Their First Excursion.
‘Come on, you two; Wake up!’
‘Ah mum, can I just finish my dream?’ Pipi said, as she lazily opened her large round black eyes, stretched her spindly legs and gave a big wide yawn.
‘Not today.’ answered her mother, Teta. Who was busily cleaning her long wiry whiskers.
‘And you too, Meru. I know you’re only pretending to be asleep.’
‘Yeah Yeah.’ Rolling his eyes open while still snuggled his comfy leaf and feather bed.
‘Your father and I have something important to tell you.’
‘Kemin, can you come over here please so you can tell the children our news.’
‘Yes, dear.’ said Kemin, as he ducked his head to avoid the branches of the overhanging bush, while he trotted back sit next to Teta.
Now that their children were sitting to alert attention in front of them, Kemin looked at them both and said, ‘Your mother and I are going to have another baby or babies. So we thought that today we would start to show you how you can help us when it or they arrive.’
‘When do you think that’ll be?’ enquired Meru, the most inquisitive of the twins.
‘Probably in a couple of months, may be about April time.’
‘So what do we have to do to help?’ said Pipi, who had been sitting quietly listening.
‘Both you and Meru will come with me and your mum and we’ll show you how to find food.’ Kemin said, smiling both of them.
‘Oh lovely; an adventure!’ mewed Meru.
‘Now, now Meru, don’t get carried away.’ growled his mum, twisting her nose in irritation.
‘OK!’ barked Kemin, ‘looks like we’re all ready. Let’s go.’
This would be the first time Meru and Pipi had left their home.
The sun had crossed the sky and the moon was on the rise. Its light creating shadows from the rocky landscape between which they darted. Their furred feet preventing the hot desert sand from burning them.
They stopped behind a large angular rock. Kemin peeped his long, pointed black tipped nose around it and whispered, ‘Look over there, that’s where we’re going.’
‘What is it?’ asked Pipi.
‘That my dear,’ purred Teta, ‘is a Temple.
‘Now try and keep quiet, our enemies may hear us.’
‘Enemies?’ queried Meru. He’d never heard that word before.
‘ Things that don’t like us. Like the Eagle Owl. He lives in the Temple; but we have others too.’
‘Eagle Owl, what sort of animal is it?’
‘ A bird. ‘
‘An animal that flies through the air.’
‘Oh Like a Bee!’
‘Will you two shut up! Shhh…!’ Snarled Took.
‘I’ll explain about the Eagle later, when we get back home.’ Teta whispered to Meru as quietly as she could.
They made a quick dash through the rest of the rocks which lay just beyond the temple complex. Stopping to catch their breath at the base of a statue on the avenue of sphinxes, before sneaking
past two giant pylons guarding the Temple entrance. Silently ending up behind one of the many large round sandstone pillars, which stood in rows on the paved precinct ground.
Kemin rotated his head from side to side, using his large furry oval shaped ears to listen carefully to the sounds of the night. There was the occasional rustle in the bushes but tonight it was pretty quiet, so far.
Then, out of the darkness, strolled a large animal across the sand. It had come from the temple where they were going.
It was heading straight for them!
Hoping that it hadn’t noticed them, they held their breath as the thing approached.
It went right past the without even glancing in their direction.
‘What’s that?’ asked Meru, a bit too loudly.
‘Sssh! barked his mum.
‘That, my son, ‘ said Kemin, ‘is a human animal. A male. Human animals are different from the other animals around here. Remember their scent.’
‘How different?’ queried Meru.
‘I’ll tell you later.’
‘Mmmm… it’s always, I’ll tell you later.’
Kemin just glowered at him and continued.
‘He comes out from that small building in front of us, every night at about the same time; and, we’re going inside.’
‘How are we going to do that, father?’ asked Pipi, ‘the walls are too high.’
‘Yes, that’s true, but I’ve dug a hole under one of the walls and I’ve been using it for years. The humans don’t bother us.’
Kemin lead the way . They zigzagged between the pillars until they found the hole. Flattening his body, Kemin wiggled under the wall. The others followed and into the shrine they entered.
Their eyes had to adjust to the darkness , but they had good night vision.
‘Sniff the air,’ said Kemin, ‘what can you smell?’
‘Mmm… I smell something nice. Can we eat it?’ purred Meru. His little pink tongue licking his narrow lips.
‘What about you, Pipi?’
‘Oh, lots of different scents. Some I’ve never smelt before.’
‘Follow me.’ said their father.
As they trotted across the swept floor of the shrine, suddenly something scuttled across their path.
‘What’s that!’ yelped Pipi, staring at it in wonder, as it continued on its journey.
‘That, is a scorpion. We eat them; but not tonight.’ Said her mother.
‘Ah, here we are,’ said Kemin, ‘other types of food. Smell them, taste them and learn to recognise them.’
The children had only ever eaten food regurgitated from their parents until now.
As usual, Meru was ready with a question,
‘How does it get here?’
‘Good question, son.’ said Kemin, ‘When many humans visit the temple together, I know that they will leave it as an offering to a statue that looks like us. Which, they call a god.
Once the man leaves, we help ourselves to the food. The humans don’t mind.’
Meru made straight for the brightly coloured food. ‘What’s this?’ He asked while his little black nose sniffed at it.
‘It’s called fruit and don’t eat too many of those little green ones; they’re called grapes will make you ill.’
Meru took a mouthful and had never tasted anything so sweet before; ‘Hooeee! I love these!’
‘What’s this one, momma?’ asked Pipi, eyeing up a big round yellow thing.
‘It’s a melon, dear.’ Said Teta. ‘Be careful when you bite into it.’
‘Eeek!’ squealed Pipi in fright.
She had taken too big a bite causing the melon to split and splash all over her face.
‘Euuugh! This one stinks.’ Said Meru. ‘What is it?’
‘Dried fish!’ Snapped Kemin.
‘Meru dear, don’t be rude,’ said his mother, ‘try the white stuff next to it. It’s duck. You’ll like that.’
‘I hope so.’
‘Mmmm… ! Nice! Thanks momma.’
While the rest ate, Kemin constantly listened and sniffed the air, to ensure his family remained safe.
After the rest had gorged themselves on the offering, Kemin managed to grab a bite and then decided it was time to leave.
‘OK, time to be getting back home. Gather up as much of the food as you can carry, and we’ll be on our way.’
Again, they shimmied through the hole under the wall and zigzagged their way through the rows of stone columns, while carrying some of the food to store for later use.
As they paused to catch their breath behind one of the columns, Pipi, who was a bit of a thinker, asked, ‘What’s those funny scratchings on the column?’
Wise Kemin said, ‘They’re the talking marks of the humans. If you look closely you can see they’re really like little pictures.’
Pipi did; and it was true.
After a bit of a think Pipi said. ‘They must be a bit strange, those humans.’
‘Well, not all animals are the same as us.’ smiled her mother.
They passed through the main gateway and back into the rocky desert night landscape. All the time, the parents were keeping alert to any danger. Their cream coloured fur blending with the sand helping to camouflage them from their enemies.
Kemin guided them safely back to their ‘Den’, situated in the sand dunes hidden by small bushes. The Fennec children were so tired and worn out from their day’s adventure, that as soon as they snuggled down into their warm, cosy beds, with their little noses tucked under their big brown tipped bushy tails, they fell fast asleep into a fox’s dream time.