By Margo Wayman
The morning sun shone down on the grove of citrus trees that stood next to the rapid flowing river, their roots firmly embedded in the rich black soil. Each tree was heavily laden with ripe, juicy oranges, ready to burst open and release their fragrant, sweet tasting flesh.
Thabit, the rabbit, climbed out of her burrow, yawned, stretched and welcomed the rays of the sun as they danced on her soft gray fur and long whiskers. She was feeling hungry this morning. Her nose began to twitch as she sniffed the air for something delicious. The scent of the oranges drifted her way. Her bright pink eyes flickered as the sun danced in them, then off she hopped towards her morning meal.
Thabit reached the first tree at the edge of the grove and looked up at the many fruits hanging from the heavy, bent over branches. With just a slight springy jump she plucked off several oranges and lay them next to her on the ground. She selected one and carefully peeled back the thick skin. Juice squirted onto her gray fur as each delicious section appeared. Thabit pulled the sections apart with her large, white front teeth and popped the fleshy orange into her mouth.
She felt an orange pip inside her cheek and wasnt quite sure what to do with it, so she spit it out. Kasib, a fluffy, wooly, brown sheep chose that moment to walk by. The spit out seed hit him right on his black nose. He stopped, looked down at the pip that had bounced off him, then let out a loud and angry baa. After glaring for a few moments at Thabit, he walked away.
Thabit felt bad but kept on eating her orange.
Each section had a large pip in it. She spit the next one out. It flew through the air and landed right on the leathery ear of Cantara. It stuck to her light coating of fur. Cantara was on her way to be milked at the other side of the grove, when she felt the pip hit her ear. She stopped, looked at Thabit angrily and mooed loudly. Thabit had to fold her long ears down because the noise was so loud. Cantara glared at her again, shook the sticky pip off her ear, and moved on.
Thabit again felt bad, but was so hungry that she kept on eating the juicy fruit.
She decided to hold one or two in her mouth and looked first to make sure no one was strolling by. Seeing no one, she spit the two seeds out. They went flying through the air and landed right on Sabra, the snake, as she slithered along in the dirt. Sabra began to hiss loudly, very annoyed at Thabit. She hissed and hissed and coiled up tightly, like she was going to bite the rabbit. Thabit hopped back a few hops, afraid of the angry snake, but felt relief as Sabra slithered into the river.
From then on, Thabit kept all the seeds in her mouth. She ate one orange after another until her little cheeks were filled with orange pips. The ground around her paws was covered with thick orange rind. Suddenly Thabit needed to sneeze.
"Aaaaaaacccchhoooooooooooooooo!" Dozens of slippery orange pips went flying into the air. They pelted Omar, the ostrich, as he happened to run by at that unlucky moment. Pips hit him on his beak, his beautiful tail feathers, his long, bald, spiny neck and head and his muscular wings. Omar stopped and looked at the rabbit. He ran over to her and cackled loudly in her face. His long neck and head bobbed up and down, his tail feathers and wings flapped up and down and he was very angry. After he finished his tantrum, off he ran through the citrus grove to the bank of the river to wash himself off.
That was enough for Thabit. From then on she would not eat any more oranges in the orange grove. She took the rest of her oranges down to the river and sat down. The water sounded peaceful as it rushed by. She peeled her orange and popped the juicy flesh into her mouth. She spit the pip into the water without having to worry about it hitting any animals passing by. Just then, Farso, the bright green fish, came rushing up to the surface, blowing bubbles angrily. Thabit sighed. After the fish went back under the water, she gently rolled the rest of the oranges into the water and watched as they bobbed up and down, floating away rapidly.
From then on, she never ate another orange or any other fruit with pips in it. Instead of oranges, lemons and limes, she nibbled on figs, bananas and crunchy carrots. And all the other animals that lived along the muddy banks of the swift flowing river were happier too.
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