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The Cat Who Came Back From The Sea

The little orange kitten opened his eyes to the world for the very first time.  It was a much bigger place than he expected from what he heard while he was gradually awakened by his birth Mother.  Anxious to see what everything was all about, he hopped out of the bed he shared with the rest of his still sleeping litter and went for a short wobbly walk.

His birth Farm was very interesting with some giant animals like the horses,  and the little ones almost as small as he was or smaller, like the baby chicks others in between consisted of cocky roosters and egg laying hens, ducks, swans and then the one baby goat who tried to butt him as he walked by.

What wonders must the rest of big world have if this Farm had so many?  He decided at once that he must see all of the world.  But it was much larger than even he could imagine and he would unexpectedly travel over much more if it than he could even guess.

The curious little Kitten decided to venture beyond the fence that surrounded the Farm, even though it was very interesting right here.

His walking was not yet steady as he looked at the different new scenery. So he grew tired and decided to sit awhile and just rest a minute.  Just outside of the gate he was frightened by four very big, black, dogs.  But they yawned as he strolled slowly by.  They were all four stretched out sleeping, so were not a threat.

Maybe the seven little spotted pups who wrestled each other endlessly would stop jumping on each other and chase him,  but they didn’t.  It was still very exciting.

But pretty soon he got sleepy and crawled into a long, wooden, boxy, thing, rocking gently at the water’s edge.  It was quiet and comfortable, so the rocking soon put him to sleep.   He didn’t know for how long but when he looked out over the side of his makeshift cradle all he could see on one side was an enormous Ocean of water.  On the other side he found that he was on a great big house floating on that water.  Or as he was soon asked,

“How did a Cat get aboard this Ship?”  So he was on a Ship and he didn’t know how to answer that question, nor was he expected to, as he was only a little kitten and big men only spoke to each other.  He was hoping someone would tell the man, as he would also like to know the answer to that.

“Give him to the Cook.”  the man ordered him.

“Aye aye, Captain.”  The man said, as he swooped the kitten into his huge hands and went down some stairs.

So that man is the Captain! the Boss of the whole Ship.  The Cat thought.  I must remember that, and you answer him with,  Aye, aye.   The Kitten walked away repeating, “Aye, aye Captain.”

It had seemed to him that half of the world was made of water. The K K Ranch sat right beside the enormous Pacific Ocean at a spot where it filled a great rather shallow Bay.  How far did that Bay water go before it became Ocean ? He wondered.

He would eventually find out more about that before he finally made his way back to his home and the family.   The Kitten hoped Mom and Dad and their Son and his Wife and their three little children, Kyren, Hayden, and Skylar, would remember him.  He only just barely got to know them.  But he loved to play with the children because they were very young and full of wondering, just as he was.

He thought of them as he got acquainted with this big Ship full of new people.  So he did not worry that he was in a Ship and it was moving now and going on a long journey.

Now he was in a very different world.  Water was all around this large, fast moving, Ship and he was the only animal on it.

Some sailors were busy working and had no time to pay attention to him , so he wandered around getting to know the strangely built up and down territory.  Down below the stairs he found a place that smelled like food, so he kept sniffing around to find it.

A big man picked him up and talked to him, so he purred.  Then the man set him down next to a bowl of chopped fish so he ate it and with a full tummy began to go sightseeing again.  He saw a long rope leading down to the water, so he took hold of it with his strong little claws and backed down to the water and sat there on the knot at the end, watching the white topped waves slipping by.  Then a large Sea animal swam up and said,

“ Hello.  What is a Cat doing on a Ship?’  The kitten shrugged.  He really didn’t know.

This was no farm animal.  He learned it was a Dolphin and he lived in the deep water all the time,  even though he had to breathe air just like the Kitten and People did.  So his nose was right on the very top of his head, so he could swim to the air and breathe and then close it and swim back deep under the water.  It was very convenient for him and he told the Cat that most of the many different animals actually breathe in the water and out of their gills built on each side of their bodies and get the oxygen from that water instead of air like the Earth animals must do.

The Cat was amazed that there were so many kinds of animals out here under the Sea.   Maybe more than on Earth’s land, but he had only seen a tiny bit of the big Land so he was told that there were far more than he could imagine.  Why was everything bigger or more than he could imagine?  If it was bigger or more, he wanted to be able to imagine it.

Oh well! Just one new thing at a time, he learned a lot from the very smart Dolphin.  Today it was the ship and the Ocean full of Sea life.  Yesterday it was the Farm and all of those land animals.

The next time he was hungry, he headed for the Galley and the same big man was there to feed him again

This was how he got his name.

“So there you are little orange Kitten.  I thought maybe you fell over board by now.  You are very clever to come back to me for food.  I will make you my Cat and your name will be the same as your pretty orangey colored fur, Ginger.  I will make you a box bed under the stove,  It gets pretty cold out here sometimes, so the stove will keep you warm while you sleep.  This stove is usually on as the night shift likes to have coffee all the time and both shifts take three meals each day.  There is no time to close the stove or the kitchen Galley down while the Ship is at Sea.

He placed the box with clean old towels to pad the bottom back under the stove and dropped the kitten onto it.  The man was right.  It was warm and dry in the box, so Ginger slept the whole night comfortably, right there.

“Good night Ginger.”  the man said, then the first thing in the morning the night crew fisherman came to the Galley with that night’s catch and delivered it to the Cook for that day’s delicious stew.

The Cook was busy already chopping the fresh vegetables from the dark root cellar and frying them in the fish oil . Handful after handful of onions, carrots, potatoes and  maybe some others, then a couple of peppers went from the fry pan to the giant iron kettle of fish from today’s catch.

The pot was already boiling the water with the cleaned and cut fish and a handful of sea salt plus a scoop of molasses.  Toward the end he saw the Cook turn up a mug of the beer he was drinking and let some pour into the chowder. So even if he did the same thing every day, the soup was always different, because the fish were different and brought the most flavor to the kettle.  Even the Cook did not always know the names of the different Fish.   He just cooked what they brought him.

But Ginger the Cat was learning about the different Fish every day as he returned to the large knot on the thick rope that hung down to the water to meet them.

One morning a large Lobster, with giant claws, brought him a scoop of as many broken shells as he could carry from the deep with instructions.  Ginger began at once to follow the directions even though he had no idea why.

First he had to get one of the Sailor’s buckets and fill it with water then put these shells into it.  Now it got strange.  Go in and hide the bucket under your stove and put your bed blanket into it.

“It must be a dingy old white thing right?”  the Lobster asked,

“Yes of course it is.”  Ginger admitted.  “How did you know?”

“I see the stuff that goes overboard.  Why would they give a stow-a-way Cat anything better?

Put the bucket on the stove after the Cook goes to bed and take it off before he comes back the next morning. Then take it outside and pour the dark water overboard and lay your blanket on the deck somewhere out of sight to dry.”

Ginger knew that the night Cook would not question what was on the stove as the day Cook probably put it there.

“You will be surprised at the beautiful, bright purple color your bedding will become when dry.  It is called the Royal Purple of the Kings.  That is because the shells I brought you  contain the Purple dyes that are rare on the shore.  When men find them they take them in to a dye a large piece of cloth and then because it is so beautiful, use it to make a robe for the most important person in the land, which of course is the King!  I have heard about pictures of a King wearing his Royal Purple Robe trimmed with white animal fur.  So take good care of your blanket, because it is now fit for a King!”

The Lobster returned very quickly back into the deep before, he was dropped into the chowder, himself.

The smart Cat followed the directions and sure enough, he soon had a lovely fit for a King bed blanket, which he covered with an old dingy white towel.  To keep it’s possession a secret.

That day he spoke with a large Shark, who told him an interesting tale about meeting a young boy long ago.  He liked that story very much and as he could not write, he memorized it to tell it to the children at home someday.

“The Shark and the Boy named J.J.” he repeated several times. He climbed the rope and walked around visiting the Sailors and made some new friends.

This man named him “Sparkle.”  Ginger meowed that a name had been given to him by the Cook and it was Ginger.  But the men never seemed to understand what his meows were telling them.  It was funny that the Sea Life and he had no trouble communicating at all.

Later he climbed clear to the top of the mast.  Seeing him way up there bothered the Sailor for some reason and he actually climbed all the way up himself to carry him back down.  Now wasn’t that silly?

His stomach still ached from the grip of the man’s big hand, as he carried him down.  No matter what he cried out,  the man just squeezed harder so as not to drop him.

But in the minutes before the man got up there, Ginger saw how very large that Ocean was.  He imagined the many kinds of Fishes swimming in it and it boggled is mind.  Will he be at Sea long enough to meet them all?  Probably not.

He went back down and waited for another Fish to introduce himself.  Then it wasn’t a Fish  at all, but another air breathing  mammal… a Whale”

He told a story about a boy he once swallowed.  Well he certainly seemed able to do that. Ginger had heard about two others by listening to the Sailors.   Ginger wondered if it was Pinocchio or Noah.  There must be dozens though.  Whales have such big mouths and anyway he remembered the Whale saying the boy’s name was Jake.

Ginger climbed up to the deck and looked around.  No one was watching him so he climbed up the main mast again and just sat in the crow’s nest looking around.

