We stopped for a while to listen to the sounds of the forest. From somewhere in the treetops came the "toc, toc, toc" of a woodpecker, and the whirring of the wings of a large bird, perhaps a cornbird? Then there were the busy sounds of the smaller birds, and the loud cries of the keskidee. The trees themselves seemed to sing a low tune as they stirred gently in the soft breeze. Behind the vegetable garden we could see the hermit’s hut.
We walked carefully through the flowers, the bananas, cassava, ochroes and all the other herbs and plants which grew in some confusion, a little tangled together, to call on him, not too sure that we would be welcome.
His home was really just one room, round in shape. The walls were made of the stems of the roseau palm, tied together with vines from the forest, and the roof was made of carat leaves. We called out quietly to let him know that we were near.
The hermit did not welcome visitors. But over the months since we first met him, we had made friends with him. We tried hard to do the things he said were right but there was still so much to learn.
Today we would learn about rainforests. It was Saturday and he said we should be here for seven o’clock in the morning.
He did not answer our call, so we sat outside his home and waited.
The flowers in his garden bloomed in so many colours, and the smell of them was everywhere. Busy bees lifted pollen from one flower to place it on another, while they gathered honey. He had told us that bees were among the most important creatures on our earth.
“No bees, no plants,” he had said.
I think that he always made us wait for him so we could look around and ‘smell the roses.’
Over there, near the river, a slight rustle in the bushes, and as we looked, his shaggy head appeared.
He smiled at us.
Some questions for you to answer.
What sounds did the children hear as they entered the forest?
Describe the hermit’s garden.
Describe the hermit’s hut.
Were the children sure of the hermit’s welcome?
Why are bees among the most important creatures on earth?
What does the term ‘smell the roses’ really mean?