1Listen from 0:06
Once upon a time on the great African plains there lived a honey badger. Now I don’t know if you know anything about honey badgers, but generally they’re quite grumpy creatures, and our honey badger was no exception.
Honey badgers like to spend their days underground because the African plains are very, very hot and they get grumpy very quickly. So they spend their time in a cool hole that they’ve dug up by themselves - honey badgers are very good diggers.
As I am sure you can imagine, this made the wizard very, very cross. In the beginning he thought it was just stupid kids and, well, old people losing their minds.
At evening time, they come out to look around for something to eat, and then they go back to their hole to sleep through the night time and through the next day. They love sleeping.
Our particular honey badger goes by the name Mr Badger. Mr Badger was looking for a hole to spend the hot day. He found a little hole in a rock and it seemed strange because it was very, very deep. Luckily, badgers aren’t scared of deep holes.
2Listen from 1:11
He made his way through the tunnel and when he got to the end, there were some sandy stairs. One flight, two flights – Mr Badger thought, “This is great: no one’s going to find me here.”
Mr Badger walked down three more sets of long, dark tunnels, and (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) more flights of stairs. When he finally got to the end of the hole, he crawled up into a little ball and tried to get some sleep, but Mr Badger just couldn’t get comfortable.
There was something very hard under his head. Luckily badgers can see very well in the dark, so he had a look to see what was making him so uncomfortable. In the dark he could make out a strange, round shape. Mr Badger said, "If I didn’t know any better, I would say that that is a pot".
Sure enough, Mr Badger was right. He quickly scooped it up in his paw and ran back up all the flights of stairs and through all of the long tunnels until he got outside.
3Listen from 2:26
It was now evening time, and even though the light was disappearing quickly, Mr Badger could see that what he had found was most definitely a pot – it was even possible that this was a honey pot!
“Ooooh,” he thought to himself, “A honey pot! A honey pot – I do love honey,” and his mouth drooled at the thought of it. Then Mr Badger clutched his very sharp claws around the lid of the pot and pulled and pulled, but his claws just slipped off. “What’s this, what’s this?” he thought.
Mr Badger thought to himself, “I could just break the pot,” and he lifted it high above his head - but just as he did this he had visions of the honey pot smashed and honey oozing out all over the dirty, dusty floor. There was nothing that Mr Badger despised more than honey mixed with sand. “Oh no, filthy, filthy!” he said. “Terrible, terrible! I’m going to need some help on this.”
So Mr Badger thought about all of his friends. “There’s Mr Elephant, yes, yes! But Mr Elephant is too strong, he would probably just break the whole pot.” And then he thought about Mr Rhinoceros. Mr Rhinoceros had a good horn; he could lift up the lid. But Mr Rhinoceros liked honey as well, and then Mr Badger would have to share and badgers don’t like sharing, not honey! Other stuff maybe, but he’s too grumpy to share his honey.
4Listen from 4:09
“I know who would do it,” he thought, “that nasty old Mrs Lioness. Yes, she’s got the claws and the strength and she won’t squash it, and she definitely doesn’t like honey. The only problem is that she doesn’t like me either. Lions like to eat badgers. Well, lions like to eat everything, don’t they?”
So he knew if he came too close, even just to ask Mrs Lioness a favour, she would probably just bite him and eat him: gulp! He didn’t like that idea very much - it would be very difficult to eat the honey if he was being eaten!
The badger thought and thought. He thought so much that it was already day time when a plan finally came to him. He looked out over the plains and saw Mrs Lioness down on the riverbed. This was good for him, because then he could stay on the cliff of the riverbed above Mrs Lioness and he could talk to her without her being able to jump up and eat him. “This is perfect,” he thought to himself.
5Listen from 5:14
So he walked over the cliff, cleared his throat and said, “Excuse me, Mrs Lioness, have you perhaps got a moment?”
She looked up, and licking her lips said, “Maybe to taste you.”
“Oh no, no dear, that’s not going to work for me today, perhaps another time,” Mr Badger replied.
“Ah rats,” she said with a bit of a hiss because that was all she had been eating lately, and was terribly disappointed that she couldn’t have something other than rats to eat for a change. “Mmm,” she said. “What do you want?”
