, under a small palm shrub at the foot of a bel tree.

One day, as the rabbit was getting food to its home, a strange thought came to his mind.

“What if the earth falls to pieces, what if it falls on me?”, he thought, almost shivering.

At that same moment, a big ripe bel fruit fell right on top of the palm shrub. At this, the little animal jumped straight up into the air, being quite sure that the earth was indeed falling to pieces around him.

Video: The Earthquake, a folk tale

He got scared and started to run madly without even looking back. Another rabbit saw him running and asked him, ‘Why are you running like this, you look so scared?’

 ‘Don’t ask me,’ said the hare without stopping.

‘But why, but why?’ the other repeated, running behind him.

 ‘The earth is falling to pieces behind us’, said the first hare, still running.

 So the other fled after him. In the same way, another hare saw him and yet another, until a hundred thousand hares were all fleeing after him. Then a deer saw them, and a boar, and an antelope, and a buffalo, and a gazelle and a rhinoceros, and a tiger, and an elephant and all asked: ‘ What is this?’

‘The earth is falling to pieces!’ was the reply, so they all joined in the stampede followed by the whole race of each species. In this way gradually, the line of animals stretched out over a distance of about three miles.

Then a huge lion appeared and he saw the wild flight of animals. He shouted at them. ‘What is all this? Are you all out of your senses?’

When he was told that the earth was falling to pieces, he thought:

‘There is no question of an earthquake, but I suppose they must have misunderstood some sound they heard and if I do not make some great effort, they will all come to destruction. I must save their lives’

With this, he sprang with a terrific speed to the foot of a hill in front of all the animals and roared thrice at the top of its voice.

They were all frightened out of their wits. They turned about, huddled up together, and stayed where they were.

The lion padded in between their ranks and asked them: ‘Why are you all running away?’

‘The earth is falling to pieces,’ said they in chorus.

 ‘Who has seen it falling to pieces?’

‘The elephants know about it,’ some said.

He asked the elephants, but they said: ‘we know nothing about it. It is the tigers who know that’.

‘The rhinoceroses know,’ said the tigers.

‘The gazelles do,’ shouted the rhinoceroses.

 ‘The buffaloes say so,’ submitted the gazelles.

The buffaloes said, ‘we were told so by the antelopes’.

The antelopes added, ‘No, no. Ask the boars’.

The boars pointed towards the deer.

But the deer said: ‘We do not know.

Ask the hares.’ When the hares were asked, they all pointed to one hare and said, ‘This one told us’.

Now the lion came close to the hare: ‘Oh, it’s you who has spread this news. Well, is it true that the earth is falling to pieces?’

 ‘My lord, most certainly it’s true,’ said the hare.

‘Well, where were you when you saw this?’ asked the lion.

‘Oh, sir, among some palm trees close to the Western Sea. There, while resting under a palm leaf at the foot of a bel tree, I began to wonder where I would go if ever the earth should fall to pieces, and lo! At that very moment, I heard the crash of the earthquake and so I fled as fast as I could’.

The lion thought to himself:

 ‘No doubt a ripe bel fruit fell from above on to the palm leaf and made the crash, so that this little fellow, on hearing it, thought that the earth was cracking up and he fled. I had better look into the matter myself’.

He thereupon took the hare aside and spoke to the vast herd of animals. ‘Listen to me, all. I’ll go and find the truth about this earthquake. Till then, you stay here. Don’t move about till I come back’.

He said in a commanding tone.

All the animals nodded their heads as if to show their obedience. Now, the lion asked the hare to sit on his back. The hare did so and very soon they were at the foot of the palm trees.

The hare jumped off the lion’s back.

‘Go now,’ the lion said, ‘show me the place you were talking about.’

‘Oh, lord, I would not dare,’ said the hare nervously.

 ‘Don’t be stupid, come along,’ he shouted at the poor hare.

The hare, not daring to go near the bel tree, stood some way off, and, pointing out to the lion the spot where he had heard the terrible crash, said: ‘That is exactly the place I heard the crash’.

 ‘Do you live here?’ asked the lion.

 ‘Yes, I do,’ said the hare.

‘Well, do you know what caused that loud sound?’

 ‘What else? It was the earthquake, wasn’t it?’ ‘No’ said the lion in a tone of certainty.

‘What else? I really think that it must have been the cause’.

The lion did not pay any attention to the words uttered by the hare.

On the other hand, he paced towards the place under the palm leaves. Looking closely, he found that a ripe bel fruit, not long before, had fallen on top of the palm shrub.

Now the lion understood everything. He also made sure that there was no sign of any earthquake nearby.

‘Jump on to my back,’ said he without losing any more time. The hare sat on it, and within a few minutes, both of them were facing the assembly of animals.

The lion spoke to them: ‘Dear animals, you need not have any fears. There was neither an earthquake nor any other calamity. Go back to your places, and live as you did before’. All the animals thanked their king and went back to their habitats. Imagine what would have happened if the king lion had not gone to check the real fact.


1.What is the wild imagination of the hare?

Ans:The wild imagination of the hare earth was to fall to pieces what would become of it? a strange fear struck him.

2.What even cause the crush?

Ans:At that very moment a huge ripe bell fruit fell right on the top of the palm shrub and caused a crash.

3.Name the few animals that joined the race?

Ans:A hundred thousand of hares, boar, deer, antelope gozelly rhinoceros,tiger and a huge elephant joined the race.

4.Which of the animals do you thinks is sensable one? How would you justify that anwer

Ans:The lion king of the animal was the sensible one among the animals. Because after hearing the cause of wild flight of the animals it thought that they have misunderstood some sound.

5.What did the lion guess about the cause of the crash?

Ans:The lion after listening to the hare guessed that ripe bell fruit must have fallen from the palm of the shrub have caused the crush.

6.What was the command given by the lion to the animals? at the end?

Ans:The command given by lion is dear animals you need not fear.There was neither an earthquake nor calamity Go back to your places and live as you did before.

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