Monday, December 1, 2014

The Turtle Who Became a Princess: The Story of Starfish that Fell Straight from Heaven

Once there was a turtle that had a very heavy shell. She wore the shell on her back everywhere she went. It was there since the first day she was born. Everyone told her that she needed it to protect herself. More than anything, she wished she could get rid of it. Then one day the turtle met a mermaid on the beach. 

“I was once a turtle, but lost my shell on the ocean floor,” the mermaid said. “Some days, I wish I had it back. It’s easy to hide in a shell.”

“I would give anything to lose mine,” the turtle said. 

“Well, if that’s the case, swim to the bottom of the ocean,” the mermaid said. “Any turtle can change if he or she wants to change . . . Eat as many starfish as you can, and you’ll surely lose your shell.”

“Why starfish?” the turtle asked, wondering what made them special.

“Long, long ago, starfish fell straight from heaven in a meteorite shower,” the mermaid said. “Since they were once shooting stars, they hold great and mighty magic . . . but you must be warned, there are sharks in the ocean who want their magic, too, for evil reasons.”

“It can’t be that hard. How many starfish does a turtle have to eat?” the turtle asked. 

“I wanted to become a princess, but gave up,” she said, flopping her mermaid tail on the ground. “At least I tried, but I wasn’t determined enough and only ate enough starfish to become a mermaid. Being a mermaid is better than being a turtle, but if I had legs . . . then I’d be able to run and climb. Instead, I’ve been stuck in the ocean my entire life, never to walk on the sand.”

“Then I’ll eat as many starfish as I can, and I’ll never give up!” the turtle said.

So, the turtle dove into the raging ocean waves, remembering the mermaid’s fate. Despite the fierce ocean, the turtle swam to the sea floor in search of the pointy fishes. She ate one sparkling starfish after another, even when she wasn’t hungry. When the sharks came swooping past to eat the starfish first, the turtle hid in its shell.

After the turtle ate every starfish in sight, she paused, wondering why she still had her shell. Then she saw one last starfish from the corner of her eye and dove to catch it.

As she caught it in her mouth, a shark chomped on one of its many pointy legs. Scared of being eaten by the shark, the turtle wanted to swim away and forget her dream. Looking at its great white teeth, the turtle remembered its promise to the mermaid to never give up.

With all her strength, the turtle wrestled with the shark and wished to shed her shell once and for all. The last thing the turtle wanted to do was die in the mouth of an evil shark. 

Then a sudden gush of water sent the turtle spinning across the ocean floor with the starfish in its mouth. The wave sent the shark spinning in the other direction, giving the turtle enough time to eat the starfish. She swallowed the starfish, and then stared in the direction of the shark. As she looked the shark straight in the face, a light rose from her back, blinding the shark.

The light was so strong that it broke off her shell, and she grew a human body with long arms and legs. She used those arms and legs to swim as fast as she could to the top of the sea. When she got to the shore, she stood up straight and tall, running to the mermaid.

“I’m free of my shell! I never gave up. I ate every starfish on the ocean floor!” she said. Her long blond hair blew in the wind, and she breathed deeply. 

“I’m sure I’m a princess. Now I must find my prince,” she said, sighing.

“Or maybe he’ll find you,” the mermaid said, nodding to an admiring sailor docking his boat. “Tell him your name is Princess Yeruti and that it means turtledove. Your shell became almost like wings—to free you to soar for your dreams.”

“Beautiful lady, would you like to ride the waves with me?” the gentleman called. 

“Yes, I would like that very much,” the princess said to the suitor.

“I will never forget you,” the princess whispered to the mermaid. “Thank you so much.” 

Princess Yeruti and the handsome sailor set off into the sunset, hand in hand. She tried to tell him that she was once a turtle, but he never believed her for a second. 


Copyright 2017 Jennifer Waters

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