The Rat was very clever. He stayed in his lab all the time, working behind closed doors. He was content with his work, and had no need to stray out of his lab.
One day, the Elephant approached him. He asked him to work on something that the Lion wanted. The Rat was happy. For the first time in his life had someone given him something useful to do.
The Rat worked hard and long. At last, he cried out in triumph,
It is done!
Not quite, pointed out the Elephant.
You must show that it works. So the Rat set out to prove that. Soon he realized that he needed water from the Stream to prove his work. But the Stream was full of crocodiles.
What shall I do? thought the rat. He approached the Cheetah, and asked him to help. The Cheetah went to the head of the crocodiles, and asked if they would allow the rat to draw water.
Okay, said the head of the crocodiles.
But also take permission from the alligators.
So the Cheetah went to the head of the alligators. He put forward the same request. The head of the alligators pointed out one, and said,
Ask him. So, the rat went to the alligator and asked him.
Okay, said the alligator,
You may draw water tomorrow.
The Rat skipped happily and thanked the Cheetah for his help.
The next morning, the Rat went to the Stream to draw water. As he reached the water, the alligators caught him.
But I had permission, cried the Rat.
But from whom? asked the alligators.
The alligator who gave you permission was too junior.