A long time ago, deep in a beautiful forest beyond the horizon, there lived many
animals called the Rainbow Animals. The Rainbow Animals looked ordinary, as you
see anywhere in our land; the difference was that their fur was in rainbow colors.
Also, they could talk.
The animals lived peacefully in Rainbow Country, but to the south there was a country
that did not wish for peace. This was Rhino Country, and it was populated by some
of the meanest rhinos you could ever find. They constantly sent raiding parties
over the border.
After the latest raid had robbed several squirrels of the hard-earned nuts they
had been storing for winter, a lion called for a meeting. All the Rainbow Animals
gathered in a glade.
“These attacks can’t go on much longer,” said the lion. “It’s time we fought back
against Rhino Country.”
The larger animals chattered excitedly. The smaller ones looked at each other and
“I don’t want to be trampled by rhinos!” squeaked an iguana. “I’d be scared to death,
“That’s the trouble with iguanas,” snorted an elephant. “They just want to lie around
and bask in the sun all day.”
“At least we don’t make the ground shake when we walk,” said the iguana. “The other
day, I almost fell off my favorite rock because of you!”
The elephant beamed proudly.
“Enough!” roared a bear.
A tapir stepped forward. “At this rate, we’ll never finish the meeting. Animals
like you should listen to me!” he declared.
“What do you suggest we do?” asked an eagle.
“We could move to the other side of the horizon,” said the tapir matter-of-factly.
A nearby pig stopped rolling in the mud long enough to protest, “But then we’ll
lose our beautiful rainbow colors!”
No one bothered to mention that the pig was usually caked in a muddy brown.
“I think we should go on the offensive,” said an armadillo.
“And we’re all in this together,” added the lion.
“We need a good army,” squawked a parrot. “Which of us would be good for the army?”
“Skunks!” chorused a dozen voices.
“My goodness!” said a dog. “If we used skunks, all of us would have to fight with
one paw pinching our nose!”
“I get to punch the rhino chief in the nose!” declared a baby hippo.
“No! That is reserved for me!” called a baby lamb.
“Youngsters are not to be fighting,” the lion said sternly.
“Oldsters can’t fight…”
“I think we should see what the rhinos are doing,” said a fox. “Are our squirrel
scouts up to the task?”
Two squirrels in the group nodded and scurried from the meeting.
The lion stood. “Make ready…”
“...To get trampled on,” finished the iguana.
The animals groaned.
“Make ready to move out,” said the lion.
While the Rainbow Animals were holding their meeting, the rhinos were also busy
making plans. The rhino chief and his lieutenants were gathered around a stone table
in their castle.
“We should conquer Rainbow Country and be done with it!” thundered the chief, slamming
the table for emphasis.
“When?” asked another rhino.
“The sooner the better!”
“We should make weapons,” said the other rhino. “Heh heh, the Rainbow Animals are
sure in for a surprise!”
They trooped outside and got to work making swords, cannons, cannonballs, shields, bows, and arrows.
And if they looked very closely, they might have noticed two pairs of eyes at the
top of a hill nearby peering down at all the commotion.
“It looks like they’re getting ready to attack soon,” whispered the first squirrel
(whose name was Whisk).
The second squirrel (whose name was Flight) nodded.
The scouts turned and hurried back to Rainbow Country. When they arrived near dusk,
all the animals gathered around to listen.
“Can we really fight against such a force?” asked a giraffe.
“I told you we had to move,” said the tapir.
“We have to fight the best we can,” said the eagle.
“Hear, hear!” said a monkey.
“I’m not dodging rhino feet!” squeaked the iguana. “I may never see my favorite
There was a pause.
“There!” said Flight. “I knew we had to flatten him out. If he’s flat then he wouldn’t
need to worry about getting trampled on.”
“Hear, hear!” said the monkey, this time much more enthusiastically.
“Is that all you say?” asked the pig.
“Yes,” said the monkey.
“No,” said the pig.
“We must attack early tomorrow,” decided the lion. “If we wait longer, the rhinos
will grow too powerful.”
“No one listens to me,” sighed the tapir amidst all the cheering.
The iguana was running in circles and mumbling, “I shall get trampled on! Oh, oh,
The animals woke early the next morning while it was still dark. It was so early
they could still see the stars. The moon hung low over the horizon, bright and full.
They started their journey to Rhino Country.
Slowly, the stars began to fade. The sky lightened to a rosy pink. They crossed
one river after another. The ground started to turn rocky.
The sun crept higher, shining brightly down a cloudless sky. At last, the animals
reached the top of a granite hill. It was very hot. They stared down wordlessly,
and then with amazement.
Below in the valley, there stood a great castle filled with many towers and surrounded
by a moat. The animals had never seen anything like it before. Assembled in front
of the castle was an entire field of rhinos. It was the invasion force preparing
“Well,” said the lion, “It looks like they haven’t seen us yet. Shall we attack?”
The tapir grunted. “It’s now or never.”
“They’ll just follow us to our homes if we ran,” the dog agreed.
The iguana was busy eyeing all the rhino feet and did not reply.
The lion opened its jaws wide. “Charge!” he roared.
Everyone was holding back. That is, everyone but the skunks. The brave creatures
raced down the hill with their tails raised and shot straight into the rhino camp.