“Crow’s nest indeed! So where are the Crows?”  Ginger said out loud. A large white bird heard him and landed on the rail just a few inches from the Cat.

“Why is it that I understand you?  I have heard the men who come up here and they do not speak a language I understand.  I watched you down by the water and you talk to the Fish also.  How is that?  “

“We are all Animals.  People speak those other odd words.  You are an Animal so we speak the same.”

“What do you talk to the Fish about?  I see the Fish everywhere but I have nothing to say to them, so I find it curious.”

Mostly I listen.”  Ginger explained,  “They tell me interesting stories about life under the water.  Don’t you wonder about that strange blue life below? Why I have just learned that there are many who breathe the air just like I do and they still spend most of their life under the Ocean.  To have both would be my choice, but none of them chose either.  It just is the way it is.  Don’t you wonder how things get to be the way they are?”

“I see what you mean.:  The Sea Gull said,  “But it never occurred to me to want to live under the water.  I love the beautiful open sky too much.  But I still spend much of my time out over that Sea.”

“I think I would like the sky myself.” Ginger said,  looking up at the white clouds and the Birds swooping around them. But I was not given that choice either.  I wonder why?’

“You sure wonder a lot of things.”  The white Sea Gull remarked. “I wonder why I don’t wonder more.  It really is kind of interesting, But only if some answers came with it.  It would get boring to wonder and wonder and never find anything out.”

“Oh I get lots of answers and I am memorizing as many as I can, so I can tell them to the children when I get back home.  Tell me about an exciting flight you have had.”

“Well first,  how can you tell the children anything.  They are just little People are they not?”

“Yes they are.  But up to about five years old. when they start to school they are as easy to talk to as any other small Animal.”

“Secondly then, What makes you think you will get back home.”

“I have learned from the Dolphin that It is just a fact that the world is a great circle, and if you just keep going,  after while you will look up and there you are!  Back where you started.  I started at home. So some day a good little Bird story would be fun to tell the little children.

“Very well,”  The Sea Gull began, “I could tell you many but one for the children might be the time I found a tiny People’s Doll floating on the waves.  It was so cute and had not been in the water for long as it was not totally wet., so I flew down and picked it up with my claws and carried it to a nearby Island and…

The Sea Gull told me the whole story.  I made good note of his sweet doll tale and thanked him.  He told me we would meet again and soon.

“Maybe the next time I see you listening to the Fish I will fly down and listen also.”

“You will be welcome. Now I wish I could fly, but as I cannot, I have to start my climb back to the deck.”   Ginger looked down. “ Wow!” Then he climbed onto the mast looking up instead and backing tail first down.  It was much easier that way.  He didn’t get so dizzy.

The Kitten  still had a bit of time before supper,  so he looked at his rope and saw the Dolphin swimming along side of the Ship, so he slid down to see him.

“What’s new?”  Ginger greeted the Dolphin.

“I’m waiting for you.  A little Sardine is lost and he is so tiny that he is afraid to travel alone for fear of being swallowed. He always swims with a giant Ball of Family who keep tightly together so they are almost as big as this ship.  Then as a huge mass they are much safer.”

“I see.  So how can I help?”

“How can I keep one Sardine safe as I swim ahead and look for his Giant Family Ball.”

I could bring a bucket down here and hang on the rope.  He can jump into it and be out of sight until you get back.

“Good Idea,”   So as soon as the mop bucket was in place, the Sardine swam in and just paddled about waiting for the Dolphin to find his Family.

Ginger visited with the Sardine and heard the story about how he became lost. But the Dolphin did not sight the Family Ball.

Soon Ginger had four more Fish tales as the next days passed.  He heard one from the Tuna and one from an Octopus, followed by a tiny story and a wonderful, surprise from a very large Pearl Oyster.

Then just as he had begun to enjoy his trip over the Sea, and was sure that it would go on for a very long time, the Ship pulled into the Pacific Bay Dock, his harbor at home and he was suddenly right back where he began.

Ginger arrived home a much larger cat, due to the chowder fed to him daily by the Cook and the exercise he got climbing the rope each day.  He hopped willingly into the dingy and was given a ride to the shore.  Swimming in spite of the time he was at Sea, just never appealed to the Cat and the dry land of the K. K. Ranch Farm looked very good to him.

He trotted quickly back to the K.K. barn and ate the cat food put out for the other Cats, although all of his litter mates had been taken off to new homes, new kittens had been born and he played with them and told them his tales of the Fish who led such an interesting life under the water.

The children were very happy to welcome him back so he had no trouble being allowed into the house where he often slept by the fire until the children’s bed time.  Then he followed them to their bedroom and sat on a dresser, waiting patiently for the adults to say their good nights then, he was free to tell young Kyren, Hayden and Skylar his stories of the Sea.

“Which shall I tell tonight?”  He always asked.  The three children always shouted out a different one to be repeated.  They each had a favorite.  Then Ginger would begin and they listened carefully to follow whatever story he told.  He sometimes added interesting new facts about the Fish to an old story, so the children were becoming very knowledgeable about the Ocean and their parents had no idea where they learned all of those things, so decided that perhaps, somehow, just living so close to the Pacific Ocean had made them Ocean smart.

If the Parents asked the children, and were told quite correctly that the Cat told them, they just smiled and said to each other…

“Kids!  Don’t they have wonderful imaginations?”

Tonight Ginger, who had informed them first thing that he did not want another name, because he liked the one the Ship’s Cook gave to him, Ginger, they also began to call him Ginger, the Cat who returned from the Sea..


The idea here is to tell the children the names of the SEA STORIES

And ask them which one they want to hear today.  The choices are…

ONE ..      THE SHARK WHO MET J. J. ………………………………….. PAGE  13.

TWO.     THE WHALE SWALLOWED A BOY ………………………..  PAGE  17.


FOUR ..   THE DOLPHIN & THE ELF      ……………………………….   PAGE 24.

FIVE..      THE LITTLE LOST SARDINE  ……………………………..     PAGE 30.







Long ago there was a giant Shark, named, Sandy, who was very smart about the wonderful, Ocean he lived in except for one thing. He simply could not understand where all of this junk was coming from.  None of the Sea Animals owned anything they could throw away.  It seemed to Sandy Shark that his Ocean had more odd stuff floating in it every day.  The stuff that seemed to float in from nowhere was not good to eat either.

He had tried it. Ugh, and spit it out.. an odd piece of plastic, some people clothes none of them could fit into, or even wanted to, useless stuff that eventually sank to the bottom and disturbed the quiet deep life.

It was not often even useful for the other fish to use to make a nest for their eggs.  It was just, well trash and he was getting tired of it.  So he began to watch and soon learned that some came from the boats that floated above them dotted far apart all over the whole ocean.  They seemed to be carrying very careless passengers who maybe accidently dropped things overboard.

They must be very rich to lose so much of their stuff and not even notice or come in the water to retrieve it.

Then he noticed that the high tide collected a lot of things from the sand each time it came back to low from high.  Maybe those odd land things, called people, couldn’t swim well enough to come after their belongings even if they wanted to.  But he saw them swimming all around him and very fast back in to shore…if they saw him.  But they almost never took the stuff he was complaining about, like white Styrofoam cups and cigarette ends, plastic bags, or even the very pretty flat helium balloons, and slightly damaged boogie boards.

One day he saw the boy, J.J. standing at the water’s edge, he seemed to be very intelligent, as he had a paper cup in his hand and when it was empty he carried it to a waste basket and dropped it there.   That was considerate, so he swam up very close and though still in water, he was partly out, so he could get close enough to ask the boy about the assorted stuff that was making the Ocean so cluttered.

At first the boy looked afraid of him and backed away, so the Shark, though he had to speak louder,  spoke politely, telling the boy his own name was Sandy Shark and asking him his name.

Standing far back the boy replied that his name was Jerome, but people called him J.J.

“Nice name”  the Shark told him,  Then the boy came closer,  Now they were a good talking distance , so the Shark hurried to ask about all of the stuff people left on the sand.

“It’s just junk they don’t want anymore so….”  J.J. explained  with a shrug.  “It’s not important, so why bother with it?”

“Well I can tell you why.”  The Shark began to explain, trying to not sound too cross, so the boy would stay and listen.  As a Fish, even a big one like a Shark, could not follow him if the boy dashed off across the land.

Right this minute the Shark’s back was drier than it had ever been in his whole life… but this was important, so he stayed in the annoying sun to explain.

“The Ocean is getting too messed up with all of this junk.  If it gets worse, we will want to move away, but the truth is there is no place to go.  The whole Ocean is being used as a giant waste basket.  Are you willing to help us with this problem?”

J.J. was a very smart kid and he now realized what the Shark thought the problem was.  So he agreed to help, but how?  He couldn’t be there all the time to tell everyone what not to do.  The Shark explained,

“Find a lot of friends and ask them to come to this beach in one week.  Early, just as the sun comes up and we will show you.   Have them each bring a large trash bag.”

”Okay, I will do that.”   J.J Promised and the Shark flipped up and into the deeper water and swam quickly away to cool his hot dry back.  He had work to do also and only a few days to accomplish it.

