He changed masters again at this time, and, to his astonishment, found that he was the chief camel, and was to carry the master of the tribe, preceding the others, attended by horses and servants. Cara now had a fine time of it. He had very little to do except to carry his master and a very handsome saddle. His journeys were short, and altogether he had about as easy a time of it as it is possible for a camel to have. His master was fond and proud of him, for he was wonderfully handsome for a camel and of abnormal size.
At one time he rendered his master a great service, for there had been a long drought, and no water could be found anywhere. Cara, however, had the acute sense of smell which all camels have, and one day when very thirsty broke out of his stable, and, smelling water about a mile off, set forth to get some. He was followed by some of the servants, who guessed what had happened, and, to their great joy, Cara led them to a spring of fresh water.
No doubt he would have lived to a good old age—say forty or fifty years—but that one day, breaking out of his stable again—a thing Cara was rather fond of doing—he wandered about, and, coming across a nice-looking, green plant, he promptly proceeded to eat it. But, alas! the nice-looking plant was a deadly poison called by the Arabs “camel poison,” and, soon after eating it, Cara became very ill, and was scarcely able to get back with slow and weary steps to his comfortable stable, where, after a few short groans, he lay down and died.
And this was the end of Cara.
It was very sad, and his master shed bitter tears over his handsome camel. But, you see, it was Cara’s own stupidity, for, like the rest of his tribe, he would always eat anything that was green, no matter where it grew or what it looked like.
Poor Siccatee was in great trouble.
She had been very busy for some time past laying up food for the winter, and it had taken many weeks’ hard work. She had selected the very best nuts, acorns, corn, berries and seeds, and all through the beautiful autumn days had scarcely rested for a moment, so eager had she been to lay in a good stock.
Not a single unsound, worm-eaten or empty nut had she allowed to go into her stores. She had taken each one in her little fore paws, looked it carefully over, turning and twisting it about and examining it from every point of view with her keen little eyes; and then, when she had made quite sure that it was a good one and perfectly sound, she had trotted off with it in her quick way, which was something between a hop and a gallop, and hidden it in a nice place at the root of some old tree, or in some cleverly hidden crevice.
Her husband had helped her as much as he could, and had contributed many dainties.
Their beautiful home was in a wood by the side of the sea, and the people in the big house at the bottom of the wood sometimes threw out dainties in the shape of fruit, scraps of meat and bread, and many kinds of berries.