Of Waterfalls and Bird Baths by Maretha Botha– Part 1
Towards the end of Josh and Kate’s summer holiday at their grandparents’ lodge, an urgent problem occurs among the feathered friends of the forest. At first, no one realises how bad it could be for the crimson-breasted shrikes.
You might remember that they already lost their eggs earlier in the season when the common mynas laid their own eggs in their nest, instead.
So, Child Monkey – being an observant little monkey most of the time – gibbers some clever words one day, which no one takes much notice of, except Wisdom, the spotted eagle-owl.
He has been back in his own favourite tree for a few days now, after managing to give the common mynas “a bad experience” – we never quite found out how bad – but they’ve not been seen near the crimson-breasted shrikes’ nest for a few days, now.
‘Keep quiet, you jittery monkeys!’ Wisdom hoots and continues before they could make a racket again. ‘Child Monkey, get out from behind your mother’s back and repeat what you said just now,’ Wisdom hoots again and gives the poor little monkey a very cold and fixed stare.
‘I . . . noticed that our small feathered friends don’t have water, because the dogs’ water trough is empty before noon. Don’t birds need water too? Their new babies will die if they don’t get enough water, won’t they?
And, I also overheard the striped kingfisher complain that he has nowhere to plunge-dive, let alone spread his wings on a rock to dry out. I feel sorry for all the birds!’ Child Monkey gibbers, but his eyes roll back in his head when he thinks that he might have gibbered too much – for a child.
So, he quickly dove behind his mother’s back – just in case he chittered about something that could be called “monkey business”.
‘I might have thought that this could be classed as “monkey business”, but Child Monkey is right.
We must let the children’s grandparents understand that they will have to make a pond and while they’re at it, they might as well add a waterfall for the striped kingfisher,’ Wisdom hoots.
‘You can hoot and gibber as much you like, but don’t expect me to go to the kitchen for anything, except if there’s a watermelon I might like,’ the honey badger lets everyone know that he has been listening to their chat as well.
‘Did you say “watermelon”?’ the pangolin asks. He briefly shows his head from among the shadows in the undergrowth, but disappears as fast as he can into an anthill when it looks as if the honey badger might like to have him for dinner.
Yet, the honey badger replies, ‘Yes, I did and for a bird that’s supposed to be clever, you can sometimes be stupid, Wisdom. A watermelon is full of water, so why not leave one outside? I’ll crack it open and leave a l-i-i-i-t-le bit on the table over there. I’m sure the birds will love its sweet taste – almost as good as a honeycomb.’
‘Hmmm . . . that’ll help, Honey Badger. So, storm the kitchen and get done, but more needs to be done. This is just a quick-fix for the day.
Let’s think about it and every one of you monkeys had better come up with an idea – not monkey business – by tomorrow,’ Wisdom hoots, scaring the monkeys stiff.
About Maretha Botha
Author, illustrator Maretha Botha admits to being addicted to black coffee and chocolate. She and her family loves the outdoors and hike on the moors whenever possible. Gardening and bird watching are favourite past-times. She has written and illustrated a series of children’s books for young readers 9-13 years, called “Fauna Park Tales” (See Below).
Books 1-4 are available in Kindle as well as black and white illustrated paperbacks, approximately 20,000 words each, and make excellent middle-grade chapter books.
African Adventure Books:
Book 1 – Flame and Hope: An African Adventure
Book 2 – Friends: An African Adventure
Meet Maretha Online: