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. The animals were curled up in their stalls, as the moon rose higher in the sky, and a soft night breeze blew through the windows that lined the upper deck of the ark. Noah had already walked the length of the stalls, bidding the animals good night, and checking on those who were not feeling well. All the animals loved Noah because he was kind and caring. Sometimes the younger animals would gather around and ask him why they were on the ark, and Noah’s face would break into a broad smile. “Because God brought you to me,” he would tell them. The younger animals would then insist on having Noah tell them the story of how he had built the ark. It was their favorite story, and Noah enjoyed telling it just as much as they enjoyed listening. “Many, many years ago, before any of you were born,” he’d begin, “I heard God’s voice calling to me. ‘Noah,’ He said, ‘I want you to build a boat—a very large boat. It needs to be very, very big, because I’m going to send many animals to you, so that you can save them from the flood that’s going to cover the whole earth.’ “Did you know that God told me just how to build your stall, Eger?” Noah had asked a young dinosaur, who sat eagerly listening to the story. Eger smiled. “My stall is perfect for my family,” he said. “That’s because God knew what would be best for you, and He gave me all the measurements, so that each one of you”—Noah pointed at each of the animals who were listening to the story—”yes, each one of you would be happy and have what you need while the world would be covered with water.” “Are we ever going to see land like our mummies and daddies did?” Reina, a little bear cub had asked. “In God’s good time,” Noah would answer. “In God’s good time.”
Guth and Eger were best friends. Eger was a dinosaur and Guth a turtle. They’d both been born on the ark, and had never been anywhere else. After all, how could they? For miles and miles around, all they could see through the open windows was water and water and still more water. But even though they couldn’t leave the ark, they still had a lot of fun together. The younger animals would play or sit around and listen to the stories their parents would tell. One thing they all enjoyed was when Shem and Japheth would haul large buckets of water from outside and have a “scrub down.” It started off with all the animals getting a bath, and then Shem and Japheth would clean and wash the floors of the stalls to keep them fresh and clean. Today was a scrub-down day. “Shem and I are going to begin cleaning the stalls and floor,” Japheth announced. “It’ll be slippery, so be careful.” Eger and Guth were playing with the two lion cubs, Tork and Leir, who lived in the stall across from Eger’s. While Shem and Japheth began cleaning at the far end of the ark, the animal friends decided they’d entertain themselves until Shem and Japheth reached their stalls. “Let’s have races,” Leir suggested. “But we’ll play as teams. Tork and I will be a team, and Eger and Guth willbe a team.” “Those aren’t really fair teams,” Eger protested. “Guth is very slow.” “Help him then,” Tork said. “One … two … three. Go!” Reina shouted from the side, signaling the start of the race. Tork and Eger both took off down an aisle that stretched the length of the ark, with stalls lining it on both sides. Eger made it back to the start line first, and Guth started his race. It wasn’t long, though, till Leir had caught up with him and had overtaken him. “Go faster!” Eger shouted. Guth huffed and sighed, doing his best to pick up speed, but to no avail. It was a disappointed Eger who stood at the finish line, glaring at Guth. “You made us lose!” he said angrily. “I even gave you a head start, and you made us lose! We’re going for a rematch, and this time I’m going to make sure we win.”
Tork and Eger lined up again, and took off at the word “go.” Eger zipped there and back, and when he got to where Guth was waiting, he picked Guth up and began running down the aisle again. Japheth and Shem had been cleaning one of the stalls, and the water was starting to make its way onto the aisle, but Eger was so intent on winning the race that he didn’t even notice the puddles that were beginning to gather. With a thump! Eger slipped and hit the floor, and Guth shot off of Eger’s back. “Help!” Guth cried, as he shot down the aisle, spinning on his back. He tucked his legs and head into his shell as he continued to call for help. Guth hit the wooden planks at the end of the aisle, and bounced back to skid the length of the aisle again, and made it to the finish line before Leir got back. “We won! We won!” Eger shouted happily. Guth’s legs and head popped out of his shell as he struggled to turn himself over. He tried to walk, but he was dizzy from the spinning and fast movement. Eger happily lifted Guth, exclaiming again and again that they’d won, and how fast Guth had been. “Can you put me down?” Guth asked. “I’m not sure I want to be dropped again.” “But we won!” Eger said again. “I don’t care,” Guth said. “It didn’t matter to me in the first place.” A disappointed look crossed Eger’s face. “What’s all the commotion over here?” Japheth asked. “We were having a race,” Eger said, “and we won!” Eger then went on to explain what had happened to Guth, and laughed as he remembered seeing Guth shoot down the aisle. “It was so funny!” Eger said with a hearty laugh. “I wish you could’ve seen it!” “And how is your friend doing?” Japheth asked. “Did you check to make sure he was okay?” “Uh, no!” muttered Eger. “I think he’s okay … Guth?” Guth had hidden himself behind some barrels in a storage room, away from the others. When he heard Eger calling him, he found an empty sack on the floor and crawled into it.
