Friday, 25 April 2014

How the Mermaid Got Her Tail

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How the Mermaid Got her Tail
by Rebecca Fyfe

Regina splashed in the tide pool beside the ocean. Her mommy was up higher along the rocks, carrying a basket full of clams which she had searched for and found. Her mommy had explained the reason for the clams to Regina before. The clams would sell in the village, and then they would have money for supplies and food. Ever since daddy had died, mommy had started working: finding clams on the shore and mending clothes for money.

Regina watched her mommy. Her mommy wobbled for a moment and then disappeared from view as she slipped and fell into the ocean. Regina heard the splash, and scrambled up the rocks to find her mommy.

There was no sign of her though. The basket of clams was still on the rocks, tipped over with the clams spilling out beside it.

"Mommy!" Regina called. "Mommy!" She looked over the side, but it looked so far down to the water that she became frightened. She got onto her hand and knees and, turning backwards, crawled down the rocks slowly, finding flat rocks she could put her feet or hands on along the way.

The water was directly beneath her, but she couldn't let go of her last hand hold and enter the water because Regina was only six and had never been taught to swim. She reminded herself that her mommy was in the water. Mommy wouldn't let her drown.

Just as she was about to let go, she noticed something sparkling in the water beneath her. A fish that was almost as large as she was herself came to the surface of the water. Its scales shimmered as though reflecting every color in the rainbow. Then the fish did something Regina knew fish weren't supposed to do; it spoke to her.

"You are a funny looking fish," the fish said.

"I'm not a fish. I'm a girl."

"If you're a girl, then why are you trying to come into the water? Don't you know humans can't breathe under water?"

"My mommy fell in, and I need to find her."

Regina hadn't realized before that fish could make expressions with their faces, but this fish looked sad.

"Won't you drown before you can find her?" the fish asked.

"No. Mommy's in the water. She won't let me drown." Regina couldn't see her mommy anywhere, but she had heard her fall into the water, so she knew she was there somewhere.

"Well, if you insist on coming into the sea with me, let me help you. Can you reach down to me without letting go of the rocks?"

Regina nodded.

"Then, reach down to me and take one of my scales," the fish told her.

"Won't that hurt you?" Regina asked.

"Only for a moment, but it will help you."

So Regina did as the fish asked and took one of his scales from him. It sparkled and shimmered prettily in her hand.

"You can let go of the rocks and let yourself fall into the ocean now, but don't let go of the scale," the fish told her.

Regina let go and splashed into the water, the cold wet sea water swallowing her up.

The scale in her hand began to glow. She tried to keep holding onto it as the fish had told her, but it pulled away from her hands. It floated swiftly to one of her legs and then it began to multiply. Within moments, her lower body was covered in the beautiful glowing scales. Her legs merged, and a fluke formed at her feet and she realized she had the lower half of a fish. She wasn't holding her breath either. She was breathing easily under the water.

The fish swam past her, missing one scale.

"Thank you," she thought to the fish.

"You're welcome," he thought back to her.

Regina smiled and swam off to search for her mother.

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