Exactly one week later the sun came up as many people of all ages, friends of J.J., all  arrived at the shore.  They could see the water churning with Sea life, just beyond the waves and wondered what that was all about.  So they watched carefully.

A Shark fin was sighted and a girl screamed, but J.J. assured her that he was alright.

His name is Sandy and he has a plan and needs our help.

J.J. called out loudly across the waves.

“Hey! Sandy Shark!  We are all here and waiting just as you asked!!”   Everyone watched in amazement as a large Shark swam through the waves all the way to the sand.  In his mouth he had a couple of pieces of a broken bookie board.  He set them on the damp sand. He was followed by more than a dozen Dolphin, who each dropped a piece of trash beside the Shark’s .  A dozen lobsters carried large claws full of cigarette butts to add to the other stuff on the sand.

They were very quickly followed by one different kind of Fish after the other,  all bringing some junk to the shore and leaving it there.  Styrofoam picnic dishes and cups, sharp plastic knives and forks, aluminum cans and glass bottles, plastic bags with printing on them and some hundreds that were plain and full or empty.

Some of the stuff had floated here from all the way across the Pacific Ocean like the glass floats the Japanese fishermen used and their old torn nets and tangled fishing line full of hooks, oddly shaped baits and broken rods.  Then of course, some of the stuff was being used right here, just yesterday, empty cookie boxes and soft drink cans and potato chip bags whatever the people brought and used up before going home empty handed.

Then a big male Seal Lion flipped awkwardly up on dry land to explain.

The people were not afraid of him, he looked so slow and harmless, so they stood and listened curiously as they didn’t know he could speak, but somehow he made it clear what they were here to do.

“This is what our sand, deep down under the water, looked like this morning. Now your sand in the sun looks like this now.  What do you think about it?”

“It looks awful!”  J.J. admitted, so we will all pick it up and take it away.  But first we have some Newspaper photographers  here to take pictures of it.  Do you mind all smiling for the camera even if you know it is not very funny?”

So right behind the junk all of the Sea creatures looked at the camera with their best Fishy smiles and the people on the shore did the same.

After the clicking stopped, everything was picked up by J.J.s friends, and put into the City trucks parked on the street.

The next day the Paper headlines read,

“One Boy and one Shark got together…  to give both a cleaner Ocean.”

The photographs drew a lot of attention World Wide. The stories asked the questions, “ Did the Shark and his friends really complain and carry the trash back to shore?   Did the boy, J.J. really bring his friends, the people, to see what was happening?”

It was hoped that this story would make everyone aware of the importance of carrying all you brought down to the beach, away with you when you leave… but nothing else. Leave the shells and the rocks for the Sea creatures to use.

All of the Ocean’s inhabitants, shown smiling, would appreciate it…especially the Shark named Sandy, who was right in the front with the biggest smile of all.

THE END of that new beginning..



This was not a little wooden boy by the name of Pinocchio, either.  This was a boy belonging to a family.  He was six years old and his name was… is, Jake.  He has a sister named, Beverly, who saw the whole thing happen and then spent the rest of the time trying to rescue him, though she has a problem making anyone believe her story or even his, now.  Jake likes to exaggerate, but Beverly only states the simple facts. Even if unbelievable sounding.

The Cat thought it was interesting and he certainly believed the Whale, even though he told it from his own point of view.

So the Cat,  Ginger, began to tell the story to the children just as the Whale told it to him.

“You see,“ The Whale began with his excuse for swallowing the boy in the first place. “I really don’t like to swallow people, you know.  They tickle like crazy as they fight and kick.  But every once in awhile I wake up hungry and just open my mouth to anything that floats in.  Usually some tiny, but good, plankton bits.

Then as the screaming and kicking began, I knew it had to be a People person and I coughed and spit, trying to get that darn thing, I caught simply by mistake, not knowing what it was…  out of my throat!”

“Well in this case it was that kid they called, Jake.  His sister was standing on the rock right next to me, yelling his name.   Jake! Jake! As she was trying to pry my mouth open.  If I had been on water I could have just turned and started to swim away, but I was resting on a rock at the time and how two kids got onto that rock escaped me.  Then I saw that I had accidently rested on a rock near a State Camp Ground where their parents had been spending the week, reading and swimming, while the kids played Tarzan and Jane, whatever that means.

So when I awoke to our mutual problem, that surprisingly brave little girl was prying my mouth open with a very big stick , or anyway trying to, which I knew was meant to get her brother out, but Gosh darn it,  the stick was terrible tasting.   I don’t know what it was broken off from, but something very bitter.

So I was trying to get away from it and I rolled into the water.  The girl clung to the stick in my mouth and was soon swimming at her end, while I was still trying to spit the stick out, the boy was making my stomach ache from all of that kicking and he was wearing big old tennis shoes.  I could tell.

I threw my head up and the girl flew into the air and landed on my back.  Now she was no trouble at all to me, so I could concentrate on the Jake…  Except his sister still had the stick in her hand and was beating me with it.  That actually felt pretty good, like getting your back scratched, if you know what I mean.

I swam a little deeper to get some water into my mouth.  If the boy had his wits about him, he could just swim out then , but no, he was still standing on my tongue, in my throat kicking and screaming.  The girl…  Beverly was it?  Anyway she heard him and crawled over my head to get closer to the noise she heard from Jake’s shouting.  She looked down and yelled loudly into my open mouth.

“Jake!  You come out of there, Right now!”  Kind of bossy sounding, I thought,  but he must be used to it,  because he stopped to listen.  Thank goodness.  Then he waded toward her voice.  When he got close enough, she put the long stick into my mouth again and  ordered  Jake, to take hold of it.

He did,  to my surprise,  and she sat down and dug her feet into my back and pulled hard to get him out to where he could climb up to where she sat.  She grabbed his hand then and , got up to run down my back to my tail dragging the kid brother..

“I very carefully picked my tail up and put it gently on the rock I had just left. Without a single “Thank you”, from either them,  I might add.

The kids jumped off and I was even happier to get rid of them, than they were to leave me.  I happily just swam away without looking back.  Promising myself to chose my rocks more carefully from now on.  Please, Whale God, no more children, if you please.

If they had a difficult time making people believe what had happened to them, that is just too bad.  What about me.  It was no piece of cake for me either.  I still had the stick on my back so I swam it off and came around to look at it up close it was a branch from a bitter pepper tree.  If they are smart they won’t use a stick from that tree to roast marshmallows or hot dogs or they will taste just terrible!”




The doll was floating on the Ocean.  It was a cute little thing and the Sea Gull who first saw it even thought it was a real baby.  He flew down to see if the poor baby who seemed to all alone in the water, was alright.  She lay very still and made no noise, so the Gull worried that she was indeed no longer living.  But as he lifted her up by the ribbon in front of her pretty white and pink dress, he found that she was indeed not alive.  She was a pretend baby.  What the real live child would call a baby doll.

The doll said, “Mama!” as he lifted it from the water and began to fly with it and he was so surprised he almost dropped it.  But it didn’t say anything for the rest of the flight to his nest.

Why did he take it to his nest which was many miles away on an Island?  Because Sea Gulls fly the ocean sky for days without going back to their birth island and so he had no place to put it down and look it over…unless he just put it back in the water.  That was not a good idea because it was getting a little bit ruined on its back where it had been wet, but was now almost perfectly dry.   So if he wanted to save it, he had to take it home to his nest.  So he did.

There are no real trees on the Gull’s Island, but there are no four legged predators  either, so the nests are built in the sheltered nooks among the rocks and boulders on the ground.

They are padded with bits of dry grass and weeds then abandoned feathers and those tiny feathers called, Down, for warmth.  He found his own nest and would usually look around for bits to freshen it with, but as he still held the baby doll, he had to put it down carefully and it just fit nicely into his nest built for two eggs.

Now what?  The Gull stood beside the perfect little baby doll and just looked at her.  Instinct told him to feed her.  But dolls don’t eat.  A couple of other birds came over to see what their friend had found that filled up his nest.

“What are you going to do with her?”  One Gull asked.

“Do you or anyone have a suggestion?  The group that had formed just stared and no one had any suggestions.

Finally one bird just grunted, “Take her back where you found her. She looks useless to me. You can’t find a Mate with that thing in your nest.”

“Right!” one said after another.  But no one had any ideas about making her useful.

“But she is so pretty.”  The Sea Gull argued.   “You should see her beautiful blue eyes.”  The Gull got behind her and pushed her into sitting up.  They could all see that she had now opened the very nice baby blue eyes and as she sat up she said, “ Mama” again.

“Ohhh… Ooooo…  they all said together as they looked at the baby doll’s smile.

“She belongs in the hospital, cheering up a little girl who can’t go out to play until she gets well.”  One bird, a Pigeon, thought to himself, then decided to tell them so.

“That is the best idea so far.”  The Sea Gull told the other birds.  “Where is the closest hospital?   She is very heavy.  I ought to know I carried her here. ”

“The Children’s Hospital is in my territory.” The Pigeon told the Sea Gull  “But not the closest.  So I will help you carry her there if you agree.

“Let’s do it. The Gull replied.

