For the holidays, I went to the dryzone with my parents on an adventure. We entered the forest after dawn and were having a good time. However after mid-day, the vehicle broke down. My father and the driver were trying to fix it but it was taking a long time. It was hot and humid. There were many bushes around us and the driver told us to stay close to the vehicle and not to wander around.
I heard a noise behind one of bushes and went to investigate it. There was a big brown hare with big ears. When it saw me, it got frightened then hopped and ran away. I completely forgot what the driver said and chased behind it.
The hare was running fast and so was I. Suddenly the hare took a sharp turn to the left in to the thick bushes. I tried to slow down but then I fell in to a deep ditch. Luckily I was not hurt. I shouted for help but no one heard me.
I didn’t have to wait for long when something fell on my head. To see it was a thick vine. I heard someone saying to hold the vine tightly and climb up. It was a female voice. I managed to climb out with the help of the vine but I almost fainted when I saw her. She was holding the vine with her paws that had long claws. She had long thick fur and a long hairless snout. She was standing on her hind legs and she had a white line below her neck. It was a sloth bear.
“Don’t be frightened.” She said. “I heard your cry for help and knew I had to come and help you. I know this must be a surprise to you but you are a special human being that can understand us. So it is my duty to help you.”
“Urm…..urght…. hhh…” I couldn’t speak but could make only horrible noises. She kept on grinning. I took a deep breath and found my voice.
“YOUR ARE A SLOTH BEAR AND SHOULDN’T I BE AFRAID OF YOU?!” I screamed and the sloth bear looked amused.
“No, you shouldn’t, I just told you are a special human being.” She said while still grinning.
“Ok, I guess I should stop screaming and panicking. I am sorry, I did not thank you for helping me. So thank you , I appreciate it very much.” I said.
“No worries, it was indeed my pleasure.” The bear said.
“Can you please take me back to my family? They must be very worried.”
“Of course I will”. The bear replied. “But can I ask for a favour?”
We started walking the same way I came running.
“Yes, go ahead, you can ask me anything.” I told the bear.
“You know we are a dwindling species.” She said sadly and continued. “There are only around 500 of us left in the wild. Can you ask your people to think of us before they encroach the forest? This is our home. I have two little cubs and very soon they will not have a home to live. We don’t bother humans by going in to their homes, so we would appreciate if humans could do the same.”
“I can understand. I will tell my parents and we will do our best to help you. What is your name by the way?” I asked.
“We don’t have names.” She said. “We recognize each other by our individual smell.”
“Hmmm, interesting. Can I call you White Necklace?”
“Alright, but why?” She inquired.
“The white line below your neck looks like a diamond necklace.”
“Well, I don’t know what that means, but ok, it sounds lovely.” She said.
“By the way, my name is Nethuli.” I said.
“You don’t have to tell me your name; I can recognize you by your smell.” She had a huge grin on her face when she said this.
I lifted my arm, sniffed and I almost fainted. “Yuk, I smell bad. When I get back the first thing I am going to do is jump in the stream next to our camp.”
White Necklace chuckled. “You don’t smell that bad.” She said.
We heard voices. I could see my family ahead and when I turned to thank the bear she had already disappeared. I ran to my parents. They were so happy to see me. They asked a lot of questions. I told them I will tell them everything when we get back to the camp sight and after a long dip in the stream.
My aim now is to keep a promise I made to a special friend – White Necklace