"Have you noticed that the waterfall
is shrinking?" Ogondo chattered. "It seems to be getting smaller every
"Thatís because the dry season is
coming and less rain is falling," Taji, the crane, explained.
"What? No waterfall?" Zesiro
shouted. "How will we shower? How can we bathe in the pool at the bottom?
Will we still have bananas and delicious fruit?" the monkey asked.
The sun was high in the sky. The
temperature was rising daily in the savanna. Even near the great mountain
the heat was getting unbearable. The giraffe walked over to the falls.
"Letís enjoy it while weíve still got it. As the rivers dry up, the other
animals may find their way here," Gamba said.
"Animals, like lions and cheetahs?"
"Perhaps. Remember the pride of
lions that were on the boulders during the flood when we first came here?
There are lions about. Letís hope they find water somewhere else," Gamba
Just then Ogondo pointed at
something. "What are those black dots in the sky?"
The others looked. "It looks like
birds," Taji said. As the black specks came closer, Taji could see that
they were indeed birds. "Those are toucans."
The birds flew closer and closer
until they landed next to Taji. "Itís true. This is a paradise," Kasinda
squawked. "Look at all the trees and grasses."
"Finally weíve found somewhere
green," Aitan sighed.
"Where have you come from?" Taji
"The savanna is drying up. Thereís
little water left. The animals are fighting around the waterholes. We
heard you four speaking about the great mountain and when you didnít come
back, we guessed you must have found it. Whereís that delicious fruit that
tastes like honey?" Aitan wondered.
Ogondo, Zesiro, Gamba, and Taji
looked at each other. They werenít sure if they wanted two noisy toucans
in their territory. "Why donít you go further east? I hear thereís plenty
of water there," Ogondo said.
"Isnít there room for us here? Weíre
only two birds. We only eat fruit and we donít make a lot of noise,"
"Youíre welcome to stay here with
us," Gamba said. "Thereís room for you. The trees are covered with
delicious, ripe fruit. Help yourselves."
The toucans squawked and flew over
to the nearest tree.
It didnít take long for the group to
realize theyíd made a mistake by allowing the toucans to stay. While
Ogondo and Zesiro were playing in the waterfall, the toucans flew over.
They fluttered their wings and spread them. The wings were like big
umbrellas. "Hey! Weíre not getting any water down here," Zesiro whined,
but the toucans didnít pay any attention. They ignored the monkey and kept
their wings spread. The trickling waterfall splashed on their huge, black
wings. Aitan opened his bill and let the water cascade in. Drops dripped
over the edge onto Ogondoís head. "This isnít much of a shower," he
mumbled. The monkeys ran off to find Gamba and Taji.
"Gamba, I donít like those toucans.
They are hogging all the water from the falls," Zesiro complained. "Their
wings are big and I keep finding feathers in my fur. They make a lot of
noise and their bills are so big that it takes twenty fruits to fill it
up. Soon weíll have no fruit left."
"They canít even fly well. They hop
most of the time. I donít like them. I want them to go," Ogondo said.
Gamba was irritated with the
toucanís squawking but tried not to let it bother him. "Weíve got to be
patient. They only came here because there was no fruit in the savanna."
"But they spit their seeds all over
the place," Ogondo added.
"Patience. What do you think, Taji?"
She was busy preening her feathers
when the monkeys arrived. "I donít particularly care for their habits, but
weíve got to help each other out during the rough times."
"Oh, all right. Come on, Zesiro,
letís go swing in the trees," Ogondo said and ran off, the other monkey
following right behind him.
Gamba shook his long neck. "Itís
going to be a long summer," he sighed, watching the monkeys in the trees.