We tried to be welcoming to Sparkles when she first arrived, but, apparently, she wasn’t in the mood to be welcomed. Before her, there were only two other mermaids I’d had the pleasure of introducing to the colony. It meant that I knew the process to follow when Sparkles arrived, however. First, I stared at her for a good few seconds and then swam over to ask her the three questions. Afterwards, I would have swum over to the Queen’s chambers and let her know that we’d spotted a new one, but I never got to make it that far with Sparkles. It was easy to spot the new ones because they were always staring at their own tails as if they were looking at the world’s most beautiful dress for the first time. And I guess there were similarities, like, how the dress would lose its beauty if you wore it all of the time, but, that’s how we spotted them, anyway.
There were three questions to ask a new mermaid before we could invite them in. They weren’t serious questions, but, because the mermaids were new, they would answer them seriously, thinking that their entry into the colony depended on it. In reality, though, we would have accepted anyone, and this was just a little bit of fun. How long do you plan on being on mermaid? This, of course, was a trick question because once you become a mermaid, there’s no going back. Once a mermaid, always a mermaid. How many times have you eaten tuna this week? This was a great question because the new mermaid never knew what to say. We were obviously hinting that we ate tuna, but how much? A lot? Some? Watching them squirm trying to wrestle with an answer always made our day. Who do you wish to pledge your allegiance to? Queen Fafatoddle or King Namashashasha? Neither of these mermaids existed, but, I bet you Queen Fafatoddle wished she existed because a lot more people chose her over the king that’s for sure.
We gathered around Sparkles when she arrived, asking her the three questions in the most serious of tones, but she just swam on the spot, staring at us with her large, round eyes as if she hadn’t a clue what we were on about. Once we’d finished having our fun, and without saying a word, she dove down towards the coral below us, swam right underneath our tales, and out into the depths of the ocean, her scales glistening before succumbing to the darkest of blues, which is why we called her Sparkles. Plus, we just thought it was a funny name to give a mermaid who obviously thought she was quite tough. She was the first and last mermaid we’d ever lost, and, although we’d hear rumours every now and again, we never really knew what happened to her. We just hoped Sparkles enjoyed being a mermaid as much as we did. Which, aside from all the tuna, was quite a lot.
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.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.