The Pigeon took the doll in his beak by the  top of her bonnet and the Sea Gull picked up her left shoe by its shiny gold buckle and they took off on the count of three,  with the Pigeon leading the way, of course, as it was his favorite landing place.  He liked to sit on the window sills and cheer-up the sick people.

On the corner of the hospital roof the Gull sat to rest as the Pigeon hopped from window to window looking for a little girl without a doll or stuffed animal to keep her company.   Soon he reported back to the Sea Gull,

“ I found one little girl who had nothing,  not a single toy.  but her window is shut, so we must go inside the building to get this Doll to her.

“And we must try to stay high, up where people can’t reach us to shoo us out.”  But it didn’t work out that way .

The two birds took the doll again and waited until other people were entering the hospital,  so they could get in the opened door.  Then they found that they could take advantage of a Delivery Man, who came along carrying some large boxes that he could barely see over to where he was going.

“Perfect!”  said the Pigeon.  “We’ll sit on the top box very still and try to look like the Doll and we Birds are part of the decorations.

A few folks looked at them and smiled.  Most didn’t even look in their direction they were at the hospital for more important matters.

The Delivery Man got off one floor too soon, so they were now off also.  But by finding the Fire Escape they were able to go up one more floor with no trouble.

A large rolling cart for food trays sat unattended, so they sat on it until the fellow came to push it from room to room.   He wasn’t sure which room he was supposed to take the Doll with the two Birds, so he would take the lunches around, then go back to the main desk and try to find someone who could tell him.

But suddenly there they were with a lunch for the little girl who really needed the Baby Doll, to cheer her up, so the two birds  picked the Doll up again and dragged her on the floor into the child’s room, while the man was carrying a tray into a different room across the hall.

The girl’s Mother was now with her child, ready to help her with lunch.

The Gull stood still. But the Pigeon hadn’t noticed her yet and picked up the bonnet and hopped up with the Doll to the child’s pillow, as the Mother stood watching wide eyed.

The Baby Doll opened her blue eyes and said, “ Mama.” as she was placed with great effort by the Pigeon onto the pillow, sitting close to her new child.

The girl took the perfectly darling little Baby Doll into her arms at once making her say “Mama” twice more.

The Mother looked from the Pigeon to her daughter’s happy face and looking astounded, only said very softly,

“Thank you.”

The Pigeon quickly flew to the now open window and out to the sill to wait for the Sea Gull, who was amazed by the Mother’s quiet reaction and thus slow to leave.

His wings were so wide that he dared not open them in the small area, so he walked gracefully and with dignity over the head board to the window and out onto the sill next to the Pigeon, then he turned and they bowed politely to the girl and her Mother before both birds opened their wings wide and took off.

Now the birds were satisfied that they had accomplished their chosen task because the little girl looked very happy, the Baby Doll waved and said “Mama”! and the Mother still looked astounded.

And that was THE END of the Sea Gull’s story about the time he found a perfect little Baby Doll in the Pacific Ocean with no idea about how it got there in the first place.

It hadn’t been there for very long, but where had it been before the Sea Gull swopped by and picked it up?

That is a different story with no one to tell it.




The last Elf was going about his business picking flowers for a happy Elf luncheon, when the wind broke a branch he was standing on and blew it off and away.

“Oh Oh” he cried out loudly.  “Let me down wind. I have work to do to get ready for the big Elf Party tomorrow..

You see he was not the last Elf on Earth, he was just the Last Elf that his little friend, Beverly would ever have.  Because as much as she loved Elves, she was getting a little too old for them.  All of those fictitious characters are only around for the children while they are quite young.  He didn’t even know if Beverly would attend this last party he was going to give especially for her eighth birthday.  Eight is quite old for Fairy Tales, but she was special so she might make an exception this one more time, just for him.

But here he was sailing away on the wind.  If he didn’t get back there would be no party for sure. The more he fought it the higher the branch of feather light leaves took him into the sky.

The Elf almost jumped off as the branch began to fly on the wind, then he was sorry he didn’t, as by then he was too high up to jump.  It floated above a tree and he began to take hold of a branch and stay in the tree, but he didn’t.  Then the tree was behind him and it was too late, again.

Surely this silly branch will settle down soon and I may be far from home, but once I’m down I will figure out what to do then.  Suddenly he noticed that he was going up through a cloud.  As he came out the top he looked down to see the fluffy cloud below him

and knew he was really, really, high up now.   The birds were even flying below him.

What is it they always say?

“If you are given a lemon. Make lemonade.”  No, No, that is not it.  “It’s Birds of a Feather Stick Together.” No! That’s not it either!”  “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush.”  No!  Let me think.  Oh I remember it’s, “If a long fall is inevitable, float gracefully and  enjoy it!”  So he looked around wondering if it was time to enjoy the fall.

Of course this fall is not exactly inevitable.  He could float down as softly as he was swept up.  In fact he seemed to be going down right now.  Either that or the cloud he was above was coming up higher.  Which was happening , would be impossible know for sure without more clues.  He peeked over and tried to see something else.  But the cloud was too big.

Then he saw a kite breaking out of the cloud and it was flying very close to him.  He could even touch the kite string if he tried.  He pictured the surprised look on the boy who was holding the other end of the string, if he just suddenly saw an Elf sliding down to him.  Then he made the mistake of trying it.  He almost took a hold of the string with his arms and legs to begin the slide to the bottom. Oh oh, what if the boy was not still there?

That is…  he must make sure the boy had not lost his kite and no one was at the other end.  If only he could see down.  He would know what to do then.

The little Elf put a hand on the string and tugged it.  Whoever was at the bottom end tugged back.  Okay! He had it! So hurry!  The Elf let go of the branch and wrapped his legs and his arms around the string and began to slide, slowly at first, down the string.  Once he was through the cloud and could see the boy holding the kite string, he shouted, “Whoopee! “ And went very fast!

However the noise made the boy look up and he was so surprised to see a little creature coming fast right at him from the cloud in the sky,  that he screamed and let go of the big ball of string and ran away.

Off the kite went in the wind going faster than when the boy had it.  The Elf kept going down the string but the string was getting longer as it unwound from the ball.  So the Elf was getting a little closer to the land but not much.

The Elf came down the string to the strong round cardboard piece that was tied to the string’s end and stopped.  At least he had something comfortable to sit on now and he wasn’t falling anymore, but he was traveling fast out over the Pacific Ocean.  Now, he decided, it would be better if the kite kept flying until it was back over land.   But soon the wind began to die down and the kite was headed for the water again.

So the Elf did the next best thing and began to quickly wind the string back onto the cardboard.   As the string got tighter the kite rose up until finally the Elf was riding right on the plastic kite, holding onto the cross sticks.

The ball of string and the Elf, as little as he was, made the kite heavier and it finally settled flat on the water.  The Elf sat on the cross of the kite sticks and had a pretty good little raft.  Luckily for him these wooden kite sticks were covered with a pretty red and yellow striped piece of light plastic, so it floated very well.

While it was much better than swimming, this was no pleasure cruise.  There was no food or fresh water and he had good reason to worry.  It had been a long time since the kite left the land.  If only the boy hadn’t dropped the string the Elf could be home by now.

He saw a ship off in the distance and a whale spouted from time to time but nothing came close enough for him to be rescued.  Then the Dolphin appeared right next to him.  “Are you in need of help?”  The Dolphin asked after noticing the tiny Elf sitting in the middle of the float.

“ Oh yes I certainly am!”  The Elf stood and hopped to the end of the kite.  “The wind carried me here and I have no way to get back to the land.”

“I don’t go on the land myself.”  The Dolphin admitted, “But I can get you much closer to it.  I am not as fast as the wind,  but we can get started.  I hate to scare you, but the land is not very close by.  But if we go by a boat or a ship they go faster.  Maybe you can get a quicker ride from one of them.  If you will stay on your float, I will tow you?”

‘That sounds good.  I have no way to be any help to you or myself.   So I will just hold tight to the kite, so you may go as fast as you want to.”

The Dolphin headed for the nearest land and the Elf finally tied himself to the kite

in case he fell asleep.

He was getting very thirsty but the nice Dolphin wouldn’t be able to do anything about that so he didn’t complain.  Then luckily, it began to rain and the Elf made a cup out of the small end of the plastic kite.  He didn’t get much water, but it helped.

They came close to an Island, but it was too small to have any people or boats, just a couple of banana and coconut palms.  The Elf got excited and called to the Dolphin to please let him go close enough to get a banana and a cocoanut.

The Dolphin pulled the kite close to the trees and the Elf reached up and took one of each.  One banana would last an Elf for a week. And he could drink the milk from the cocoanut.

‘We won’t be that much longer.”   the Dolphin told him.  “Or I would leave you for a bit and go deep for my own food.   But see those clouds?.  That means land is there and it is big , you will be safe soon. So let’s go fast!”

Just as the sun was setting they came to the land.  The Elf was about to jump off when the Dolphin asked him,

“Do you need your kite?”

“No, I certainly do not,  why?”

“I would like to keep it if you don’t mind,  It is very easy to tow and I think I could use it.”

“Then it is yours and thank you for saving me.  Can I do anything else for you?”

