The Flea and the Louse

Fleas and lice used to live as one happy family, until one particular flea tried to trick a louse. The two of them lived together in a crowded flat with lots of humans and pets to feed off.

BLesaca The-Flea-and-The-LouseOne day, the grandmother came to live there. She was so old and sick, she couldn't get out of bed. When the flea and the louse smelled her, they felt very hungry. But the flea was a greedy pest who didn't want to share even a hair follicle with the louse. So when he saw his friend crawling up the old lady's neck, he planned a competition he was sure he could win.

"Here are the rules," he said. "Before the sun goes down, we'll make a pile of human hair. The highest hair pile will win the old lady."

The louse couldn't think of a better competition, so she agreed.

The flea flew off. With his long legs, he could jump all over the flat collecting the stray hairs of all the family. He was so confident he would win, he even sucked a little blood from a puppy while she was sleeping.

Meanwhile, the louse slowly crawled around the old lady's bed, steadily collecting what she could, without being able to jump or fly.

The sun slipped behind Sunset Peak. "Time's up!" called the flea. He bundled the many hairs he'd collected into a ball and tried to balance it on his back. But when he jumped, it fell off.

The same thing happened again and again. Then, when he finally balanced the ball, while jumping back into the old lady's bedroom, he passed her electric fan. Whoosh! His precious hairs scattered far and wide and he was left with only one.

"Ha ha, she's all mine," said the louse, sitting on top of her little mound.

Yum, yum. Grandmother tasted delicious.

This tale is loosely based on an ancient Naxi tribe legend.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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