One afternoon, a young rooster walked up to an elephant and said, ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo.’ The old elephant was surprised.
‘What’s the matter with you?’ What’s all this about?’ The rooster did no answer. He shook his feathers, dug his feet into the ground and pecked at the grain. Every now and again, he cried out, ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo.’
The elephant watched him for some time. Then he asked, ‘Tell me, Mr. Rooster, who do you think can eat more? You or I?
The rooster stopped pecking, stared with bis beady eyes at the elephant and said, ‘I can, of course!’ The elephant made a rude noise and lifted his trunk and the rooster kept on crowing. ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo, I can not only eat more than you, Mr. Elephant, but faster.’ They decided to have a contest to see who could eat the most. They asked all the animals in the forest to go to the bank of a great river.
‘Friends, today, you’ll help us find out who can eat more. The rooster or the elephant,’ saidd the tiger.
The elephant and the rooster began to eat. The elephant ate and ate until he was full. ‘I’ll burst if I don’t have a rest,’ he said. It was a hot afternoon and he began to feel drowsy. Soon he was fast asleep.
But the rooster carried on eating. He pecked at the grain, now and again, crowing loudly: ‘Cock-a-dool-doo.’ This made the other animals angry. ‘Oh, do stop showing off,’ said the snake. But the rooster toonk no notice of him.
In the late afternoon, the elephant woke up. He looked at the rooster eating. The animals told him that the rooster had stopped eating of afternoon. ‘Greedy fellow,’ said the elephant.
When he saw the elephant, the rooster began to make fun of him. ‘Did you sleep well, Mr. Elephant? Don’t you want to give up? You won’t win you know. You just aren’s strong or clever enough.
The elephant went on eating, Finally he stopped. ‘Oh, I can’t go on. My stomach hurts.’ He looked at the rooster who was still pecking at the grain.
The rooster was very happy. ‘I’ve won and I’m greatest in the forest,’ he crowed. He flappped his brown wings and landed on the elephant’s back. Angrily the elephant shook him off and ran intothe forest.
The rooster beat his wings and carried on eating. The animals were surprised. The rooster refused to stop. The became worried. They went to see the elephant.
‘Look, Mr. Rooster, if you carry on eating you’ll get sick,’ said the elephant. But the rooster went on eating and crowing, ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo.’
Suddenly, as the animals were returning to the forest they heard a strange sound. It was the rooster. He was red in the face and he was choking. He had eaten too much. ‘Help me!’ he called out. Before the animals could reach him, he fell down and died.
Sadly, the animals looked on. ‘It never pays to be greedy,’ said the wise, old elephant.