This is a story about a house gecko, a small reptile commonly found in
most homes in Egypt. Gasser, however, is a gecko with gumption, who
decides that there must be more to life than scuttling across ceilings and
hiding from humans. Refusing to be satisfied with the tales told by the
Elders of the family about the World Beyond Our Walls, he decides to take
matters into his own hands and find out for himself.
Having practiced a long-distance leap, he times things perfectly so that he
lands on the roof of the Doctor's car just as he is about to set off. An array
of bewildering sights, including the dazzling Nile he discovers really exists,
leave him stunned but exhilarated – and smugly storing it all up to boast
His complacency is shattered when the car abruptly stops and he realises
he's trapped in full view of what could be an unfriendly world (geckos are
commonly viewed as undesirable in Egypt, a misconception that the story
also addresses). His fears prove unfounded, as the kind Doctor not only
befriends him, but lets him sit inside the car for the long drive back!
Glimpses of his set-in-their-ways family pepper the story, including his
Auntie Gamalat, who was set upon with a broom by the cleaning lady and
insisted on regaling anyone who would listen with a blow-by-blow account
of her exact feelings when she saw the broom heading her way, and the
Elders of the family, fond of spinning tales during the long summer nights.
Gasser returns as a hero, and while shying away from trying insert a
'moral' into the story (perish the thought), the underlying theme is the
importance of finding things out for yourself, whether it's in Gasser's
refusal to take his family's views of the world for granted, or in children's
realizing that geckos are harmless little creatures that they can co-exist
quite happily with.