Once upon a time, in a fish tank not too far away, there was a Goldfish named Shafita. His owners didn’t know that he was called Shafita, so, when they brought him home, they called him Comet. But, Comet didn’t know that his name was now “Comet”. For some time, Comet had thought that the word “Comet” meant “food” because whenever his new owners would say the name “Comet” delicious edible flakes would instantly appear in his tank. The day Comet figured out that his name was, in fact, Comet, was the day that the humans tried to teach him how to do tricks.
Comet’s tank was larger than your average sized tank which was pretty much the only interesting thing about the tank. It had clear water and the cheapest stones money could buy. It had a filter but, from the outside looking in, the filter was unremarkable. From the inside looking out, however, Comet used his filter as a kind of underwater water slide, swimming up against all of the bubbles coming out of its nozzle and then, wooosh, letting the current take him around the tank until he came to a standstill. Or a swimstill? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that this process was repeated over and over and over again as it bought Comet an immense amount of joy.
One day, he was happily swimming in his underwater jet-stream when the humans came over to his bowl. They said the word “Comet” a few times and, right on cue, those delicious flakes appeared, but then, so did something else. The humans lowered three tiny little goldfish-size hula hoops into Comet’s tank. The three hoops and Comet stared at each other for a rather long time. The hoops couldn’t see, of course, because they were hoops and “seeing hoops” hadn’t been invented yet. That’s a different story. What had been invented, however, was Comet’s hatred of these three objects invading his tank space. For the next few minutes, Comet flitted about in his tank, trying to see if the hoops were his friends or his enemies. It appeared they were neither, as they didn’t really have a reaction to Comet’s agility. They just continued bobbing up and down in the water.
Then, a series of very unexpected and very dramatic events were triggered by one of the humans putting their hands into Comet’s tank, trying to guide him through the hoops. Comet tried to swim away from the hand too quickly and ended up getting his head accidentally stuck in the filter. The humans started to scream at each other and began to panic. Things quickly went from bad to worse for our poor goldfish. Since his head was now stuck in a filter, his sense of directions wasn’t what it used to be. What he did sense, was the loud crash his tank made as it landed on the tiled floor below the shelf where they kept his home. Water and stones and hoops slid across the floor while the humans were still arguing and nearly tripping over one another. The force of the crash had freed his head from the filter, but he now had a much bigger problem: He couldn’t breathe. Comet’s instincts started to kick in and he started to flip and flop his way across the house. The humans tried to catch him but their hands couldn’t grip his slippery little scales. Further and further away from the tank he flopped, until he had flipped himself right through the front door and out into the garden. Having flopped this far, Comet could sense that there was water nearby, so he arched his back and gave three giant flips in the direction of the water. Comet felt his body hit something hard, and then, suddenly, it was dark. Dark and wet to be precise. He could still see a slither of light but he was wet and he was breathing.
One by one, through the slither of light, three human heads appeared. Comet knew he was out of their reach, so he had time to gather his thoughts and make a choice about what to do next. He decided that life in the tank maybe wasn’t for him, and, as he turned to swim away, he heard each of the humans calling out… “Coooooooommmeeeeet!”
But, Comet knew he had made the right choice and wriggled his little goldfish body deeper into the water.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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