In the heart of the Bardenas desert in Spain, there lived a green cactus named Thorny. Since Thorny was a plant and couldn’t move, he would spend his days looking at the world around him.

Thorny was a large cactus with large thorns.  There was also lots of space between his thorns, and so small birds could land on his thorns without getting pricked.


On the outside Thorny looked dangerous, with big thorns and tough skin, but on the inside, he was full of water, which was a big surprise to many.

The desert birds knew that Thorny had water inside, so for a few days they flew around him.

Finally, one day, a bird landed on Thorny and started pecking his skin, until he made a hole to drink the water. “Ouch! That really hurts!” cried Thorny “What do you think you’re doing you crazy bird! If you keep on pecking like that I will die!”

The bird was startled. “I’m sorry Mr. Cactus” replied the bird, “but I need to drink water so I can continue on my journey across the desert.  If I don’t drink I will die of thirst.” – “I understand your problem, Mr. Bird,” said Thorny, “I am not sure if you are aware that there is an oasis nearby, where you can drink as much water as you like, without hurting anyone.”

The bird told Thorny that he just wanted to drink water and didn’t feel like flying to any oasis, no matter how close it was.

“Mr. Bird,” replied Thorny in a sharp voice, “This is a matter of respect.  If you go to the oasis, you can drink as much water as you like without having to kill any desert creatures.  The oasis is very near, so you will be there in no time at all.” Thorny’s words were so powerful that it made the bird change his mind.

The bird finally realised that he had to respect other animals and plants; they were, after all, living creatures just like him.

The End


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