Gentian's Grumpy Day
by Kristen Collier
Illustrated by Kevin Collier
Gentian the Great White Shark was grumpy. Nobody wanted to approach him today! Fish fled from his path. Joy the Jellyfish saw the commotion. She gulped and then approached the out of sorts shark.
“Wh-wh-what is wrong, Gentian?” Joy asked bravely as she drew near.
“GRRRRR!” Gentian snapped, with teeth bared. “I don’t want to talk about it!”
Joy the Jellyfish drew back in fear. The other fish in the Great Barrier Reef shuddered as they watched from the safety of the coral ridges. Joy glanced down at her little star tentacles and knew that she was safe (at least she hoped so). She proceeded forward with cautious confidence.
“Talking always helps me feel better, Gentian,” she said.
The Great White shark looked at her with bloody red eyes. “You are lucky you possess protection, else I should have eaten you by now!” he threatened.
“Devouring everything in sight is not the answer to life’s problems,” Joy said wisely.
“What do you, a mere blob of jelly, know about problems!” the scarred shark said. “Hazards are great out there in the open waters! I must battle those greater than I just to survive!”
“They are only greater if, in your mind, you think them so,” Joy said softly.
“But they are massive!”
“It is not size that makes one great, Gentian.” She spied a tiny Blue-Ringed octopus. “He is one of the smallest creatures of the sea, yet his poison kills almost instantly.”
“Life’s not always that easy for the rest of us!” Gentian grimaced.
“Have you eaten today?” Joy asked. “Is your belly full?”
“Yes,” the Great White shark admitted.
“Then now is a time for rest.”
“Foolish jellyfish! I cannot rest! I’ll sink if I do!”
“But you can slow down,” Joy whispered. “Life isn’t about chasing after your next meal, Gentian. Take a look around you.” The Great White Shark slowed. He gazed at the mountains of orange, yellow and red coral, and felt the gentle water surrounding him. Arching upward, he witnessed the clear sky that reflected upon the surface.
Gentian took a deep breath as he felt the rays of sunshine on his face. He looked at the jellyfish and smiled the warmest smile that a shark possibly could, thankful that on this day, a little Joy had come his way.