By Susan Bruck
Did you know that “Once Upon a Time” are magical words. They are words that can transport you to another place, another time, even another world. Today, “Once Upon A Time” will take us under the Ocean to the coral reef where Octavian the Octopus lives.
Off we go!
Once upon a time, deep in the ocean, there lived an octopus named Octavian. This was rather a fancy name for an octopus, but it was the name his parents gave him and he liked it.
One day, Octavian was playing hide and seek with his friends. He was so good at hiding that the other sea creatures forgot about him and went home. Octavian felt sad in all three of his hearts. All eight of his arms drooped. Maybe he shouldn’t have hidden quite so well, but he couldn’t help it. That’s what octopuses do.
As he sat feeling sorry for himself and annoyed with his friends, some people came down into the coral reef. People were interesting to Octavian, but also kind of scary. Sometimes they came to hunt and other times just to look. Octavian couldn’t tell the difference.
But he knew what kind of people these were, because they came with a big cage. He’d seen people like them before, maybe even the same ones, but they all looked the same to Octavian, so he wasn’t sure. They had taken away some of his friends in cages like those. He didn’t like these people. He was pretty sure that if he stayed really still, they wouldn’t notice him.
His friend Claude the Clownfish swam past him and right into the big box. Claude didn’t even notice. He kept swimming and humming. When he bumped into the wall, he turned around and swam the other way. Claude wasn’t the smartest fish in the sea, but he was a good guy, even if had forgotten Octavian that afternoon.
Octavian swam right into that cage, intending to get his friend out before it was too late.
“Hi, Octie,” said Claude. “I guess I found you.”
“I guess so,” said Octavian. “Why don’t you chase me back to base.”
But before he could get out the door, someone closed it.
“I don’t know how,” said Octavian, “but I’ll get us both out of here.”
“What?” asked the clownfish. He didn’t even notice they were locked in.
Claude did notice, though, when the box was raised out of the water. All the water drained out and he and Octavian gasped for breath until they were dumped into a tank filled with water. A man put some mesh over the top. The tank was in a boat that moved until it reached the shore.
“I bet they’ll like these ones for the aquarium,” one man said.
“Yeah,” said the other. “Let’s go home and we’ll take them over in the morning.”
The men turned out the lights, went out the door and closed it behind them. It was very dark.
Claude started to cry. But Octavian was thinking. He was thinking about how he could get back home.
He thought all night and he thought until the sun started peeking in the window in the cabin in the boat where Claude and Octavian were trapped. Octavian knew he’d better do something fast, before those men came back. He poked one of his arms up until he reached the cover on the tank. It moved. He pushed it with two arms and it opened a little. He was pretty sure they could make it, but neither he nor Claude could last too long out of the water.
“Take a deep breath, little buddy,” he said to Claude. “We’re going home.”
“OK,” said Claude. “But how?”
“I’ve got you,” said Octavian. He wrapped two of his arms around Claude and held him close. With his other arms, he climbed to the top of the tank.
And then they were on the floor. He could hear the men’s voices in the distance. He slid across the floor to the doorway. He had seen how the man used the knob. He wrapped one of his tentacles around the handle. It was slippery. He could hear the footsteps of the men on the boat.
Yes! The doorknob turned and the door swung open. He could see the water. He could also see the men. He slid right across the deck of the boat and he and Claude landed in the water with a splash.
The sound of the men yelling faded quickly as Claude and Octavian headed for home.
“Gee, thanks,” said Claude the clownfish.
“You’re welcome,” said Octavian.
They were both very polite.
Soon they were home, safe and sound.
And here come some more magic words. These are words that keep this story going forever…..
And they both lived happily ever after.
This story was inspired by a story I heard on NPR this weekend about Inky the Octopus and his escape from an aquarium in New Zealand. Here’s a link to the NY Times article about Inky. And here’s a link to a lovely blog post about octupuses , which includes a lovely poem/line drawing by Liz Brownlee.
I’m working on a painting (maybe that will come under P??) but it’s not done yet–I’ll add it in tomorrow probably. In the meantime, a photo will have to do (not one of mine–I don’t have any.
So that’s it for today and for the letter
To see what other bloggers are writing about the letter O for the A to Z blogging challenge, look here.
Thanks for stopping by.