“I have no pockets and I cannot think of another thing.  I’m just happy I could help you.”  The Dolphin swam away still towing the kite behind him.  The Elf wondered, but would never know, why the Dolphin wanted the kite.

But the Dolphin explained it to Ginger the Cat when he told him his story about rescuing an Elf from the Ocean.

The Cat named Ginger and the Dolphin were visiting by the side of the ship as the Cat sat on the lump at the bottom of the convenient rope.

When they were in the harbor, the rope would be used to tie the boat to the dock, but out here,  Ginger only used it to sit and talk to the Sea Animals and to listen to their stories, so he could tell them to his children afterwards.

The Dolphin had just told him about the day he found a Land Elf floating far from land and towed him to shore.

“That was very nice of you.” The Cat complimented him,  “But why did you want the kite?  Isn’t that a land toy? “

“I wanted it because it could fly.”  It was too little and not strong enough to hold anything much bigger than an Elf.  I’m sure you know how tiny they are.”

‘Yes of course,  but don’t you need to have a good wind and run fast to get it to take to the air.”

“I can swim fast.  It’s the same thing.  When I want it to go up, I take the string in my mouth and swim away fast.  There is never a shortage of wind on the open ocean.  I watch to see which way the clouds are moving and how fast the different altitudes go. There are many layers of wind, you know.”

“No I didn’t know that.”

“Balloonist all know that.  They go up to the altitude that is blowing in the direction they want to go.  It is their only way to choose a direction in one of those free floating balloon things.”

“Imagine that!” the Cat was impressed “I must watch the next time I see them.”

“Now for the reason for me to fly it.” The Dolphin continued,  “You must have noticed how big and open the Ocean is.  There are no road signs or cross streets in any direction. So when I am out searching for good food hunting places and I find one I want to tell my family where it is.  But how?  I can only lead them there, as we have nothing to tack a sign onto that says “Good food down below this spot.

But now when I find that good spot,  I can take the kite string in my mouth and swim until it takes to the air.  It’s very easy I will show you later.  Once it is high above in the sky, I tug it to see if the wind at that altitude is strong enough to keep the kite flying there.  Then I swim down and wrap the string around a good size rock.  Now my people know that the red and yellow kite high up above, means good food down below.

It really works.  When the food is gone or has moved, our food often does move you know,   I can take it down or swim it to a better place.  I really can take good care of my family this way.  Because I have the only sign post on this Ocean… thanks to the little Elf I saved.  I often wonder if he made it home in time to give that party he talked about.  But at least he made it home and that is a good thing.



A Sardine swam to the ship under the Dolphin so no attacker would notice him.  He was all alone and a single tiny Sardine was just a speck in the big ocean.  And that made him a dainty tid-bit to all of the larger fish.  That was why he stayed so close to the friendly helpful, Dolphin on his trip to join the Ship.

First he was anxious to see and listen to that Cat he had been hearing so much about.  An animal like a Cat was never anywhere near the Sea and he didn’t want to miss it.  Oh he had seen Catfish, but that was certainly not the same.

Secondly it wasn’t until he had slipped away from the giant Sardine Family Ball where he was born and had lived all of this life, that he realized why they lived like that,  always moving from place to place in the vast Ocean in a huge snug ball packed tightly together like, like… well like Sardines.

He knew now that any one of them alone was easy prey, but the huge ball made up of thousands or more, no one ever attempted to count them, as they moved and changed places from the center to the outside constantly, making the swarm an odd illusion of being a single enormous creature, like a whale or a giant squid and they were all much safer that way.

Many tiny Fishes live alone but they stayed close to rocks or even Coral and dart back into a hiding hole away from a threat. Others slip under the sand and leave only a gill out to sift the water, so both are very much confined.

Yes, the little Sardine decided that his free rolling Family Ball was a much better life style.   That way thousands maybe millions of Sardines enjoyed more freedom as they were able to travel where ever they pleased and were usually ignored by the larger Sea inhabitants.

The little Sardine, had no name, because they all looked exactly alike and who would remember a million different names anyway?  But he was different in this way.  He was curious. And after he heard the Dolphin say he was going to see and talk to a real Cat, who he knew was collecting stories from the Sea Animals for his own use, and that the Dolphin had a story to tell him about an Elf he had saved.  Little Sardine decided to tag along and listen to the Dolphin’s story and at the same time get to see a real live Cat while it was still out on the Sea.

The Sardine swam to the rope and looked up at the Cat.  The Cat didn’t even notice him.  So he flipped his tail and tried to get his attention.  However the Cat was listening to the Dolphin tell his story, so the little Sardine listened also.  Now he knew the Dolphin had towed an Elf to Land, so maybe he could ask him to lead him back to his Family Ball of Sardines.

So what, if he was lost. This was well worth it.  And what a surprise the Cat was! The real Cat was a fluffy little animal with golden, orange stripes in his shiny, fluffy, fur.  Nothing under the Sea had silky fur like that.  He had a sweet round fur face with two golden eyes set in front just like people have and a pink nose below, then a wide smiling mouth with teeth.  His body was rather long and there were four furry matching striped legs with white feet, two on each side and a long furry orange striped tail with a white tip in the back.  Nothing in the Sea looked like that Cat… nothing.

The Cat could climb up and down the rope with the sharp claws on each foot.  He said he even climbed to the top of the ship’s mast.  And he could swim if he fell in the water,  but he would much rather not.  He shuddered just thinking about it.

We animals living in the Sea love the water and shudder to think about getting out of it.    Maybe all of that fur would drag the Cat down.   But it really is very pretty looking, fluffy and dry.

The Sardine had seen the impressive, but little, Cat and heard the Dolphin’s interesting tale, now he was ready to go back to his Family Ball,.. but how would he find it?

He asked the Dolphin if he could travel under him to look for his Family Ball.

“Which way is it?” the Dolphin asked.

“I don’t know one way from the other, I have spent my life just rolling through the Ocean as a speck in the Ball.  I never had to make a decision or give a thought to where we were. So without my Ball I am completely lost.

Now he was worried that he had made a mistake.  He had lost track of the great Ball of Sardines and he quickly learned how tiny he was when all alone.  That was why he stayed so close to the Dolphin.  He wasn’t a great Ball but he was big enough to hide behind.

Still he had succeeded at getting to the ship and he looked in amazement at the real, Cat, who sat on the rope hanging from that ship and had even brought down a pail for him to hide in while he visited. Although the Cat was very small!  The Dolphin was not really large but he was three or four times bigger than the little Cat.

Wasn’t the Cat afraid to be so far from his land home when he was so very little?

He must try to get back to his family without being afraid.  So he asked the Cat,

“Do you know how I can find my big Family Ball again. I have lost it and don’t know which way to turn.”

“Now Ginger finally looked into the water and began to think of the Sardine’s problem .  So he explained,

“This ship is moving across the Ocean all the time.  Perhaps we are going close to your family right now.  Let’s ask.”

“Dolphin, will you please send out the word for as far as your good voice can reach

in each direction and ask if anyone can see a very large round  object rolling near them?”

So the Dolphin moved to the front of the ship and asked loudly in a series of high pitched squeals.   Then he went to the right and the left of the traveling ship to send that same message.  The fourth call was from the back of the ship.

Then they all waited.  The Cat could hear nothing.  The Sardine could hear nothing. But a shrill voice came from ahead of the ship asking for further identification of the huge ball.  This was understood by the Dolphin, so he swam back to explain to the Sardine,

“My friend, you may be in luck., a large round object that may just be a Whale is just ahead of this Ship and we may pass on the right side of it soon.

They swam to the left of the ship and stayed watching beside it.  Soon they spotted a large Whale, who  spouted and dove to the deep.

“Too bad it was a Whale.”  The Dolphin said sadly .  I’ll try again.  But suddenly a slick silver streak consisting of  two or three dozen tiny Sardines were passed by the ship.  The little Sardine called out at once.

“Hello there!  Where is everyone?  Why are you so few?  What happened to the big Family Ball?”

“Oh because, “  One Sardine replied crossly and upset, “Somebody didn’t pay attention to where we were going and the ship cut some of us off.  As soon as it goes by, we will get together again.  I just wish I knew who decides these things for us? I’d give him a word or two! Why are they not more careful to look out for everyone?  Don’t they care where we go?”

“I don’t know,” the second replied, just as upset.  “We are at risk because the leader didn’t watch where he was going.  Who was leading anyway?”

“Don’t ask me!”  the third one said, “I just followed along like I always do.”

“That is the trouble.  No matter who you ask you get the same answer, not me, not me!”

The little Sardine complained,

“But then who?  There must be a leader.  We have traveled far and wide like this forever.  How can we do that if there is no leader?”

“I heard that the rule was… If you are in front you are the leader.  Have you never been in front?”

“I wouldn’t know the front if I saw it.”  The little Sardine replied.

“And neither does anyone else. “  A different Sardine remarked.  “So we just roll happily along and as long as it works no one complains.”

“In other words we are all,  always lost.”

“I guess so.”  The Ship glided by with a tail engine roar and then a Sardine shouted out!

“There’s the Family Ball now!  The Ship just passed the rest of them , Come on and join up with us.  They swam quickly into the Ball and disappeared into the center, or someplace,  forever after.”

