In the middle of a large, large desert, there lived a small, small cactus. It felt small because all around it was just sand, and heat, and sun. Of course, it wasn’t very small at all, it was a normal sized cactus, but being stuck in one place can make anything feel very tiny and insignificant. As far as it knew, it was the only living thing in the whole world.
The cactus would watch the clouds fly by above, and feel very jealous that they could go wherever they wanted. It would wait for especially dark clouds, because those meant rain, and it would drink and store as much as it could for later, because even though it was all alone, it didn’t want to die of thirst any time soon.
One day, out of nowhere, something else came flying towards the cactus through the sky. It was a hummingbird, darting through the desert, desperately looking for shelter and water. The cactus thought it was the most beautiful thing it had ever seen. “Here,” said the cactus. “Why don’t you sit here on my arm and rest a while?”The hummingbird panted “Thank you,” and darted over. It fluttered around the cactus like something magical, and the cactus was amazed and couldn’t have been more excited to get to hold it gently in its arms. But when the hummingbird tried to land, it pricked itself on the cactus’ spines.
It darted away, angry and hurt. “Ow. Why would you do that?” The cactus had no idea it could have hurt another living thing. It had never even seen another living thing and explained so. “I’d help you pull out that needle, but I think you might get more in you. It looks like I’m covered in them.”
The hummingbird tried and did it itself with its beak, but it was hurt and thirsty and had to land in the sand in the shade the cactus provided. It begged for water, but the cactus didn’t know how to share, and couldn’t. The hummingbird fell asleep with the setting sun, but the cactus couldn’t sleep, and stayed up all night worrying about its new friend. The cactus didn’t know much, but it knew the hummingbird wouldn’t live without water, just like it couldn’t. The cactus prayed for rain, and looked up for the clouds, but there were none, just stars shining down.
In the morning, the hummingbird died, and the cactus felt sorry for the second time in its life, and would have cried if it had been a person, not in the desert where water meant everything. Instead, a flower sprouted from one of its branches. And then another, and another. This way, in case the cactus ever sees another hummingbird, it will be able to give it a drink and a comfortable place to land for a little while.
While this story has nothing to do with our name and how it came to be back in 1988, we hope you enjoyed it, along with your meal!
“El Nopal” means The Cactus
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