Karim Meets The Mysterious Strangers …
As they get closer to the river, Karim starts to walk on tiptoe. He sees that there are even more branches and logs in the water. He looks around and thinks that there is no one there at all. He is about to call out to his brother, when he suddenly sees two lovely animals floating on the water. He hides. Not having spotted Karim, the animals continue to work. Soon his brother, whose name is Imran, comes and whispers to Karim in astonishment: "So it was the beavers who cut down the trees and carried them into the water." Karim is so happy to see live beavers, which he has seen in books but has not known much about. They watch these two hard-working, interesting animals all day.
Karim's brother tells him that the beavers are trying to dam the water so as to build a home. The behaviour of beavers is astonishing. They place the branches they are carrying in their mouths in front of the largest log which they had previously dragged into the water.
Then they come up on to the bank and head towards a nearby tree. One of the beavers first feeds on the leaves of the tree, then starts to gnaw the tree bark with its teeth. It gnaws the wood around the tree trunk, equally from each side. It keeps doing this until the breaking point of the tree looks like a sharpened pencil.
As the beaver gnaws the tree trunk, Karim wonders how this small animal will carry the huge tree. At that very moment, the tree falls into the water, solving the problem of how it will be carried.
Then the other beaver comes and starts to gnaw a tree, which, again, directly falls into the water. Then another, then another, then another... All the trees which the beavers cut down break and fall into the water. It is as if the beavers start gnawing the trees after making calculations to ensure that they will fall into the water.
Karim is surprised because he had not thought of such a way of avoiding carrying the trees. He tells Imran what he thinks and finds that he is of the same opinion:
Imran: To be honest, I couldn't think of how to do it either. But I read about it once. Beavers calculate how to make the tree fall into the water and gnaw the tree at a particular angle. But when they fail, as they sometimes do, they drag the tree into the water with their teeth. Karim, I think this is enough for today. Would you like me to tell you more about beavers when we get back to the camp? We could read about them if you want.
Karim: Yes, I'd love to do that. I am amazed at how beavers can make such calculations and act so intelligently. It is also confusing. Why do they dam the river to build a home? Don't their teeth wear out with eating bark? I've got lots of questions about this. I could talk about them all night.
Imran: OK, but we must return to the camp now. We've lost track of the time chatting, and it's almost dark. Let's go back before mom starms worrying about us. Besides, I feel sleepy and tired. Come on, hurry up.
They hurry back to the camp in a rush. However, questions keep crossing Karim's mind on the way. Once they are back in the camp, they eat the delicious meal their mother has prepared for them. Then they look up beavers in their books. But Karim realizes that Imran has fallen asleep. So Karim starts to read on his own.
This leaves Karim alone with the questions on his mind. So he makes a new plan. He will meet the beavers the next morning and will learn from them what they do. Shortly after he falls asleep too...