Saturday, June 11, 2011

Camel and the Cactus

On the thick golden blanket of scorching sand, a thirsty camel roamed. In the distance he spotted a lone cactus. After a small exchange of words, he realized that the cactus was thirsty too. Like the camel, the cactus had exhausted its store of water. The cactus knew of a tiny oasis a few miles from there and since it couldn’t walk, the camel offered it a ride on his back. They wandered for miles and miles, but there was still no sign of the oasis. The camel began to wonder if the cactus had tricked him. At the same time the cactus became suspicious and wondered if the camel had planned to eat it. Both strongly opposed the accusations and were most offended that each had doubted the other. A little while later, they came across a solitary traveller, who informed them that there was no oasis, only desert as far as the eye could see. He had with him a small flask of water, tucked safely in his pocket, but asked the camel and cactus not to drink from it as he still had miles to travel and needed every drop he had. But he did offer to give them shelter in his tent until the morning. The two readily agreed but as they followed the traveller they could not help but gaze yearningly at the flask. The camel frowned at the cactus’s lecherous stares and suspected that if he was not vigilant, the cactus would steal the flask in no time. The cactus too had seen the desire in the camel’s eyes and knew that the minute he turned away, the flask would be gone. The kind traveller welcomed them into his tent and even provided them with a blanket for shelter against the harsh winds of the nights. Sleep came quickly and heavily to the traveller but the camel and cactus tossed and turned. They had seen the traveller place the flask in the middle of the tent and it was well within the reach of both.

When daylight came, neither the camel nor the cactus could be found. A day later, they met again. After an awkward greeting, the cactus apologised to the camel for not thanking him that night. The camel confessed that it was he who should be doing the thanking. Somewhere in the distance, a thirsty traveller wandered deliriously across the hot, rippled sands, his insides burning from the poison he had been forced to drink. True to their word, the camel and the cactus had not taken even a sip from the flask; they had only ensured that the traveller had drunk his fill.

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