Thomas was crawling along in the desert one day when he saw a lizard sunning itself on the face of a 
   “Hello,” he said. “I am new to this area and I don’t have many friends. My name is Thomas; I am a  
tarantula, one of the largest spiders in the species. Even though I am poisonous, I am neither deadly nor 
aggressive by nature. I live in burrowed holes in the desert sand and feed on arthropods.”
   The lizard replied, “My name is Loretta. I live in the cracks and crevices of rocks and feed on insects. I 
am not poisonous, but some lizard families are. I am going to meet with Raymond and some others. 
Raymond is a rattlesnake and he is the most fearsome of all creatures. He is very deadly and eats 
rodents, birds and other warm-blooded animals. We roam the desert floor and scare off other animals 
and insects; then we destroy their homes. It is so much fun being with Raymond. Almost everyone in the 
desert is associated with him. Would you like to come along?”
   “All right,” said Thomas, and off they went.
   Thomas and Loretta saw a prairie dog that was working very hard in the hot sun.
   “Hello. My name is Thomas and this is my new friend Loretta. What’s your name and what are you 
   “I am Patrick. I live in holes and under large rocks. For weeks I’ve been busy building this place to live. 
When I finish it will be a magnificent home.”
   “We are going to meet with Raymond,” said Thomas. He is the toughest and most fearsome 
rattlesnake in the desert. He offers excitement and fun, Loretta said, “Almost everyone around here 
knows him and pals around with him. Do you want to come along?”      “No thanks,” replied Patrick. “I will stay here and build my home.”
   Thomas and Loretta continued their journey into the desert. On their way, the two new friends met a 
toad hopping along in the sand. Thomas and Loretta introduced themselves and asked the toad’s name.
   “I am Theodore, a horned toad. My home is under rocks where I can find shelter and moisture. I eat 
ants and other insects. Rumor is that people can get warts by touching me, but that is not true.”
   “Where are you hopping off to?” asked Thomas.
“I am going to see Raymond the snake. It is boring here and I need to find some excitement; this is the 
fun thing to do around here.”
   Loretta said, “We are also going to see Raymond; why don’t we all go together?”
   The three of them continued the quest for Raymond. Soon they spied a scorpion.
   “Hello. I am Thomas and these are my friends Loretta and Theodore. What’s your name?”
   “I am Samantha. Because I am a scorpion I have a large tail with a stinger at the end of it. I am very 
aggressive and am poisonous, but only a few of my species are deadly. We stay in crevices and under 
   “We are going to meet with Raymond the rattlesnake. He is more fun than all the animals, reptiles and 
insects in the desert. We are going to have fun and excitement along with him. Do you want to come 
   “Yes,” said Samantha. “I would like to join you.” Off they went.
As they approached a large group of creatures gathered around a snake, Loretta said, “There’s 
Raymond. Let’s go join him.”
   “Stay with me and you will never be bored again. I am your true friend,” Raymond was saying. “We 
have gone from house to house, chasing away all the weak creatures and caving in their homes. This is 
exciting and fun.”
   Thomas turned and began to crawl away.
   “Where are you going?” asked Loretta.
   “I’m going home.”
   “But everyone is here. Stay and have fun with the rest of the group.”
“This is not fun to me,” said Thomas. “Now that I have seen the destruction with my own eyes, I feel 
sorry for the ants and the demolishing of their home. I am ashamed to be here and ashamed to call you 
my friends.” Thomas crawled away and began the long journey to his home. Thomas was very tired by 
the time he met again with Patrick, still working on his new home.
   “Well, you were not gone very long, Thomas. How was your journey to meet the snake?”
   “I did not stay there with the others,” replied Thomas.
   “Tell me what you have learned from your journey.”
   “I’ve learned that Raymond and the others are doing something they think is fun. It doesn’t mean it’s 
the right thing to do. I don’t need to follow them; I can find my own enjoyment.”
   “It sounds like you made a journey worth taking,” said Patrick.
   “Would you like some help building your home?” Thomas asked.
   “I would like that very much.”
   Thoughtfully Thomas said, “Any creature can tear something down, but it takes a special creature to 
build something beautiful like a new home.”

Copyright 2001