By Margo Wayman
Raqib the lizard lived in a small hole that had been carved into a boulder by the howling desert winds. There were many large boulders scattered around the area, all of them sat sizzling in the hot sun. Raqib preferred to stay in his hole where it was nice and cool. He didn't like the heat at all.
One day, as he was lying around, not doing much of anything, he became very thirsty. To get to the oasis and get a drink of cool refreshing water, he had to run across the hot sand. Raqib didn't like that because the hot sand burned the bottom of his feet. But he was thirsty.....He stuck his head out of the hole and looked around. How was he going to get to the oasis without burning his feet?
Not too far away sat another pile of large boulders. The sun was behind them, casting shadows onto the hot sand. That meant shade for Raqib. He took a deep breath and ran across the burning sand. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh! Hot sand! Sore feet!" he cried out with each step.
When he made it to the boulder's shade, he sat down and rubbed his feet so they wouldn't hurt. "Ahhhhhh. That feels much better," he sighed with relief. As he sat there, rubbing his sore little feet, he heard a noise that sounded like snoring.
He stopped rubbing and listened more carefully. What was that noise?
He stood up and walked over to where the noise was coming from. "Yikes!" he cried. "It's Batin, the viper!" Raqib backed away from where Batin lay sleeping, all coiled up. "Vipers love to eat lizards," he remembered. Then it hit him, "I'm a lizard! I'd better get out of here!" He ran as quickly as he could across the burning hot sand. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh! Hot sand! Sore feet!"
Raqib saw a date palm growing tall up ahead and darted toward it. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh!" He leapt onto the palm, his tail landing on the jagged trunk. "Ouch!" he screamed. He reached back and lifted his tail up and looked at it. It was sore. He glanced upward and saw some pale yellowish flowers growing towards the top of the date palm, so he climbed up to them and rested. He rubbed his tail and his feet tenderly. "Aaaaaah. That feels much better."
The pale flowers provided a little bit of shade and smelled nice. Raqib looked around. He could see the boulders where he'd rested in the shade, right near Batin, the viper. He could also see the pile of boulders where he lived. They seemed so far away. He looked up into the sky. The bright yellow sun was still there, shining down on the desert. He turned and looked the other way, and could see the oasis. It didn't seem to be that much further away.
Just then he heard some rustling on the ground below him. "What was that noise?" he wondered, looking down. He couldn't see anything, but climbed down the trunk of the date palm to investigate. No sooner had he reached the ground when a large bird came rushing towards him. "It's Areebah, the Egyptian goose!" he screamed, and ran back up the jagged trunk.
The goose stopped and looked up at Raqib with her dark yellow eyes andpink bill. "Kak-kak" she honked.
Raqib hid among the palm fronds and watched Areebah. "I know that Egyptian geese like to eat lizards. I'm a lizard, so I'd better get out of here, fast!" He ran down, poking himself on the jagged trunk. "Ouch, ouch, ouch," he cried as he made his way to the hot sand below.
"Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh. Hot sand! Sore feet!" Raqib complained as he quickly ran across the sand. Up ahead he noticed a camel's skull laying in the sand. He quickly made his way to it. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh!" He scrambled inside a hole and into the shade. He rubbed his sore little feet. He looked at the bottoms of them. They were red and burned. He gently massaged them until they felt better, then curled up in a ball and fell fast asleep.
A few hours passed by before Raqib woke up. Right away he sensed something was wrong. He wasn't lying peacefully; he was being tossed around. He climbed up and looked out of the hole, and saw Faatina, the fennec, or desert fox. She was nudging the camel skull with her snout. First she moved it to the left to see if anything was under it. Then she rolled it to the right to see if anything was inside of it. Raqib knew that fennecs eat lizards. "Fennecs eat lizards, and I'm a lizard, so I'm getting out of here!" he yelled as he ran out of the skull. He dashed under Faatina's paws and kept running until he was far away. He ran, and ran, and ran, as fast as he could, across the burning sand. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh! Hot sand! Sore feet!"
Up ahead he could see the oasis surrounded by desert palms, wild red roses, beautiful pink carnations, and bright yellow sunflowers. "Just a little further. Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh!" he told himself. His feet were so hot that it felt like smoke could come billowing out of them, but it didn't. When he got to the little stream that ran through the oasis, he jumped right into the water. He lay in the coolness until he felt refreshed. He drank, and drank, and drank, until he felt like he would explode if he took one more sip. He felt good! He climbed out of the stream and lay in a bed of soft yellow sunflowers that grew in the shade of a short palm tree. "Ahhhhh. That's much better," he said, just before he dozed off.
When Raqib woke up, the sun was down and the moon was high in the heavens. The desert sky was ablaze with twinkling stars. Raqib knew right away that he was in trouble. All of the animals that slept during the day to avoid the hot sun, were now awake, roaming the sand, looking for something to eat. He made his way to the edge of the grassy area near the stream. He felt the sand and it was still rather hot. "How am I going to run back to my hole in the boulder?" he asked himself. "Well, here goes," he said, and began to run across the hot sand. "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeeeh. Hot sand! Sore feet!" he cried out. He had to run fast. He didn't run past the boulders where Batin, the viper lay sleeping, and he didn't run past the palm tree where Areebah, the Egyptian goose was, he just kept on running. Finally he came to a hole in the ground. He ran down inside of it, and sat there, taking deep breaths, then rubbed his sore little feet.
Suddenly something tapped him on the tail. Raqib turned around slowly. There stood Khabir, the scorpion. His sharp stinger was aimed at Raqib's back. "Yikes!" he screamed, and ran out of the hole before Khabir could sting him. He ran across the hot sand, crying, "Oooooh, eeeeeh, oooooh, eeeee! Hot sand! Sore feet!" He didn't stop until he'd made it safely back to his hole in the boulder. He flopped himself down on the ground, and rubbed his sore little feet. He took some deep breaths and relaxed.
"All that running, and all that rubbing have made me tired," he yawned. And do you know what else all that running, and all that rubbing did to him? It made him thirsty again!