The Mermaid and the Manatee (an Adult Fable)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A mermaid and manatee seem an unlikely pair of acquaintances...maybe for good reason.

Long ago, the manatees were the fastest creatures in the water. They sped around all the world and saw many sights, since they lingered often close to the shore where people dwelled--though they stayed hidden from human eyes.

Mermaids inhabited all the world, as well. Most mermaids were good-natured and helped other sea creatures with their magic. One, however, whom we'll call "Mean Mermaid," was jealous of the manatees and their speed. She wanted to go around the world in a week just like the manatees.

The manatees were very humble and took simple names after the places they visited often, like "Miss Shore Manatee," "Mr. Rock Manatee" and so on.

One day, Miss Boat Manatee (who was so named because she liked to linger near, but hidden from, boats) was approached by Mean Mermaid. Mean Mermaid was very convincing in acting like Miss Boat Manatee's friend, calling her "beautiful" and all, and acting sincere. Though Miss Boat Manatee had a slight feeling that Mean Mermaid was up to no good, she had no evidence, and being extra humble, decided she must be wrong. 

When Miss Boat Manatee's group moved on from Mean Mermaid's lagoon, Miss Boat Manatee had an amazing experience.

She was hidden, as usual, from the people in a ship nearby during a storm. She hoped the sailors would be all right and was far enough to stay unseen beneath the waves--until suddenly a huge wave pushed the waters up. The wave was so strong that she could barely stay put--and for but a moment, the wave pushed her aside, so her tail and tummy showed through the water.

"Aye, what's that?" said one of the sailors, squinting through the storm. "There be mermaids here!"

Miss Boat Manatee was so startled at being seen that she quickly dove beneath the water, vowing never to be out in a storm again.

Eventually, Miss Boat Manatee's group sped back to Mean Mermaid's lagoon. 

"What type of beautiful sights you must see on your journeys!" said Mean Mermaid, envious. "Can you…tell me about them?"

"Oh, I have a story!" said Miss Boat Manatee. "Though it's more heartwarming than beautiful, I think." And she told the tale of how the sailor mistook her for a mermaid. "Now, isn't that just silly?" she asked. "Humans must have terribly bad eyesight! I cannot compare to the beauty of a mermaid!"

Mean Mermaid was enraged that someone would mistake a manatee for a mermaid. How dare he! However could any being mistake a manatee for a beautiful, graceful creature just as herself?

Finally, between her rage and envy, Mean Mermaid could stand it no longer. With a flip of her tail, she put a curse on Miss Boat Manatee and all her kind, forcing them to swim at the pace of a land snail…for centuries.

From that moment, all manatees, whereever they were in the world, lost their ability to zoom through the ocean.

As time went on, Miss Boat Manatee and her group settled within calm waters that held much kelp. Miss Boat Manatee, feeling ashamed that she caused a curse to be put upon her kind, stayed hidden in heavy kelp beds for the rest of her days. Though the other manatees were kind and held no grudge against her, she blamed herself for not listening to the little feeling she had that Mean Mermaid was up to no good.

Miss Boat Manatee passed away eventually, after living in sorrow. 

Centuries later, the curse finally started to lift; yet sometimes, when the new young manatees tried to go faster, they were hit and scarred by the humans' boat propellers. From then on, they were afraid speed up, fearing what might befall them.

And that is why the manatee is slow.

MORAL: If your instincts tell you someone's up to no good, listen to them.



Submitted: September 04, 2022

© Copyright 2022 B.J. Vancheyson. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Al Calm

So true, totally right on - a real cool fable for sure, instinct real powerful - though it proper harsh as manatees gonna be as extinct as mermaids real soon!

Tue, September 6th, 2022 1:27pm


Thanks for reading! I agree that instincts can be really powerful!

Sat, September 10th, 2022 10:53am

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