Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Snail: The Tale of a Dilly-Dally Dawdler

“I love to sleep in the garden!” Happy Snail said, the slowest of all the snails in his large family. He loved to smell the springtime flowers and warmed himself in the sunshine, waddling with his big shell. 

Even when it rained, Happy Snail enjoyed the tender rain drops on his tongue and washed his tiny body. In the winter freeze, he hid in the crevices of the garden, hibernating underneath a layer of slime. Now that it was spring, he was happier than ever, ready for summer and all the joy with it. 

More than anything, Happy Snail liked to watch the clouds, watching for a cloud that looked just like him.

“Why do you have to be so slow?” Meany, his brother, said to him, teasing and taunting him like a bully. 

“Do you know how much I got done today?” his sister Mingy said, nudging him with her shell. 

“I’m not that slow,” Happy Snail said. “If things are too fast, you can’t enjoy them. Sometimes you have to stand still to see the clouds move. Haven’t you ever watched the clouds?”

“Watch the clouds move?” Meany said. “Are you crazy? Nothing moves slower in the whole world!”

“My friend Mr. Sloth is slower than I am,” Happy said, watching a sloth lug himself through the garden. 

“You might be faster than I am,” the cute snail said, “but you are mean. Just mean! I am Happy!”

“Oh, please!” Meany said. “Just to let you know, the Gardener is uprooting this garden. So there!”

“He’s moving across town and taking his flower garden with him,” Mingy said, giggling. 

“You’ll never move fast enough to get yourself to the new garden,” Meany said, snapping at Happy. 

“You won’t be happy for long!” Meany said, like a brat that needed a time-out chair. 

“I’ll enjoy every minute of making my way to the new garden,” Happy Snail said. “I’ll make new friends.”

As the days went by, the Gardener plucked Happy Snail’s favorite flowers, and he moved across town. 

“I’ll just enjoy the journey,” Happy Snail said, watching his entire family creep past him in the grass.

“Look at us!” the Snail family said. “We’re so much quicker than you! Summer will be over by the time you get to the new garden. It’ll be winter before you get there, and we’ll already be sleeping. Hope you make it!”

“I’ve never been happier,” Happy Snail said, dilly-dallying across town at his own speed. 

“I’m a dawdler, and I’m so happy,” he said, watching the clouds, as he bumped into his friend Mr. Sloth. 

“Want to come with me to the new garden across town?” Happy Snail said to Mr. Sloth. 

“Of course, I do, Happy!” Mr. Sloth said. “I’d be so sad if you weren’t with me every day.”

As Happy Snail and Mr. Sloth made their way across town, Giant the Tortoise caught up to them. 

“Can I come to the new garden with you?” Giant the Tortoise said. “I hope I can keep up and not get lost.”

“Definitely come with us,” Happy Snail said. “We’ll make sure we walk slow enough for you!”

“Where’s your family?” the Tortoise said. “They’re not that much quicker than we are. Seriously.”

The Tortoise pointed toward Happy Snail’s family, creeping only a few inches in front of them.

“Let them think what they want if they are happy,” Happy Snail said. “They never notice the clouds or make new friends. They’re trying to be so much faster than I am, but they’re missing out on what makes them special.”

“If you’re slow, you might as well love being slow!” Koala the Bear said. “I’m coming with you, too, Happy!”

“Don’t leave without me!” Slug the Slowest said. “Speed doesn’t do me any good. Even if I’m on time, I’m still late.”

“I might be the world’s slowest bird,” American Woodcock said, “but I love being myself, and no one is like me.”

By the time Happy Snail, Mr. Sloth, Giant the Tortoise, Koala the Bear, Slug the Slowest, and American Woodcock made it across town to the new garden, they had become the best of friends, finding each other’s faces in the clouds. 

The Snail family, of course, only arrived at the garden a few moments before Happy Snail and his sidekicks. However, they had no new friends and had missed out on the spectacular cloud show in the mid-day sky. 

“I’m so happy!” Happy Snail said. “If the Gardener hadn’t moved the garden, I would have never grown to love all of you so much! Please don’t ever walk faster than I do because I need you all with me forever.”

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

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