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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Stories for Younger Children
Stay In School!

Stay In School!

It was quiet under the sea. Bubbles of air floated to the surface, as did pieces of seaweed. The school of fish swam about moving through the water in a tight group. They seemed to be facing the same direction as they circled about, all except one fish. His name was Archibald and he never seemed to get it right. If the school were swimming to the left, Archibald would swim to the right. If they headed up toward the surface, Archibald swam down to the dark depths below.

"Why are you always swimming the wrong direction?" Timothy Fish asked. "If you donít stay with the school, youíll be eaten by a shark, or an octopus."

Archibald blew an air bubble and watched as it made its way to the surface. "Itís crowded. Why should I always do everything the same as the rest of you? I like being different." He blew another bubble and giggled.

"One day, Archibald, youíre going to find yourself in big trouble. Youíve got to stay with the school," Timothy warned and swam away with the others.

Archibald swam over to the oyster bed. He started poking at them with his fins. "Wake up, sleepy heads," he teased. The oysters werenít happy. Archibald was so busy teasing the oysters that he didnít see the long tentacle as it reached to grab him. Suddenly he felt it wrap around his body. "Help! Help!" he shouted. He looked into the octopusís eyes. "Donít eat me!"

"Why not? Youíre not with your school. You like to swim alone. Iíve been watching you for some time now, waiting for a chance to grab you and eat you for supper," Oliver Octopus sneered. "When the school of fish goes to the right, you go to the left. When they head down to the bottom, you swim up to the surface. Youíre different, and different tastes good. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Oliver pulled the fish towards his mouth. Archibald was just about to be eaten when the entire school of fish swarmed around the octopus. "Let go of him!" Timothy said, hitting the octopus with his tail. The other fish did the same and soon Oliver let go of Archibald. "Quick, Archibald. Follow us!"

Archibald didnít hesitate. He swam with the school until they were far away from danger. From that moment on Archibald stayed close to the others. If they swam to the left, he swam to the left. If they swam to the right, he swam to the right. It was much safer in a school than being alone!

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