Popo Keeps His Word

hippopotamus lives in water

Popo Keeps His Word

Do you know why the hippopotamus lives in water? Read Popo Keeps His Word to learn why.

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hippopotamus lives in water

Popo Keeps His Word

A long time ago, the Hippopotamus used to live on land. His name was Popo, and he was blessed with seven fat wives who loved singing. This made Popo very proud of them. Popo kept saying that “but for the Elephant, he would be the biggest animal on land.” He was that fond of himself. 

The other animals loved Popo so much because he loved throwing dinner parties. Ironically, everyone loved him, but no animal apart from his seven fat wives knew his name was Popo. None of the animals took time to find out his name, but every time, they attended his parties. This made Popo very upset.

Finally, he said to himself: “I’ll have to do something about it. Fancy, calling me a friend and not even knowing my name! Well, I’ll show them!” To get his revenge, he organised another dinner party and invited all the animals. The food was served, and just as his guests were about to eat, Popo stood up and spoke loudly. 

“My friends, I hope you are all having a good time. You have come to eat at my table. It won’t be the worse thing if I should ask a simple question, would it?”

“No, not at all!”They all screamed out while still stuffing their faces with food.

“What is my name?” Popo asked directly, and silence fell in the room. Not one animal could answer the question.

“Very well, friends,” Popo sounded disappointed. “No name, no food!” His tone quickly changed to that of anger. At this, they all got up and left. Popo called his seven wives to join him, and they began to eat

the feast. They were enjoying the food so well that they didn’t even notice when Tortoise walked in.

“Ahem,” Tortoise cleared his throat, drawing the attention of Popo and his seven large wives to himself.

“Ah, Tortoise. You are still here?” Popo asked.

“Yes, I am,” Tortoise said. He then bowed to Popo’s wives as a sign of greeting and then spoke. 

“Can you spare a minute?”

“Of course. I can spare many. I’m certain that the ladies won’t mind my leaving them for a moment.”

Popo excused himself from his wives and went to a narrow path with Tortoise. Before he left, his seven fat wives gave him a big smile.

“Well, Tortie, what do you want to say?” Popo asked.

“What would you do if I found out your name?” He went straight to the point. Popo stared at him for a few minutes before he started laughing.

When he didn’t notice Tortoise laughing with him, he guessed that the animal was very serious and so he stopped laughing. He then began to think.

“I’ll tell you what,” he finally said after a few minutes of thinking. “If at my next dinner party, you can tell me my name, I will be so ashamed of myself to the extent that I and my seven wives will leave the land

and live in the water forever.”

“Do you really mean that?” Tortoise’s face lit up.

“By the soil of the earth and thick skins of my Grandpapas, I do.”

“You won’t harm me, will you? ” Tortoise asked once again to be extremely sure that his safety was guaranteed.

“By the soil of the earth and the thick skins of my Grandmamas, I promise not to harm you,” Popo said, showing that he meant it.

“Thank you. Thank you.” Immediately Tortoise heard that he turned around and left. Popo then returned to his food and his seven fat wives.

The next evening, Popo began his normal duties of leading his seven fat wives every morning and every evening to the river for a bath and a drink. Unknown to him, Tortoise knew this.

He waited till Popo left for his duties and then followed them. Popo and his seven fat wives were at a river having their baths. When Tortoise noticed they were all occupied, he dug a hole in the middle of the path they took from the river. The hole was big enough to contain him.

When Tortoise was done digging the hole, he went back to check on Popo and his seven wives. That was when he noticed that two of Popo’s wives were missing. He went around looking for them, and when he saw them approaching the hole he dug, he went straight to it and hid inside the hole. This made his shell stick out, causing a hardly noticeable obstruction.

When the two wives passed by where Tortoise hid, one knocked her foot against the shell and cried out. “Popo, my dear husband. I’ve hurt my foot!”

Popo heard his wife’s cries and ran to her side immediately to offer comfort. After a while, they left, and Tortoise came out of the hole and jumped for joy. “Popo, the Hippo! Popo, the Hippo!” he said excitedly as he hopped back home. 

Soon, the day arrived for Popo’s dinner party, and he invited all the animals, including Tortoise. When the food was served, Popo got up and said, “friends, we have gathered again for another delicious feast. But before we continue, which of you can tell me my name?”

“I can!” Tortoise replied boldly.

Popo couldn’t help but laugh, and his laughter shook the room.

“Go on then. Tell everyone what my name is.” Popo finally said.

Tortoise hesitated for a while, and then he asked. “Before I tell you, you promise you won’t kill me.”

Tortoise was scared of what Popo would do to him if he got angry, so he needed to have witnesses that would defend him if anything happened.

“By the soil of the earth and the thick skins of my Grandpapas and Grandmamas, I promise not to touch you.”

“Okay then. Good friends, our host’s name is ‘Popo’!”

Popo was so surprised to hear his name from another animal’s mouth apart from his seven fat wives that he collapsed onto his chair and nodded his head to the other animals who waited in anticipation to know if Tortoise was right or not.

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” The other animals shouted.

Without a word, Popo left the room. A few minutes later, he was seen leading his seven fat wives down the rivers.

From that day on, the Hippopotamus has lived in water. He comes ashore at night but never during the day.



Moral Lesson

You can do anything if you are determined and focused.


What other moral lessons can you pick from the story, Popo Keeps His Word?


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