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The Laughing Hippopotamus

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The Laughing Hippopotamus

by L. Frank Baum

Genre: Fairy Tale
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


“Lift your right paw,” commanded Glinkomok. Keo obeyed, and the creature touched it with its long, hairy tongue. Then it held four skinny hands over Keo’s bowed head and mumbled some words in a language unknown to man or beast or fowl or fish. After this it spoke again in hippopotamese:

“Your skin has now become so tough that no man can hurt you. Your strength is greater than that of ten elephants. Your foot is so swift that you can distance the wind. Your wit is sharper than the bulthorn. Let the man fear, but drive fear from your own breast forever; for of all your race you are the mightiest!”


Baum’s story is modeled after Kipling’s “Just So Stories” but doesn’t have the same linguistic punch as Kipling. And we worry about sentences such as: “It was continual warfare between the hippopotamuses and the black people.”


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