By Margo Wayman
Abdel, the Nile monitor, lived under a rocky ledge, in a small cave that went deep into the earth. It provided shade and kept him hidden from the hot desert sun and from wild animals that might stroll by looking for something to eat. Every morning, Abdel would come out of his cave and run on the trail hed made for himself. It meandered through the desert, went down near the Nile river, through reeds, tall grasses, flowers and beautiful blossoming trees until it took him back to his cave.
Abdel had thick, scaly skin, as most lizards do. He was grayish-brown, had four strong, sturdy legs and a long tail that dragged behind him when he walked or ran. One morning as usual, he woke up, stretched, then crawled out from under the rock. He looked up at the sun. He felt very happy as he began to run, as fast as a nile monitor can run, down the trail that he ran every morning. The sun was just beginning to rise from behind the pyramids, castings its rays on the surrounding land. He started out slowly, but picked up speed as he moved down the trail. At first he passed by a variety of flowers and plants, infact he was so much admiring the white daisies with lemon yellow centers, that he wasnt paying any attention to where he was going and crashed right into a tamarisk tree. He heard a scream and a big thud. He looked over to see Khalid, the baboon, laying on his head, with his arms and legs sticking out to the side. He stood still and watched. Khalid got up, brushed the dirt off of his fur and started yelling at Abdel, calling him, "You clumsy gray lizard!"
Abdel apologized and ran down the trail as Khalid brushed more dirt off himself, then climbed back into the tree. Hed been eating a banana and it was mashed all over his fur. He sat on a branch and tried to clean himself, feeling very angry with Abdel.
Abdel ran quickly. He passed near the Nile River and slowed down to watch the cattails swaying in the gentle breeze. He was not watching where he was going. He saw what he thought was a long brown vine hanging down and feeling rather enthused about life, grabbed it to swing over a puddle. Unfortunately, the vine happened to be Moly, the donkeys tail. Moly was very angry. It hurt her when Abdel swung on it.
Abdel landed in the dirt on the other side of the puddle. Moly started to yell at him, calling him, "You clumsy gray lizard!" Abdel felt bad, apologized and went on his way. He knew he had to be more careful.
He ran up onto the hot desert sand. He saw some scorpions and a coppery colored snake. He was admiring the way the snake slithered across the hot sand, wasnt watching where he was going, and ran right on top of Kuchuk, the geckos tail. He felt the thud as he did so. He stopped and saw Kuchuk standing there holding her tail. She was angry with Abdel and yelled, "You clumsy gray lizard!" Her long beautiful green-blue tail was bent in half.
Abdel began to feel very bad. Two pigeons perched in the tree started cooing and telling him that he should go back to his hole, that nobody wanted him around and that he was a pest and a bother. Abdel hung his head down low and slinked off to his cave under the rock. He hid there for a while and didnt come out, which pleased all the other animals. Nobody missed him.
After a few days he decided that he felt better and went out to run his trail. He decided to go the other direction this time, so he started running. The desert sand glimmered in the morning sun, its rays catching a grain or two and reflecting. One of the reflection rays shone right into Abdels eyes and he couldnt see Maya, the cat, until hed knocked her flying about ten feet into the air. She landed with a boom on the sand. Sand got into her eyes, her fur, everywhere. Maya was angry with Abdel. She called him, "You clumsy gray lizard!" and told him to be careful.
As he sulked and walked away from Maya, he noticed a field of grain up ahead. It was golden brown, swayed gently in the desert breeze and he knew he wouldnt get into any trouble there. What he didnt realize was that every stalk of wheat he brushed by as he walked, he knocked down several locusts. One, Semil, fell right onto Abdels head. He was very angry with Abdel. Semil yelled into his ear, "You clumsy gray lizard!" He told Abdel to get out of the grain fields.
So Abdel moved on, running down to the riverbank. No sooner had he reached it, when he slipped in the black mud and rolled down into the water. He landed right on Saladin, the catfishs fin, trapping him in the mud. The catfish pulled and tugged until his fin was free, then blew bubbles and yelled at Abdel, "You clumsy gray lizard!"
Abdel stood up, all muddy, and ran off down the trail. He felt so bad. He didnt mean to hit the other animals or bump into them. He had tried to be so careful.
As he was running along, he spotted a beautiful Egyptian yellow wagtail perched in a jacaranda tree. He looked up at it and didnt see Bahri, the hyena, until hed run over his paws. Bahri was furious. He didnt laugh like hyenas usually do. He growled at Abdel, who became very frightened. He knew hyenas sometimes age Nile monitors. Bahri held his paws up[and yelled at Abdel, "You clumsy gray lizard!" as he slinked off towards his rock.
Abdel stayed in his cave and didnt come out, not for days. Nobody missed him, at least not for a long time. A few days later, down at the river, all the animals had gathered to have a drink at the same time. They started talking to each other. Someone mentioned they hadnt seen Abdel. The others said they hadnt either and they were glad. Maya wondered if something was wrong with Abdel "What if he is hurt?" she meowed. "Wed better go and find him," she urged.
So they searched in a deep dark cave, they searched in the bushes, they even searched around the pyramids, but nobody could find Abdel. Finally, the gecko heard some noises coming out from under the big rock. She crawled inside and saw Abdel in there, sad looking. She told him to come out. Abdel refused.
Kuchuk went and got the other animals, who were now feeling bad about all the things theyd said to Abdel. Bahri gathered some daisies because the pigeons told him that Abdel had liked those. He took them to his rock. The others were standing around, coaxing him out. When Abdel showed his long, red, flickering tongue, the others were happy and urged him to come out of the hole. When he did, they all apologized.
Abdel promised to be more careful when he ran around the trail and the others said they would be more watchful. From that day on, when they heard Abdel coming, they moved out of the way!