Penguin and Cactus

Penguin and Cacti

Image Credit: Flickr user hikingartist, via CC

Once a penguin lost her way while exploring with her friends. She ended up in a desert. You will wonder how? Penguins live in oceans, how can they reach the desert? Well, that penguin actually stayed in the Balleras islands of Pacific ocean in Peru. And the Peruvian landscape has a desert set between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains!

Ocean and desert right next to each other. Unbelievable isn’t it?

Peruvian Landscape

As the lost penguin was moving around in the desert she spotted a strange looking green spiky thing. She shook with terror thinking what if it was an evil wizard’s trick. Her mother had often told her stories about evil wizards who lived in the desert. Just then the spiky thing called out to her and asked, “I have never seen you before, who are you and what do you want?”.

The penguin who was filled with fear replied “I am a penguin. I am a sea bird. I live in the cold ocean water right across but I have lost my way. May I ask you who are you?”

The green spiky thing laughed and said, “You don’t know who I am? I am a cactus. I am the most popular plant of the desert.”

“Plant!! Really sir, you are a plant?? I thought you were some kind of a monster”, the penguin sighed in relief.

The cactus laughed and said, “You must have assumed that because of my thorns. Actually they are the leaves that have turned into spikes so that animals can’t eat me. But if you find me when I have flowers all blooming on me, I would look all bright and beautiful.”

Flowering cactus in Peru

“I can’t imagine living in such heat?  How do you survive in it?” The penguin asked curiously.

“You see, my roots are either deep or spread across a large area to suck as much water as possible. Then this water is stored in my leaves, roots and stems. Stranded thirsty people often use this water but it is not the clear flowing liquid people are used to drinking. It is a thick pulp like substance that can be chewed on.” said the cactus.

“You are so smart sir. Can you help me find my way back to the ocean then”, asked the penguin.

Cactus was a little amused and said “Can’t you fly back? After all you are a bird.”

“Sadly I am a flightless bird. These flat limbs on either side of my body are called flippers. They look like wings but they can’t make me fly”, the penguin sobbed.

Eureka!! I think I might have an idea. There is a tourist caravan that passes every afternoon headed towards the sea side to explore Balleras islands. May be you can sneak in when they pass”, the cactus said excitedly.

Together they waited for the caravan. When it did approach the penguin said bye to the helpful cactus and sneaked in to head back home.


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