The Mermaid and The Shell – A Fairy Tale Fable

Hullo, friends! So I’ve been trying to figure out some things to post recently, and I realized that I have stories saved up from my creative writing and fiction classes that I can post! So today I’m sharing the first story I wrote this year for my fiction class. It’s a cross between a fairytale and a fable, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy!

The Mermaid and the Shell

In a far-off land, or sea, I should say, there lived a young mermaid named Nahla. She loved living with her family and playing among the coral reef. Her people were a joyful group, and she couldn’t imagine life without them. The king of the merfolk was a good merman at that time, and under his rule, the merpeople lived in harmony.

For every mermaid’s sixteenth birthday, they were required to decorate a shell to bring before the king. This symbolized their loyalty to the throne and made them a part of the tribe forever. The only requirement was that they make the shells themselves.

“I can’t wait, Mom!” Nahla exclaimed, spinning in a circle next to her mother. “Tomorrow I get to decorate my shell! It’s going to be the most beautiful shell anyone’s ever made.”

Her mother smiled at her. “I know it will, darling. I think you should paint it the colors of the ocean. That’s what I did for my shell, and everyone loved it.”

Nahla tilted her head sideways. “I hadn’t thought of that.” Secretly, she had imagined a swirl of colors, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, the colors of the coral.

Her mother nodded. “I think it would be beautiful. And it would match your eyes.”

Nahla smiled, shifting the picture in her mind. She could put some ocean colors on the shell, she was sure.

Her mother sent her off to find her younger brother, and she found him at the edge of the reef, watching the sharks swimming through the cool blue waters. His eyes lit up as she approached. “Nahla! You need to put a shark on your shell! That would the coolest thing ever.”

Nahla frowned. “Why would I do that?”

Her brother’s face melted into sadness. “For me. I won’t get to make a shell since I’m a merman. If I could make one, I would want a shark on it.”

Nahla put an arm around her brother’s shoulders. “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely find room for a shark on there.”

A little while later, Nahla ran into her best friend, Ara. “I can’t believe you get to decorate your shell tomorrow!” Ara exclaimed, twirling around. “You’re going to put a starfish on there for me, aren’t you?”

Nahla looked sideways at her friend. “A starfish?”

Ara nodded. “It’s our favorite animal, that’s why I put one on mine. It’ll be like a piece of me with you.”

“Of course!” Nahla hugged her friend. “I wouldn’t forget to do that.”

The next day, Nahla was released to find a shell and decorate it. She looked for hours, seeking the perfect shell, and finally, she found it. She struggled as she made it, trying to tie in all of the ideas she had been given. Before long, she finished, a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was nothing like she had imagined, and she couldn’t help but think about how ugly the shell was.

Eventually, the water grew darker, and she knew the day was nearly over. It was time to present her shell to the king, beautiful or not. She entered his throne room, knowing her family and friends would be there watching. Head hanging, she placed the shell before the king.

“What is this, Nahla?” The king asked, his voice stern.

Her mother approached and peered at the shell. “Those aren’t ocean colors, darling. Why are they smeared with yellow?”

“Where’s the shark?” Nahla’s brother asked. “I thought you were going to put a shark on it.”

“That doesn’t look like a starfish,” Ara added, tilting her head.

Nahla felt disappointment welling up inside of her. The king gazed at her. “What do you have to say, Nahla?”

She bowed her head, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I wanted to make my shell coral colors, but everyone kept asking me to add something else. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom by not doing what she wanted, and since my brother doesn’t get to make a shell I wanted to put a shark on it for him. And since Ara put a starfish on hers for me, I wanted to put one on mine for her, too. I tried to include everything, but it turned into a big mess.”

The king nodded. “I will give you a chance to redo your shell, Nahla. Don’t try to please anyone, just yourself. Remember, the one who tries to please everyone pleases no one.”

And there you go! What did you think? I hope you enjoyed the story! Comment below if you have any thoughts or any ideas for future short stories you think I should write. And don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards!

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