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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Asp in the Figs

Habu was an asp, a slithering snake with a forked tongue and dark brownish-purple triangles along the top of his long, slender body. He had two sharp fangs and his scales were very slippery, allowing him to move through the sand quickly. Habu had a loud hiss that warned other animals that he was coming so they could run away quickly and hide. They were afraid of that hiss.

Habu noticed that whenever he slithered by, all the animals disappeared. He didnít understand why they did that. He wouldnít hurt any of them. In fact, he was rather afraid of several of them. Habu was terrified of Hamse, the elephant. He didnít want to be crushed by Hamseís huge legs. He was also afraid of Najud the hawk. If she happened to fly overhead and see him, sheíd swoop down and scoop him up in her beak and take him back to her nest to eat. Habu was also afraid of Yasmine, the crocodile. One bite from her sharp teeth and heíd be bitten in half.

One day, as Habu was scooting across the hot sand, he noticed that the wind was beginning to blow. He looked up and saw a wall of sand moving towards him. He hissed loudly and slithered off, looking for somewhere to get protection form the stinging, blowing sands.

The wind started getting stronger. Habu could hardly see. Suddenly, he bumped right into something. It was hard. He went around it, feeling it with his long scaly body and flickering tongue. It was made of wood. Sensing no danger, he crawled inside it. It was filled with ripe figs. He slid down under them and hid, waiting for the sandstorm to pass. He could hear little grains of sand pelting against the wooden bowl as the wind howled. Habu dozed off. He was feeling sleepy from all the dust in the air. He slept for hours. The sandstorm passed by and still Habu slept under the ripening figs.

As the sun set that night, Habu woke up. He raised his head from under a fig and saw that it was dark. Thinking it was still the sandstorm; he crawled back down and went back to sleep. As he slept, a small girl picked up the wooden bowl filled with figs and carried it down to the riverbank. She picked up one fig at a time washing them in the water. She reached in the bowl, picking up another fig, but this time it wasnít a fig, it was Habu, the asp. The girl screamed and dropped the bowl. She ran off toward her house, and left the bowl of spilled figs lying in the mud.

Habu woke up. He yawned and opened his eyes. He wasnít in the bowl anymore. He was out near the river. He wondered how heíd gotten there. Just as he was about to slither off, Yasmine the crocodile came crawling out of the water. Her jaw was wide open. All Habu could see was her sharp teeth. Scared, he quickly slithered away.

Habu didnít know which direction to go. He saw a big tree trunk up ahead and made his way to it. He began to climb up, but it wasnít a tree trunk at all. It was Hamse, the elephantís thick leg. Suddenly Hamse let out a loud trumpeting sound and started dancing around, trying to get Habu off his leg. This woke up all the other animals. They saw Habu slithering away. His tongue was going in and out of his mouth, hissing loudly. The animals ran to hide.

He hadnít gone too far when Najud, the hawk, came swooping down towards him. Habu could hear her screeching as her talons came down to grab him. He quickly slithered under a root of one of the palm trees growing not far from the riverís edge. He hid just in time. Najud soared back up, into the night air.

Habu was scared to death. He didnít know where to go or what to do. He just hid under the root until the sun came up.

When daylight broke over the horizon, things didnít seem so scary anymore. Habu came out and decided the safest place for him was back in his hole in the ground. He slithered off, passing Hamse, the elephant, and the wooden bowl lying on the ground with the figs dumped out. He passed the spot in the river where Yasmine, the crocodile had snapped at him and finally made it back to his hole. He went inside and breathed a sigh of relief. There would be no more going out in sandstorms for him!!!

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