|“||Mayai: Oh, this is going to be such fun.|
Pamba: Are you sure we should do this?
Mayai: Oh, Pamba, you're such a scaredy-cat. This will be fun.
Mayai is a young ostrich who lived during the reign of Mufasa.
|“||Cheka: How can we fool Zazu this time?|
Mayai: Maybe we should pretend there's another strange beast wandering all over the Pride Lands.
After formulating a plan to get Zazu in trouble with Mufasa by spreading rumors, Cheka and his friends meet with the baby ostriches and fill them in on the plan. Mayai asks Cheka if all they have to do is wander around and ask the other animals if they've heard that a strange beast is wandering the Pride Lands. His sister, Pamba, asks why they would do that, and Lulu explains that they want everyone to start worrying. Sukari explains that all the animals will get spooked and that Zazu will report it to Mufasa. Mayai is excited and exclaims about how much fun this is going to be, but Pamba is still hesitant and asks her brother if they should really do this. Mayai calls her a "scaredy-cat" and reminds her that it's going to be fun. Nzuri tells her not to worry, for it will be funny to watch Zazu get yelled at by Mufasa. To herself, she's relieved that the ostriches have already forgotten how she and her friends had been chasing them just the other day.
The rest of the day, Mayai and Pamba go around the Pride Lands and ask the other animals if they've seen or heard of a strange beast wandering the plains. The other animals have not seen the beast but promise to keep a look out for it. After the plan is an initial success, Cheka and the gang gather at the water hole. Cheka asks the others how they should fool Zazu this time, and Mayai suggests they pretend that another beast is roaming the Pride Lands, since he'd had so much fun running around and telling everyone the false news. But Pamba wants to do something different, and Lulu suggests that they make weird noises in the middle of the night. Nzuri points out that that isn't too different from their first idea, and Cheka suggests that they report someone missing. Lulu gets excited, and Cheka proclaims that Mayai will be reported missing. He then tells the little ostrich to hide with Lulu in the forest. Mayai gets on Lulu's back, and the two head for the forest.
Later, Zazu is flying over the water hole when he sees the young animals waving urgently at him. He lands beside the water hole, and Pamba runs up to him, exclaiming that she can't find her brother. Zazu asks where she'd last seen him, and she explains that they had been playing "hide-the-feather" in the trees near Five Stones. She had gone to hide the feather, and when she had come back, Mayai was gone. Zazu calms Pamba and assures her that he will find her missing brother. Pamba makes Zazu promise not to tell her mother, and Zazu comments, "Sometimes it's better if bad news waits until it can become no news." He then flies off to tell Mufasa. He reports the missing ostrich and suggests that the beast may have caught Mayai.
Mufasa is the greatest tracker in the Pride Lands and immediately sets out to look for Mayai. He runs to Five Stones with Zazu flying overhead, and they search the area thoroughly. When they find no trace of Mayai or the mysterious beast, they search the Elephant Graveyard but once more have no luck. Mufasa suggests they search the forest, and upon reaching it, they hear a strange rustle. A moment later, Mayai and Lulu come trotting out of the forest, as if nothing is wrong. Mufasa demands to know where they've been and tells them that Zazu had heard that Mayai was missing; he'd thought Mayai had been caught by the beast. Lulu explains that they hadn't been lost; they'd just been playing in the forest. Mufasa is content and expresses his relief that everyone is safe. Zazu starts to mention Pamba, but Mayai interrupts that his sister is "an airhead." Zazu realizes that Mayai is right; ostriches are known for getting excited about nothing. It had been unwise for him to trust an unreliable source. A bit perplexed, Zazu bids Mufasa farewell and flies off.
At the end of the story, Zazu explains to Kopa that the young animals had felt so guilty about lying to him that they'd confessed to Mufasa. The king had been furious but fair. He'd told the young ones to tell their parents, and they'd once more confessed. Nzuri had explained how fed up they'd been with Zazu's nosiness but that they now understood the danger of lying, especially to someone who looks out for their safety. Their parents had been angry and wanted to punish them severely, but Mufasa had given the animals a different punishment. From then on, they were to gather news about all important events in the Pride Lands. That way, they would recognize the difference between fact and fiction and would always have to be responsible for their words.
Mayai has the ordinary ostrich appearance.
Personality and traits
|“||Cheka: Okay. We'll tell Zazu that Mayai is missing. You get on Lulu's back and hide with her in the forest near the river.|
Mayai: Oh, boy!
Mayai is similar to Cheka in the sense that he is much less cautious concerning disobedience than his sister. He is outgoing, fun-loving, and enthralled by the idea of spreading rumors, thinking of it as a game. Though his intentions aren't bad, the consequences of his decisions don't seem to affect him until the very end of the story.
- It is presumed that Pudini is Mayai's mother, for she has two unnamed children, and Mayai and Pamba are referred to as "the ostrich babies."