52 THE HEART OF A MONKEY
' " I mustn't stay," answered the hare ; " but I promised the lion to beg you to pay him a visit, as he is not well enough to call on you."
' " Well, I don't know," replied the donkey gloomily, " the last time we went he scratched me very badly, and really I was quite afraid."
'" He was only trying to kiss you," said the hare, " and you bit him, and of course that made him cross."
' " If I were sure of that," hesitated the donkey.
' " Oh, you may be quite sure," laughed the hare. " I have a large acquaintance among lions. But let us be quick," and rather unwillingly the donkey set out.
' The lion saw them coming and hid himself behind a large tree. As the donkey went past, followed by the hare, he sprang out, and with one blow of his paw stretched the poor foolish creature dead before him.
' " Take this meat and skin it and roast it," he said to the hare ; " but my appetite is not so good as it was, and the only part I want for myself is the heart. The rest you can either eat yourself or give away to your friends."
'" Thank you," replied the hare, balancing the donkey on her back as well as she was able, and though the legs trailed along the ground she managed to drag it to an open space some distance off, where she made a fire and roasted it. As soon as it was cooked the hare took out the heart and had just finished eating it when the lion, who was tired of waiting, came up.
' " I am hungry," said he. " Bring me the creature's heart; it is just what I want for supper."
'" But there is no heart," answered the hare, looking up at the lion with a puzzled face.
! " What nonsense ! " said the lion. "As if every beast had not got a heart. What do you mean ? "
' " This is a washerman's donkey," replied the hare gravely.
' " Well, and suppose it is ? "