As Patient moved along the path she saw two very, very strange looking creatures ambling along slowly. They looked a bit like porcupines, but they had big webbed feet with claws for digging, very long noses, and even longer tongues. They were a pair of echidnas and she spoke to them softly, “Hello”, she said, “my name is Patient.” The two very shy echidnas were startled and they began to burrow quickly to make a safe hole in the ground where they could turn themselves into prickly balls and protect their soft undersides.
“You don’t look anything like them,” exclaimed Patient. “Well we don’t look alike and we don’t like water, but we are the only other monotreme in the whole world. We are mammals that lay eggs and when our babies hatch they are called PUGGLES!!! Our puggles are only as big as a jelly bean, but when they get a bit bigger and they get spikes too we have to send them on their way to find their own ants and termites.” Patient was absolutely fascinated by the spiny echidnas, but it was time to move further down the path.
So many creatures that moved almost as slowly as she did in this incredible country of wonder!
Patient had never heard of anything so astonishing in all her life. It was one thing to carry her house on her back, but to ride inside a pouch as her mother virtually flew over the land was something all together different and astounding.
And so after a long day Patient found a place near a cool rock and she laid down for a good snooze and dreamt of the new friends she’d met and tried to think how she would ever explain them all to her friends when she got back home to her little corner of Seattle, Washington.
story by Annie Kosten