The Day the Fish Died (A Modern Day Fairy Tale)
This story is similar to many that have been told before. In it, one will find happiness, tragedy, a villain (or seemingly so), a bit of magic, and a delightful ending. Our story begins as so many do…
Once upon a time there were two brothers who had a beautiful red fish named Trickster. They loved their fish. In the mornings, they often watched him swim the length of his tank above the little treasure chest that was nestled on top the bed of colorful rocks.
The boys had a good fairy that helped them take care of Trickster. The fairy would remind them to feed the fish and, when the water began to grow murky , she would magically make the water crystal clear again.
One evening, as she so faithfully did when the stars began to wink in the black sky, the fairy appeared to kiss their foreheads and wish them sweet dreams.
All of a sudden, the fairy exclaimed, “Where is Trickster?” As soon as the words left her mouth, the fairy knew she had erred. The tank appeared empty but, as they peered into the sides, they saw the lifeless fish partially buried underneath the rock.
The oldest boy, aghast at the terrible discovery, looked at the fairy. Surely she could help the poor fish..but, no, she could not. Heartbroken, the boy ran from the room and began sobbing into a couch pillow.
The little boy did not yet truly comprehend the depth of the tragedy. As she looked at him, the fairy had an idea. As so many impulsive thoughts do, the fairy thought it would seem to be a very good idea indeed.
“When I was a little fairy,” she said, “my pet fish died too.” She wrapped her arms around the boy and proceeded to tell him how the King Fairy, who just so happened to be her father, would give her the privilege of giving the fish a ride down the magic water coaster tube. One flush would wisp the fish on to… different… waters. The fairy remember how she had liked the task (for reasons unknown) and thought it might help distract the little boy. She did not yet know she was committing the greatest error of all.
Together, the little boy and the fairy placed Trickster in the bowl and pushed down the handle. Alas, the older boy walked through the door just as Trickster’s body began its long journey. In horror, he stared at the fairy and screamed, “You FLUSHED him!” In his eyes, she transformed into an evil villain. He began to weep and wail as he threw himself onto the nearest couch.
The little boy, too, suddenly saw the fairy through a new and harsh light. In despair, he ran to his bed and joined his brother in loudly grieving the loss of their beloved fish. As the oldest boy’s body heaved with great sobs, the younger boy repeatedly yelled in between cries, “He’s DEAAAAAAD! Trickster’s DEAAAAAAAD!”
Just when it would seem that all was lost, the greatest knight in the land appeared. Solemnly, he knelt beside the oldest boy. “It’s time for a serious talk,” he said, “knight to knight.” The boy had never heard anyone call him a knight before and the word caught his attention despite his great grief.
“I understand why you are sad. It’s okay to be upset and cry, but you also need to understand that this is part of having a fish. Fish do not live long and, when they die, you can get another fish.”
The news of being able to get a new fish quickly spread throughout the land and great rejoicing was heard. Oh, but how would they find the perfect new fish? Well, it just so happened that the fairy knew of a magical place where there were many special fish in need of a good home.
Though she had made calamitous blunders in judgement, the boys found it in their hearts to forgive her and decided she was not evil. After all, even fairies make mistakes.
That very evening, a new fish was welcomed to the boy’s room. He was blue and quite young (for a baby fish would, the older boy explained, live longer). Perhaps, the oldest boy said, the fish ought to be named “Blue Fish” for he was an admirable shade of blue.
The fairy pointed out that the little boy had not yet had a chance to name a fish. “Bingo,” decided the little boy. Thus it was declared that the fish would be called “Bingo” for all of his days.
All was right once again in the world. The boys loved their fish. In the mornings, they often watched him swim the length of his tank above the little treasure chest that was nestled on top the bed of colorful rocks.
And, just as in all good stories, they lived happily ever after.