Just for Kids / A Date With a Ball


by Margo Fallis


Bakil kicked the ball high into the air. It soared through the sky and fell to the ground, landing in a date palm. He laughed and danced around, waving his arms high above his head. Hed never kicked the ball that high before and felt proud.


Bakil loved to play ball. As soon as he got home from school, hed go to his room and get his black and white ball. Hed take it outside and practice kicking it, trying to make it go as high as it could fly. Sometimes it went high up in the air, other times he kicked it the wrong way and it flew into his mothers flower garden. He tried not to do that.


He went over to the date palm and shook the trunk. His ball was stuck. It was wedged between several clusters of orangish-brown dates. How was he going to get the ball down? He shook the tree again but it didnt move. He picked up a few large stones and threw them at the ball, but his aim wasnt very good and the stones hit the trunk before falling to the ground.


Bakil had an idea. He decided he would climb the tree. Hed seen others do it before and it didnt look that hard. Even though date palms had jagged, rough trunks, he knew if he was careful, hed not get hurt. So he wrapped his legs around it and started to climb. He climbed higher and higher up the trunk. His arms were covered with scratches and pieces of the bark got into his shirt, making him itch, but he kept on climbing. Soon he was at the top. The leaves were long and kept poking into his face. He looked down to the ground. He suddenly felt very scared. He was much higher up than he had thought. He held onto the trunk tightly, scared to move. He didnt care about getting his ball anymore. He just wanted to get down.


He stayed still for several minutes, and then looked up at his ball. It was not that far out of his reach. If he could just move those dates, it would fall to the ground, but he was afraid to move his arm. He stared at the ball, and then looked down at the ground. He took a few deep breaths and slowly let go of the tree trunk with one of his arms. He tightened his legs around it and held on with the other arm. He started wiggling the date clusters back and forth. Several dates fell, plonking him on the head. One even fell right down inside his shirt, along with the bits of bark. He kept wiggling and wiggling the dates and finally his ball came loose. It fell down to the ground.


Bakil was relieved. Now, all he had to do was get back down. He started sliding down, ever so slowly, holding tight as he slid his body towards the ground. After several scary minutes, he stood on the grass. He pulled the bottom of his shirt out of his pants and shook it. The bark and the date fell to the ground. He picked the date up and started eating it.


Feeling very proud, he breathed a sigh and picked up his ball. He was just about to kick it, and then remembered the tree. From then on, when Bakil wanted to kick his ball, he made sure it was far away from the date palm. He never wanted to have to climb it again.


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