The Purple Mango Tree

stories, plays, rhymes and other things for children and childlike adults

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zadeer the Zebra

Little Zadeer was born in the early hours of the morning as his aunts whinnied softly to his mom, comforting her in her painful efforts to birth him. When he was born, his mother lovingly licked him clean and named him Zadeer--the new one. As he tried to get on his feet, falling several times before he stood trembling before them, they all smiled. He was such a cute kid!

Soon, Zadeer's unique brown and white stripes turned black. His stripes marked his identity. Just like no-one else in the world has fingerprints just like yours, no two zebras have the same stripes. Zadeer learned how to use his stripes to hide himself in the tall Savannah grass. He played with the other foals in his harem and could run really fast at the slightest warning bark from his aunts or cousins. He knew which grasses, shrubs, herbs, leaves and twigs to eat. Life was good.

One night, Zadeer was standing as he slept (that's what Zebra's do, you know). Suddenly, he heard a soft rustle. His nose twitched. What was this he was smelling? He hadn't smelled this smell before. It was odd--like too much sun-hot smoking the grass--and quite unpleasant to him. He gave a soft bark. His nose twitched and his tail swished. He didn't like it, but he wasn't sure if this smell meant any harm to his harem.

Before he woke everybody up with a loud bark that meant "Danger! Let's run," Zadeer decided to explore the smell a bit. That was brave and young Zadeer meant well, but do you think this was very wise? Of course not! 

Hidden in the shadows of the grass, Zadeer saw four really strange moving trees. Each tree had two trunks and two branches. The walking trees were smaller than the grass. Each tree had a black stick hanging from its right branch. The rounded fruit on the top of their trunks made whispering noises though there was no breeze moving the Savannah grass.

Zadeer backed away. He didn't know why, but his heart was beating fast. Something in him knew he had to run. He returned to his harem. He barked. Loudly.

Friday, April 29, 2016


image credit:

Just like humans
I'm a mammal
and a social

I live high up
in the mountains
I like grass
and mossy fountains

It's really cold
so I wear a coat
thick and long
from leg to throat

Most of the time
I'm really quiet
chewing cud
and watching my diet

Eating my meal
again and again
is exhausting--
what a drain!

I hardly ever talk
and never talk back
So why do humans
call talking too much
going "Yakety Yak?"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-Ray Tetra: Goldfinch of the Water

X-Ray Tetra, a.k.a Pristella maxillaris a.k.a Golden Pristella Tetra a.k.a Water Goldfinch--those are the many names of this tiny fish that lives in the Amazon's waters. Although it is related to around one hundred other Tetra species, it is the only fish of its genus.

X-Ray Tetra prefer the fresh water but can also be found in brackish water close to the coast. and can be found in Brazil, Guyana, Guiana and Venezuela. It lives in big schools in deep water in the area between the middle and the bottom and is quite peaceful.

It eats worms, insects and small shell-fish and is eaten by frogs, birds and other big fish. Like us, it remains awake during the day and sleeps at night.

The X-Ray Tetra lives between 2 to 5 years. You can easily recognize it from its yellow, black and white striped fins and its golden or silvery body that glistens and looks translucent. Female fish and male fish look similar but the female are rounder and bigger than the males.

The X-Ray Tetra has special features in its bones that makes it very good at hearing things. Because it looks transparent, its enemies can't find and hunt it easily in the shifting and shimmering water.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Put your hand out of your window or take a walk outside.

How do you feel on your skin--hot or cold? Is it dry or humid? Does that cloud make you sweat? Does the sun feel good or does it feel too hot? Is it windy today?

Weather is the way the air outside feels to us—hot or cold, dry or humid, sultry or cool, cloudy or sunny. Thunder, lightning, storms, rain, snow, ice, hail—these are all expressions of weather. Weather is always changing and is caused when a lot of little things are put together and react to each other's presence.

Let me give you an example. Say there's a breeze that has been travelling over land for a long time before it reaches you. That breeze will feel dry on your skin. If the breeze comes to you after flying over the ocean or the sea for a while, it will have a lot of moisture and so it will feel damp on your skin.

Here's another example. The sun is shining but you are standing in a wooded area full of leafy trees that form a canopy and stop the sunshine from reaching you directly. Here, the sun will feel less warm to you than if you were to stand in an open field. The sun will feel even hotter if you stand on a sandy desert.

As I said before, weather keeps changing. It was bright and sunny this morning when I left home but now it's really cloudy and it looks like it may rain.

One of the things I really like doing is watching the weather channel sometimes. I like to see those maps and charts of how the weather's going to change from hour to hour, day to day, week to week.