The little lost Sardine waved good bye with his tiny tail and swam off contentedly with his own Family Ball, even though he now knew that he was, after all still living completely lost.   But why worry?  For as long as they were all lost together it didn’t matter, did it?

But because he had once gotten lost all alone, he now had an interesting story to tell the others about how the Dolphin saved an Elf.   And there were so many Sardines to tell it to,  that the one story could last for years.  Sometimes he talked about the interesting animal he had seen called a Cat.  But no one would believe him.  The Cat was just too fantastic to be believable.




Not all Tuna Fish end up in a little round can even though most do.  But this one large, even very large, blue and silver Albacore, the finest of the Tuna family, had an ambition.

One time a Fishing Magazine fell out of a fisherman’s boat and as it settled on the clear bottom of the Florida Coast it was laying open on a beautiful color photograph of a Blue Fin Tuna much like himself,  posing like the beauty he was on the wall of a grand Restaurant.  The people could not go passed him without stopping to admire his beauty.  His great size combined with the fine blending of his colors were something to behold.

Now that is something to achieve.  The Tuna said to himself.   That is for me!  Instead of growing up to go into a can and becoming a stupid tuna sandwich or salad, I want to spend my last life being admired as the most beautiful Tuna who ever lived.  How does one go about achieving that? He wondered.

He asked everyone but the advice was all different.  Some said it was the beauty that counted. And others thought that was luck or genes.    Another said it was the luck of the Sea.  You must carefully choose which hook to bite into.  A very rich man would only get his picture taken beside you, then it was still off to the cannery like the rest of them.  If you are just grand in size a luxurious, Sushi Shop will buy you up in a wink, no matter the cost.  And a Sushi roll is still just a sandwich or a salad, no matter what fancy name you put on it.

“I want to be mounted on a wall someplace important and be admired for years to come.”  The Tuna announced.  “That is my goal, no matter how hard I have to work to achieve it.  He continued to be told…

“If you are not the most beautiful of the Tuna family, just forget it.”  Or,

“Then you must lead a long life at Sea first.”  And  “ If you are little, it’s the Cannery!”  He knew… “ It takes a long time growing to get big enough to be stuffed and mounted on a Mahogany plaque.” And most important…

“You must be careful to never bite on a hook.  Many hooks are disguised to look like food. ”    So he didn’t eat anything he didn’t catch himself right out of a school.

“I won’t!”  he promised himself, “I must hide in the day time and choose my food myself at night.”  So out to the wide open Sea he went.

Out there he met many very large fish.  Then he would ask, “How did you grow so big?”

The huge Whale told him I just float with my mouth open and the plankton just flow in .  The Tuna tried that but it didn’t work.  The plankton just flowed around him and he was getting thin from not eating enough.

Then he asked a giant Octopus,

“What do you eat to grow so big?”

“I sit on the bottom and arrange my colors to look like a sea rock and wait for the juicy Crabs to crawl right up to me.

But the Tuna didn’t look like a boulder so nothing came close.  Anyway Tuna didn’t think he would like to eat crabs,  How did the Octopus get around those scratchy claws?  Anyway, he didn’t know how to make his colors change to gray and brown.  He must ask the Octopus how he does that trick, next time.

Who else was big because of the food it ate.  Most big things eat the same as he does,  by hunting.  So he went back to his own food except for one thing.  He began to try to eat the sea grasses that grew on the bottom.  Another colorful Fish said that was the secret to deep beautiful colors.  So he chased down fat Mackerel and ate Sea grass.  He then began to grow very large and his blue was deep and his silver was shiny bright.  He thought he would make a perfect Tuna for a lovely Wall display to be admired by all who saw him.

Day by day he grew and avoided the pit falls of the line and hooks to avoid being caught for canned Tuna.  As he grew and swam he was enjoying himself so much that he wanted to on for a long time.  The Wall could just wait for him to be ready, as he was better looking each year.

Then he was caught careless one day.  It only took one day, as he had been so successful at escaping the hooks that he was caught unawares suddenly by a huge net that was laying flat on the bottom of the Sea.

He didn’t even notice that he was in it as he swam around snapping up some large Mackerel until much later when it was quickly drawn up into a huge closed loop and to his surprise hauled onto a very large boat.

One by one the boatmen flipped the other fish from the net and tossed them into the hold which was open  in the deck that dropped them into a tray and held them ready for the kitchen workers below.

For this large Ship was a Boat Cannery, the white dressed and gloved workers were fast to clean and steam the fish and put them into the open cans which moved past to receive lids and be packed fresh into crates marked “Tuna “ all ready for the stores.

Then the leader saw this very large and very beautiful Tuna and said,

“Will you look at this?  What a beauty!  A couple of you work together to get this extra large Tuna into that salt water tank up front.  I have something special in mind for this one.

“Oh Oh the Sushi Bar will pay a lot for the big ones like me,  so Sushi here I come,  I must figure out a way to escape. “ He lifted his big tail and tested the huge tank it had taken two men to get him into.  And it was all his fault, after all of the care he had taken to get beautiful, then for carelessly not noticing the net under him, he was caught.  What a pity!

The tank was strong and his tail only proved it.  He looked up.  Maybe he could leap out.  There wasn’t enough room to get a fast swimming start and jumping straight up that high was impossible.  He tried a few times to be sure.  The tank rocked with his trying to escape.  Maybe he could tip it over and swim across the deck to freedom.  So he rocked back and forth twenty times to no use.  The tank was bolted down.   Then he settled down to regain his strength waiting for the men to return and take him out.  If they only sent two men like last time he knew he could get free and from them.  Why didn’t he try harder the first time?  But regret didn’t help.  He must be clever and think.

This time he will act weak, then when he was near the rails,  he would knock the men down and fall right into the Ocean as fast as a wink.  That was a plan.

He was growing a bit weak just floating in the small tank.  He needed more room to get more Oxygen and wished they would hurry to the dock so he would have a chance at least.

When the boat was at dock, and the men and women workers had mostly left, some different men brought a crane to unload the already canned tuna crates.  At least he wasn’t one of those.  So he still had a chance to get back into the Ocean.

“What do you want us to do with the one in the tank ?”  He heard someone ask.

Bring the crane truck up close and wrap him in wet blankets then carefully lift him  with the crane and hold him there until we drive the truck to the entry of his new place.  It will only take a few minutes .  He will be okay until the specialists arrive to take charge of him.

That must mean the Sushi Specialists. The Tuna thought,  I’m a goner now.  He could not move a muscle in the wet blanket held by the crane. Even if he could break free he was now too far from the Ocean to escape.  The truck had driven down a long street and across a big highway.   Where was this Sushi Shop anyway?  Wrapped by the blanket he could not even see where he was, just feel the turns and stops the truck made.

The truck finally pulled to a stop and two men and two ladies could be heard guiding the crane to where they may stop..  He heard a splash and knew there was some water nearby.  Maybe he was near the Bay.  That would work.

One man and one lady were close beside him and the lady said

“We will get in with him and be ready to unwrap him, as soon as he is lowered to us.”    He tried to not get too hopeful about escaping, but he would be prepared just in case.

Maybe he could escape yet.  One man and one lady was not too much to overcome.. He had smelled salt water, so perhaps they were by an ocean after all.  The great Tuna was eager to see out, and was pleased when the lady took the blanket from around his face and eyes.  She was very gentle and so was probably not too strong.

Then she patted him as she rolled the blanket down and off.  Then she shouted to someone in the truck,

“Lower him in.”He was gently lowered until he was covered with clean fresh Sea water.

“What was this?’ he asked himself as the lady and the man swam along side of him, gently guiding him around to get his oxygen flowing.  Then his eyes cleared in the water and he saw the children… dozens of them.  They were lined up behind a huge window of glass to watch him as he went by.

He soon got over the shock of swimming free to notice all of the other Fish of many kinds in this small Ocean with him.  Can this be how they make Sushi?

Children and adults smiled and waved at him as he swam by the window wall and lights were shining down on him. He could tell that they were saying,  “Isn’t he beautiful?”

The man said to the lady swimming beside him,

“Wasn’t it lucky that the Fishing Boat Captain called to tell us  that this Tuna was much too beautiful to be in a can, and called to see if we wanted him here at the Ocean Marina.  Yes, he will be very popular here for many, many, years, as he is still so young..

So now the Tuna knew that although he had planned to be a beautiful wall hanging, he was somewhere much, much, better. Something he had no idea existed.  An Ocean Marina for live fish to be seen by the Public.  He loved the way the swimmers petted him and  sometimes fed him.  This was indeed his idea of the perfect life!   He didn’t even know that a sign out front would make him very happy if he could read it.  It said,

“Come In and See the World’s Most Beautiful Tuna.”





EACH NEW OCTOPUS IS BORN WITH EIGHT ARMS.  They have a body which is mostly his head with two large eyes on the top and his mouth is on the very bottom.  So it is very handy for those extra long arms to reach out and take a morsel of food and bring it to his mouth.  Each arm was three times longer than the body.

If it is in the sea and being attacked by a large fish, it only needs to wrap an arm or two around it and pull it to his mouth and it is gone.  So they are not attacked often.