Before the rhinos could collect their wits, they were choking in a most unwelcome
and disgusting smell.
A skunk turned around and looked up the hill. All the animals were staring back
with their paws covering their noses.
“A little help, please?” she asked exasperatedly.
The rest charged down the hill. The Rainbow Animals fought bravely, but by now it
was sheer pandemonium. More and more rhino reinforcements rushed into battle, swarming
like angry ants. There must have been a thousand of them. The tide soon turned.
Frightened, the iguana hid under a rock. The rest of the Rainbow Animals were hauled
away and thrown into the rhinos’ dungeon.
“Ha ha ha, to think the Rainbow Animals came to us!” hooted the rhino chief. “The
The rhinos trooped back into their castle to celebrate with a gigantic feast. The
drawbridge began to rise.
The iguana peeked out from under his rock and said to himself, “Who cares if I get
trampled on? Why, if I was so scared, I might as well have not been born at all.”
He summoned his courage and ran as fast as his little legs could carry him toward
the castle. As he got to the moat, the iguana lost hope. The drawbridge was now
more than halfway up. He couldn’t jump that high. Just then, there was the sound
of something breaking. Down, down, down the drawbridge fell! It landed right on
top of the iguana. Now he was as flat as a bug.
“I knew it would happen,” the iguana muttered.
He entered the castle and followed the smell of his friends down one hallway after
another. The hallways were deserted; everyone was at the banquet. He could hear
laughter and the clinking of glasses coming from far away.
The iguana inched down a spiraling staircase and came to a heavy stone door. It
was too heavy for him to move. “Don’t worry,” he said to himself. “You’ll think
“Ouch! Yikes! Yow!” he cried. For the door had flown open, flattening him even more.
Now he was as flat as paper.
Two rhinos stepped out. “Did you hear something?” asked one.
“No,” mumbled the frightened iguana.
“It must be the wind,” said the other. “Let’s go eat!”
The door closed with a thud and the rhinos stomped up the staircase.
The iguana discovered that by now he could easily slide under the door. He found
himself inside a dimly lit room and gasped.
The far wall was sculpted into the shape of a gigantic rhino head. Flames burned
from its eyes. Its mouth was as large as a house and covered by closely set bars.
It was the rhino prison.
All the Rainbow Animals were crammed inside, and all were looking extremely grumpy.
They brightened up when they saw their new visitor.
“Everyone, look!” yelled the armadillo when he saw the iguana. “The iguana has come
to save us all!”
“Be quiet!” said the dog. “He might get caught!”
The iguana found the keys hanging on a wall and snatched them. Then there came the
sound of footsteps. All the animals froze.
“Lunchtime!” hollered a rhino from the passageway.
“Quick!” said the lion. “Crawl in before he sees you!”
The iguana slipped through the bars of the prison just in time. The door opened
and in stepped the rhino chief with a sneer. He chuckled, not noticing the flat
new member of the prison.
“Here’s your lunch,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll like it. Ha ha ha!”
Then he threw in a few apple cores, a moldy piece of cheese, and a few crumbs of
bread. The mice squeaked excitedly. The rest looked on in disgust.
“Enjoy your last meal!” he laughed. “We’re getting ready to move into your homes.
Rainbow Country will soon be ours!”
He left without noticing the keys were gone. The iguana slid back out, unlocked
the prison gates, and threw them wide open.
“Oh, hooray!” cried all the animals.
They forgot to keep their voices down. The door to the dungeon room flew open and
there stood the rhino chief, gaping at them.
“Let’s go!” shouted the bear.
They all pushed out of the door, bouncing the rhino chief up the stairs and sending
him sailing into a wall. More rhinos rushed to investigate the commotion and paled
when they saw the Rainbow Animals charging straight at them.
“Phew! Escaping could be a lot worse,” panted the armadillo after they had bowled
their eighth rhino out of their way.
Suddenly three guards stepped into their path, leveling their spears at them.
“Brake!” yelped a dog, but they couldn’t stop in time. They slid right under the
guards’ legs and sent them flying. The animals turned right, then left, then right
again, and stampeded out the castle.
They were just in time. From behind them came a thunderous clap. The animals spun
around, jaws dropping in amazement. The fortress was crumbling before their eyes.
Towers fell upon each other, and the earth trembled.
What the animals didn’t know is that when they sent the rhinos flying like bowling
pins, the rhinos knocked their heads on the ceiling of their castle. Then the castle
began crumbling because the rhinos knocked their heads so hard that pieces of the
ceiling fell out. Also the castle was very badly designed.
“The rhinos are going to have a huge headache after that,” commented the fox, not
knowing the rhinos were already seeing stars.
“I didn’t really care about the rhinos, but I did like that castle,” sighed the
“Well, I didn’t like that drawbridge,” sniffed the iguana.
“You don’t like anything,” laughed the bear.
“Wait!” said the skunk. “The iguana is still flat! What should we do?”
“I know,” said the lion. “I’ve got an idea that just might work.”
When the animals returned to their forest, the lion got an air pump and pumped the
iguana right up. Now he was the biggest iguana in the world, and so he became
King Iguana, king of all the animals.
And the Rainbow Animals lived happily ever after.