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Tatiana Schatten

What Could He Miss?

Not based on true events

What could he have failed to do in that occupation? What could he forget, what could he miss? What could he not taste? What could he not see? Well, when it came to the outer-world, the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp, Ambo, had beheld very little. But when it came to the inside world, he had beheld much more than most. Take, for instance, today. He had began the sunlit hours seated on a glowing, yellow coral, awaiting his first customer. The multitude of cleaner shrimps gathered about him bore the same intention as he, therefore there was quite a jostling when the first fish of the day arrived. But Ambo was the swiftest of all and therefore slipped into that fish’s open gorge before any other of his companions had moved a leg. At first, he prepared to do his task as marine dentist, but then halted when his beady black eyes caught sight of the inner gill slits. Was he really seeing what he believed he saw? For there, within, were three gills, and there was nothing unusual about that if he had not before taken note of the number of gills that were outside that fish. There had been four each! But inside, only three! How unusual! One must have been closed off upon the inside. Meanwhile, the patient grew impatient and actually began to threaten to chomp down upon that distracted dentist, and so, after a last glance of the anatomical phenomenon, Ambo returned to his labours. The waiting shrimps beyond watched jealously as their companion cleaned and shined and brushed and flossed those teeth with much expertise. Then they looked on as he made his way nearer to the throat and disappeared into shadow. There was a pause, and all awaited tensely for some upcoming event of which they knew not. Suddenly, the fish felt a most unpleasant tickle in his throat  and out popped Ambo at full speed with a second pair of pincers close at his tail. With a desperate leap from the gullet of the fish, he landed safe upon the sands, and turned about to face his pursuer. And there it was upon the fish’s lower lip, waving its claws threateningly in the water about: another cleaner shrimp. Ambo watched in astonishment as afterwards it turned and swaggered back into the fish. “A portable dentist,” thought Ambo, “Indeed, in a life like mine, what could I miss? Nothing stranger than that, I guess.”

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A Blessing

Not based on true events

In peaceful dreams, Ziphius, the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, lay at dawn of this morning. His   sleeping mind beheld dreams of soaring in tranquil waves, felt the silvery sunlight dancing upon his back, and saw the shadow he often cast in the deeps. With all quietude, now in slumber he lay, barely beneath the ocean’s glassy roof, hovering effortlessly as an eagle on the wing. Then, from the shade that he cast below him, a point of white, like snow, appeared far below and placidly arose. Another followed it, and another, until a host of these mysterious, lightsome beings were gathered as if they were the fireflies of the sea. They, together, neared the whale with all ceremony and lentitude, and surrounded him like a glorious crown of stars. Serene was the wise eyes of the whale when they were unveiled to look upon the graceful scene about him. Alike to lithe, spirit-dancers were the diminutive fish which now were about him, like brides with shawls, as silky and sheer as moon rays, trailing behind them. These creatures were the feast of Ziphius, and had been, by some unknown power, brought forth from the dark waters to the shallows as the new sun arose to greet the world. It was a blessing upon the weary, aged whale who could no longer pursue these beings in deeper waters. A blessing indeed, one of beauty and of enchantment.

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The Diary of a Plant: Common Evening Primrose

Not based on true events

It has been a while since I came as a humble seed to rest in this warm, fertile plot. Surrounded by my older cousins, at first I little hoped for a chance of survival. Their shade was deep, their stalks long, yet, somehow, with my minute yet persevering strength, I struggled through the soil as a fresh green sprout. And as such I grew-and grew-and grew. It was an agonizing journey for a tender shoot, choked for sunlight by tangled grasses, and fighting for the soil’s nutrients. How desperate were the Bearberries which surrounded me! How miserly the White Birch! And how trivial was I despite my wearying labours. Finally, though, I raised my head above the lower vegetation, and there felt, o glory! The unhindered rays of the sun! From head to root I was warmed and I felt my icy blood melt like a pond in spring. It was then that my travels were at my leisure. With no effort at all, I shot up proud,  high, majestic, ruling all plants but the trees. Now I, who had felt their shadow, cast my own upon them and they gazed skyward to behold my triumphant form, no longer beneath their wiry bowers. And then my blooms, more golden than any sunflower, unfolded, and I, the queen of my land, was crowned.

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The Last Will and Testament of an American Black Bear

Not based on true events

My dear woodland friends and companions,

I am afraid that summer is no more, and the autumn is waning fast. I have had many a joyous  romp with you in bright summer, but now I must go to my den, and leave much of my property unguarded. Therefore, I will bequeath it to you. Thus it follows: 

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The Wolf That Never Was

Not based on true events

Once upon a time, as all stories truly begin, in the most northerly part of our beloved Saskatchewan, there was a reunion of grandfather and grandchild. There, in a stately cabin of humble logs, the building small in size yet large in heart, the grandfather, Mike Turret, spoke of wondrous tales to his daughter’s child who’s name was Emelia Ester. But now, in the dimness of dusk and in the ruddy light of the nearby fire, Mr. Turret seemingly put a halt to his tellings and spoke no more. He turned his eyes to a window which was a little ways from his one side. There was a full moon beyond, sprinkling the darksome trees with its sparkle. Generously it did so, and even permitted a pinch to fall upon Emelia. There she knelt at his feet, and her hands were upon his knee and her splendid , innocent eyes begging for more. Eventually, Mr. Turret condescended to bestowed more. In accents as slow as the untouched lands beyond, his eyes yet drawn irresistibly to those lands, he began: “ There was once a wolf in the world, a great grey wolf with evil thoughts and sinful inclinations. A cougar took the life of its cub, and the wolf pursued it restlessly and took its life in vengeance. This wolf had once been caught in a trap, and escaped. But the next day, the trapper’s finest horse was found dead upon a sward. That was the doing of the wolf. It devoured birds in jealousy of their wings. It took calves and fawns just to give woe to the mothers; it howled at the moon to terrify travellers. All was done purposefully. Now, Emelia, my girl,” Here he turned to the child who’s eyes were like moons in her interest, “Do you know what kind of wolf it was?” “ No, Grandfather,” replied the child simply, “What type of wolf was it?” And Mr. Turret turned again to the view outside and said “ Child, that was the wolf that never was.” Then he murmured musefully in low tones “ No malice... No malice...” A glow and flash of eyes appeared in the distance, and a wail arose, as beautiful as it was wild it moaned in the air, and the night overshadowed the lonely house, to rise again only at dawn.

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Wednesday November 17, 2021