They have two other odd features.  One, if they prefer to escape an attack in the water they jet out a dark fluid which spreads in the water to blind the attacker as to where the Octopus has gone.  Then he swims away out of danger unseen in the dark purple mist.

The other is exceptionally clever, something that very few other animals can also do and the rest wish they could.  They can change the colors of their body to match their surroundings .  If they are sitting on a rock that part of the body will match the rock, but an arm stretched out on the sand will be the color of the sand.  It is an amazing thing to see..

Scientists  love to study how they do that.  If it seems that they can turn or twist the cells of their body to reflect the color they are on, how do they know which part of their body is on a different color?  They cannot even see all of those long arms as they go all around the head… Very clever.

So the Octopus lives a rather peaceful life.  They are capable of squeezing or stretching their long boneless bodies into tiny cracks and holes and are escape artists as they can even live for some time out of the water.  Many have been caught by curious fishermen and placed into containers because they are interesting.  They do not understand that the flexible body of this creature can work its way through very tiny cracks and openings to freedom, so they are surprised and amazed when it is gone.

Each long arm is covered with small suckers  for grasping objects and it is the smallest thing on the body, so they can fit into or out of anything as small as that.This Octopus who told his story to Ginger the Cat had lived in this part of the Sea and even the Land for several years.  Sometimes dwelling high up in the dark cave and other times sitting comfortably in the corner of an empty box sitting on the bottom of the Ocean, left behind by a careless picnicker for no other reason except that he didn’t want it.

Then one rainy day he decided to go to the City.  He had never been there and since the rain slick streets and sidewalks were running wet it was simple to navigate in the rain, he decided that it was a good time to make the trip to see what was so interesting in the town that so many people seemed to want to go there.

Everyone talks about it. So now I will just gather my arms together and use them to move me along and go.  He used several to slide himself  on the sidewalk and the others just rode beside him pushing aside any odd stuff that was in his way.  But not people.  No he didn’t want to scare the people away.  So he was slow and let them move along in front of him.  He discovered that if he didn’t bother them, they paid no attention to him.

The closer he got to the City the more people were rushing about on their own business and the less they looked at him.   Or if they did, they simply shrugged and said,

“Humm, I never saw an Octopus in the city before.  Very unusual… “  Then they hurried off  to do more important things.

He passed a school, but the children were all inside out of the rain, so he didn’t know it was a school.  In his underwater world, a School was a flock of Fish.  A Flock really means a herd of Birds, but not to confuse you,  A Herd is a group of Cattle or Horses or Sheep or is a Flock also Sheep?   But any way,  a group is a Team of Friends, but then a Team is only one half of a Sporting Event.  There, did I get that all straightened out for you?

So on the Octopus went undisturbed until he stopped to look at an attraction he found  right in the very middle of the City.  It was a very interesting thing.  Mainly it was the water that attracted him.  There was a large circle of something strong and high enough to hold a fairly deep pond of water.  A kid went wading in it, which was against the rules, he was told, so he got out…the water was barely deep enough to cover his knees.,  Mostly he liked the way the water was flying up high in the center and falling back down all around, upon some interesting sculptured People and Animals made of rather pretty marble rock.

The rock people were sitting around on the graceful rocks with sparkling  water splashing on them.  I noticed a pretty lady with no clothes on, so as not to get them all wet I imagine, and two cute little winged Baby People … Angels!   One was riding on a Rock Dolphin the other was watching and smiling.  Another Dolphin was jumping over the falling water all alone on the other side.  A big rock caught some of the water nearby and turned it into a little waterfall.

The rock next to the waterfall was perfect for me to sit upon and just enjoy the rock People and the real People, who had nothing to do but stand around and look at them.

Sometimes they tossed some little metal coins into the fountain. As long as I watched I never could figure out why.  But the coins sparkled down under the water and made it look kind of pretty, so I began to give my attention to the children who were usually eating something. Ice cream or a hot dog or even popcorn.

That reminded me that I had not eaten for a long time.  A while back I passed a shop with crabs in the window and almost went in to see if I could get one, but the man inside looked like he was going to snatch me up and put me in the window for sale if I did, so I didn’t.

Then one of the boys bit off a piece of his hot dog and tossed it to me.  I quickly caught it with my second from the left arm and popped it into my mouth.

The boy laughed and pointed, so the other boy threw me some of his popcorn and my right arm wrapped around the tasty little white things and scooped them to my mouth.

The children all began to play the game of feeding the big rock Octopus.  That was when I realized that as I had been sitting on the Rock, I had taken on the look of all of the other carved figures and if I sat still I became a part of the whole fountain scene.

Now before you give me credit for being so clever, I must admit that it just happens.  I really don’t know how to control it. And why would I want to?  It is so good to be able to blend into the background,  that I never wanted to learn to do something else, so I just don’t know how to not look like my background.

I found that I was more comfortable with my two back arms turned up and folded down like a chair back, then the two on the side kind of curled into looking like chair arms.

The front four are the problem because I use them to catch the tasty foods.  And I often sit with them posed a bit differently.  But it’s okay, because I heard one the regular workers say he keeps forgetting exactly how I sit and blamed his poor memory on the difference.  If they want to take the blame for remembering wrong…  that is better for me,

When the children throw their food at one of the other rock figures nothing happened.  Well, not unless one of my arms could reach out and grab it, then I did.  So they threw the most food straight to me, according to their ability.

If they told their parents that the rock Octopus could catch and eat the food. they just laughed and called it an illusion caused by the falling water.

So I played along and didn’t move when the adults were watching and I was very fast when the children were.  It was a fun game.  And soon I wasn’t hungry anymore.  So I closed my eyes and took a little rest.  It had been a long crawl to get here and the fountain water, though not salty like my ocean,  was very refreshing.

Later I awoke when it was dark in the sky.  But there was a row of colorful lights in the water pond below me that made a lovely sight of the sparkling, falling, water that shot so high up continually day and night.

I thought perhaps it was time for me to begin to crawl back to the Sea.  I could hear it off in the distance as it rolled against the shore.  The sound was pleasant.  From the deep where I lived we did not hear that rolling sound of waves.

In the day time the traffic on the streets and sidewalks drowned it out, so I relaxed in the fountain pond to enjoy it each night. Sometimes I tossed the coins around and listened to them clink together.  But they were not good to eat.

Then at night, just a bit away, behind the nice restaurant, I saw some people pulling things out of the very large bin and eating them.  I watched as long as they were there and when they were gone I crawled over to investigate.  The restaurant man came out and dumped the left-over food from plates of rolls and other fine things into the bin.  So that was what those folks were finding.  I ate what looked good to me and slid back to the fountain and took my perch until morning, so I could play the game with the children again.

That night I followed the sound of the waves back to the Ocean and settled down into one of my regular nooks to catch crabs and some sleep.  Then I dreamed of the children and what a joy they were.

Every now and then I felt like playing with the people’s children again.  They are the most fun.  And I really do make an excellent rock Octopus on my perch.

I think I made a bit of trouble for the Fountain’s  keepers though, because after I have been there awhile, and then decide to go home, they’d miss me and try to find out who keeps stealing the rock Octopus and then returns it again?  But they do look pleased when I am back.  So all is well.  I don’t even mind when they scrub me off with their long handled brushes.   I probably need it.  That sidewalk I travel over sometimes gets pretty dirty.





I just wish folks would quite mixing us up with each other.  Everything likes to be known as themselves and not someone else.  Do you know what I mean?

If people kept calling you your brother or sister’s name, you wouldn’t like it.  You would say,

“Excuse me but I am me not…. whoever.  Wouldn’t you? “

Sea Lions are big , slow, hulky chaps and they have thick rolls of fat around their wide necks all the way to their eyes, with ears that stick out on the sides of their great heads that end with large flat snouts for digging in the underwater sandy bottom for clams and crabs and other sea fishes who hide in the sand, rocks and grasses.

Up on the top where they rest after the effort exerted to find food, the sun is hot and the sand is warm but nothing thrives except the Creatures who love to loll in the sun and sleep .and the young ones who are born on top and are too young to challenge the open Ocean and its dangers, so need to grow under the care of the parents who bring food to them.  The Seals and the Sea Lions are both raised in this manner. Thus the confusion.  It’s a wonder they grow up knowing just which one they are.

As anyone can see, Seals are silky and smooth little fellows with small heads and ears that are almost hidden to make them slicker and faster under water.

There are a lot of differences between the two, so please get it straight and next time… think of the differences before you speak.

The male Seals stay to care for the young while the mother goes fishing and brings back their food.

But the fat and lazy male Sea Lions sleep in the sun and ignore the babes.  What more can I tell you. Except that we seals are very superior mammals.  Fast and intelligent.

“I agree we are not the same.”  says the Sea Lion. “ We are the Captains of the sand Mammals.  Because as you can see, we are big and burly, so the bothersome little creatures stay away from us.  Our huge size alone will keep others from stealing our little ones, who like us are heavy and strong.

