( Maybe it’s because I cycled the yellow bicycle alone across France, and continue to cycle her mostly alone (she has been my companion exploring along canals, through country side, through cities, to the shops, to work and even though I also have a purple bike the yellow remains my favourite) that I sometimes talk to her and tell her my thought’s. In fact my best idea’s for stories come to me when I’m in her company. The other day we were sitting together looking out my window when I saw this sky and as we watched it we saw, A hare, a conger eel, a polar bear, a large shark and a small mouse (sitting on a cloud) which gave me an idea for this story, PS I would like to thank those who through their imaginative eyes took part in the initial identification and in doing so helped plant the seed for this story.
Tell me a story the yellow bicycle cries. I’m tired but I can’t sleep. Not a scary one’ she adds.
‘What a wimp you are’ says the purple bicycle ‘I’m not sleepy but I would like to hear a story too but make it scary!
‘Well I won’t make it too scary’ I say putting down my book and looking over at the yellow and purple bike who are standing side by side on the pink rug in front of the fire place.
Like horses they can sleep standing upright.
Once upon a Long long time ago, before Jupiter and Pluto and Mars ruled the heavens.
There was just the silver sky.
And in this sky lived all the animals and birds and fish which made it very crowded and they were getting pretty sick of bumping into each other.
Now word had it that a sea was being formed.
Not just any old sea but a golden one.
And many of these creatures were anxious to find it.
Some, because they were tired of the crush in the sky, Some because they lived in perpetual fear of being eaten and some because well, they were just plain curious.
One of these creatures was a very large and fierce shark who felt stifled and wanted a bit of space for himself as he like to swim fast.
All this bumping into others made him very bad tempered.
He roamed the skies terrorizing and eating all he met and because of this, though well fed, was very lonely.
‘Poor shark’ say’s the yellow bicycle ‘its not much fun being lonely I’m glad I have you and the Purple bicycle’
‘Shhhh’ Said the Purple bike.
One day the shark spied something large and white in the distance.
At first He thought it was just another cloud but as He got nearer, he realized it was a large Polar bear.
For once it was the turn of the shark to be afraid and he began to swim away.
‘Wait’ cried the the polar bear ‘Could you help me out here for a moment please’?
‘Don’t do it ‘ the Yellow bike hisses in fright ‘Its a trick’!
‘Would you be quiet and let her tell the story’ the purple bike says crossly.
I pause and gather my thought’s. I’m not sure where the story is going .
Now the shark may be a greedy soul but he was also a lonely one as no one ever talked to him and in fairness it was mother nature who made him who he was and mother nature who gave him such a huge appetite
If he had had his way he would have been smaller and friendlier but that’s the way of nature. You don’t have a choice in who you are only how you behave.
So he approached the bear cautiously.
‘I was on my way in search of the golden sea which I heard is almost finished and ready for occupation but my paw seems to be caught in this cloud’ Explained the Polar Bear ‘please help me free it! I’ve been stuck here for days and haven’t eaten and I’m really hungry and feeling quite faint’.
The shark saw that the polar bears paw indeed seemed to be stuck in a cloud and that the polar bear was quite skinny and he felt compassion for it for he knew what it was like to be hungry.
But he also wasn’t sure if freeing the polar bear was a good idea as he was not only greedy but selfish too and he hadn’t planned on sharing the golden sea with anyone else.
Still as no one had ever talked to him before he found he was enjoying the chat with the polar bear and he noticed he was beginning to feel less lonely.
In fact he could feel a sort of warmness near his heart.
‘Well Mr polar bear’ He said ‘I sympathise with your position and I can see your paw indeed seems to be stuck in a cloud, but unfortunately, being a shark, I have no hands to set you free.’
He thought for a moment.
‘But what I do have is a fine set of sharp teeth. Maybe if I bit off your paw then, even though you would only have three paws left, you would be free and I promise it wouldn’t hurt too much.
‘That greedy shark’ the yellow bike is incensed ‘ he just wants to have a meal of bear paw!’
‘Would you ever hush up’ says the purple bike.
