by Margo Fallis
Zaydi lived in the hot, dry desert. It was always hot and always dry. It never rained. One day Zaydis mother went to town to do some shopping. Zaydi, I bought you a book, she called to her son.
He was behind the Bedouin tent, playing with the goats. He was too young to go out with his papa and big brothers. He jumped up and ran into the tent.
What kind of book? he asked.
Why dont you take a look? Its got a lot of beautiful pictures in it, she said.
Zaydi sat down on a sheepskin and turned the pages. He saw tall, gray storm clouds, with bolts of lightning dashing out of them. There were pictures of blizzards, balls of hail, and puddles with raindrops splashing in them. Zaydi wondered what snow felt like, what it would be like to splash in a puddle and have the water go all over him, or what it smelled like as it pelted down on the hot sand. He kept turning pages and saw one of a beautiful rainbow. It seemed to stretch across the sky from one end of the earth to the other. Zaydi stared at this picture for a long time. He wanted to see a rainbow.
Mama, I want to see a rainbow. Look how many colors there are. Will you show me one? He showed his mother the picture.
Thats very beautiful, Zaydi, but we live in the desert. It doesnt rain here, not ever. That is why we live here, his mama explained.
But, Mama, I want to see one. Look at the picture. Mama looked at the rainbow picture. She thought and thought. How could she show Zaydi a rainbow? All right, Zaydi. You go and look at your book and Ill think about it.
Zaydi ran outside and sat near the goats, showing them the pictures. Mama is taking me to see a rainbow, he told them.
BAA! BAA! BAA!
The next morning, after papa and the others left with the goats and sheep, Mama called to Zaydi, Come on. Were going to see a rainbow.
Zaydi was so excited. He held his mothers hand. They walked into town, and then took a bus. Zaydi watched out the window. He saw some tall mountains up ahead. Are we going to the mountains, Mama? he asked. Yes, Zaydi. Well see a rainbow there.
The bus drove for a long time and finally stopped at a small village near the bottom of the tall mountains. Zaydi and his mama got off. Come, Zaydi. We are going to see a rainbow.
Zaydi held his mothers hand. They walked past the village and kept going. Mama had packed some food for them to eat and Zaydi nibbled on some berries and goat cheese. He noticed that instead of sand, that there was green grass growing. He felt it. It was soft and tickled his fingers. He saw flowers blooming, tall trees growing, and a lot of birds flying around. Hed never seen so many beautiful things.
He looked up into the sky. It was filled with gray clouds, like the ones hed seen in his new picture book. Look, Mama, clouds, he said, pointing to the sky. Will we see a rainbow soon, Mama? Soon, Zaydi. Soon.
They kept walking. It started to rain. Zaydi had never felt rain before. The sky boomed. What is the sky saying, Mama? he asked. He was rather afraid of the noise.
He watched the lightning flash and held his mamas hand tightly.
Its thunder and lightning, like in your book, she told him.
Oh. Rain feels good, Mama. It is making our hair all wet, and our clothes too, he chuckled.
They found a jacaranda tree and sat down on the grass under it. Soon it will stop raining and youll see the rainbow, Mama explained.
After a while the raindrops stopped falling, the lightning stopped flashing and the thunder stopped rolling. They stood up and looked up in the sky. The gray clouds parted and the sun came out from behind them. Suddenly Zaydi cried out, Look, Mama. I see a rainbow! I see a rainbow! It looks just like the one in my book. Its got green, and red, and yellow, and blue, and purple, and pink, and orange too. Its beautiful, Mama!
Mama looked at the rainbow. She thought it was wonderful. She breathed in some fresh air. It goes across the sky, from one end to the other. Whats at the end of the rainbow, Mama? Zaydi asked. Some people say there is a great treasure there. Others say there is magic there, or maybe theres nothing at all, she said. But, Zaydi, I think the treasure is right here in front of us. How can anything be worth more than the beauty of a rainbow? Zaydi looked at it. The sunlight sparkled on the leftover drops of rain that were clinging to the flowers. The grass was greener, the sky was bluer, and the colors of the rainbow were bright. Youre right, Mama. This is a treasure.
The two of them stood, each happy, each thankful for this gift from nature.