Those skinny little imitations of us are called simply Seals, not something as important and prestigious as “Sea Lions!”   So please don’t you mix us up any more. Those puny male Seals need to be alert every moment of their lives to chase away foxes and marauding birds, who would run off with a new born.  They usually run or fly away scared,  if we big guys even lifted a head and let out a deep growl at them.  We don’t even need to get up to let them know just who we are.  We are the Lion Kings of the Sea mammals and they all know it, so keep their distance..

“Then one day,”  The Sea Lion said, “As I was on the Sea bottom scooping through the sand in search of food,  I uncovered an oyster about the right size for lunch.  They don’t have legs so I was surprised when a shot of water from the shell sent the oyster quickly out of reach. I leaned back to watch. Amazing! So that is how they get about… and so quick too.  I began to search out another, hoping he did not get away as fast.

Suddenly a Seal swopped quickly in and caught the escaped shell fish, then dropped it in front of my nose, before shooting up and out of sight, like a rocket ship.  Those little guys are pretty darn fast.  I moved to put a large flipper over it before it got away again. And would have thanked him for the lunch, but, of course, he was long gone.

Later I saw a different Seal nosing around in the sand hunting with no luck as his tiny nose barely uncovered the sand.  I rolled over nearby and with my very large snout shoved the sand aside and uncovered the little clams he was seeking.  He stepped in and took one, nodded his thanks at me and carried it to the top to find a big rock to hit it on to open it.  Those poor skinny guys are so small, that finding buried food is difficult for them.  I was rather glad to have helped the little fellow.

That was when I realized that we both did better when we worked together and used our different abilities to serve us both.

Maybe I don’t mind so much being called a Seal, they are fast and have good abilities.

At the same time the Seal was saying,

“ I guess it is not too insulting to be mistaken for a Sea Lion.  They are the giants of the Ocean world and get a lot of respect.  Perhaps I have judged them too harshly and as he was thinking instead of watching, a sudden surprise from a great white Shark startled the Seal and he was trapped in the shallow water with two Great Whites blocking his way back into the deep water where his speed would allow him to get away from that danger.

In the shallow water, trapped by sand below, he had no protection at all,  But before either Shark could attack a huge roar came from the sand hill as a large hulk of a Sea Lion rose to scramble toward the Sharks.  Sea Lions seem slow and lazy, however when annoyed they can move pretty fast, but he didn’t need to because his ear shattering  roar and his outrageous size announced his presence and the Sharks retreated rather than meet his charge.

In the meantime, the little Seal took advantage of the opening to the Sea and dove for the deep, where no one could meet his speed.  As he rejoined his friends, he thought I must remember to thank the Sea Lion for that useful diversion.




Is it really worth a million dollars?  Of course not.  Why would  a Cat need a million dollar collar?  It’s probably only worth about a quarter of that”

Ginger the Cat announced to all of the friends, who had gathered to say goodbye, that the ship was near to shore and would soon dock after returning to its home port.

Soon he would be dashing off to the farm near the Ocean where he was born.  He had been gone a long time and was returning home a much bigger and wiser Cat.   Would the family even recognize him?

And he had a good collection of stories to tell his  people children as they were always interested in learning more about different things and the Sea was just packed full of different kinds of creatures.  Their unusual stories were what he had memorized to let his people children know what kinds of Sea Animals he had gotten to know while he had accidentally gone to Sea so long ago.

As he saw all of the familiar things and places Ginger was getting more anxious to be home.  Then an animal came to see him at the last minute.  This was a tiny shell covered animal called, a Giant Oyster.  He was not a Giant at all,  but he was called that because his family was the largest of the Oyster Family and had large bodies that could grow more than one Pearl at a time.  But still was as small as a saucer.

That was important because these were Pearl Oysters!

Man had discovered them so far back in history that there was no history of how it happened,  But since the Oysters are also very tasty and were dug out of the water for man to eat, they soon learned that these Oysters could often have a beautiful little jewel inside of them.

Because it was so shiny, iridescent and pretty they were kept and bartered for, so someone clever could place them in the King’s crown or his scepter.  If enough were found they could have a little hole drilled through them and be strung on silk and hung around the King’s neck.

But the Queen liked them so much that when the King wanted them, he couldn’t          find them…  unless he looked at the Queen’s neck.

So the word went out.  Find enough Pearls so the Queen can have all she wants and the King can get his back.

Soon the swimmers became divers bringing up Oysters, not to eat, but to open up and look for more Pearls.

Years went by and millions of Oyster gave up their lives in the hunt for Pearls until one day one man wondered why did the Oyster make the Pearls at all?

A good question.  Research showed that the Oyster was very tender and if a little grain of sand got into his shell he slowly built a very smooth covering around it to protect his soft body.  Using the same materials that he made his shell from, they slowly built up a jewel that had the white body shining with the colors of the shell on the inside…  a faint rainbow of colors on white.  Now and then a very deep color was discovered, even black, or almost black with blue.  They were rare, so even more valuable.

The scientist wondered what would happen if he put a grain of sand into a young Oyster and pried him open from time to time to see what was happening.

Lo and behold a Pearl happened!

This led to the invention of Oyster farms where the Pearl Oysters were raised in various under- sea water bins and inserted with a rock grain and allowed to develop for different lengths of time to produce different sizes of Pearls.

But each farmer grew more clever than the last, as they finally began to put several into  the Giant Oysters and gain even more Pearls.  Also if they made a bead from Oyster shells and drilled a hole into it, then a larger Pearl was produced in a shorter time.. and it had a hole to string the silk into.

The difference was this…  the longer the Pearl remained in the Oyster, the thicker the coating and the finer the Pearl for lasting ability and color.   So they became graded and Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls did not have the same value.  But no matter, you didn’t have to be a Queen to have a Pearl necklace anymore.  The Lady of the house could have an inexpensive Cultured Pearl necklace that looked as pretty as the expensive ones.

Very old Pearls in antique jewelry created before the invention of Cultured Pearls had to be real and Oyster created from a tiny grain of sand, not a finished bead and were even often not necessarily round, and was what they called a Baroque Pearl… different, but real.

This brings us to the Oyster who came to see the famous Ginger colored Cat just before Ginger was ready to leave for home.

“We have all enjoyed meeting you Mr. Cat.”  The little, Giant Oyster began.

“You may call me Ginger.”  The Cat told him. “All of my friends do ever since the Ship’s Cook named me for the color of my fur, being the same color as candied ginger.  He says it is very sweet and I should taste it someday, but there is none in the Ship’s stores, or none on the bottom  of the Sea either, I am sorry to say.”  The Cat laughed, “ or we would all know what the cook meant.”

“Well, Ginger, we of the Sea wanted to give you something to remember us by.  You have listened to our little stories so long and so patiently.  Everyone has a story, as you, of all who will listen, know, but few people listen to them.  So we got together and started a gift for you.  It has been with me for the whole time you were here..  But now time has run out, as you will soon be leaving and we will miss you.

So if the big white bird will help open my shell and pick up the gift to give it to you from all of us, I will try not to giggle, as it will tickle coming out.”

The bird carefully lifted the Oyster shell with his beak and gently slowly lifted the Pearls out.  The Pearls had been strung on a stretchy cord and placed in the shell as soon as they thought of the idea and now it was a Pearl collar, just the right size for the grown up  Cat.  Some might call it a bracelet, as it was tied into a circle.

The White Sea Gull  held it above the Cat’s head and Ginger put his paws up to guide his head into the stretched wide hole.  It slipped down to his neck and pulled into the fur snuggly.

Ginger smiled and posed with the Pearl collar for all to see.  Although he had no idea how it looked yet himself.  Then he smiled as he looked into the bucket of water and saw his reflection.  The tiny Pearls gleamed from the golden and white fur.   He thanked them all and said his last goodbye.

Later when the group had said goodbye for the hundredth time he slept until he heard the ship docking.

The Cat, who had been at Sea, had come home at last.

Would his family and their children know him?  They must have grown some too.  Would he know Kyren and Hayden and Skylar?

He strutted slowly up the Back Bay to the back gate and under it.   There is something about a Pearl Collar that makes one want to strut with pride  After walking through the barn for old time’s sake, he entered the kitchen door.  Nothing much had changed while he was gone.

The Mother came in and bent with a smile to pick up the now big heavy Cat.

“ Where have you been and how did you grow so much?”  she petted him and carried him to the living room, saying, “Look everyone,  at who just walked in?”   Mother stopped at the dining room light to look at what she had discovered as she petted him.

“What is this ? a Pearl collar?  I wonder who put this on you?  It  just exactly fits.  But you better not grow any bigger.”  She warned him.  Ginger knew it would stretch.

The whole Family gathered around to touch and pet his fur and his pearls to welcome him back home.

He knew them all .  No one had changed as much as he had.  He had left as a Kitten and come back a grownup Cat.

The kids were bigger, as he knew they would be, but they were still little children, who were going to be surprised when he told them the Sea Stories he had memorized.

And then the children, at least, would know what an adventure he had just had going to Sea and now coming back from the Sea.

Would he go catch a ship going to Sea again?   No.  But it was a great adventure and he was glad to have it in his memories, but home was where his heart was to stay.

It would take awhile to tell all of his stories to the children.  But one day there would be more little ones and the Ginger could begin them again.