The fish who could read: a bedtime story for kids

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

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(Another robot bedtime story for kids with idea from Leah)

Sheila was the wildest fish in the ocean and because of that, many other fish and seas creatures had a dislike for her.

“She’s so busy,” the octopus would say as they floated about drinking tea.” Why can’t she be still and eat seaweed?”

You see, for the most part sea creatures liked to roll with the waves, and because Sheila had a robot tail and fins, she wasn’t interested in rolling. She preferred to swim as fast as she could. She knew she was a bit of an outcast to the older fishes and such but she couldn’t help herself.

Plus, she did have one friend who loved to spend time with her no matter how fast or far or reckless she swam.

Starry the starfish was the opposite of Sheila the robot fish. When Sheila raced, Starry lay still. When Sheila dove, Starry lay still. When Sheila spiraled through logs at the bottom of the ocean, Starry lay still. Yet every day, Sheila made her way to Starry’s sandy floor and every day, Starry looked forward to it.

“The octopus gang was particularly mad at me today Starry,” the robot fish told her friend and she circled her star shaped friend. “I do feel a little bit bad about spilling some of their tea, but it’s a ig ocean and there’s always lots to drink.”

“I wouldn’t worry about them Sheila, they’re always so grumpy.”

Sheila could always count on Starry to encourage her to do what she loved best, which of course was to do whatever she wanted. And as a way to say thank you for that, she wanted to do something nice for Starry.

“Starry, if you could have one surprise, what would you want it to be?”

“I’d want someone to read me the Harry Potter books. I’ve heard so much about the Harry Potter books but I don’t know anyone who can read. Or anyone who has them and who if they had them, would be able to read to me.”

“All robots can read Starry, I could do that for you.”

“Really Sheila. You would read for me?”

“Certainly, and I know a sunken ship that has the Harry Potter books on them.”

Sheila swam wildly in and out of the many different schools of fish that tended to gather for water cooler talk every afternoon.

“Watch it!” yelled some tuna. “You’re crazy!” screamed a bloat fish. “You’re going to snag your tail in a net!” a dolphin squeaked. But Sheila kept swimming to the shipwrecked books. then she swam some more, upsetting more crabs and fish and talking seaweed as she went.

The sea creature community had had enough and as Sheila raced by, they slowly followed.

“Alright Starry, I’ve got the book.” And Sheila started reading. It was the most beautiful thing the little starfish had ever heard. For five minutes, her robot fish friend hovered still in the water, reading page after page.

Finally, the other sea creatures caught up to Sheila and were about to voice their severe displeasure on how disruptive her fast swimming was to their lazy days. But as they prepared to do so, they too became entranced by the story.

You might know that, along with being notoriously against fast and rambunctious swimmers, sea creatures are also unable to read. As they watched Sheila tell her tale, they finally realized how special this robot fish was. For four hours they all hovered quietly, only some of them taking breaks to reach the surface so they could breath. Sheila didn’t break once and didn’t stop to see how many people were in her audience. She read to Starry as though she were the only one around.

“And that’s the end of the first Harry Potter book,” she said finally, closing the books bloated pages. It was only then that Sheila saw ho many people had been listening. “Oh hi everybody,” she said, and then went right back to swimming wildly, darting in and out of schools of fish.

But nobody stopped her and nobody yelled. Instead, slowly, the other fish started to swim haphazardly, until you could see nothing more than a blur of bubbles all along the ocean floor.

“Yay for Sheila, the reading robot fish!” yelled the octopus. And from that point on, nobody was ever judged for being too excited again.

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