TUFTY THE LYNX. EXPEDITION OF WILD EXPLORERS.
1. MEETING SNIFFY THE WOLF
Tufty the lynx day after day, perfected his new skills discovered during his unforgettable adventure in the Carpathian Forest. He jumped from place to place like a dignified deer, then he played the role of a big bear waving his paws in the air, then gnawed leaves and playfully changed the tone of his voice, pretending to be a bison eating grass. He made his sisters laugh with games, and they imitated him very often.
- Oh my! Tufty stopped suddenly. I forgot about something very important!
- About what? The sisters asked unanimously, interrupting the fun.
- I have not yet thanked the black stork for encouraging me to travel and giving me courage before the great expedition. After all, it was during a wild adventure that I discovered that I had a lion's heart and so many talents.
I want to do it! I want to thank him!
Tufty apologized to his sisters, that he had to stop playing and ran to his mother to let him run down to the stream one more time and see the winged wanderer.
Mom, knowing the courage and resourcefulness of the little lynx, agreed. Tufty meowed for goodbye and set off to the stream. Hoping to surprise the black stork again, the little lynx jumped out of the bushes onto shore, but he was not there. He looked carefully up the stream, then down the rushing water reflecting the gentle rays of the sun. There was no one there. He decided to run lower to look for him in a forest meadow. There, however only the grass rocked in the wind...The lynx became sad, muttered under his breath and turned to go home.
- I got you! said the unfamiliar voice, surprising the little lynx, which from the sensation, slipped on the stone and fell into the mud.
Oh my! You surprised me! Tufty meowed, trying to save himself from the mud bath. Who are you? he asked, staring at the animal standing proudly on the stone.
- My name is Sniffy and I am a gray wolf.
- And I am Tufty, lynx, king of wild forest! As proof of this I have a spot in the shape of a lion's claw!
- Gee, that's fun! I've been looking for you all over the wildland! The wolf waved his tail as a sign of friendship and great joy.
- How did you look for me? Tufty asked surprised.
I have been training my track recognition talent for many days. In the future I will become a hunter and hunt alongside other wolves.
Recently I saw tracks of a deer, a bear, a bison and I always saw someone else with them.
It turns out those were your paws Tufty! They brought me here.
Wait a minute. After all, I often jumped over fallen trees, over rocks, it was hard to spot my tracks clearly. How is this possible?
- It's hard to spot it, but not to smell it - proudly replied wolf.
- You have a nose to track down! Tufty admitted.
- That's why it’s my name! Sniffy! Joyful hunter barked.
2. LEARNING TO TRACK
Over the mountain stream, there was an lively conversation about tracking animals with the use of smell, hearing and careful observation. Tufty and Sniffy learned from each other how to be better hunters.
- Sniffy maybe you can help me track down the black stork, which I want to thank for encouraging me to travel? Maybe you can sniff his tracks with your perfect sense of smell and we'll find him? asked the lynx hopefully.
- Of course! I will do it! I won’t even need my sense of smell, because I know exactly where the black stork has his nest. It's near my home – said Sniffy.
- Rooaaar! Excellent! Let’s go then! Tufty mewed, ordered to leave.
New friends moved ahead. Sniffy in the front, lynx right next to his waving tail.
- Tufty do you know when I first found your tracks? the wolf asked.
I have no idea, the spotted traveler muttered.
- I found your first tracks next to tracks of my parents. I saw the paws of my dad, mom, older sister, brother and of course yours. They were a little bit different and the smell was not wolf’s.
- A little different? How to recognize them? Tufty asked more and more questions with curiosity.
Stop for a moment – said Sniffy and looked around. He found a drying puddle with a large layer of mud. - Get your paw off here.
Tufty did so. Right after him, Sniffy left his mark in the mud.
Look, we have similar paw pads, one large and four smaller. Except my track has something else. Can you see what?
