“Look out, Lulu, there’s a big mean dog chasing us!” shouted one
of Lulu’s little brothers. The five of them, who were young lizards
only a little smaller than Lulu herself, dashed in through the small
gap under the latticework that served as the Lizard family’s front
door. Their flight carried them, light-footed, right over Lulu where
she had been napping peacefully on the sun-warmed sand in the doorway.
As the last and littlest of her brothers scrambled over her and disappeared
into the shady safety of the underhouse, angry growling sounds came
from beyond the rosebushes. Hearing them, Lulu hurried to follow her
Before she could dust herself off, a dog came pouncing through the
bushes and began to bark and breathe hotly on her from just outside
the latticework. It was a fierce and furry dog many times as big as
Lulu, and seemed to be all sharp teeth, snarling snout, and black
bubble eyes in a shaking mane of furious yellow fur.
Lulu knew that the lattice surrounding the underhouse area, even
though it was broken in a few places, would keep her safe at least
for the moment. But the dog, with much barking and growling and scrabbling
of sharp claws in the dirt, immediately began trying to dig out and
enlarge the Lizard family’s front doorway under the lattice.
“Oh dear,” thought Lulu, “it won’t take him long to dig his way into
our house. I wonder---?” And with that, Lulu, (who was a young lizard
of a bright green color that showed very clearly against the sandy
earth of the underhouse area), marched herself right up to the lattice
so that the angry dog could not fail to see her.
Her nearness made the dog seem to explode with even greater energy.
It banged its snout against he latticework and raised dust like some
barking, snarling whirlwind of furry meanness.
Lulu had a plan, but it was a scary one, and she did not want anyone
to see how frightened she was. Bright-eyed and trying hard to give
the appearance of being saucy and unafraid,she moved even closer to
the dog to be sure of holding his attention. Then, stepping from one
bright sun-dapple to another just inside the lattice, she got the
yapping dog to follow her away from the Lizard family’s doorway.
Lulu’s mother and father, along with a clinging and wary group of
her little brothers, came to watch from some distance farther into
the protective shade of the underhouse.
“Lulu dear, please don’t tease that dog. He’s terribly dangerous,”
Lulu’s mother called.
“Yes. Better come away now, Lulu,” added Lulu’s father.
“But he might dig his way in if I don’t keep him moving and keep
him away from our front door,” Lulu called to them as she continued
her dog-baiting progress along the latticework. “Besides, if I can
keep him barking long enough and loud enough, Mr. Osborn-Next-Door
may come and get him.”
Sure enough, it was only a few worrisome moments later when around
from the front of the old house hurried the Lizard family’s neighbor
whom they always referred to as Mr. Osborn-Next-Door.
“Come away from there, you little bully,” he shouted at the Pekingese,
for that was the sort of dog it was. “Leave those nice little lizard
people alone.” Then he picked up the still yapping dog and stooped
to peer through the lattice. “Hi, Lulu.” he said. “I hope this little
devil didn’t do any harm. He belongs way up the street, but he’s a
bully by nature, and he doesn’t often find someone smaller than himself
to pick on."
“There are lots of bugs on my rose bushes, by the way, so you’re
welcome any time if you should want to drop over next door to snack
on them.” And with that Mr. Osborn retraced his steps toward the front
of the house, muttering to the still growling and struggling little
dog he carried, “We’ll just have to see that the front gate stays
shut so the likes of you can’t get in here and bother my friends.”
Then he and the dog were gone and the front gate clicked firmly shut
“That was good work, Lulu,” said her father. “I’m not sure I could
have handled it as well as you did. But you shouldn’t take such risks.”
“It only looked and felt risky, Father,” replied Lulu. But the excitement
had left her feeling hungry, so following their neighbor’s invitation
she darted across the lawn to rid a few of Mr. Osborn’s roses of their
yummy aphid pests.
On to Chapter 2!
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