By Margo Wayman
Abdul, the lizard, woke up, stretched and yawned. He looked up at the sky. There was not a cloud in it. It was going to be another hot spring day. He glanced at his surroundings. There wasnt much to see; a few rocks, some prickly bushes, sand and more sand.
Abdul knew hed be bored again today. For the last few days hed done nothing but sleep, catch a few flies and chase a beetle or two, but that was all. Today he wanted to do something different. He wanted to do something fun and exciting and see if he could add a little life to this dull day.
The lizard scrambled across the sand, heading towards the wide, swift, river. As he ran on the hot sand, he spotted a flamingos cone-shaped nest. There was one white egg in it. He paid no attention to it as he scooted on his way. He whipped past an ostrich nest. It was huge. It sat in a depression in the ground and was made of sticks, branches, and some leaves. He ran over to it and looked inside. There were quite a few yellowish-white eggs lying in the middle. After taking a look he ran on, passing an ibis nest that was built among some reeds, a tree with an eagles nest in the branches, another tree holding a doves nest and yet another with an owls nest buried inside the trunk. He also noticed that all the nests were unguarded. The parents must have been down at the river getting a drink or flying about looking for food.
Feeling rather mischievous, an idea came to Abduls little brain. He thought it would be really fun to switch the eggs around. He could sneak up and take an egg from each nest and put it in another birds nest. He quickly ran up one of the trees and grabbed a white egg out of the owls nest. He carefully carried it in his long scaly tail and ran down the tree. Now where should he put it? He thought about it carefully. It would be so funny to put the owls egg into the flamingos nest. He snuck over to the flamingos nest and placed the egg inside of it, taking the one large flamingo egg with him. He carried it in his tail. He giggled and snickered as he ran away from the coned nest.
He ran towards the tall tree where the eagles nest sat, firmly built between two great branches. He ran up the trunk, carefully placed the flamingos egg into the eagles nest, removed one of the eagles two spotted eggs, held it in his long scaly tail and ran down he tree. He giggled and snickered as he ran away.
After much thought, he ran across the sand, down to the riverbank where he found the ibiss nest. It was almost as big as the flamingos nest. He dropped the egg inside and took one of the ibiss eggs. It was greenish blue in color and very pretty. Abdul carried it in his tail and ran up the riverbank. He saw the tree where the flimsily built doves nest was, ran up it and put the ibis egg in it.
He picked up one of the doves pure white eggs. He ran over and put it in the ostrich nest. The egg looked so small compared to the others, but he didnt think the parents would ever notice. He picked up an ostrich egg. It was creamy colored and much bigger than the other eggs. Abdul realized that hed not be able to carry it in his tail. Using all his might, he picked the ostrich egg up and held it in his arms.
Now there was only one nest without a switched egg and that was the owls. He stood at the bottom of the tree and looked up at the hole. Another bird had pecked it out of the tree. It was a long way up to the nest. Slowly and carefully he carried the huge egg up and placed it in the owls nest, being careful not to smash the other eggs.
Abdul looked around from the top of the tree and could see all the birds heading back to their nests. He ran down and hid behind a rock. He giggled and snickered. This was going to be very funny. Hed switched eggs from all of their nests.
As each of the birds landed back in their nests they saw something was different. The owls looked at the huge egg lying amongst the other ones. Theyd never noticed how big it was before, or how it was a different color. It would be a very big owl. They shrugged their shoulders, hooted, and mother owl sat on the eggs.
The two doves flew back to their nest in the branches and saw the strange looking egg in their nest. They hadnt noticed that one of their eggs was greenish blue before. Father dove cooed and flew off, leaving mother dove to sit on the eggs.
When the eagles landed in their nest, they saw the odd looking egg . Without giving it another thought, father eagle sat on it while the other one went to find food.
The ibis, ostrich and flamingos all reacted the same way. Each of them noticed something different, but didnt pay much attention to it.
Abdul giggled and snickered. This was going to be funny when the eggs hatched. Each day he came back to see if anything had happened. Each day he chuckled.
