The octopus, dolphin, jellyfish, lobster and The Boy

No animal of any sort can live without water. Perhaps that’s why life started in the water. And perhaps that’s why a lot of people love the water and like to live near a sea, a lake, or a river. This is a story about an octopus, a dolphin, a jellyfish, a lobster and a child.

One day it was very hot, and a little child thought it would be nice to have a swim. He lived near the sea with his parents, and they had made sure he learnt to swim as soon as he could walk.  They did tell him never to go in the sea unless they were there, which the little boy did remember, but he thought it would be alright to paddle. The sea was so blue and so inviting and he was so hot!

The little boy put one foot in the water, and then the other. Then he went in up to his calves, and then up to his tummy. He thought he heard his Mum calling him in for lunch, but he turned round and couldn’t see her or his Dad. He stepped right in and swam just a little way out. Oh it was lovely!

The little boy didn’t know this, but there were some animals in the sea and they began to talk.

“Shall I pinch his toe?” said the lobster. “I don’t like people, they eat me!”

“No don’t do that,” said the jellyfish. “He’ll scream his head off, and someone will come, and then they will definitely put you in a cooking pot”.

“That’s very good advice,” said the octopus. “I was going to wrap my tentacle round his leg and give him a nasty shock, but I will swim off. I don’t want to go into any cooking pot.”

The jellyfish floated about, as jellyfish do. He was quite happy on his own. If the boy got in his way, then of course he would sting him, but he wasn’t going to swim out of his way to hurt him. Indeed he couldn’t, as he couldn’t really swim at all.

The little boy swam on, enjoying himself. But the dolphin was worried. He liked people and he didn’t want any of the other animals to hurt the boy.  Sometimes people came to swim with the dolphin, and they had a lot of fun together. Unlike the jellyfish, the dolphin didn’t like being on his own. So he swam up to the boy. “Would you like to have a ride on my back?” he whistled, as dolphins do.  “Oh yes,” said the boy. “Yes please.”  The dolphin swam under the boy and came up, so the boy could sit on his back and grip with his legs. And off they went to ride the waves together!

In the meantime, the boys’ parents were getting worried. They should not have left their son on the beach on his own, while they went to have a coffee, and now their son had gone! They screamed and waved, but their son was nowhere to be seen. But the dolphin, who had very good hearing, did hear them. “Look,” he said, “your parents have come for you. Shall we go back?”

This question was hard to answer, for the boy loved riding on the dolphin, and wanted to carry on, but at the same time, he knew he was a long way from the beach. The dolphin took him back anyway.

“Mum, Dad,” he cried as they got to the beach, and his parents came running towards him. His parents lifted him off the dolphin’s back and gave him a big hug. “I must say thank you,” said the boy. “Thank you very much, Dolphin. I had a wonderful time with you.” The dolphin whistled, and stayed swimming about.

The boy didn’t know how lucky he was, but the parents did, and they never left their son alone again. Who knows what is under the water?

If you want to listen to this story in audio, the link is

Published by Charlotte Sebag-Montefiore

After many years working as a clinical psychologist in the NHS, I became an author. My years as a mother and grandmother gave me plenty of practice telling children stories. I have become very interested in dinosaurs and animals, and I really enjoy rhymes and riddles!

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