#60 – The Tale of the Boy in a Boat

Once upon a time, in an ocean no one knew existed, there was a boy in a small tin boat. He had woken up on a wet, wooden seat, immediately noticing that there was no-one else in the boat with him. He couldn’t remember his own name, nor could he remember what had happened the day before or how long he had been in the boat. Though, he could tell that his mouth was dry and his skin was red. He stood at the front of the boat and looked out over the calm, clear blue water. There was no land and no other boats for as far as his eyes would allow him to see. He sat on the wooden seat feeling the waves gently rocking the boat and started to think about getting himself out of this situation.

The boy started by searching the contents of the boat. Underneath his seat was a bright-yellow life jacket with a whistle and a small torch. Attached to the boat on either side of him were two wooden oars. These looked to be in an old but usable state. In the middle of the boat was a coil of rope. Towards the back of the boat, there were two large, black plastic tubs; one filled with water bottles, the other filled with food such as dried fruits. The boy was happy to know that he had some food should he get hungry. Now that he had an idea of the contents of his boat it was time to figure out where he was.

On his wrist, the boy wore an analogue watch. Despite having no recollection of who had bought him the watch, the boy knew that it was special and that he should look after it. He used the watch to find North by pointing the middle of the two hands directly towards the sun and felt a brief moment of pride as he overcame his first hurdle. Using the position of the sun, the boy knew that it was after midday and that he still had some hours left before it got dark. He took the two oars into his hands and dipped them into the water. He managed to direct the boat towards the east when he looked out and noticed something dark in the sky ahead of him. On the horizon, one of the largest storms the boy had seen was forming and he needed a moment to gather his thoughts.

Noticing the lightning and hearing the thunder, the boy took a chance and steered the boat towards the north, hoping to make an effort to outrun the storm brewing in the distance. The first sign of the storm reached the boat long before any rain could be felt as the waves started to grow in both size and strength. His boat was increasingly rocking back and forth and, after using most of his energy attempting to get in front of the oncoming storm, the boy eventually had to stop rowing to prepare himself for the rain. He took the life jacket out from underneath his seat and strapped it tightly on to his body. He unravelled the coil of rope from the middle of the boat and, after having a small drink and stuffing some of the dried fruits in his pockets, he tied down the boxes containing the food and water. He put the oars back on to their hooks inside the boat, sat down and gripped the seat underneath him, just in time to feel the first drop of a rain on his burnt skin.

The boy shut his eyes tightly and braced himself for what was to come. Having not felt another drop for several seconds, he slowly opened his eyes and was amazed to see that the storm was retreating at an unnatural pace. He watched as the clouds gathered themselves back together towards the eastern horizon. Relaxing a little, he let out a small chuckle, only to be silenced by a large knock underneath his boat. He gripped the side of the boat as it swayed from side to side, quietly panicking on the inside. Gradually, the waves died down and the boy was about to relax completely when another large knock caused him to retighten his grip. Once again, the water and the boat found a quieter rhythm but it took some time before the boy found the courage to switch both hands to one side of the boat and peer over the edge.

Beneath the surface of the water, an enormous, black shadow was circling the boat and the boy could feel his heart become alive in his chest. The creature was circling fast enough and close enough to cause the boat to spin slightly on the ocean’s surface. The shadow slowly spiralled his way deeper and deeper, until the boy could no longer see the creature or feel the boat rocking. Fiercely scanning the water, he glimpsed some movement in the water in the distance. The boy stood up as the creature was heading directly towards his boat at an incredible speed. Not willing to accept this outcome, the boy lent over the boat and screamed at the creature as loud as he could.  The boy watched in awe as the shadow vanished underneath his boat and out into the depths of the ocean.

Exhausted, the boy lay on the seat of his boat, appreciating the beauty of the sunset while waiting for the darkness of night to set in. He struggled to keep his eyes open, and before long, he was fast asleep. It was daytime when he woke up and, as the boy sat up on the wet seat, he immediately realised that he was alone. He couldn’t remember his own name, nor could he remember what had happened the day before or how long he had been in the boat. Though, he could tell that his mouth was dry and his skin was red.

THE END

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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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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