Chased by a Camel

骆驼追

Special Focus - - Contents - Shen Ping 申平

In the steppe, hav­ing been silent for the whole win­ter, the land is pre­par­ing for the new life in the early spring. The rest­less vi­bra­tion of life seems float­ing in the air.

Once en­ter­ing their yurt, the ed­u­cated fe­male youths took off the heavy cot­ton-padded coats and started dress­ing up. Wu Ming even put on a red coat, which was un­com­mon at that time. She was the first that came out of the yurt. She ran on the soft­en­ing land, yelling: “Steppe, I'm com­ing.” That was when the cri­sis oc­curred.

Sud­denly, she heard a weird sound. She looked up and saw a gi­ant taupe crea­ture from afar, roar­ing and run­ning to­ward her. At first, she didn’t know what it was and why it dashed at her like a tank. Then she heard some­one scream­ing: “Run! The camel is rut­ting. It’s dan­ger­ous!” It was then that she turned around and ran to the yurt, look­ing back from time to time.

The camel held his head up high, mouth spit­ting saliva. He moved his gi­gan­tic feet, spurt­ing at full speed. She could hear its heavy breath.

Wu Ming pan­icked, for­get­ting where to run. The mad camel was about to catch her. Dan­ger was ap­proach­ing. Just then, Wu Ming heard some­one yelling: “Take off your red coat! Throw it away!”

Hear­ing that, Wu Ming tore off the but­tons and threw her coat away in a hurry. Then she heard the mon­ster roar­ing again. In­stead of chas­ing her, the camel ran at the red coat...

Later, the lo­cal peo­ple told Wu that when a male camel is rut­ting, it chases af­ter col­or­ful things if it can’t find a fe­male camel. If she hadn’t taken off the coat, the camel would have run her over.

Since then, Wu Ming be­came “camel­pho­bic,” trem­bling at the sight of camels.

What she didn’t ex­pect was that the camel she feared and hated would save her life in the fu­ture.

One night, Wu found a few sheep were miss­ing from the flock she was re­spon­si­ble for. She headed out on her horse to find them. Un­for­tu­nately, on her way back, she en­coun­tered wolves. The wolves no­ticed she didn’t bring a gun, so they came to­ward her and the horse boldly.

There was noth­ing on the steppe ex­cept for the hazy dusk of twi­light. Notic­ing a group of camels eat­ing grass nearby, Wu re­al­ized that she had no choice but to ride as fast as she could to­wards them.

Un­ex­pect­edly, the camels were very help­ful. See­ing her chased by the wolves, they burst out in loud cries and sur­rounded her. Then they turned around to fight against the fierce wolves. They fright­ened away the wolves with their feet and heads and sent the pan­icked Wu Ming back

home.

Af­ter the in­ci­dent, Wu Ming changed her view to­wards camels. It was then that she re­al­ized that camels were the friendli­est an­i­mal in the steppe. Only dur­ing mat­ing sea­son do the male camels be­come ir­ri­ta­ble. Just like horses, camels are helpers of the shep­herds. Wu Ming started to make friends with camels and soon she gained a great num­ber of camel com­pan­ions.

When she was called back to the city, she held the neck of a camel, cry­ing for hours. Sur­pris­ingly, tears also rolled down from the camel’s eyes.

Decades later, Wu Ming went to visit the Great Wall. She found a camel stand­ing there for peo­ple to take pic­tures. It was very thin and weak. When it wanted to bend over and have a rest, the owner whipped it to keep it stand­ing. See­ing this, Wu Ming came to the man and yelled: “You can’t treat a camel like that.” The owner glanced at her and said iron­i­cally: “Lady, this is my camel. Mind your own busi­ness.”

Wu Ming gave a sud­den gasp and said: “I will buy it. I want your camel.”

The man said: “Fine. Ten thou­sand yuan please.” Wu Ming said: “Wait.”

Wu Ming went to the bank nearby, with­drew ten thou­sand yuan, handed it to the man and pulled the camel away.

She took the camel to the zoo. How­ever, the staff re­fused to take it say­ing: “We can barely make it with our own camels.” In anger, Wu Ming de­cided to rent a car and send the camel to the steppe. In that way, she could also see the steppe again.

Af­ter a three-day ride, they ar­rived at the steppe. How­ever, the sight in front of her eyes shocked her. The green steppe dis­ap­peared. Ex­cept for some en­closed pas­tures, most of the land was se­verely de­ser­ti­fied. Lit­tle green was to be seen on the land. What depressed Wu Ming the most was that no one was will­ing to take the camel. Peo­ple said that camels ate too much grass and many of the plants they liked had be­come ex­tinct. No peo­ple bred camels in the steppe now. She looked around and, as ex­pected, no camels were to be found.

Wu Ming talked her­self hoarse. Fi­nally a shep­herd agreed to take the camel. She rubbed the camel’s head, say­ing good­bye to it. Then she got on the car and left. As the car left, she heard a roar from be­hind. The camel shook off its ropes, run­ning madly af­ter the car. Dust rose up be­hind the car. A tail of smoke also rose up be­hind the camel. The two yel­low dragons of the sand com­peted on the dev­as­tated steppe.

Wu Ming saw the camel in hot pur­suit. The scene re­minded her of the first time when she was chased by a camel. Tears fell off from her face like beads on a bro­ken string. She made up her mind, ask­ing the driver to speed up.

In her mind there was a voice say­ing: “Camel, my dear camel. Don’t chase me. Go on liv­ing in the steppe. You’ve got to sur­vive!”

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