‘Oh no’ cried the polar bear ‘I couldn’t bear to lose a paw! How would I hunt and kill? Plus I’m afraid of pain’.
‘Oh dear what a dilemma, Don’t worry we’ll think of something’ said the shark
‘Look! here comes a conger eel, he might be able to help’.
‘I don’t think so’ The polar bear looked uneasy ‘My last good feed before my paw got stuck was a fine feast of young conger eel’,
‘How awful ‘ sobs the yellow bike ‘those poor little conger eels! I hope the shark does bite off his paw, it would serve him right’
‘Oh for god’s sake’ snorts the purple bike ‘then the polar bear will die of hunger and who will feed the baby bears then?.
‘How sorry I am now’ The Polar bear does indeed look sorry ‘I should have left one or two! for I see how lonely that conger eel looks. But I can’t help myself when it comes to hunting. Its the way that nature made me. You don’t have a choice of what you are in this world, only how you choose to behave’ Left to my own devices I wouldn’t have eaten them all you know. I would have left him a few’.
‘What a Liar’ Hisses the yellow bicycle but less convincingly this time.
The purple bike just throws her eyes up to heaven.
‘I agree’ said the shark, ‘It might have been kinder to leave him a few of his family (yes there was definitely a warm feeling spreading through him) but I understand. I wish I wasn’t so ferociously hungry all the time. The sight of that conger eel is making me drool’.
‘For gods sake don’t eat him’ cried the polar bear ‘HE might be able to free me’
‘Ahoy conger eel’ shouted the polar bear.
‘Oh go away’ the conger eel grunted miserably. ‘I’m busy looking for my family, they seem to have disappeared’
The polar bear and the shark looked at each other and the polar bear hung his head in shame.
But the conger eel was a curious fellow so despite his sadness he swam over to see what ailed the bear and a shark
‘Hey’ he frowned ‘seems your paw is stuck in that cloud’.
‘I’m well aware of that fact ‘ the polar bear replied sarcastically ‘I’ve been stuck here for days’.
He didn’t mention his hunger for he was afraid that the conger eel might put two and two together.
‘Well if your going to take that tone with me’ grumbled the conger eel, swimming away.
‘ Wait! called the bear ‘I’m just upset and worried that I’ll die here of hunger and will never have a chance to swim in the golden sea.
‘The golden sea? the conger eel turned with interest ‘So its true then? there is a golden sea?
‘Indeed there is’ said the bear ‘look I’m sorry I was snappy with you, please forgive me’ (the warm feeling is now descending into the sharks belly )
The conger eel He knows all about sorrow and feels compassion for the poor polar bear plus he also wants to find the golden sea.
It would be handy if he could tag along with this pair . It might distract him from the loss of his family.
‘Unfortunately like Mr shark here I have no hands, but I do have a fine set of teeth and I could chew off your paw. but I’m afraid it would hurt a lot’
‘Goodness’ the purple bike says ‘but at least he is more honest than the shark’.
The yellow bike says nothing, she is lost in the story.
‘No no no’ cried the polar bear, a tear dripping down his cheek ‘If you two, the strongest of the skies cannot free my paw, then who can?.
‘Maybe I can be of assistance?’ said a squeaky tiny voice. ‘
‘Who said that’ asked the shark looking around.
‘I dunno’ said the polar bear ‘It seemed to come from under the cloud’
Puzzled he leaned over to have a look
There sat a tiny mouse hiding shivering in fear
‘Where did you spring from?’ asked the polar bear
‘Oh Mr bear’ squeaked the tiny mouse. I have been hiding here for days. Ever since you caught you paw in the cloud in fact. But I have been too scared to escape for fear you might chase me and catch and eat me’.
‘But’ said the polar bear ‘how could I have chased you little scaredy mouse. For my paw is caught in this cloud’.
‘I can’t help being timid’ said the mouse ‘that’s how nature made me and I can’t change what I am’
‘ONLY HOW YOU BEHAVE’ shouted the yellow bicycle looking at me in delight and causing the purple bike to nearly topple over in fright.
