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Where only the strongest survive

 The hot, dry air swept over the desert. The ground was cracked with big jagged tears running through it. The cactus trees seemed to slump as if drawing water from the tops of their roots and finding none. The land shimmered as the intense heat from the sun filtered down to the ground, meeting the hot air rising up.

 The skull of a wild cow poked out through the sand, a lone witness to a journey that ended abruptly from lack of water.

 Jenny and Wallis Lizard lay crouched and panting beneath a rock. It offered little comfort or protection from the sun, but at this temperature, direct sun would cause a slow, painful demise.

 The two lizards shared their scant protection with Horace Snake, who mostly slept.

 When the sun went down, the desert would turn bitterly cold. Each day was spent hiding from the sun and then at night finding a rock which was warm from the heat. Life in the desert was hard and cruel and only the strongest survived.

 "I'm so thirsty!" moaned Jenny Lizard.

 "Me too!" agreed Wallis Lizard.

 "I could do with a wee sip myself," said Horace Snake opening one eye.

 "Do you think, if we could dig down beside that cactus, we might find water?" asked Jenny Lizard.

 "I'm willing to try," said Wallis Lizard. "It looks like the cacti are having a hard time finding water themselves."

 Horace Snake slithered along with the two lizards on their way to the cactus. The heat beat down on the trip, without a moment of relief. The cactus tree looked as pitiful as the rest, but the trio's tongues lay swollen against the roof of their mouths.

 Together the three worked at the soil and soon the dry, cracked earth gave way. Scoop after scoop was moved by the lizards' tails and the snake's back and forth movement.

 "Do you feel anything?" asked Jenny Lizard.

 "I don't know," whispered Wallis Lizard.

 "I think we have found something," said Horace Snake as he moved and below him a small puddle of water formed and seeped through the soil.

 Each animal looked at the small amount and knew that each would have to share evenly. Each waited as the other took its turn.

 The reptiles knew they would survive another day in the desert because they had shared a gift more treasured than gold ... the gift of water.

 Question about the story: What happened in the desert at night?

 Send answers to Storytime, c/o Verna Dunlop, RR#1 Moser River, NS B0J 2K0 or e-mail the answer to A prize will be sent to those sending in the answer.

posted on 01/11/11
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