Tufty stared at the two tracks looking for differences. - Yes! I see! Your track has extra small holes above the claw pads.
Exactly! My claws are always on the outside and yours are always hidden, especially while walking.
That's right! I only pull my claws out when I’m hunting or when climbing a fallen tree - Tufty replied looking at his paw.
This is how I found your tracks and found you at the end of them, eventually. You are my greatest discovery!
Have you ever been at the end of other animal tracks?
- Yes. Following some tracks I reached fighting deer, following the other I came to a bear scratching behind the ear, the third tracks led me to a resting bison and by following the fourth I reached you.
Wow! That’s wild!
- Wild! Wild! the wolf confirmed. Tufty! The last stream is ahead of us! We are now getting close to the black stork's nest.
3. A MYSTERIOUS DISCOVERY
- A bit more Sniffy! You can do it!
Little lynx was standing by the cliff and supported the wolf, which had a problem with climbing steep bank of the mountain stream.
- Gee, I'm not as nimble as you Tufty, I need more time. I’m tired already.
- As soon as you climb up, we'll take a rest for a while.
- Whew... I made it! Sniffy reached the top, gasped and rested his head on the moss.
- I didn't know that the road to black stork's nest could be so steep, muttered the lynx.
- It's steep, but only at this point. We will reach our destination soon - the wolf barked.
All of the sudden, fiends noticed something very mysterious, that was just passing the nose of the tired wolf.
- What is that? asked the little lynx.
I have no idea, Sniffy replied with a low whimper, not taking his eyes off the mysterious creature.
- Slender body on small black legs, yellow spots, big eyes, long tail...
This is the first time I see something like this - Tufty muttered in surprise.
- Me too. I wonder what smell does it have? Sniffy approached the awkwardly moving mysterious creature.
Hardly smells at all and leaves no tracks.
- This is an extremely wild discovery! I wonder what it eats? - the explorer was awakened in Tufty.
- I have an idea! I'll take "this yellow spots something" in my mouth, gently to not hurt it, and we’ll take it to the stork. He eats such creatures and will surely know what kind is this. The nest is really close.
- It's a great idea Sniffy, let's do it!
The wolf gently nudged the unfamiliar creature with his nose and took it in his mouth. As fast as he took it, as fast he spit it out! - Bleeh! What is it? My tongue stings, it’s bitter…water!
Sniffy started to making strange faces and licking the tree to get rid of the unpleasant taste.
Tufty was surprised by the embarrassed wolf and the mysterious creature that had already managed to hide under the tree roots.
Only after a while Sniffy was able to tell Tufty about his unpleasant adventure – No way! This creature is strange, poisonous I think. I can't move him to the stork nest.
You don’t have to do that. We remembered exactly how this "strange something" which just escaped from us, looks like - all black, long, on small legs, with yellow spots. Let's go to the nest, decided Tufty.
Yes, let's go - confirmed little wolf, with pout face.
A few steps away, wild travelers found themselves in an extremely wild land. The beech forest was covered with a moss carpet and filled with rock hideouts that encouraged lynx to play hide and seek. - Wow! It's really wild here! - purred the delighted Tufty. - When I grow up I would like to have my territory here. It will be a great place to hunt, play or relax. The lynx ran around this wildest patch of forest and looked into almost every hole. He felt like at home.
- Come on Tufty! I can already see the stork's nest! Sniffy called the lynx, not to run too far. He did not know who lived in the rock hideouts.
4. HOUSE BEHIND A FLOWER MEADOW
Not a moment passed and the heroes found themselves at the great tree. It was a tall beech tree with a huge nest at the top of the crown.
Unfortunately, it was empty. Friends decided to wait for someone to appear, but the stork did not show up.
A few days ago he was still here with his whole family.. Sniffy said looking towards the nest.
- I don't think we made it on time. He flew to Africa, as he said - Tufty muttered sadly and thanked the stork for everything in his mind.
