Najlaa reached up to eat the leaves
off a tree. Its branches were dangling over the concrete block fence that
she stood by. She had a long neck for an ostrich, and soon noticed it was
getting rather stiff from reaching up to the tender shoots bursting from
the woody branches. She ignored her discomfort and kept nibbling away.
When she was finished, Najlaa went to pull her head down and couldn't bend
it. She tried and tried. She moved it to the left, but it was too stiff.
She moved it to the right, but it was too stiff. She moved it forward,
then backward, but her neck was rigid and wouldn't bend. She had no choice
but to walk around looking up into the sky, until the stiffness wore off.
Ramad, a furry ginger and gray cat
came walking by. He saw Najlaa looking up into the sky. He wondered what
she was looking at. He stopped right next to her and looked up. He saw
some puffy white clouds floating by. He watched them as they slowly
passed, and noticed they changed shapes. At first, one looked like a lion,
then it changed shape to look like a tree. Ramad watched for a while,
meowed happily, then lost interest and ran away.
A little while later, as Najlaa
stood gazing upward, a cow, mooing and chewing its cud, came by. Adiba
noticed the ostrich staring up into the sky. She wondered what she was
looking at. Adiba stopped next to Najlaa and lifted her head. A flock of
ducks flew above them. She stared at them and noticed they were flying in
a V-formation. Adiba let out a loud moo and walked away, her tail swishing
behind her as she headed for the field to graze.
Najlaa tried to move her head to the
left, but it was still too stiff. She tried to move it to the right, but
it was still too stiff. She moved it forward, then backward, but her neck
was still too rigid and wouldn't bend.
The puffy white clouds that were
floating by soon thickened, turned gray, and it began to sprinkle. Hafiz,
the ram, came running by. He was on his way to play with some of the other
sheep that were grazing at the nearby oasis. He saw Najlaa standing there,
looking up at the clouds. Hafiz stopped near the ostrich and looked up to
see what she was looking at. Raindrops fell onto his face. They ran down
from Najlaa's beak and long neck and splattered on him. It began to rain
harder and harder. Najlaa ran over and stood under a banana tree to
protect her from the downpour. Hafiz, getting drenched, let out a loud and
angry baa and ran off.
Kalila was swinging through the
trees, her long hairy arms holding onto the palm fronds as she moved from
tree to tree. The baboon grabbed hold of a clump of green bananas and
pulled a few off to munch on. She looked down and saw Najlaa standing
under the tree, looking up at her. She waved at her, but Najlaa didn't
raise a feather to wave back. She just stood there gazing up at Kalila.
Najlaa tried to move her head to the
left, but it wouldn't move. It was still stiff. She tried to move it to
the right, but it wouldn't move. It was as stiff as ever. She tried to
move it forward, then backward, but it still wouldn't move. What was she
going to do? Her neck was so stiff. All she could do was look up at Kalila
in the banana tree.
Kalila dropped a banana and it hit
Najlaa right in the head. Najlaa couldn't move at all. The banana split
open and banana squished all over her head. Kalila dropped another, then
another, but finally, tiring of her banana dropping, she swung off to
another tree, leaving Najlaa standing under the palm, looking up into the
Najlaa walked over to the cement
block wall. She lay her neck on the top of it, to give it a rest. Jibril,
the mongoose, was running along the top of the wall and came right up to
Najlaa's face. Her beak was inches away from Jibril. Jibril stopped,
waiting for Najlaa to lift her head up so he could run by, but she was too
tired. Jibril turned around on the wall and ran backwards. He'd have to go
Elmira, the frog, came hopping along
the top of the wall a short while later. She saw Najlaa's face laying on
it. She stopped and waited patiently for her to lift up her face, but she
wouldn't. Elmira simply jumped over Najlaa and hopped on her way.
The sun began to set in the sky.
Najlaa, too tired to move, fell asleep against the wall. When Jamal, the
donkey came walking by the next morning, he brayed loudly. Najlaa lifted
up her head to see what the noise was. Her neck moved! She was able to
move it to the left, she was able to move it to the right. She was able to
move it forward and backward. She was so happy. She curled her head right
down between her legs and laughed and laughed.
She'd had enough looking up into the
sky and trees. She walked around all day, looking down at the ground below
her and enjoying every minute of it.