By Margo Wayman
A long time ago, the Middle East was covered in dense woods and forest, instead of being a vast arid desert like it is now. Majid, the mastadon, lived among the trees and bushes in these woods. He had a long, hairy coat that was reddish brown and nearly hung to the ground. He had two long tusks that stuck out in front, curving upwards toward the top of his bony head. His long trunk dangled in front of him as he walked.
Every now and then Majid would feel frustrated because his long hair would get caught on things, or would mat into big knots. The worst problem he had was that some of his hair hung over in front of his eyes, making it difficult for him to see. Because of this, he was always tripping or bumping into things like large rocks, jagged tree stumps, or even mountainsides. Every time he went stomping through the woods, hed trip on something and hurt himself. Clumsy old Majid, his friends would call him. His bony head was covered with lumps from bumping into so many hard objects.
One day, as Majid was playing outside, he came to a small pond in the woods. Sitting right in the middle of a lily pad was Fattah, the frog, just croaking away. Fattah looked up when he saw the mastadon and said, Majid, Ive done a lot of thinking about your problem, CROAK, and have come up with a solution, CROAK. Here. He handed Majid a pair of glasses that hed made some time ago from two pieces of quartz, vines, and some twigs. Put these on, he said. Majid put them on, but he put the glasses on top of the hair that hung in front of his eyes. Hed never be able to see a thing that way. Now, keep these on all the time, but first, Fattah said, reaching up and pulling the reddish brown hair out from under the glasses and moving it to the sides of Majids face. CROAK! You must keep your hair like this; to the side of your glasses. There now, thats much better. CROAK.
Majid could see just fine now. The glasses were a little bit small, and somewhat uncomfortable, but he smiled and thanked Fattah, then trotted off to nibble on the sweet leaves growing on a nearby bush. The first problem came when Majid moved his head. His hair fell right back over the glasses and in front of his eyes. All day long he pulled the hair back and tucked it to the sides of the glasses. The hair would fall out and he would tuck it back in. Again, the hair would fall out, and again, he would tuck it back in. He did this over, and over, and over again. Finally, in frustration, he pulled the glasses off of his face, and threw them onto the ground. He stepped on them with his huge feet. The quartz crumbled into the sand, the vines unwound, and the twigs snapped. Stupid glasses! Majid grumbled, and trotted off into the woods, tripping and bumping the whole way.
The next morning he went out again. He hoped he wouldnt see Fattah hopping about and have to explain why he wasnt wearing the glasses. He soon spotted Safiya, the salamander, who was his good friend. They began to play, but it didnt take long for her to tire of him nearly stepping on her and squishing her with his huge feet. Majid, I think I know how to keep that hair out of your eyes, she sighed. She told him to wait right there and shed hurry back. A few minutes later, Safiya returned with a basket full of barrettes, hairpins, and hair bands. Now, you hold still. Im going to try some different things, she told him.
Safiya slithered up Majids hairy trunk and slipped a green hair band shes made from some thick leaves, over his trunk and tusks, being sure that it held back the hair off of his face. She ran back to the ground and looked up at him carefully. Well? Majid asked.
No, no, this wont do, she said as she ran back up his trunk and pulled the hair band back over his trunk and long tusks. She put it back in the basket. Lets try this. Now, hold very still. She pinned his hair back with little sticks and rolled it up into little buns all around his face. She stood back to have a look.
Well? Majid asked once more. Without a second passing she ran up and pulled all the hairpins out. The hair rolled right back into Majids eyes. No, that definitely wont do, Safiya said with a sigh. Ive got one more thing in here, she said, as she rummaged through her baskets. She found a few barrettes shaped like bones. They were bright yellow. These will just have to do, she said as she clipped Majids hair back out of his face. There!
Well, I can see now. But are you sure it looks all right? I feel kind of stupid, Majid asked his friend.
She lied just a little bit when she answered, It looks just fine, Majid. Just fine. Trusting her, he said goodbye to his salamander friend and trotted off.
He noticed, as he was on his way through the woods, that when he walked past some of the other mastadons, they would point at him and laugh. A much older, and larger mastadon, named Mujib, actually fell to the ground, pointing at Majid and holding his stomach with his trunk as he laughed, and laughed.
