Abdul, the lizard, woke up,
stretched and yawned. He looked up at the sky. There was not a cloud in
it. It was going to be another hot spring day. He glanced at his
surroundings. There wasn’t much to see; a few rocks, some prickly bushes,
sand and more sand.
Abdul knew he’d be bored again
today. For the last few days he’d done nothing but sleep, catch a few
flies and chase a beetle or two, but that was all. Today he wanted to do
something different. He wanted to do something fun and exciting and see if
he could add a little life to this dull day.
The lizard scrambled across the
sand, heading towards the wide, swift, river. As he ran on the hot sand,
he spotted a flamingo’s cone-shaped nest. There was one white egg in it.
He paid no attention to it as he scooted on his way. He whipped past an
ostrich nest. It was huge. It sat in a depression in the ground and was
made of sticks, branches, and some leaves. He ran over to it and looked
inside. There were quite a few yellowish-white eggs lying in the middle.
After taking a look he ran on, passing an ibis nest that was built among
some reeds, a tree with an eagles’ nest in the branches, another tree
holding a dove’s nest and yet another with an owl’s nest buried inside the
trunk. He also noticed that all the nests were unguarded. The parents must
have been down at the river getting a drink or flying about looking for
Feeling rather mischievous, an idea
came to Abdul’s little brain. He thought it would be really fun to switch
the eggs around. He could sneak up and take an egg from each nest and put
it in another bird’s nest. He quickly ran up one of the trees and grabbed
a white egg out of the owl’s nest. He carefully carried it in his long
scaly tail and ran down the tree. Now where should he put it? He thought
about it carefully. It would be so funny to put the owl’s egg into the
flamingo’s nest. He snuck over to the flamingo’s nest and placed the egg
inside of it, taking the one large flamingo egg with him. He carried it in
his tail. He giggled and snickered as he ran away from the coned nest.
He ran towards the tall tree where
the eagles’ nest sat, firmly built between two great branches. He ran up
the trunk, carefully placed the flamingo’s egg into the eagle’s nest,
removed one of the eagles’ two spotted eggs, held it in his long scaly
tail and ran down he tree. He giggled and snickered as he ran away.
After much thought, he ran across
the sand, down to the riverbank where he found the ibis’s nest. It was
almost as big as the flamingo’s nest. He dropped the egg inside and took
one of the ibis’s eggs. It was greenish blue in color and very pretty.
Abdul carried it in his tail and ran up the riverbank. He saw the tree
where the flimsily built dove’s nest was, ran up it and put the ibis egg
He picked up one of the dove’s pure
white eggs. He ran over and put it in the ostrich nest. The egg looked so
small compared to the others, but he didn’t think the parents would ever
notice. He picked up an ostrich egg. It was creamy colored and much bigger
than the other eggs. Abdul realized that he’d not be able to carry it in
his tail. Using all his might, he picked the ostrich egg up and held it in
Now there was only one nest without
a switched egg and that was the owls. He stood at the bottom of the tree
and looked up at the hole. Another bird had pecked it out of the tree. It
was a long way up to the nest. Slowly and carefully he carried the huge
egg up and placed it in the owl’s nest, being careful not to smash the
Abdul looked around from the top of
the tree and could see all the birds heading back to their nests. He ran
down and hid behind a rock. He giggled and snickered. This was going to be
very funny. He’d switched eggs from all of their nests.
As each of the birds landed back in
their nests they saw something was different. The owls looked at the huge
egg lying amongst the other ones. They’d never noticed how big it was
before, or how it was a different color. It would be a very big owl. They
shrugged their shoulders, hooted, and mother owl sat on the eggs.
The two doves flew back to their
nest in the branches and saw the strange looking egg in their nest. They
hadn’t noticed that one of their eggs was greenish blue before. Father
dove cooed and flew off, leaving mother dove to sit on the eggs.
When the eagles landed in their
nest, they saw the odd looking egg . Without giving it another thought,
father eagle sat on it while the other one went to find food.
The ibis, ostrich and flamingos all
reacted the same way. Each of them noticed something different, but didn’t
pay much attention to it.
