Mina the mermaid sat on the bottom of the sea making beautiful necklaces out of tiny discarded sea shells.
She was often left on her own while the other mermaids swam and played games without her because Mina was the only mermaid in history who couldn’t swim.
Today the mermaids had gone to play near the coral reef where they could swim in and out of the rocks and meet up with all the other marine life.
Once upon a time they used to carry her with them so that she could sit and watch them play. It used to give her joy to watch them, but now it just made her sad and she would rather be on her own.
Mina didn’t understand why she was the only mermaid who couldn’t swim, after all she could sing like the other mermaids. In fact everyone agreed she had the sweetest voice of all. Also her tail was as long and fine as all the other mermaids.
Feeling particularly upset one day Mina started to sing a very sad song to herself when suddenly a large shrimp called Sammy, lifted its head out of the sea bed and told her to be quiet.
“If you must sing,” he said grumpily “at least sing something happy.”
“I’m sorry Sammy” Mina replied with a sob in her voice. “I can’t sing a happy song when I am so unhappy,” and with that she burst into tears.
Sammy had watched Mina grow from a baby and had seen her turn from a lovely laughing mermaid into this sad creature she was now.
He knew he had to help her but wasn’t sure how. Perhaps if he visited the great turtle Baradius he could advise him.
Baradius could usually be found at the big over-hanging rocks at this time of day, but the Sammy didn’t like going there as there wasn’t any cover for him and he could easily be eaten by the large fish that also swam there.
Mina’s crying turned into great big sobs and the Sammy knew he just had to help her. He summoned all the courage he could find and darting in and out of the rocks to keep safe, he finally came across Baradius. At first he looked fast asleep but as the Sammy hovered in front of his great big head, Baradius opened one sleepy eye and drawled slowly. “You’re causing ripples my friend, please swim somewhere else.”
Baradius was the oldest creature in the sea so everyone treated him with the greatest respect.
Sammy bowed and apologised for disturbing him. He then told Baradius about Mina the mermaid and how desperately unhappy she was.
At first Sammy thought Baradius had gone back to sleep as he just lay there with his eyes closed, not saying a word.
He knew turtles were slow creatures and took their time with everything, even thinking, and just as Sammy was going to give him a prod Baradius suddenly opened both eyes and gave a deep sigh.
“I think the problem could be her tail,” Baradius drawled slowly and with an “Umm” closed his eyes again.
Sammy was starting to lose his patience as even he knew Mina’s problem must be in her tail and shrimps were not known for being very clever.
Baradius yawned and lifted his big head. “I think we will need some help with this. Contact Primo the dolphin,” he instructed Sammy.
With that he closed his eyes again and this time did go back to sleep.
Sammy started to wish he didn’t have such a soft spot for Mina as this was turning out to be more work than he had thought, but he still swam around for hours until he finally found a large school of dolphins.
There, turning somersaults and having a great time was Primo with his unmistakable black nose.
Sammy swam as near to the dolphins as he dared without being hit by their swishing tails.
Primo caught sight of him and asked. “Hey Sammy, what are you doing so far away from home?”
After explaining the situation about Mina, and Baradius having an idea that included him, Sammy proclaimed, “I have done what I can, now the rest is up to you.” With that he turned and swam down to the sea bed and burrowed in the sand. (Just in case one of the dolphins fancied him for dinner.)
Primo went to speak with Baradius about his idea and together they came up with a plan.
It was very risky as it included electric eels and they were known as the meanest creatures that never helped anyone.
Mina had fallen asleep, exhausted by all the crying she had done, when she was nudged awake by Primo’s black nose.
Primo explained about Sammy going to see Baradius and the idea he had come up with. Mina felt a shiver of excitement at the thought of being able to swim like all the other mermaids. She didn’t care about the risks involved.
Primo looked at Mina’s beautiful and hopeful face and just couldn’t imagine not be able to swim and see all the wonderful sights there were in the sea.
He told Mina to hold on tightly to his fin as he swam to where the electric eels lived.
It was an old sunken ship, the glass from the portholes long since gone.
The eels slithered in and out of the portholes knowing larger creatures couldn’t follow them inside.
Near the ship were some imposing rocks and Primo placed Mina in between two rocks which formed a V shape.
Primo swam back to the ship and started to emit a high shrill note that even Mina heard hundreds of yards away. She even had to cover her ears to protect them from the piercing sound.
Gradually the electric eels came out of the ship to find out who was causing all the noise.
At first they were confused to see it was Primo the dolphin, as dolphins usually kept well clear of them but the more they ordered him to stop the hateful noise, the higher and louder his note became.
As anger replaced annoyance, so the electricity their bodies produced became stronger and more charged.
At first Primo circled around them, then he swam faster and faster, so they chased him. Such was their anger by now that they tried to zap him with their electric charges, but Primo was too fast for them.
Without them realising it, Primo was leading them nearer and nearer to Mina.
Just as they reached the opening where Mina was hiding, Primo suddenly flicked his tail and shot upwards. Most of the eels managed to avoid crashing into the rocks but two didn’t make it and swam into the opening.
They collided with Mina discharging their electric current straight into her.
Horrified by what they had done and knowing the law of the sea, that mermaids were NEVER, EVER to be harmed by anyone, they swam out of the opening as fast as they could, never to be seen in that part of the sea again.
Primo rushed over to Mina to see if Baradius’s idea had worked. There, lying unconscious, was the mermaid with her beautiful golden hair floating around her face. Primo nudged her with his black nose but she just floated as if she was dead.
“Were the two electric charges too much for her?” Primo asked himself in panic.
The dolphin started to emit a sad lament used only when they had lost one of their own kind. Slowly more dolphins arrived and took up the mournful song.
Mina opened her eyes and moaned. “Oh, I have such a horrible headache.”
Primo gave his chattering laugh, so relieved that he hadn’t caused her to die. Slowly the dolphins scattered, the older ones shaking their heads that Primo had escaped what could have so easily been a tragic disaster.
Mina tried moving her tail, but to no avail and felt the familiar tears springing to her eyes when she realised that nothing had changed. With her shoulders slumped, she held on to Primo as he started to take her back to where she lived with the other mermaids.
All of a sudden a sharp pain, then a tingling sensation, started in the tip of Mina’s tail and then it gave a tiny twitch.
“STOP!” She exclaimed. “I can feel something!”
Very slowly at first, then faster and faster, she swished her tail for the first time in her life. Tears of joy streamed down Mina’s face and she gave Primo a big hug. As she gently kissed the end of his black nose, she said a very heartfelt “Thank You.”
Word spread quickly through the sea that Mina the mermaid could now swim.
Mina was so excited and full of energy that she very rarely sat with the other mermaids when they were resting.
One day while Mina was exploring a large rocky area, she came across the largest turtle she had ever seen. Realising that this must be the great Baradius, Mina slowly swam towards him.
Thinking that he was fast asleep Mina delicately gave him a kiss on the flat of his head and whispered her thanks.
As Mina swam away Baradius slowly dragged open one eye and smiled to himself. “You are most welcome,” he replied with a gaping yawn.
Even though Mina had always dreamt of playing with the other mermaids, now that she could swim, she spent most of her days with the dolphins. No gentle swimming around the reef for her, she had lost enough time sitting at the bottom of the sea making shell necklaces.
Although she couldn’t leap out of the water and do somersaults like the dolphins, she soon learnt to swim as fast as they could. Legend has it that should you ever see a black nosed dolphin, look very carefully as you may see a golden haired mermaid frolicking by his side.
This article was contributed by Sharon Haysworth of Power Drill Guru