One day there was a great commotion going on at the flamingos nest. Abdul scurried over to see what was happening. He watched from a nearby rock as father flamingo picked up his egg. It was hatching. Seeing the look on their faces as the fledgling burst from the shell sent Abdul into stitches, laughing. Father and mother flamingo were shocked. Instead of a little white-feathered baby with a red bill and long pink legs, they held a little bird with a flat face that was covered with brown fluffy down. Abdul lay on his back, his legs up in the air, holding his tummy as he laughed and laughed and laughed.
After watching for a little while, he became curious as to what was going on with the other birds. He ran over to the ostrich nest. All the eggs were hatching. There were eight creamy eggs, with little brown-feathered chicks pecking their way out. There was one small white egg. Bursting from the shell, sat a grayish-brown, feathered ball of fluff. The other chicks towered over it. Father and mother ostrich stared at the tiny chick. Mother ostrich picked it up in her hand and stared at it with a puzzling look on her face. Abdul laughed as he saw her looking at her other chicks, then back at the little dove chick. He laughed and laughed and laughed.
Still curious, he made his way to the ibis nest down near the river. Two greenish blue eggs had already hatched with two ugly, dull, blackish, down-covered chicks. A bird was pecking its way out of the third egg. When if finally was free of the egg, father and mother ibis stared at it. It didnt have long legs like the other two. It had sharp talons and a short, sharp beak. Abdul laughed and laughed and laughed. He thought it was so funny.
He then went to the tree where the eagles nest was. He ran up and hid behind some leaves. The first eagle had hatched from the egg, as had the flamingo chick. Father and mother eagle were squawking, wondering how this odd looking white bird with red bill and pink legs could be theirs. The chick stared up at who he thought was his parents.
Abdul laughed and laughed and laughed. He nearly fell from the tree.
He ran down the trunk and went over to the owls nest. He ran up the trunk until he got to the hole. He peeked inside. There were four eggs in the nest. The first one to hatch was the huge ostrich egg. Mother and father owl hooted. The other three were pecking their way out, but the owls were afraid that the odd looking big bird would smash the others. Abdul laughed and laughed and laughed. He had to hold onto a large piece of bark so he wouldnt fall.
He had one more nest to visit. He thought this was all so funny. He ran to the other tree where the doves had built their flimsy nest. Both chicks were hatching together. The doves looked so happy. When the baby dove hatched, they picked it up and hugged its grayish-brown downy feathers, but when the second egg hatched, they began to coo and coo. Instead of another little brown, fluffy ball, was a huge, ugly, blackish-downed bird with long legs. Abdul laughed and laughed and laughed. Hed never had so much fun in his life.
Meanwhile, all the father birds, who were so confused, flew down to the river to get a drink of water. They began telling each other about their unusual babies and soon they discovered what had happened. Each father bird went to the other nests, found their babies and took them back to their nests, much to the relief of the mothers.
Abdul watched the exchanges. He began to realize that perhaps what hed done wasnt that funny after all. He even began to feel sorry for what hed done. Never again would he switch eggs in the nests.
The next week when Abdul went for a walk, he saw the flamingos with their new baby, standing in the river, near the bank. They seemed so happy with their new chick. Abdul smiled.
He saw the ostriches with their nine new chicks walking along, bobbing their heads up and down on their long necks. Abdul smiled.
The ibis family was down at the river too with all three of their chicks. They were beautiful birds, with their long curved bills. They looked so happy together. Abdul smiled.
Up in the air the eagles soared above. The two chicks followed, flapping their wings madly, trying to fly. Abdul smiled.
Near the old hole-riddled tree were the owls. Mother and father owl were hooting, and the four little owls were hooting little hoots. Abdul thought is was so cute. He smiled.
The doves came flapping above him. He looked up to see the little grayish brown chicks flapping their wings just like their parents. He felt so happy. All the chicks were back with their families. Abdul smiled
Last Updated: June 26th, 2011
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