By Margo Wayman
Sahl hid under the rock, trying to escape the heat of the desert's mid-day sun. The scorpion found relief in the darkness and dampness, and shut his eyes to rest. He'd go back out at night, when it was much cooler.
As he lay there resting, the ground beneath him started to shake. The rock above him rattled and rolled, and bounced around on the ground gently. Sahl squeezed his pliable body out from under the rock to see what was going on. He thought it was odd to see a cloud of dust headed towards him. Soon he was able to make out the shape of several camels. They were racing towards him. Before he could crawl back under the rock, there were dozens of hairy camel legs and hooves thudding the ground all around him, nearly crunching him. He was choking from the dust. He coughed and coughed and stayed close to the rock until they had all passed. "What was that?" he questioned. He turned and looked at the camels, but could just see a cloud of dust as they disappeared. His pointed stinger had curved up in the air and his large pincers on his front legs flung around wildly until he calmed himself down. "Hmm, a camel race," he muttered to himself. Feeling safe once more, Sahl climbed under the rock.
He sighed, shut his eyes and fell asleep. No sooner had he dozed off when the ground began to shake again. The rock above him rattled and rolled, and bounced around on the ground gently. "Not again!" he mumbled, and crawled out from under the rock to see what was going on. "More camels racing?" He flung his pincers up into the air, held his stinger up and watched as the cloud of dust came towards him. He began to choke as the thick dust surrounded him. The camel's hooves barely missed him as they hit the sand. He opened his eyes to see hairy legs all around him. He moved back against the rock and waited until the racing animals had passed. He turned and watched them disappear behind a sand dune, sighed and squeezed back under the rock. "I hope that's the end of it," he muttered. "How many camels are in this race anyway?" he added.
Again, the camels came running by. Again the ground beneath him began to shake. Again the rock above him rattled and rolled, and bounced around on the ground gently. "Oh, no!" he whined. Hesitantly, he crawled out from under the rock to find more dust, more hooves, more hairy legs, more nearly getting trampled. "That's it!" he exclaimed. "Time to go and find another rock!"
He ran across the burning sand, his pincers up and swinging, his tail with the pointed stinger up and curled over his back. He saw a bigger rock in the distance. He ran towards it. "Ah, I'll be safe here," he sighed with contentment. He crawled under the larger rock, feeling how cool it was, and lay down. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Soon the ground began to shake below him. Soon the rock above him began to rattle and roll, and bounce around on the ground gently. "How can this be?" he wondered as he climbed out from the rock. He stood against it and watched as the camels ran past. A huge boulder above him fell loose, shaken from the cliff by the vibration of the camels racing. It nearly smashed Sahl. He jumped to the side just in time. His heart was racing with fear. Sahl ran. He ran and he ran and he ran, until he was far away from the camels and far away from falling boulders.
He came to a pile of rocks. There were no cliffs about so he knew nothing could fall on him. He crawled under a rock that sat off by itself. He did not have to worry about dust choking him. He did not have to worry about hooves crunching him and he didn't need to watch out for hairy camel legs. He lay under the rock. He stayed there all day long, feeling safe that it wouldn't shake, rattle and roll. .