The Camel's Shadow

Atlas was an explorer who went on many great adventures around the world.

He swam with sharks near Australia. Climbed mountains in the Himalayas. He even hiked in the Amazon Rainforest.

Now he wanted to travel across the giant Namib Desert in Africa.


But Atlas needed help. So he hired a guide with a camel. The camel would carry all of their important supplies.

The two men purchased water and loaves of bread at the village market. They packed matches and wood to make fires at night.

Soon they began their trip.


On the first day, they traveled along the foggy Skeleton Coast.

There they saw something amazing—a scene few people see in their lifetime. The beach was littered with old, rusty shipwrecks. The vessels had been battered and sunk by the rough seas off the coast.


On the morning of the second day, they stopped at the Uniab River.

While refilling their canteens, they looked up and couldn’t believe their eyes! There, in front of them, was a herd of desert elephants charging down the valley toward the river. They would never forget it!


On the third day, Atlas and his guide entered the hottest part of the desert. The midday sun beat down. It became unbearably hot.

“We should stop for a break,” said the guide. “I will set up some umbrellas for shade.”

But, the guide couldn’t find the umbrellas.


Atlas had no choice—he had to eat his food under the blazing sun. He was dripping with sweat. Then he noticed the guide was sitting in the shade created by the camel’s shadow.

Atlas stood up and walked over to the guide.


“Since I paid for the services of this camel,” Atlas said, “I have a right to sit in the camel’s shade.” He pushed the guide to the side.

“You rented the camel, not its shadow!” the guide yelled. He pushed Atlas out of the way and stepped back into the shade.


The two men began to argue loudly. Their angry voices made the camel extremely nervous.

The two men didn’t notice when the camel quietly trotted off into the desert.


When Atlas and the guide finally stopped arguing, they realized the camel was gone. They looked around but didn’t see it anywhere.

Even worse, the camel was carrying all of their food and supplies.


The two men were hot, sweaty, and very thirsty.

But more importantly, they were both embarrassed about what had happened.

The two men had no choice but to make the long walk back to the village on foot.


Atlas never did cross the great Namib Desert. But he had learned a valuable lesson.

Getting upset about small things can lead to even bigger problems.


FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 640
Word Count 454

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