By Margo Wayman
Ali was the slowest of all the snails in the land. He was never in a hurry. Hed crawl along at his own slow pace, not worrying about how long it took to get somewhere. One morning Ali decided that he wanted to go and visit his friend, Jasmine. He began to crawl along the dirt path. Tall blades of dew-covered grass lined the path. Each drop of dew sparkled in the morning sunlight. Ali looked at his reflection in some of the drops as he brushed against them. Some fell onto his shell and rolled down into his face, but he didnt mind at all.
"Hurry up, Ali!" called Wedu, the worm, from behind him. "Youre in my way!" She bumped right into him and tried to push him out of the way as she inched along.
Ali smiled at her and said, "Good morning, Wedu. Isnt it a nice day?"
"It was until you got in my way," she angrily answered, then continued on her journey.
Ali kept crawling along. Soon he passed through a patch of tiny violets. "I love the color purple," he said as he crept slowly through them, enjoying the scent of each and every flower. He breathed deeply and smiled.
"Hurry up, Ali!" shouted Palal, the potato bug, from behind him. "Im in a hurry! Cant you see that?" Ali was taking up the whole width of the path. Palal couldnt get past. "Ali, if you dont hurry up, Ill have to crawl over the top of you."
Ali ignored him and continued to smell the violets. Palal moved his little legs quickly and crawled onto Alis shell. He curled up into a ball and rolled down, over Alis neck and between his antennas to the ground. "Good morning, Palal. Isnt it a nice day," Ali said. Palal didnt even answer. He uncurled himself and hurried off.
Ali crawled along and came upon some moss-covered rocks. He loved how the soft, emerald green moss felt on his clammy, moist skin. It protected his shell from scraping on the hard rock. Just then he heard, "Hurry up, Ali! Youre in my way." He turned his head slightly and saw Sami, the spider. He was holding up four of his eight long, spindly legs, trying to crawl over Ali, who was just too big. "If you dont move, Ill have to climb over the rock and then Ill be tired. Hurry up and move," he demanded.
Ali wasnt in a hurry. He was enjoying the moss. Sami got so angry because Ali wouldnt move out of his way, that he jumped over him and stopped right in front of his face. He said, "Why dont you go faster? Youre always in the way."
Ali smiled and said to the spider, "Good morning, Sami. Isnt it a nice day?"
Sami shook his head and ran off over the rocks.
After hed followed the path out of the rocks, Ali found himself going through a patch of clover. It was in full bloom and bees were humming as they flew from one puffy, pink flower ball to the other. Ali smiled as he made his way slowly through it. His antenna stuck up over the top of the clover, getting into Beria, the bees way. "Hurry up, Ali! Get out of my way. Youre antenna keep bumping into me and knocking the pollen off my legs," she grumpily told him.
Ali looked up at the hovering bee. "Good morning, Beria. Isnt it a nice day?"
Beria said, "Oh, never mind," and flew off to another patch of fragrant clover.
Ali smiled and moved along, even slower than before. Eventually he came to a fallen tree trunk that was hollow. He climbed into it then crawled along inside. There were a few ants coming from the opposite direction carrying bits of leaves and small blades of grass. They couldnt get past Ali. "Hurry up, Ali!" one of the ants called out. "Get our of our way. Were taking these leaves to our nest."
Ali looked down at the tiny ants carrying the leaves that seemed to be much bigger than the ants were. "Good morning ants. Isnt it a nice day?"
"Well, well never find out, will we? You wont hurry up so well never get out of this log,"another ant said rudely.
Ali smiled at them and continued through the log. The ants had to lay flat against the side of the log until he went past. His antenna knocked some of the leaves out of their arms. The ants were very angry with Ali, but he just went merrily on his way.
Soon he arrived at his friend, Jasmine, the slugs home. Jasmine lived on the side of a flowerpot. It held bright red geraniums, which were growing in some deep brown earth. "Good morning, Jasmine. Isnt it a nice day?"
Jasmine slowly moved down the side of the flowerpot to where Ali, the snail, stood. "Come on, Ali. Stay a while. You dont have to hurry off, do you?" he asked.
Ali just smiled, and then said, "No, Jasmine, I dont have to hurry!"