Pepe and Toro love castles and mountains. They think they are exciting places.
One sunny day, they travelled to a little town called Jimena de la Frontera, which sits on the side of a hill and has a fine old castle above it.
Pepe and Toro naturally wanted to go up there to look at the views.
The two friends scrambled onto the castle walls and looked around them.
From here you could see a long way. A VERY long way. You could even see the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance, behind blue hills. On a clear day, you can see right across to Africa.
As he leant out through a crack in the walls, Pepe said to Toro: “I heard that there is a river down there, where you can see all sorts of farm animals. Can you see the river?” Pepe asked.
Toro was on top of the walls, but he shook his head: “No, I can’t see any river.”
“Let’s go over to the other side of the castle, and see if it’s there”, suggested Pepe.
They walked around the castle walls, but there was still no river to be seen.
“Where’s the river gone?” Pepe asked with a worried frown.
“Rivers don’t just disappear”, said Toro. “Sometimes, if it’s hot and there’s no rain, rivers can dry up, but they always come back again as soon as it rains enough.”
Finally, they arrived at the side of the castle facing the town, and there it was – the river!
“Look! Down there”, exclaimed Pepe. “It’s behind the town. If we walk along the bank of the river, I expect we’ll find some animals.”
The two friends headed down towards the town and the river. It was a long way, but that was no problem for Pepe and Toro, as they were riding together in a comfortable bag.
When they were close to the river, they saw a huge griffon vulture flying over their heads.
“Let’s head towards where the vulture is flying”, said Pepe. “The place where the bird circles is where we should be looking. There are sure to be animals there.”
Before long they saw their first animals. A large family of Spanish pigs were walking along the road.
“Follow the pigs”, said Pepe eagerly. “They will take us to the river, I’m sure.”
So Pepe and Toro hurried after the pigs. Soon there were more pigs on the road. They were sniffing at things with their noses.
“You see that, Toro?” Pepe shouted. “Those pigs are searching for something.”
“What are they looking for?” Toro wondered aloud.
“Maybe they are looking for treasure”, said Pepe.
“Treasure? What sort of treasure?” Toro was puzzled.
“Maybe we’ll find that out, too”, said Pepe, running as fast as his little legs could carry him. Toro scampered after him.
And a few moments later, the two chums arrived on the bank of the river.
They sat themselves down beside the river to wait for the pigs to appear.
“See that?” Toro cried, pointing. “They are coming down to the river. Do you think the treasure is in the river?”
“I don’t think so”, said Pepe, shaking his head. “They aren’t going into the water. They are going straight across to the other side.”
Pepe and Toro saw that the pigs rested on the far side of the river. They stopped snuffling and looking for things and started eating the grass and clover in a meadow.
“They aren’t looking for treasure”, said Toro.
“No, they are looking for grass and other things to eat. It’s lunch-time and they are hungry”, replied Pepe.
“Then their treasure is their favourite food”, Toro said happily.
Pepe didn’t have time to agree, because he saw something else, in the woods beside the river.
“Toro, look over there!”
“Sheep, and lambs”, laughed Toro. “Now the sheep are coming to have their lunch!”
“Yes”, giggled Pepe. “And in the bushes over there – a rooster and some chickens!”
All the animals seemed to be having their lunch.
Pepe and Toro climbed up into a tree to get a better view.
From the tree, they could see across into a farmer’s field. Toro saw something very familiar.
“Aha! There’s a bull in the field. And look at him. He’s busy eating. He likes grass, too, of course.”
“A lot of animals seem to like grass”, said Pepe.
“You are right, Pepe”, laughed Toro. “But not soft toy animals like us!!”
Pepe laughed, but then he stopped and looked worried. “That field is very dry”, he said. “I hope it rains soon, or the animals won’t have anything to eat.”
Toro nodded, “Yes, it’s important that all the animals have enough to eat.”
Pepe looked up into the sky. “Yes. It is”, he said. “All the same, Toro, I am quite happy that big vulture is flying away. I don’t want US to be HIS lunch.”
Toro laughed nervously, and the friends watched as the vulture flew far away and over the hill.
And Pepe and Toro sat by the river chatting and watching the animals until the sun went down and they walked back to Jimena. To have their supper.