Judge Rabbit

 MISTER CLEVER and MISTER STUPID were neighbors, and the former had a cow, whereas the latter had a mare. One-night Clever cow gave birth to a calf, and Stupid’s mare gave birth to a colt Clever, being a light sleeper, heard the bleating of the calf and the neighing of the colt. Taking a light, he went down to the cowshed to have a look. He noticed that there was no light in Stupid’s stable. Guessing that Stupid had not been awakened by the neighing of the colt, Clever took the calf to the stable, and brought the colt to the cowshed. Then he went back to bed.

Early the next day he went around the village, telling everybody that a strange and wonderful thing had happened; his cow had given birth to a colt. The villagers flocked to the cowshed, and gazed in wonder at the colt. By this time, Stupid had found the calf in his stable and, suspecting the truth, he came to Clever and accused him of stealing his colt. Clever denied, maintaining that by a strange freak of nature, his cow had given birth to a colt. ‘But what about the calf in my stable?’ asked Stupid indignantly.
 “By a strange freak of nature also suggested Clever sweetly, your mare must have given birth to a calf.’ Stupid appealed to the neighbors, who however admitted their inability to decide the dispute. So Stupid asked Clever to go with him to another village to find a judge. On the way they met the Rabbit and asked him to act as judge in their dispute.

“With pleasure replied the Rabbit. Stupid and the Rabbit Clever explained what the dispute was, and your said, am busy now, but will fix a date for case. I will meet you in your village at sunrise on the morning of the seventh day from now. Be ready with your witnesses.’ Stupid and Clever thanked the Rabbit, and came back to their village.

On the appointed day at sunrise Stupid and Clever and the whole village assembled to await the coming of Judge Rabbit. The sun rose higher and higher until it was noon, but there was no Judge Rabbit. Noon passed and still there was no Judge Rabbit. It was only at sunset that the Rabbit appeared. As it was so unusual for the Rabbit to break his word, the villagers could not help asking why did not come at the appointed time, although in ordinary circumstances they should, out of courtesy, have asked no questions of a judge.
“I am so sorry,” replied Judge coming to you was delayed by an accident. As I was on fire this morning, I saw a sandbank in the river a and the whole day I have been carrying water in wicker crate and pouring it on the fire to put it out.

 Clever, who took pride in his cleverness, thought that Judge Rabbit was trying to test the intelligence of the villagers. “Sire Judge,’ said he brightly, how can a sandbank in the middle of the river be on fire, and how can water be carried in a wicker crate? It is against nature. I do not believe you!

 Quite right, Clever,’ replied Judge Rabbit calmly, “how can a cow give birth to a colt, and how can a mare give birth to a calf It is against nature. So, take back your calf and give back the colt to your neighbor Stupid.” The villagers applauded the decision of Judge Rabbit, and from that day onwards they always chose the Rabbit as their judge in all their disputes.

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