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Bevis - A story for very little folk

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Legends of Ceylon

He did not know exactly how it happened.

He remembered going down to the beach with his Mummie and his Ayah to pick shells and make sand
castles.

There they sat amongst the rocks, and the big and little waves came and played about.

The big waves were always chasing the little waves and taking them back to the sea, but some of them rushed away and hid in the great rock-basins. They pretended each rock-basin was the sea, and they tried to roll and toss in it as the big waves do in the sea, but they could only ripple.

Bevis's Mummie told him he could go and play with the tiny waves and make them chase his toes.

It was then they whispered to him to come with them to their home at the bottom of the sea, and they promised to bring him back again to his Mummie. Then Bevis felt very tired, and he thinks he must have slept.

When he awoke, he could not recognize himself— his little arms had turned into fins and his feet into a fish's tail.

He was quite comfortable, for he lay on the softest and prettiest bed you could imagine.

It was made of green and pink sea-weed, and he had a tiny sponge pillow at his head.

Tiny wee fish floated and swam about everywhere.

Some of them were like little lamps, all luminous inside.

And they lit up the place, which would otherwise have been dark; for it was very early morning, and it takes a long time for the dawn to appear at the bottom of the sea.

There the days are very short and the nights very long.

Bevis was not very happy about the loss of his hands and feet; fins felt so funny, and he had not learnt to use them yet.

But how was he going to eat with only fins to help him?

Well, he knew what he would do if he did not like this place.

He would remind the little waves of their promise to take him back to the beach near his Mummie.

And then he began to cry, for he felt he wanted his Mummie.

Oh! Where were the little waves?

A kind mermaid who lay in another soft bed of seaweeds heard him, and swam up to him.

" Are you wide awake, little stranger ?" she said. "Then come with me and I'll take you to our Mer-Queen. She wants to know all about the land from which you come."

"But perhaps you are hungry; and what do you have in your own land-home when you are hungry?

Bevis had to learn how to eat, and this is how he did it at the bottom of the sea.

He just kept his mouth open when his food came near enough, and it floated into his mouth and he swallowed it.

But you have fed gold-fish and the fish near the temple at Kandy often and often, I am sure, so you know exactly how he ate his food, don't you ?

The Mer-Queen was delighted to have a little boy to talk to, and she told him all the secrets of the deep, in exchange for what Bevis told her about his own home-land.

There were little mer-babies and mer-boys and mer-girls of all ages at the bottom of the sea.

They rode sea horses and romped about and played hide and seek, follow-my-neighbour, and had such a gay time.

Bevis was sorry when the short day was over and they had to go to bed.

* * * *

" Wake up, darling ! What a long sleep you've had," said mother, as she lifted her little boy out of his cot the next morning.

" Why! Mummie, I thought I was at the bottom of the sea," said Bevis, "and that I had fins and a tail instead of hands and feet."

"You've got hands and feet now," said Mummie, pinching his tiny wee toes.

" But wake up, little boy, and let's go down to the beach where we can play on the sands."

"And may I send a letter by the waves to my little friends at the bottom of the sea, Mummie ? They were so good and kind to me; but Bevis likes being with his Mummie best."



Owner/Source  Aline van Dort 
Date  Ca. 1914 
Place  Colombo 

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octobre 1996 - march 2007, created by Mascha van Dort, Delft, The Netherlands.