“Guth?” Eger called again. But there was no answer. “Hmmm, looks like you need to find your friend, Eger,” Japheth said. “Maybe he’s hurt, or maybe something else is bothering him. It’d be good for you to find out.” Eger nodded his head and set off looking for Guth. He went from stall to stall, asking the animals if they’d seen him. He called Guth’s name, but there was no response. After searching all the stalls, Eger headed to the storage area, and after looking around the place, he lay on the floor. “Guth,” he whispered. “Where are you, Guth? Please!” Guth had seen Eger enter the storage room. I should say something, he thought to himself. But then a twinge of anger set in. But he wasn’t such a good friend to me. He said unkind things about me, and he hurt my feelings. All he could think about was winning. How would you want to be treated if you did something wrong? a voice inside him asked. Guth thought for a moment. I’d want him to forgive me, so we could be friends again. Guth knew what he needed to do. “Eger?” “Guth! I’ve been looking all over for you!” “I know. I’m sorry that I hid from you. … I was just very upset.” “It’s my fault,” Eger apologized. “I should’ve been more considerate of you—after all, you’re my best friend, and the last thing I want to do is to make you feel bad.” Eger and Guth talked for a while, and before long they were laughing and having a good time again. “I see you found him,” Japheth said, after hearing laughter from the storage room. “Everything okay?” “Yes,” the two friends chorused. “Better than ever,” Guth added. “That’s good to hear,” said Japheth, “because I could use your help.” “What’s wrong?” Eger asked. “Becks is missing. No one’s seen her all day,” Japheth explained. “Do you think you could look around for her?”
Becks was a beaver. She talked a little funny, and sometimes the other animals made fun of her. Because of this you could hardly get more than a word or two out of her, and often she’d go the whole day without anyone seeing her. She liked to be with Noah, as he would talk to her. He never laughed when she spoke, and he would encourage her about what a wonderful job God had done when he made her. He told her that one of these days when the flood had passed, she would make fabulous dams in rivers and streams, where she’d build her home. However, Noah was a very busy man with an ark full of animals to care for, as well as a family of his own. He wasn’t able to spend so much time with Becks, and she would usually keep to herself instead of playing or talking with the other animals. An hour after Japheth had asked the two friends to look for Becks, they were starting to think that they would never find her. “Shhh,” Eger said. “I think I hear something.” They entered a room at the far end of the ark that was stacked high with bales of hay and other dried grasses. A faint scuttle could be heard. “Do you think that’s her?” Guth whispered. Eger shrugged. “Becks, is that you?” Guth called. The patter of feet went silent. There was no answer. “Becks, if that is you, we’ve been searching the ark high and low for you,” Eger explained. Two eyes looked out from over a hay bale. “Why would you be looking for me?” Becks asked in her whistle voice. “Japheth asked us to look for you,” said Guth. “Now that you know where I am, you can tell him you found me,” Becks said. “Wait, Becks!” Eger said. “Let’s talk.” “So you can make fun of me?” “No, so that we can get to know you,” Guth said. Becks looked from the turtle to the dinosaur. “You want to get to know me?”
“Yes,” answered Guth. “You see, while we were looking for you, and then couldn’t find you, we realized that we didn’t know anything about you. So we decided that once we found you we wanted to be your friends, and then it wouldn’t just be Eger and me, but it could be the three of us, and we’d have even more fun.” “Really?” Becks asked, somewhat surprised. “Absolutely!” Eger and Guth exclaimed together. “I’d love to have friends,” Becks said. “We should let Japheth know we found you,” Eger said. “And you know what, Becks, I wish I had a whistle in my voice when I talked. I like how it sounds.” “You’re joking, right?” Becks asked. “Not at all.” The three new friends smiled and happily chatted as they headed off to find Japheth. A new friendship had begun. To be continued…
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Original story and artwork © The Family International. Used with permission.
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