‘Amn’t I right’ she asks excitedly,
‘You are very right’ I reply.
Yes the little mouse could not change from what nature had made her, but she could change how she behaves so taking her courage in both hands she said ‘Mr Bear, your paw isn’t really caught in that cloud you only think it is look I’ll show you’,
With a thumping heart the mouse scampered bravely over to the bear.
‘Ooooh be careful little mouse ‘ breaths the yellow bicycle
That little mouse thrust her paw into the cloud. ‘
‘Oh no, now you’ll be stuck too’ said the polar bear in dismay.
The shark was beginning to feel hungry.
The mouse stuck her paw right down into that cloud, then she bravely stuck her other paw in, then her head , then her body, until at last only her tail was visible. ‘
‘Well that’s the end of her poor sod’ said the conger eel .
The shark is disgusted! a mouses tail is not much of a meal for any hungry animal.
‘I know what’s going to happen next’ says the yellow bike, beside herself in glee.
The purple bike just snorts but I can see she’s interested now.
Just as the animals were about to discuss another means of freeing the bear the mouse reappeared and sat on the cloud..
‘How did you do that?’ asked the polar bear in amazement ‘How did you free yourself ?’
The mouse didnt reply , instead she picked up a piece of the cloud and threw it in the air like candy-floss.
Then she pulled another piece from around the bears foot and the bear was free.
‘You weren’t trapped at all ‘said the mouse ‘It was only the thought that you were trapped that kept you trapped. No one can be trapped in a cloud.’ she explained ‘a cloud is only made of moisture just as the golden sea will be too’.
The shark and the eel and the bear all stared at the mouse in amazement their mouths hanging open.
With that a hare appeared over the horizon.
Now he was not afraid of the bear, the eel or the shark, for he knew he could easily out run them. But he was sick of their great lumbering shapes in the sky and wanted to get rid of them.
‘Quick’ he shouted breathlessly ‘I have found the golden sea’.
‘Where oh tell us where?’ Shouted the shark, the conger eel and the polar bear.
‘Follow me’ called the hare.
Forgetting the brave and wise mouse and her kindness, The three lumbered off after the hare to the golden sea.
And when they got there they gazed at it in wonder.
For the vast sea was covered in a golden bed spread.
And despite living in a sky filled with clouds with silver linings they all agreed that they had never seen such beauty before.
‘But how do we get into it’? They asked.
‘Just jump in and swim’ laughed the hare.
‘Easy, peasy one, two, threesy’.
The three looked at each other and hung their heads in shame.
‘We have never known anything else but the sky and we are scared’ They whispered.
The hare scratched his ear with his paw.
‘Can’t help you there’ he said ‘maybe just like that little mouse, you have to take your courage in both hands?’
But they just continued to stand there staring at the golden sea too terrified to move.
With that the sun yawned sleepily and began to slip down behind the horizon to bed and as she did she pulled her golden blanket with her.
The three watched in dismay as the golden bedspread slipped farther and farther beneath the horizon.
And as the gold retreated it left only grey water behind.
‘Quick’ Said the clever hare ‘You better catch that golden sea before it disappears completely’
So the three large creatures forgetting their fear, jumped into the sea and swam after the golden sea.
‘But the gold will return when the sun rises won’t it’ the yellow bike asked anxiously.
‘Its not real gold silly’ laughs the purple bike,’ Its just the sun shining on the sea, it will be back when the sun rises the next day’
‘Oh I knew that’ says the yellow bike
But what about the mouse and the hare? What happened to them? asks the Purple bicycle.
‘I’m getting to that’ I reply sleepily.
The Wise mouse and the quick witted hare became best friends and joining paws they kicked up their heels and danced in the light of the silvery moon by the edge of the golden sea..
‘But there is a moral to this story isn’t there? asked the purple bike.
‘There are a few morals in this story’ I replied ‘But maybe the best is ..
JUST NOW AND THEN LOOK UP AT THE SKY, IT MIGHT BE ALL YOU NEED TO DO TO FILL YOUR DAY WITH WONDER……….