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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Khuzaymah Saves the Day


Khuzaymah was a rather long and quite skinny cobra. He lived under a red sandstone boulder that sat next to a  prickly cactus. He loved his home. Once a year the cactus would bloom with a few orange-red flowers and they would fill the air with their sweet scent. He loved the hot desert sun of Egypt and how it heated the coral pink sand that surrounded the boulder.

Khuzaymah was a little bit different from the other cobras. Instead of slithering across the sand, he did something unusual. He held the end of his tail in his mouth and he rolled along the sand like a hula-hoop. Since he was so different, the other desert animals sometimes made fun of him.

One day, as Lateefa, the lizard, was scuttering across the burning sand, she happened to see Khuzaymah rolling towards her. She stopped and began to laugh. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed, as he came rolling past her. Lateefa, the lizard, had never seen a cobra roll before. "Why donít you slither like the other snakes? You look so funny!" she called out to Khuzaymah.

But Khuzaymah just kept on rolling. He couldnít say anything back to her because heíd have to let go of his tail and he was having too much fun rolling around in the desert.

Saabira, the scorpion, was taking her four babies out for their first walk to teach them about the dangers of the desert. "Children, you must be very careful. You must watch out forÖ.." Saabira was interrupted as Khuzaymah rolled right in front of her family. "ÖÖ.rolling cobras?" she continued. She suddenly burst out laughing. Her four babies started to laugh too. "Children, rolling cobrasÖHa! Ha! Ha!Ö are very dangerous. Ha! Ha! Ha!" She couldnít talk. She was laughing too hard. Her stinger bounced up and down in the air as she and her babies laughed at Khuzaymah.

He hadnít seen Saabira, the scorpion, and her family. He knew heíd better be more careful. He tried to hiss, and stick out his wiggly tongue, but he couldnít do that and hold his tail in his mouth at the same time. He was having too much fun rolling around in the desert sand to let go.

Bari and Basit were two buzzards. They were flying high in the sky, looking for some lunch. They loved to eat any kind of dead animal, so were always searching the ground below for a meal. "What is that?" Bari asked, pointing with his wing to a large area covered with acacia trees.

"It looks like a cobra rolling along in the sand," answered Basit. "Letís take a closer look!" The two buzzards swooped down towards Khuzaymah.

"Why, it is a cobra. Look! Itís got its tail in its mouth and it is rolling like a hula- hoop. Have you ever seen anything so funny before, Basit?" Bari, the buzzard, asked.

Basit couldnít answer. He had fallen to the ground and had landed on a cactus. He was laughing so hard that he didnít notice the sharp barbs sticking into his feathers. Bari fell down and started laughing too. They both watched Khuzaymah roll through the acacia trees with his tail held tightly in his mouth.

Khuzaymah could hear the two buzzards laughing at him, but he didnít care. He was having too much fun. He kept rolling along happily, until he bumped into something. He had knocked into it so hard, that heíd almost bitten his tail right off. He lay there for a few moments with his eyes shut. When he opened them, he saw that heíd bumped into a pile of bones. There was a huge, sun-bleached skull, which must have belonged to a dead elephant. It was lying partially buried in the sand.

Khuzaymah was tired, and he was hot. He crawled into the skull through the hole where an eye had been. He curled up into a ball and fell asleep. It was shady and cool in there. He woke up a little while later to something sharp poking him. "Get out of here! This is my skull!" screamed Shamsa, the spider. Sheíd been out looking for her lunch and had come to find the cobra curled up in the skull. He slithered back out of the hole onto the hot sand. "And stay out of here! Be on your way!" Shamsa added.

Khuzaymah grabbed a hold of his tail, being very careful of his partly bitten off end, and rolled away. "What in the world?" laughed Shamsa. "You donít slither? What kind of cobra are you anyway? Ha, ha, ha, ha."

Khuzaymah rolled faster, and faster, so that he could get away from Shamsa, the spider. After heíd rolled for about an hour, he was tired again. He didnít notice a big hole, and fell right into it. He lay at the bottom of it with his tail in his mouth.

"Well, what have we here?" asked the old desert fox who lived in the hole.

Khuzaymah let go of his tail and answered, "Iím Khuzaymah, the cobra."

"What were you doing with your tail in your mouth?" Hasib, the fox asked.

Khuzaymah didnít answer.

"You look tired, and hungry. You can stay here with me and rest for a while if youíd like," the fox said. "Just leave my gold alone. Thatís all I ask of you." He pointed to a pile of gold artifacts lying in the corner of the hole. Next to the artifacts stood a shovel and a small pick.

Khuzaymah assured the fox, "You donít need to worry about me. I donít care about ancient Egyptian artifacts."

Hasib invited Khuzaymah to go with him to find some food. "There are some delicious dates growing on a palm, at the oasis. Do you like those?"

Khuzaymah didnít care for dates, but decided to go with Hasib anyway. The fox climbed out of the hole and ran off. Khuzaymah grabbed hold of his tail and started rolling behind Hasib. Neither of them saw Shakur, the lion. He was standing on a rock watching the two animals. "What in the world is that?" he asked himself. Coming quickly towards him was a fox, and a cobra holding its tail in its mouth. The lion had never seen anything so funny before. He began to laugh.

Hasib saw the lion. Lions liked to eat foxes. He started running faster and faster. Khuzaymah could hardly keep up with him. Hasib found another hole in the ground and jumped inside. Khuzaymah followed him. They could hear the lion laughing for hours, and knew they had to stay inside until it was gone. Shakur laughed long into the night.

As the morning sun rose from behind a sand dune, Hasib realized how happy he was to have a friend; someone he could do things with. Khuzaymah was happy to have a friend, someone he could roll around the desert with.

The next time you are out in the Egyptian desert and you see a snake roll by with his tail in his mouth, following a running fox, youíll know who they are.


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