- Do not get sad Tufty, the stork will be back in spring and you will be able to meet him by the stream. You’ll see. Now look here! I have another wild discovery! As a consolation, Sniffy showed the lynx an extraordinary inhabitant of the forest - a unique insect that had just landed on a beech tree.
- Wow! That’s wild! Who is this? How amazing! He's so blue, he has wings… wait, he has tufts on his long antennae - a bit like mine, but much smaller… he also has black spots! - the lynx was amazed by Alpine longhorn beetle and could not take his eyes off him. When he wanted to smell him, insect suddenly jumped on his nose and made himself at home for good. After a while he flew away.
It was extraordinary...muttered the delighted Tufty.
- It's a beetle that lands quite often near my house. He even sat on my tail once - recalled young wolf.
- Well, your house Sniffy, you mentioned it’s near the stork's nest. Can I see it?
- Yes, sure thing. It’s only forest glade to cross. Let's go!
The wild explorers set off, and few leaps later they were already there.
I have to tell you that I like this place a lot, especially when flowers are blooming here. Then I imagine it's a flower gate to the wild kingdom.
- What are these flowers? White, yellow? asked the little lynx interested.
- Purple. There is a lot of them in this area.
Sniffy ran around the glade and showed the lynx where exactly the purple hellebore grows, explained how tall they are, what are the petals and what’s inside of them. Thanks to that, Tufty could see the entire glade flowering in his imagination.
- It must be beautiful here! – he finished.
- It is! You just have to visit me in early spring! Then you will see everything with your own eyes! Now let's walk this path. At the end, we will find entrance to my house.
5. SECRET OBSERVATIONS
Tufty and Sniffy admired the wolf house. They were hidden behind the root of a fallen tree, not to scare the wolf sisters and brothers. They were whispering to each other :
- You see...my sisters and brother play there. That bigger wolf sitting next to them is my older brother. He’s our guardian during absences of our parents.
- You have an older brother, that’s great! I am very curious about your house...first time I see something like this. Can you live in the ground?
-Yes. It’s a deep burrow. It’s really cozy and warm inside - especially when mom is in it.
- Where are your parents now?
- On the hunt, certainly. When I grow up I will also participate as a tracker with a perfect sense of smell.
- Gee, your family is harmonious!
- Yes, everyone has a role.
- What do you think Sniffy, who will help us solve the mystery of the creature that irritated your tongue?
- What creature? A voice from behind scared the little explorers.
- Mom! You surprised us! Sniffy barked, wagging his tail.
- Yes, I did it perfectly, since you didn't hear me. You were very busy with secret observations of our house - mom laughed, rubbing herself against her little son.
- I introduce you Tufty the lynx, my new friend. I followed his tracks while training my tracker talent. I brought him to the nest of a black stork, but unfortunately he has already flew away. I also showed him our house and we made a great discovery on the way here.
- Good morning Tufty, we've seen each other before
- Really? When?
- You were alone in the forest and our family was hunting. My husband spoke to you.
- You were there too?
- Yes, next to the wolf who talked to you about the balance in nature - remember?
- Balance in nature! I remember. It’s nice to meet you.
- Mom, what is this mysterious creature that can be found in the forest, all black, long, with a tail, on small legs, with yellow spots and exuding such bitter juice that irritated my tongue?
- It's a fire salamander, completely inedible to us, wolves, and probably to no one, because it gives off a repellent venom.
- I know something about it because I had it on my tongue.
- So the wild mystery has been solved. It's time for me, I have to go home, because my mother and sisters will be worried - said Tufty.
- Maybe I walk you home? Sniffy suggested.
- Thank you, my friend, but I can handle it. I'll come back home after the tracks. I’ll be fine.
- So take care Tufty, visit me in the spring! Then you will see a flowering glade and will say hello to the stork.
- Take care Sniffy! Continue to train your tracker talent. See you in spring, bye bye! And the unforgettable adventure continues!