MELONS

    Chary-aga had planted some melons. Melons grown in the desert are the sweetest-tasting of all!
   "Now let the desert go to work for the shepherds!" Chary-aga repeated as he worked.
   He grafted the melon seeds into the prickly branch of a camel's thorn and soon made yet another tiny plot on the slope of an old sand-hill. In spots where other desert plants grew it was useless to plant melons. There was plenty of shade there, but the melons perished among those plants. The hardy desert plants suck every drop of moisture out of the soil.
   "The first thing you must do is to choose a spot," Chary-aga instructed. "And the second thing is to protect the seeds from  turtles, gophers, and the sun. If the seedlings aren't properly shaded, the hot sand will sever them at the roots like a pair of scissors. We'll make a fence out of branches to keep the turtles out, and the foxes will take care of the gophers. The fox also likes to dine on melons, only n6t the seeds, but the juicy pulp as well. The gopher, on the other hand, smells out the seeds, and begins to dig. The sand goes flying-he's some excavator! But the fox is there in a flash.
It grabs the little rascal by the scruff of its neck: 'Don't tear up the planting, you fool! When the melon ripens we'll eat the pulp, and I'll leave you the seeds. But if you don't know what's good for you, I'll have to eat you for lunch!"'
   Chary-aga was in good mood today, and I asked him:
   "Grandfather, when are you going to take me with you to graze the flock?"
   "You can get ready to go today. It'll be a good day out in the steppe. It's the full moon."
   Towards evening old Chary-aga began to complain that his legs were aching and my spirits quickly sank. But Chary-aga kept his word:
   "You can go and help out Uncle Kuly," he said.