“Certain death? That does it,” said Donal. “You’ve definitely got the wrong man.
I mean the wrong camel. Come on, Ulan Nuur, let’s get out of here.” He made for the
tunnel, but Ulan Nuur didn’t budge.
“I am called here for a Purpose,” he declared, “and I must perform my Duty.”
“But they didn’t mean to fetch us!” hissed Donal. “Don’t you understand? They
wanted the Head of the Zoo, or somebody like that. And even if I was Head
Zookeeper, I wouldn’t hang around waiting for certain death!”
“Oh, not certain death for you,” said Holga. “I shouldn’t think so, not very likely
“Certain death for us – for the Greengrass,” added Nolga. “Our Greengrass can’t
survive in the horrible desert where the Gyzols live. We live on the Greengrass, and it
lives on us. If it dies, we die.”
“It lives on you?” asked Ulan Nuur doubtfully. “Are you sure?”
Brola picked up a clump of grass from the ground. She slapped it on to her arm,
where it stuck, looking exactly like part of her fur. “It grows on us, as it does
everywhere. We cannot live without it.”
“It gives us our food! It catches tiny animals, and feeds us through our skin,” she
said. “But now it is in terrible danger, because of the Gyzols.”
Donal gawped at the grass on her arm, waving where there was no wind. Grass
that ate animals…
He thought of sea anemones waving their tendrils to catch shrimps. Suddenly the
Meerie didn’t seem so cuddly any more. Their thick green coats weren’t made of fur,
but thousands of tiny, waving tentacles.
Surreptitiously, Ulan Nuur plucked a clump of grass with his teeth and tried to
plant it on his leg. It fell off.
“But what’s the problem with your Greengrass?” asked Donal. “Why is it in such
“The Gyzols are killing it,” said Nolga. “Come and look!” He led the way back
out of the mound, and climbed up on top of it, huffing and puffing.