A kind boy learns about a baby dragon who needs help. He goes on an adventure to save the dragon from Wild Island!
Chapter 6 – I Meet a Rhinoceros
I soon found a trail that lead away from the clearing. All sorts of animals might be using it too, but I decided to follow the trail. No matter how dangerous it might be, I had to continue on to find the dragon. I kept my eyes open, checking both ahead and behind, and continued on.
I didn’t meet any trouble for a while, and just as I was starting to feel safe, I came around a curve and found myself right behind two wild boars.
One of them was saying to the other, “Did you know that the tortoises thought they saw Monkey carrying his sick grandmother to the doctor last night? But Monkey’s grandmother died a week ago, so they must have seen something else. I wonder what it was.”
“I told you that there was an invasion,” said the other boar, “and I intend to find out what it is. I simply do not like invasions.”
“Nee meither,” said a tiny little voice. “No, no, I mean me neither.” I guessed that the mouse was there, too.
“Well,” said the first boar, “you should go search the trail from here to the dragon. I’ll go the other way through the big clearing. And let’s send the Mouse to watch the Ocean Rocks in case the invader decides to leave before we can find it.”
I hid behind a mahogany tree just in time, and the first boar walked right past me. I waited for the other boar to get a head start. But, I didn’t want to wait too long, because I knew that when the first boar got to the clearing and saw all the tigers chewing gum, he’d become even more suspicious.
I started to follow the second boar, at a distance. Soon, the trail crossed a little brook. By this time, I was very thirsty, and I stopped to get a drink of water. I still had on my rubber boots, so I waded into a shallow pool of water and stooped down. Suddenly, something quite sharp picked me up by the back of my pants and shook me very hard.
“Don’t you know that this is my private weeping pool?” said a deep angry voice.
I couldn’t see who was talking because I was hanging in the air right over the pool, but I said, “Oh, no, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know that everybody had a private weeping pool.”
“Not everybody has a weeping pool!” said the angry voice, “but I do because I have such terrible things to cry about. If I find someone using my weeping pool, I drown them! Every single one!”
With that, the animal started tossing me up and down over the water.
“What—is it—that—you—cry—about—so much?” I asked, trying to catch my breath between tosses. I considered all the things I had in my backpack.
“Oh, I have so many things to cry about, but the biggest thing is the color of my horn,” the animal said.
I squirmed left and right trying to see the horn for myself, but it was the horn that I was hanging by, and so I couldn’t see it.
“When I was a young rhinoceros, my horn was pearly white,” said the animal (and of course, at that point, I learned that I was hanging by the seat of my pants on the horn of a rhinoceros!), “but it has turned a nasty yellowish gray because of my old age, and I think it is very ugly. You see, everything else about me is ugly, but when I had a beautiful horn, I didn’t worry so much about the rest. Now that my horn is ugly too, I can’t sleep at night just thinking about how completely ugly I am, and I weep all the time. But why should I be telling you these things? I caught you using my pool, and now I’m going to drown you.”
“Oh, wait a minute, Rhinoceros,” I said. “I have some things that will make your horn all white and beautiful again. Just let me down and I’ll give them to you.”
The rhinoceros said, “You do? I can hardly believe it! Oh, how exciting!”
He put me down and danced around in a circle. I took the tube of toothpaste and the toothbrush out of my backpack.
“Now,” I said, “just move your horn a little closer, please, and I’ll show you how to begin.”
I wet the toothbrush in the pool, squeezed on a dab of toothpaste, and scrubbed very hard in one tiny spot. Then, I told the rhinoceros to wash it off. When the ripples in the pool became calm again, I told the rhinoceros to look down at his reflection in the water and see how white the little spot was. It was hard to see in the dim light of the jungle, but sure enough, the spot shone pearly white. It looked just like new. The rhinoceros was so happy that he grabbed the toothbrush from me. He began scrubbing at his horn violently, forgetting all about me.
Just then, I heard steps so I jumped behind the rhinoceros. It was the first boar coming back from the big clearing where the tigers were chewing gum. The boar looked at the rhinoceros, and at the toothbrush, and at the tube of toothpaste.
Looking at the scene, the boar scratched his ear on a tree. “Tell me, Rhinoceros,” he said, “where did you get that fine tube of toothpaste and that toothbrush?”
The rhinoceros didn’t even look at the boar. “I’m too busy!” he said and he went on brushing as hard as he could.
The boar sniffed angrily and trotted down the trail toward the dragon, muttering to himself, “Very suspicious—tigers are too busy chewing gum, and Rhinoceros is too busy brushing his horn. We need to get ahold of that invasion. I don’t like it one bit. Not one bit! It’s been upsetting everybody—I wonder why the invader has come here, anyway.”