By Margo Wayman


Bassam was soaring thru the powder blue sky, flying in and out of the puffy white clouds, feeling the warm sunshine on his light brown feathers. He was busy daydreaming, not really paying attention to what was around him. A gust of hot air blew at him fiercely and he came to alertness. Coming towards him quickly was a wall of sand. Soon he was engulfed in it as the grains blasted at his beak, eyes and wings. He fought his way through the sandstorm, struggling until he was once again in the clear blue sky.


He shook his wings and sand fell out of them, but he couldnt get the sand out of his eyes. They were very sore. He rubbed them but it didnt help.


Flying high, he looked down at the coral pink sand below, hoping to see something to eat. Buzzards only eat dead animals, so he had to look carefully for piles of bones.


Samad, the snake, slithered up onto a rock, warmed by the sun, to gather heat after his meal, which was a plump, juicy mouse. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. Bassam, from above, spotted Samad on the rock. Thinking that the snake was dead he swooped down and scooped up the snake in his beak. Samad opened his eyes. He started hissing angrily. When Bassam realized Samad was alive and mad, he dropped him onto the sand below. Samad landed with a splat on a sand dune near the river. He looked up at Bassam and hissed and hissed.


Bassam flapped his wings and flew up high into the sky. He rubbed his sore eyes, hoping to get more sand out. He couldnt believe he mistook Samad for a dead snake. When he was high up in the sky, he swooped in and out of the clouds, looking for something else that he could eat.


Oma, the ostrich, was standing next to a date palm. She was looking at her feathers. They were so beautiful and delicate. Suddenly Bassam swooped down and grabbed Omas neck, thinking she was a carcass with feathers on it. He tried to pull her up into the air with his beak but she was too heavy.


Oma started squawking and pecked at Bassams beak. The buzzard let go and flew up into the air. He had several of Omas feathers caught in his beak. He spit them out and they fluttered slowly downward, landing near Omas long, muscular feet.


Bassam rubbed his sore eyes and a little more sand came out. Oh, did they hurt.


He couldnt believe he made that same mistake. He flapped his wings and flew up into the clouds. He sat on one, looking down at the ground below him. His eyes were still a little blurry but Bassam was sure he spotted something dead. He flew down quickly to the carcass.


Fayad, the fox, was standing in the sand, just outside of his burrow. He was yawning and stretching after his long nap. As he let out a huge yawn he saw a shadow appear on the sand in front of him. He looked up just in time to see Bassams beak wide open and headed right for him. He put his paws up in front of his face as Bassams beak encircled him.


Fayad growled and wriggled his body angrily as Bassam flew up into the sky with the fox held tightly in his beak. Fayad growled some more and hit Bassam in the face with his fluffy tail. Realizing what he had done, Bassam dropped Fayad.


Fayad fell to the ground and landed right in a cactus bush. The prickles and thorns tore into his fur and flesh. He growled angrily and held up a fist to Bassam. He climbed out of the cactus bush and started to pull the sharp, pointed thorns from his fur.


Bassam couldnt believe it. That was three times he thought hed been picking up a dead animal only to find all three were alive. Feeling bad he headed for the river. He scooped up some river water with his wings and splashed it into his eyes. He took a little drink, shook the water off of him and smiled. He felt much better now.


He started flapping his wings and flew up into the puffy clouds. Swooping up and down through the white cotton-ball clouds, he gazed down to the ground. At last he could see everything clear. At last he had his keen eyesight back.


Finally, he spotted a dead carcass laying a few yards from the opposite side of the riverbank. He flew down to it, swooped around it a few times to make sure it was not alive, then began to nibble on it. Finally, he was able to eat!



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