Majid wondered what was so funny. Hmmm, I wonder, he said to himself. He trotted down to the river and looked at his reflection. Yellow bones! She put yellow bone barrettes in my hair! he yelled. He pulled them out quickly, letting his long, reddish brown hair fall into his eyes. Just wait until I see Safiya again. She is in trouble. Im so embarrassed. Ive been walking through the woods with yellow bones in my hair, he said to his reflection.
Before he went back out, he peeked to make sure everyone was gone. He couldnt see anyone, so off he went. Of course, he tripped on a big rock that was in some tall grass, and smashed his trunk all up.
Hi, Majid, called Leena, the giant dragonfly, as she flew out from behind a willow tree. I saw you trip on that rock. Do you need glasses or something? she asked.
No, I definitely dont need glasses, he replied. Its my hair. It keeps getting into my eyes, so I cant see, he explained.
I know just the thing for that. I know someone else with the same problem. Come with me and Ill fix you up, Leena told him.
The two of them went over to the willow tree. She brought down some jars that were filled with creams, gels, and sprays, made from some of the plants that grew in the woods. The cream was made from pine tree sap, the gel from crushed magnolias, and the spray from crushed ferns. She spent an hour buzzing around Majids hair, putting goo from every jar into it. Then she passed the mirror to him. He looked into it. There were no glasses, no barrettes, no hair bands, no ribbons, and the hair was out of his eyes. He couldnt believe it. He reached up with his trunk and felt his hair. It felt like cement. What did you put in my hair? he asked.
Now, Majid, do you want to be able to see, or not? Leena asked right back.
Of course I want to see, but I dont like the way this feels, he protested.
Just leave it in. Youll get used to it, Leena said as she flew off.
Majid went to play in the tall grasses. He chased a mouse up into a tree, then he munched on some apples that had fallen to the ground. As he stood there, eating the apples, three bumblebees flew over and landed on top of his head. He slowly raised his eyes, trying to see them. He shook his head and they flew away. But as soon as he began munching on the red, juicy apples, the bees came back, landing on top of his gel-covered head once more.
Majid shook them off and ran quickly away. He found a big green bush to hide behind. He waited for a while to make sure the bees were gone, then breathed a sigh of relief. He ran off and came to an old tree stump. He saw two beautiful blue butterflies flying around it. As soon as they saw the mastadon, they flew towards him and landed on top of his head. What is this? Majid asked. Why are all these bugs landing in my hair? He lifted his trunk and swished the butterflies away, but they flew right back. It must be the stuff Leena put in my hair, he realized. He made a run for the pond where Fattah lived. He ran so fast that the blue butterflies flew off.
When he reached the shore he jumped right into the deep, mossy water, and rolled around in it, making sure all of Leenas goo came out. He plodded out of the water and stood on the muddy shore. His long hair was dripping, and water was puddling near his feet. He reached up and felt his head. It was wet, but it was soft again. He shook himself and all the water flew out of his hair, which fell in front of his eyes again, but he didnt care. He walked off, happily humming.
He hadnt gotten far when he tripped on a pile of sticks, landing on his face in the dirt. Majid, what are we going to do with you? asked Mani, another mastadon. Why on earth dont you do something about that hair in your eyes?
I have tried everything, Majid said, standing up and blowing the dirt off his hair with his trunk.
Why dont you just get a haircut? suggested Mani.
A haircut? What a great idea. Will you give me one, Mani? he asked.
Mani answered, Why sure I will. He reached over to a boulder and lifted up a huge, and very sharp piece of glassy obsidian hed found at a nearby volcano. Just stand very still. I dont want to accidentally cut you, he cautioned.
Majid panicked. He didnt want his hair cut with a sharp piece of rock. He decided that he liked his hair just the way it was. He ran off into the woods, tripping on a stump. Then he fell into a hole made by a giant snake, and stepped in a pile of gooey, squished, rotting fruit. He reached the river and stopped to catch his breath. He pulled the hair out of his face and looked down at his reflection. He made the choice that from then on hed let his hair hang in front of his eyes because he liked it that way. The bumps on his head would probably never go away, and he might have bruises all the time, but he was happy the way he was, and that was how it was going to be. He liked being himself, hair and all.
Last Updated: June 22nd, 2011