For Children

Lily Johnston

Purple Bear

3rd & 4th Grade Prose Honorable Mention

I grabbed my cover-up shirt and yanked it off. Then I ran down to the beach, watching the clear blue wavesroll towards the surface. Beautiful. All of the beach was beautiful. Especially the waves, which dug into the sand and smoothed it into a nice golden layer of softness.

I rushed into the ocean and closed my eyes as a wave showered over my legs. I went in a little deeper and smiled, closing my eyes. Then I heard shouts. I opened my eyes, but it was too late. A huge wave loomed over me. I knew that it was too late to run, but I tried anyway. I tripped over my left foot and fell, landing on the sand which didn’t seem so soft anymore. The wave swallowed me up, and I closed my eyes, preparing myself for the landing.

I landed on the softer dry sand, which became wet as the wave covered it with salty water. I squeezed my nose, which had water up it. I didn’t notice all the water around me that had come from the wave until it was too late. The water was pulled back into the ocean, carrying me with it! I curled into a ball and screamed, “Help! Help!,” but there was no one who could hear me except some babies who were safely building sand castles and didn’t want anything to do with me.

That’s how I ended up in the ocean, not too far from the shore, but still in the ocean. I yelled at passing fishermen, but they somehow didn’t see me. I was alone. Until I felt something drag me down. I screamed for the second time that day. The thing dragged me down and gave me some goggles and breathing gear. Once I could see it, I saw that the thing was a bear. A purple bear, wearing the same breathing gear and goggles as I was.

“Hi. I am Purple Bear. I run the ocean rescue for lost fish and bears. What type of fish are you?” Purple Bear said this very slowly, using hand signals to make sure that I understood English fluently. “Are you a dog-fish or a catfish or a shark-fish or a salmon-fish?” He took out a notebook and began to write.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s my rescue log. When I rescue something, I log the time I found it, the date, and what species they are. Do you know where we are?”

“Near the Pacific Ocean. Oh, and I’m not a fish. I’m a human,” I said. Purple Bear jotted this down in his rescue log and looked at me for more. “It is July Fourteenth.” I looked down at my watch, but then realized that it had been swept away in all the excitement. “I don’t know what time it is.”

Purple Bear looked down to review his notes. “A human-fish,” he said. “Human-fishes are very rare. We hardly ever see them. We must get you to the island.” I started to ask where this island was, but Purple Bear suddenly began to drag me through the water, until we finally reached the island.

The island was a good place. It had coconuts, and was filled with huts. All the other purple bears came out and waved. “A human-fish!” they cheered. “A human-fish!” The whole town was very kind. An elderly bear who Purple Bear called Auntie Purple gave me some raisin bread. A man (Papa Purple) gave me some fruit.

“This is all nice,” I told Purple Bear, “but I really need to get back to the beach.”

“Surely,” Purple Bear said. He grabbed my hand and waved to Papa Purple. And then, to my surprise, the young bear began to fly. He flew over the ocean and to the shore. I could see Mama in her lounge chair. “That’s Mama!” I yelled. “That’s my Mama!”

Purple Bear landed on the sand and instantly froze as though he were a stuffed animal. “Mama, look at what I found!” said, playing along with Purple Bear’s act. “A bear! Can we keep him?”

“Sure!” Mama said.

And now, Purple Bear sits proudly on my bed. The fluffy bear that mistook me for a fish.