6Listen from 5:56
“Well,” said Mr Badger, “it’s this honey pot, you see; I need to get it open but I just can’t, and I thought about asking Mr Elephant and Mr Rhinoceros but I think that they’re just not gentle enough… whereas your grace and elegance is matched only by your strength.”
“Why don’t you bring it down here, dear, and I’ll open that right up for you,” she purred.
“Ah, yes, yes” he chuckled. “I’m quite familiar with you, Mrs Lioness. I know how lions work, and if I come down there you will just eat me up without even thinking of opening my honey pot.”
“Oh nonsense,” she said. “I would open the pot and then I would have you for a snack when I was done.”
7Listen from 6:46
“You see, I knew it, I knew you were going to say that. That’s why I have come up with a great idea that can maybe fulfil both our needs.”
“I doubt it,” replied Mrs Lioness, completely disappointed. “No, no,” said Mr Badger, “hear me out. What we’re going to do is have a race and if I beat you, I get what I want, but if you beat me, you get what you want.”
“Mmm,” said the lioness, “let me get this correct: you want to challenge me to a race?”
8Listen from 7:23
Now, everyone on the whole great African plains knows that lions are one of the fastest animals you can find, and that they are much, much faster than badgers, who are one of the slower animals. (Even though they are very cheeky, badgers are not good at long distance!)
“Mmm, and what do I get if I win?” asked Mrs Lioness.
“Well,” replied Mr Badger, “if I win, you have to open my pot of honey. But if you win, you get to eat me.”
“Oh,” she said, “that does make it rather interesting …” In the back of her mind Mrs Lioness thought, “As soon as we start this race I’m just going to eat him anyway.”
“Oh, one more thing,” said Mr Badger. “We can’t start the race at the same place.”
“Rats!” she replied.
9Listen from 8:16
“Yes,” he said, “I know that if we start in the same place you’re just going to eat me, so I’m going to start on this side of the riverbank and you’re going to start on that side of the riverbank and I’m going to put the pot of honey in the middle. The first one to the pot of honey wins.”
“Hmm,” she said, thinking about whether or not she would be able to catch the badger, “Yes, I’m pretty sure I can,” she thought. “Okay,” she said to Mr Badger, “that sounds fantastic. Shall we do it at, say, sunset when it’s a tad cooler? It’s far too hot now.”
“That’s perfect,” said Mr Badger. “I still need to put the pot in the middle of the riverbed.”
Mrs Lioness slowly made her way to the other side of the riverbank, and Mr Badger went to his side of the riverbank and said, “Okay, as soon has the hadidas start to fly, the race will begin.”
(All the creatures of the great African plains have their own routine, and at sunset the hadidas would fly around shouting “Hardi-daa, hardi-daa!”)
10Listen from 9:36
They waited and they waited, and sure enough the noise came. “Hardi-daa! Hardi-daa!” All of sudden the race was on. Mrs Lioness speedily made her way to the middle – she huffed and puffed as she ran. Mr Badger, who was much slower, ran towards the pot with a pitter-patter of his feet.
Mrs Lioness, of course, jumped straight over the honey pot and started running straight for Mr Badger. His eyes grew big. “I knew you would do this!” he said.
“Oh, you are correct,” she said with a purr in her voice and a smile over her big mouth which showed her sharp teeth.
Just at that point when the lioness was about to pounce on Mr Badger, he jumped into a hole that he had dug and ran all the way through a tunnel to the honey pot. He got to the middle and touched the honey pot first. “Ah!” he said, “I beat you!”
“What, what?” she said. “That’s cheating!”
11Listen from 10:42
“Well,” replied Mr Badger, “so is trying to kill your competitor; I knew you would do that, so I prepared this hole before we began.”
“Oh,” she gasped, “I hate to be out-foxed,” and she started walking a little closer, swaying from side to side as she did with each paw landing right before the last one.
“Oh, well done,” she said with sarcasm in her voice. “Well … I guess you have beaten me and now I must open this ghastly honey pot. But,” she continued with an edgy tone, and before she said another word she leapt forward towards the badger. But once again, Mr Badger just snuck around and jumped into his hole. Mrs Lioness started clawing at the hole, smashing and digging.
