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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Poppy the Puffin

Poppy the puffin was bobbing up and down on the white-capped waves. She preferred the ocean over the dry land When the sun was high in the azure sky, drops of spray from the rough, deep water sparkled as its rays passed through them, causing misty rainbows to appear. Her colorful beak was full of silvery sandeelin, small fish that lived in the icy waters around Scotland.

Poppy swallowed the fish and was about to dive under to catch more when she spotted a few pelicans. They had big fish in their pouch-like beaks. Poppy looked at the little fish in hers and the pelicanís fish. Maybe she should try some other types of fish. She dropped the sandeelin into the water and they swam off. She stuck her head under the choppy water and spotted a mackerel swimming around some rocks. She dove under the water and as she swam towards the mackerel she opened her beak as wide as she could. She caught hold of one of the mackerelís fins but it was too big. As she tried to carry it up to the surface to eat, the fish started swishing its tail back and forth and carried Poppy through the water, heading right for some large rocks. Poppy flapped her wings with all her might and tried to get to the surface but the fish was just too big. Before she hit the rocks, Poppy let go of the fish and swam up top. Perhaps that wasnít such a good idea. Maybe she should just stick to the sandeelin. She could hold up to sixty of them in her beak.

She bobbed up and down on the waves, listening to the splashes and low moans of the sea. Just then two otters surfaced. Poppy watched as they lay on their backs. Each held a sea urchin on their tummies and what looked to Poppy like a rock. They were hitting the urchin against the rock, like they were trying to crack it open. They nibbled and chewed and looked like they were having a good time. Poppy decided that she wanted to try sea urchins. She dove under the water and swam along the bottom, searching for an urchin. She found one clinging to a large rock. She pulled it off and held it in her wing. In her other wing she carried a stone and swam up to the surface. She lay on her back and put the rock on her tummy. She banged the urchin up and down against it. One time she hit too hard and the rock slipped off. Her feathers were too slick. The rock sank down to the bottom of the sea. She dove down and brought up another. Each time she hit the urchin on the rock, it fell off. Finally, after five dives to the bottom and not wanting to try again, she swam over to the otters and gave the urchin to one of them.

Poppy flew over and joined a raft of puffins floating in a group on top of the sea. They bobbed up and down in one giant mass. Suddenly a whale, dark blue and gigantic, opened its mouth and swallowed the whole raft of puffins in one swallow. They were all sucked inside with a rush of seawater. Poppy tried to swim away but she couldnít escape. Once inside, the whale closed its mouth. The puffins began to squawk and fly around, trying to get out. Poppy looked up and saw the whaleís blowhole. She flew up near it and at that moment the whale blew a spray of water out of the hole, along with Poppy. She found herself being shot into the air. She flapped her wings and flew away.

Poppy the Puffin

One by one, some of the other puffins did the same thing. Others waited for the whale to take another swallow of water and flew out then. Soon all the puffins had escaped.

Poppy landed on the shore. She stood on a patch of grass that had dozens of light pink flowers growing among it. She looked out to sea. There was the whale, swimming along, slowly and blowing puffins out of its blowhole.

Poppy looked down on the sandy beach. There were a few seagulls. They were pecking away at an old sandwich that people had left after a picnic. She flew down near them. Since she was much smaller, she was able to sneak in between their legs and take a bite of the sandwich. It had peanut butter and jam on it. Poppy thought it tasted good but realized her mouth was stuck shut from the sticky sandwich. She didnít like that. She flew off to get a drink of water and wash the mess off her beak.

Poppy tried a lot of new food that day. She saw a cracked egg lying on the grass and tasted it. She didnít like it. Another bird was eating seeds from the grass. Poppy tried that too and didnít like the grainy feeling. By the time the sun was about to set, she decided that nothing tasted as good as sandeelin. She flapped her little black and white wings and flew up into the darkening sky. She looked for a calm spot on the ocean and flew over to it, landing with a small splash. That night she feasted on sandeelin and enjoyed every last one of them.

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