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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Stubborn Camel

Jamil climbed on the camel's back. “Saraf, I need to go to the pyramid and meet my father. If you take me there without being stubborn, I will give you a bucket of dates.”

Saraf nodded his head up and down and bent over so Jamil could climb on his back. He thought about the dates and his tummy rumbled, reminding him how hungry he was.

Off they went, leaving the oasis far behind them. Jamil didn't take any water with him as he knew it wasn't that far to the pyramids, but soon he regretted it. “I think we passed that palm tree before,” he mumbled. “Do you know where you are going, Saraf?”

The camel nodded his head and snorted. He galloped through the sand without a care in the world.

“Saraf, I think that is the same palm tree. Do you know where the pyramids are?” Jamil brushed the blowing sand off his face. “I am hot and I didn't bring any water. My father is waiting for me. If you don't take me there right now, I will not give you any dates.”

Saraf, being a stubborn camel, heard Jamil's threats. He stopped.

“What are you stopping for, Saraf?” Jamil kicked his heels into the camel's side. “Saraf? No dates.”

What Jamil didn't realize was that Saraf understood everything he said and each time he threatened the camel, he heard. Saraf snorted and kicked the sand with his hooves.

Jamil climbed off the camel's back. He walked around to Saraf's face and looked him in the eyes. “Saraf, I must get to the pyramids. Do you not want dates? Do you want to be hungry?” Jamil climbed back on the camel's back.

Saraf sat in the stand. He collapsed his legs and fell to the ground.

“Oh no! Don't do this, Saraf! I must go. You are stubborn. Bad camel,” Jamil sighed.

The camel looked across the sand. He saw a storm coming and snorted. Jamil looked up and saw the storm. “I must hide.” He curled up to the side of Saraf's furry body and waited as the sandstorm blew over. When it passed, Jamil stood. He brushed the sand off himself and then off the camel. “Saraf, thank you for protecting me from the sandstorm. For that reason alone you deserve a bucket of dates.”

The camel's ears twitched and turned to look at the boy.

Jamil climbed on Saraf's back.

Saraf stood, shaking the rest of the sand off. He snorted and then ran toward the pyramid. He wanted some dates.

A while later they arrived. Jamil's father waited patiently. “What took you so long, Jamil? Was it that stubborn camel?”

Jamil looked over at Saraf and winked. “We encountered a sand storm. Saraf saved my life.” He stroked the camel's back.

“In that case, Saraf will get two buckets of dates,” his father said.

That night Saraf sat near the pyramid munching on his dates. Jamil walked past and patted him on the head. “You're a good camel, Saraf. I will never call you stubborn again.” And he didn't.

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