Short story: Old Faithful

A children’s story I did for school.

Old Faithful

by Anthony Clay


Once upon a time, in Yellowstone Park, there lived a whale. This was no ordinary whale. Most whales swam through the oceans, singing their songs to each other. This whale decided he liked one spot of the ocean, and so he stopped swimming and made it his home. As the years passed, he not only got bigger, but smaller creatures began to live on his back. The whale didn’t mind. The years went on and on and on, until the whale became part of the land that had formed around him and even more creatures came to call his domain home. He still didn’t mind.

The whale loved all who dwelt upon him. He loved the moose, and the eagle, and the humans, but he especially loved the wolves. The wolves were the whale’s cousins and so he taught them how to sing. The wolves would howl into the night, to sing their teacher to his sleep. He returned by always giving them water to drink from his spout. The humans called it, “Old Faithful.” The whale liked that name, so he took it as his own. One night, Old Faithful heard the wolves howl, but it was a mournful song.

“What frightens you little ones?” He asked.

“The humans, Great One. They hate us!” The wolves cried.

“Hate you? Why?” Old Faithful’s heart began to break.

“They call us monsters! Say we eat their sheep and children!”

Old Faithful was disturbed by this news. It was not long ago that the humans hunted alongside the wolves. Now they had turned on their former friends because they no longer had to share the hardships of the wild. Old Faithful understood the humans preferring this, but why were the wolves the enemy?

The elder leviathan retreated into his thoughts for many decades. During this time, his spout gave forth no water. The humans could not understand why Yellowstone’s natural spring had dried up. The plants and animals were dying around it. The humans tried their best to help the wildlife, particularly the wolves. This truly perplexed Old Faithful. Why had the humans changed their minds again?

“Great One?” Old Faithful’s most loyal disciple addressed him at the edge of a great lake; its surface still and dirty. “I have brought to you one of the humans.” Old Faithful looked through the lake to see that his friend had carried a child upon his strong back. She recoiled behind the wolf-dog at the sight of a ghostly whale on the lake’s surface.

“Do not be afraid, child,” he sang to her. “I just want to ask you a question.”

“M-M-Mommy says not to talk to strangers,” she shivered. Old Faithful chuckled.

“You are wise to heed her words, but I promise I will not hurt you.” The Ancient beckoned her to the lake. The little girl stepped cautiously toward where the water once was. “What is your name?” He asked.

“Ma-Mary. I’m eight years old. How old are you?” Mary asked. Old Faithful smiled at her innocent naivete.

“Older than the hills around you. The sky is my father and the sea, my mother. Tell me young Mary. Why are the humans helping the wolves?” He asked.

“Because they’re sick and hungry.” She answered.

“Didn’t the humans hate the wolves? Called them monsters?” He had no malice for this child, only a desire to know these tiny creatures.

“Well, Grandpa used to tell scary stories of them. About wolves eating naughty little girls and boys. But my Mommy and Daddy study wolves!” Mary noted with pride. “They say wolves can be scary, but they aren’t bad. They just need to eat like we do. And now they can’t eat because all the water’s gone; so all their food is gone too.” Mary leaned down to pick up a rock. “I wish the water would come back.” With all the strength she could summon, she threw the rock into the lake, as if willing the rock to carry her wish farther.

The rock plunged into one of the muddy puddles that used to be the lake and quickly sank to the bottom, where it hit a couple of more rocks that began to roll away. Soon a hole was revealed, like that a geyser came from.

“You shall have your wish,” Old Faithful said. Suddenly, water erupted from the lake in a torrential tower. The water was all things to all creatures. It was cool and warm, cleansing and thirst-quenching. Within months, life began to return to the region. Mary skipped her way down to the great lake. She stood upon it’s now lapping shore and waded ankle deep into the water.

“Helloooooooo?” She called, cupping her hands over her mouth. Mary reached into the shallows and picked up a rock. She once again tossed it out into the water. At first, nothing happened. But then more ripples appeared from where her rock had splashed. The ripples that reached her carried vibrations so mighty that they shook her tiny body. At the same time though, they were gentle. Like the strong arms of a loving father.

“Hello Mary,” Old Faithful said.

“I just wanted to say thank you for bringing back the water. My parents are happy too. So are the animals! You made everyone happy!” She almost skipped in place from joy. Old Faithful softly chuckled.

“It is I who should be thanking you.”

“Me?” She gasped. “But I’m just a little girl! You are a super magic whale.” She said stretching her arms as if to try and encompass the Sovereign Cetacean’s mass.

“Who says that being a little girl isn’t better?” He said. Mary was confused. “Everything in this land lives because I wish it to. I could turn everything around you into a dessert should I choose. I could swim away and have the ground beneath you fall into the sea. I could blow so hard, your entire world would be covered with fire and ash. Yet despite all my power, I could not understand you, humans. It took the pure heart of a child, YOUR pure heart, to show me. You, humans, are not like me, so set in my ways. Your lives are short, but you do more in one decade than I do in a millennium. You change and grow. One day you will all join my father in the sky, while I will remain here entrenched as the ward of this peaceful valley.”

“Couldn’t you come with us? Mommy and Daddy could take you,” Marie suggested. Old Faithful declined with a soft chuckle.

“Run along now, Mary. Thank you.” Mary turned to leave, but before she did, she took one last rock from the river. Rather than throw it, she held it up to her face and gently kissed it, before placing it back in the shallows.

As the sun set, Old Faithful blew his spout happily one last time. He then sighed with contentment, as the wolves sang him to sleep again.

The End

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