The Martial Eagles Are Nesting by Maretha Botha
Honey Badger is irritated when he follows human ‘honeyguides’ who aren’t interested to find honey. Instead, they’re trying to climb to the top of the tall tree where the martial eagles’ eggs have hatched!
The two fledglings are alone while the happy parents have gone looking for food. He decides to forget about his honey and rather find the Vervet monkeys. If any bush creature has news, those monkeys are always the best ones to know it first, he thinks.
He hears their chattering long before he sees them, but he loudly khry-ya-ya-yas,‘ Listen, you chattering monkeys!
Bad humans, pretending to be honeyguides are trying to reach the martial eagles’ nest. How can we stop them getting to the vun’ne’ribbel[i] ones?’
Even though they chit-chat back and forth, they don’t know what to do and Wisdom, the spotted eagle owl, is faraway, giving the Common Mynas a “bad experience”.
‘What are we going to do? Wisdom told us not to get up to “monkey business”. Can someone not speak to the good humans at the lodge?’ Child Monkey gibbers, hiding behind his mother’s back.
‘Well, Honey Badger, you always raid the lodge kitchen to get a melon or two. So why don’t you tell the cook what’s happening?’ an older monkey wants to know. ‘I must talk to the cook? She hates me and always chases me, swinging her frying pan at me – not that I mind – I always get what I want,’ the honey badger brags, ‘but, if I run off with her frying pan, she will follow me. Then, I’ll jog-trot as fast as I can to the spot where she and her family always watch the martial eagles.’
‘That’s a good plan, but not to offend you, Honey Badger, we’ll do the grabbing of frying pans. I’m sure the cook and her family will immediately try to catch us___’
‘___which of course, they won’t!’ Child Monkey interrupts and because Wisdom is not there to give him a cold stare, he doesn’t hide behind his mother’s back. Without further ado, the troop heads for the kitchen and Honey Badger follows them as fast as his stumpy legs allow.
At the lodge, the cook is making scrambled eggs on toast for her grandchildren, Josh and Kate. Suddenly, their breakfast is interrupted when the jittery monkeys come inside, accidentally knocking over the coffee pot and a few cups. They grab two frying pans and a few large spoons, dashing outside on to the roof, and head for the lookout.
‘Grandma, I think those monkeys want us to follow them. Look, they’re going towards our martial eagle lookout. Come quickly! Something’s going on!’ Kate screams as she and Josh follow the monkeys.
Grandpa takes his jeep and gets there first – just as one of the bad humans tries to put a martial eagle fledgling into his knapsack – followed by the screeching monkeys making noises on the frying pans.
When the bad human sees Honey Badger hitting his head against the tree, he decides not to oppose the martial eagles’ protectors. He lifts his arms to show that he gives up and promptly loses his grip, screaming while he tries to grab at branches on his way down.
Later that morning, the cook is happy and she gives Honey Badger an extra dollop of honey comb from the larder and the monkeys eat a whole bag of oranges – all by themselves.
[i] Vun’ne’ribbel = the bush creatures’ word for vulnerable, or helpless; Martial eagles on the endangered birds’ list.
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: