Some were thinner, some were taller and some had more legs than they have today.
The Rhinoceros and the Hippopotamus were very vain and always boring the other animals, asking them to admire their good looks.
“Haven’t I got the most handsome face you’ve ever seen?” the Rhinoceros would ask, as he turned his head from side to side. “Don’t you think my left side is as handsome as my right?”.
“Look at my slim body” the Hippopotamus would answer. “Isn’t this the most beautiful body you’ve ever seen?”
“Huuh!” the Elephant would trumpet. “Look at my beautiful ivory teeth. They’re the most perfect teeth in the world”. And he would smile, showing two rows of gleaming ivory teeth.
Every thing was peaceful and boring until one day a red dragon flew down from the sky shouting “The world is going to end! The world is going to end!”
“We’ve heard that one before” said the lion, with a bored sigh. “The chicken said the sky was falling, but nothing happened”.
“It’s for real this time. The world is coming to an end!” yelled the red dragon.
“How do you know” the others asked.
“A wizard told me” he replied.
“Then it must be true” they all said. “What shall we do?”
“You can all climb onto my back and I’ll fly you to another world” said the red dragon.
They all rushed to get on the dragon’s back except the lion.
“I’m king around here and I’m not frightened of anything” he roared. “I’m going to stay here on earth”.
“I’m going to stay too” said the tiger, getting down.
“Tigers are just as brave as lions”.
When the other animals were ready, the dragon flapped his wings, jumped into the air and came down again.
With such a heavy load on his back he had to try it several times before he took off.
As the red dragon flew higher it was uncomfortable for the animals squeezed onto his back and some of them became scared. They began to fight and push each other.
“Get your tail out of my eye” yelled one.
“Watch where you’re putting that paw” yelled another.
“Oh, we’re going very high” squeaked a mouse.
“Give me a break and sit still” cried the red dragon. “All you’re fighting and shoving is making it very hard for me to fly”.
The animals ignored him and finally the red dragon became so tired he couldn’t flap his wings any more and started to fall out of the sky.
The animals slid off his back and fell towards the ground screaming in panic. No one was killed but they all landed with a mighty thud.
The snakes legs fell off and he slithered away in the grass.
The Rhinoceros landed on his face, making a large bump on his nose that turned into a horn.
The Hippopotamus kept rolling and bumping over the hillside, getting bigger and fatter until he finally splashed into a waterhole. He was so embarrassed at how round and fat he was, he wouldn’t come out.
The elephant broke all his teeth except for two that stuck into the ground. When he tried to pull them out of the ground they stretched into the two long tusks he has today.
The giraffe caught his head in a high tree and his neck stretched and stretched until his body reached the ground.
In fact all the animals changed into how they look today.
The lion and tiger roared with laughter at how funny the other animals looked now.
“I don’t see what’s so funny” snapped the crocodile, whose face had been flattened by a gorilla landing on it.
The Rhinoceros was very angry about losing his good looks. That’s why you have to be very careful near them, even today.
(Source from http://www.planetozkids.com)