The Nile river
flowed silently past the pyramid, which looked majestic against the
reddening sky of morning. The sun cast its rays down on the desert sands,
awakening the peaceful land. The only sounds that could be heard were a
few birds chirping and a small herd of cows mooing in the distance.
Tiy and Yuya,
two glossy black ibis, woke up in their nest, which was just a few feet
back from the riverbank. Each of them stretched their wings and then stood
up and straightened their long, spindly legs. Without uttering a sound
they made their way down through the tall reeds to the swift flowing water
of the river. The sun rose higher in the sky and soon the heat became
suffocating. The birds felt the warmth through their black feathers. Tiy
and Yuya started pecking around the bottom of some long fuzzy reeds, and
in the black gooey mud for wriggling bugs, and little fish that were
splashing about in the shallow waters near the river's bank. When they
spotted a fish they'd poke at it with their sharp curved beaks.
As Tiy and Yuya
were busy eating, they spotted some children up the river, not very far
away, swimming and splashing and having lots of fun. A small boy was
scooping up handfuls of mud and throwing it up into the air. It fell back
down, landing with a splat in the river. His beautiful brown eyes and
shiny brown hair were matted with drying mud. The little girl beside him
wasn't quite as happy about the mud sticking to her dress. Tiy watched
them with delight.
A dhow floated
past, its sail fluttering in the whispering breeze. Tiy's eyes shifted to
the man and woman on deck, watching them as they wrestled with the current
of the river Nile.
swallowed a large scarab beetle, he glanced up to see a barge float by;
piles of pomegranates, oranges, and lemons lay stacked on the deck. He
took a deep breath and could smell the citrus fragrance. He bent down
again to poke a fish and was right in the middle of gulping it down when
he noticed that the water was starting to get deeper and running much
faster. Tiy noticed it too. She looked up and saw some big black clouds.
"It must be raining up river," she told Yuya. "We'd better leave before
the Nile floods," she urged.
tried to go, but their feet were stuck, like big suction cups, in the mud.
Tiy started to call for help. "Help! Help us! We're stuck!" she cried.
Yuya still had the fish in his beak. He
called out, "Haaaalllllth!" It was too hard for him to say the word 'help'
when he had a fish stuck in his mouth and throat. The two ibis tried to
pull their long legs out, but they wouldn't budge.
Tiy looked up
the river. The dhow had sailed off, the barge was gone, and the children
playing in the river were nowhere to be seen. She looked around
frantically. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something that
frightened her. Coming towards them was a very hungry looking crocodile.
Its tail was swishing back and forth as it moved closer. Tiy squawked,
"Help! Help! Help!" Closer and closer it came. She could see it's sharp
teeth. She hit Yuya with her wing.
He looked up
and saw the crocodile too. "Haaaallllth!" he screamed again. They both
began to tug, trying to get their feet unstuck. Just at the last minute,
as the crocodile opened his mouth wide to swallow them, their feet gave
way, and they flew back to their nest. Yuya, with the fish still in his
beak, dropped into the nest. He let go of the fish, which arched and
The rain came and was soon pouring down
on Tiy and Yuya. They curled up and pulled their wings over their heads.
It rained so hard that their nest filled up with water and all the mud and
reeds around them were soon covered with a few inches of floodwater from
the river. The fish swam right over the edge of the nest and back into the
swirling waters of the Nile. All night long it rained.
morning, after the rain had stopped and the river had receded, Tiy and
Yuya knew that they were going to have to find somewhere else to get their
bugs and fish from. It was just too dangerous for black ibis to feed near
flew out of their soggy nest and headed to dryer land...near an ancient
obelisk, half-tipped over, and jutting out of the hot desert sand. After
they'd rested there for a few minutes, Yuya saw a small lizard dart by. He
watched it scurrying about, trying to find shade. Tiy had spotted a small
scorpion that was trying to find relief from the heat under a rock. They
were both about to catch and eat their prey when a loud snort came from
behind them. They turned around slowly to see a long, slimy tongue, and
two googley eyes staring at them. Terrified, the ibis flew up into the sky
and headed west.
The camel to
laughed. He'd never seen such scared birds before. He sat down in the
shade of the obelisk and watched the black ibis fly off until they were
just two small black dots. The lizard lay in the shade, and the scorpion
crept under the rock. None of them had a care in the world.
Tiy and Yuya
looked desperately for a place to land, a place where they could build a
new nest and could catch fish and bugs without being eaten themselves.
"Let's go there," said Tiy, pointing with her wing to a river down below
her down. They landed in the hot sand. Yuya looked around. "Hmmmm, this is
the strangest river I've ever seen. There are no palm trees, no reeds,
nothing. What is this place?" he asked.
Tiy thought the
same. "Well, at least we don't have to worry about crocodiles sneaking up
on us. Let's go and find something to eat," she said.
The two ibis
walked around, prodding the side of the river with their curved beaks.
They couldn't find any fish. "Aha," cried Yuya. "Bugs!"
Tiy looked over
to Yuya. There was a whole pile of ants and centipedes, and as many
spiders as any glossy black ibis could ever eat! "Payday!" she cried out
with delight. The two birds gobbled down the insects until they were full
and then lay down against a rock. A tall dark shadow soon engulfed them.
Tiy cracked her eye open a little bit. "Yikes!" she squawked. She jumped
up, pulling a half asleep Yuya with her. "Look! What is that?"
They stood back
and watched the huge ship as it sailed slowly by. "How can such a big ship
go in such a narrow river?" Tiy wondered. As she was looking at the ship,
she saw a sign. It read, 'SUEZ CANAL. "Oh, so that's why there are no
fish. It's not a river. It's a canal."
The two birds
decided to stay at the canal. They built a nest out of bits and pieces of
things that had fallen off the passing ships. It was comfortable enough
for them. The ibis never had to worry about floodwaters, or crocodiles
again. Even though there were no fish, there were enough bugs to last them
forever. What more cold a glossy black ibis ask for?