And so she decided to go into the desert again. She knew that she could always find her forest by following her own steps backward. This time she prepared herself before leaving the forest. She drank deeply before leaving because there would be no water in the desert. And she made a nice hat from a lovely flower vine to keep the sun out of her eyes. She was quite sure everything would go very well now. She was very pleased with her exciting new adventure
This is what she found in the desert. There were red rocks and white and black and orange and yellow and.... but only a geologist would want to know all that. The little girl just thought they were pretty. There were also many living things in the desert. This would have surprised the fox and the cedar. But it didn’t surprise the little girl. She had sort of thought they would be there. There were turtles and snakes and iguanas. There were rabbits and kangaroo rats and armadillos. There were so many wonderfully fun creatures she lost count. And there were birds, tiny birds, large birds, bright birds and plain birds. She was very happy to see the birds in the desert too.
Strange plants were everywhere as well. Some of them had bright flowers and some didn’t. But they were all very nice, and very alive, not at all dead like she had been told. She was very pleased with herself for finding out that the desert was beautiful and full of living things just like her forest.
There was one very tall prickly spiny one she could not tell about however.
“Hello, who are you?” she asked.
“I am a cactus. And who are you?”
“I am a little girl.”
“Oh, I see.”
“I live in the forest and I must be getting back because I am thirsty and there is no water here.”
“You are wrong about the water, little girl,” said the cactus. “I drink it in from under the rocks and sand and store it here in my heart.”
That is nice but, you see, I can’t do that. So I must go find some water to drink or I will soon die.”
“Then I will let you drink from my heart,” said the cactus. “Just break me off and you will find something to drink.”
So she drank from the cactus’ heart and stayed awhile with the cactus. She could sit in his shade and watch small insects and other creatures skittering or crawling through the rocks and sand.
But then she decided she really must be getting back to her forest.
“I have to go home while it is light” she told the cactus. “I have to see my footprints to return”
“Oh but the sunsets are so wonderful here in the desert,” the cactus said. “And the night sky is spectacular. You must stay through the night. You can return in the morning when the light returns.”
It sounded like a good idea and the little girl really did want to see the sunset and the night sky. So she agreed to stay.
To be continued