Abdul giggled and snickered. This
was going to be funny when the eggs hatched. Each day he came back to see
if anything had happened. Each day he chuckled.
One day there was a great commotion
going on at the flamingo’s nest. Abdul scurried over to see what was
happening. He watched from a nearby rock as father flamingo picked up his
egg. It was hatching. Seeing the look on their faces as the fledgling
burst from the shell sent Abdul into stitches, laughing. Father and mother
flamingo were shocked. Instead of a little white-feathered baby with a red
bill and long pink legs, they held a little bird with a flat face that was
covered with brown fluffy down. Abdul lay on his back, his legs up in the
air, holding his tummy as he laughed and laughed and laughed.
After watching for a little while,
he became curious as to what was going on with the other birds. He ran
over to the ostrich nest. All the eggs were hatching. There were eight
creamy eggs, with little brown-feathered chicks pecking their way out.
There was one small white egg. Bursting from the shell, sat a grayish-brown,
feathered ball of fluff. The other chicks towered over it. Father and
mother ostrich stared at the tiny chick. Mother ostrich picked it up in
her hand and stared at it with a puzzling look on her face. Abdul laughed
as he saw her looking at her other chicks, then back at the little dove
chick. He laughed and laughed and laughed.
Still curious, he made his way to
the ibis nest down near the river. Two greenish blue eggs had already
hatched with two ugly, dull, blackish, down-covered chicks. A bird was
pecking its way out of the third egg. When if finally was free of the egg,
father and mother ibis stared at it. It didn’t have long legs like the
other two. It had sharp talons and a short, sharp beak. Abdul laughed and
laughed and laughed. He thought it was so funny.
He then went to the tree where the
eagle’s nest was. He ran up and hid behind some leaves. The first eagle
had hatched from the egg, as had the flamingo chick. Father and mother
eagle were squawking, wondering how this odd looking white bird with red
bill and pink legs could be theirs. The chick stared up at who he thought
was his parents.
Abdul laughed and laughed and
laughed. He nearly fell from the tree.
He ran down the trunk and went over
to the owl’s nest. He ran up the trunk until he got to the hole. He peeked
inside. There were four eggs in the nest. The first one to hatch was the
huge ostrich egg. Mother and father owl hooted. The other three were
pecking their way out, but the owls were afraid that the odd looking big
bird would smash the others. Abdul laughed and laughed and laughed. He had
to hold onto a large piece of bark so he wouldn’t fall.
He had one more nest to visit. He
thought this was all so funny. He ran to the other tree where the doves
had built their flimsy nest. Both chicks were hatching together. The doves
looked so happy. When the baby dove hatched, they picked it up and hugged
it’s grayish-brown downy feathers, but when the second egg hatched, they
began to coo and coo. Instead of another little brown, fluffy ball, was a
huge, ugly, blackish-downed bird with long legs. Abdul laughed and laughed
and laughed. He’d never had so much fun in his life.
Meanwhile, all the father birds, who
were so confused, flew down to the river to get a drink of water. They
began telling each other about their unusual babies and soon they
discovered what had happened. Each father bird went to the other nests,
found their babies and took them back to their nests, much to the relief
of the mothers.
Abdul watched the exchanges. He
began to realize that perhaps what he’d done wasn’t that funny after all.
He even began to feel sorry for what he’d done. Never again would he
switch eggs in the nests.
The next week when Abdul went for a
walk, he saw the flamingos with their new baby, standing in the river,
near the bank. They seemed so happy with their new chick. Abdul smiled.
He saw the ostriches with their nine
new chicks walking along, bobbing their heads up and down on their long
necks. Abdul smiled.
The ibis family was down at the
river too with all three of their chicks. They were beautiful birds, with
their long curved bills. They looked so happy together. Abdul smiled.
Up in the air the eagles soared
above. The two chicks followed, flapping their wings madly, trying to fly.
Near the old hole-riddled tree were
the owls. Mother and father owl were hooting, and the four little owls
were hooting little hoots. Abdul thought is was so cute. He smiled.
The doves came flapping above him.
He looked up to see the little grayish brown chicks flapping their wings
just like their parents. He felt so happy. All the chicks were back with