Mr Badger simply put the pot in front of him, and as she clawed the pot, all the bits and pieces that were forcing the lid to stay closed broke away and the lid flew off with a mighty crash.
12Listen from 11:46
Mr Badger got so excited that he turned and ran down the hole, and by the time Mrs Lioness had noticed, he was already on the other side of the riverbank. “Ha ha ha, thank you for opening up my pot, Mrs Lioness, see ya around sucker! Hahaha,” he laughed. Mrs Lioness gave out a mighty roar “Rhhhhooooooaaaaaarrrrr!” and shouted with frustration, “I’ll get you, Mr Badger!” and went off to find some rats, very disappointed with herself.
Mr Badger scurried off to the nearest safe place which happened to be under a shady tree. He looked inside his new pot, and you know what he discovered? Gold! Little shiny pieces of honey-coloured metal. “What?” he thought, “What am I going to do with this?”
He put one in his mouth, hoping that is was perhaps a honey cracker or honey coins or something, but to his disappointment, he discovered that it was just metal, just like the pot is only a honey colour.
13Listen from 13:01
He was so disappointed, after all that effort and planning and staying awake so long, and now he was tired and hungry and he had no honey to make him feel better. But just then, do you know what happened? It started to rain!
That’s right – as if it couldn’t get any worse for Mr Badger, not only was he stuck with a pot of hard honey-metal coins, now it was also raining. Badgers hate to get wet!
It rained and it rained. Mr Badger knew how important rain was for the great savannah on the great African plain, but he felt quite sad and even a little bit cold.
14Listen from 13:46
After a little while, the rain disappeared and a beautiful rainbow came, as it sometimes does. This rainbow was very, very lucky for Mr Badger because it landed right next to the tree he was sitting under. “That’s nice… I guess,” sighed Mr Badger, still very disappointed.
Just then, the most amazing thing happened. Right next to him, at the end of the rainbow, was another pot. “Oh, my luck has changed!” shouted Mr Badger, who was sure that this pot would be filled with delicious honey.
Just as he grabbed the pot a small man in a green suit popped out. “Hey, whatcha think ya doing there, lad?”
15Listen from 14:31
The badger looked up.
“Um… nothing… is this your pot?” Mr Badger asked the little man.
“Right-you-are,” replied the man.
“What’s in it? Is it honey?” asked Mr Badger.
“No, it’s not honey, ’tis gold! Gold is my fav’rit ting in the whole world!”
“Oh,” said Mr Badger, “well, I have some gold.”
“Do ya now?” asked the little man, “an’ how wouldcha be gettin’ some gold then?”
16Listen from 15:01
So the badger explained where he had gotten the gold and the whole adventure. “Oh,” said the man in the green suit, “that sounds like quite a tall tale! But I tink whatcha have der is from a gold mine, yes I tink I do, I tink dat is gold ya got; do ya mind if I take a wee peek?”
So the badger went and showed him the pot of gold. “Oh!” exclaimed the little man, “bless me little socks.” He continued, “If you give me that gold I’ll give ya one wish.”
The badger thought that after all there is only one thing that he would wish for, so one wish would be quite enough. “Okay,” said Mr Badger, “but I get to make my wish first, and then I give you the gold. I know how these things work and I won’t be cheated again.”
“Okay, okay, tat’s no problem,” replied the little man. “What would ya like?”
17Listen from 15:44
The badger said, “I want your pot and my pot to be filled with honey, and you can take your gold in your bag.”
“Good tinking,” said the leprechaun and with a quick snap of his fingers both of the pots were full of honey!
“Oh thank you, thank you!” said the badger, and he stuck his face in one pot and his paw in the other.
“No, thank you, thank you,” said the little man, who picked up all the gold coins and started walk back over the rainbow.
18Listen from 16:12
“Whoa,” said the badger, who carried on eating his honey, “this was the best day ever!”
Mr Badger was so proud of himself: he had got away from Mrs Lioness and he had got his pot of honey plus another one and had even made a new friend who can walk up rainbows … wow!