Category Archives: Children’s Stories

At night my children often beg me to read them a story. More often than I would like I am tired and I decline, but I know they will ante up and renegotiate: “Well then, ok, don’t read us a story, make one up!” Now, I always enjoy a challenge and whether it is keeping the story short or putting together odd characters accepting the challenge to create anew is something I find hard to refuse.

Angels in the night

Today we had a wonderfully exciting day. It is usually I who have the crazy long, complicated projects but this time it was Daddy.  Jim cut what we call a “weed tree” that was in the abandoned lot behind our land and dropping seeds and casting shade on our garden.  The feat of cutting down the tree and chopping it into fire logs and kindle was slow and arduous, taking several weeks to accommodate the occasional bad weather and work. The weed tree is a tree that is considered an invasive and problematic species because it is a haven for termites, breaks off easily and reproduces like… weeds.

Jim bought some big juicy steaks, potatoes, corn and broccoli. preparing for the day of the big open fire cookout in our back yard. Today after the sun had gone down, the boys jumped at the opportunity to dig a fire pit. The fire pit was then lined with ornamental concrete blocks that Jim had also done at home a while back. Then came the real challenge: getting the fire to start with wood that was chopped but not totally dry.  With 70% humidity as a norm, nothing is every perfectly dry.  Jim started the fire around 6 and by 7 we had would briquettes glowing red.  I prepared the food and Jim cooked it on the fire “cave man style” we called it… except we had aluminum foil to protect our vegetables.

To celebrate our fire, I made piña coladas – “cave men” missed out!  The fire was still going at 8:30 and we made smores. The kids said, “this is perfect for scary stories around the campfire or up in our rooms” (with the benefit of cool air conditioning).  So then the challenge was… who? Who had the best scary story? Jaimito researched online, Olaia read a Grimm’s original fairy tale and I made up this story:

Angels in the Night

Once upon a time,not too long ago, in fact I think it was just the other day, not far from here. There lived a little boy who like to play outside and jump around, explore under rocks and around tree trunks and eat chips and nuggets and messy hot dogs. He  was always the picture of contentment and mischief. So mischievous was he… that he did not like to take showers.

At 7:20pm every evening, twenty minutes after his mommy had arrived, he was called inside to dinner. “Wash your hands, Danny”, would usually melodically holler his mommy… As Danny came into view, he was usually asked with an admonishing tone. “Did you use soap?” “Yes ! Mommy Danny always protested, crossing his fingers behind his back. Continue reading Angels in the night

Harmony lost and found

Once upon a time there lived in the woods a humble family that was poor by many standards but rich in love. The father was a woodsman. He made a living cutting down trees to sell as lumber and make into rustic furniture.  The mother tended to the forest and made sure to plant new trees, especially fast growing evergreens, flowers and things to eat.  They had a son,  John who seemed from birth to be tapping and humming tunes.  Not even his cries were shrill, he whined melodically it seemed.  It was apparent to all who met John that he had a gift of music.

John’s first instrument was not really an instrument at all, it was a couple of round and polished sticks  that were going to be used to join together the legs of stool!  But John found them first. And though he was only 3 years old he walked around the house singing made up songs to the beating rhythm of his two sticks.   For his 4th birthday his mother asked him what single thing he would like to have given to him as a gift. She  expected him to want a wagon or  tree house but to her surprise he said, “a guitar.” She did not argue but waited  a day and asked again. Again he replied “a guitar”. Continue reading Harmony lost and found

The Black Scorpion: From the desert to the streets of LA

Stevenson woke up with a jolt at the sound of the alarms.  All he heard was that somebody locked his door. Stevenson hid under his bed and waited for the alarm to be turned off. He could hear the adults running around and things breaking.  He waited for his parents to sneak in and tell him what to do and what was happening. But that never happened. He never saw his parents again. Continue reading The Black Scorpion: From the desert to the streets of LA

Wormie Dreams of Flying

This is one of those stories made up for my boys right before they go to bed. Right when their tired little heads are saying: “but I dont want to go to school tomorrow” or “but I am not tired”. And yet all is right with the world again after I capture their imagination with a story. I never know what the story will be about until I start. Tonight I started with a worm.

Once upon a time there was a worm who dreamed of flying. Everyday he would look out the window, see the leaves float by in the wind, watch the bees bumbling around and the wasps zipping elegantly crisscrossing the wind. You might think he dreamt was flying because he was a caterpillar but no.  He was no caterpillar. He was a regular black little worm.  His teacher would call his attention in schools and tell him, Wormie, the class is over hear, not wherever it is you are looking at outside that window. The teacher grew concerned and told Wormie’s mother, about his distracted classroom behavior.

One night, Wormie’s mother asked him, Wormie dear, what would you like to do you grow up? I would like to be a wasp and fly around the in the sky. But Wormie dear, you are not a wasp, you have no wings. You are meant bring air into hardened muddy compacted soil, airate the soil, my dear not be flying in the air, you silly boy!” Mom  but why not? Why must I be and do what you expect.

The following day,Wormie walked to schools with his best freind Cate the Caterpillar. He told her about his talk with this mother. He knew that Mrs. Busy Bee has surely put her up to it. Cate felt bed for Wormie and said, Maybe one day when I am able to fly I can come and give you a ride. Oh, thanks Cate that would be splendid. But Wormie wanted more.  He wanted to do it by himself, to be master of his destiny and builder of his own means to fly.

Later that day, as he sat in school looking out the window he realized that the best way to do what he wanted was to show them how it was done. Science and engineering! That was his way. Once he was clear on what he wanted he knew why he was in school. Mrs. Busy Bee never again called his mom. He worked hard and got good grades. With nobody on his case, he had time to explore his interests in his free time.

One afternoon as he was studying the flight mechanisms of things in the air he saw a wasp, stop for a few seconds. Wormie built up his courage and asked: Mr Wasp, sir, how does it feel to fly?

Feel? to fly? What on earth do you mean?

Does the air tickle? Does the wind roll you and push you like a wave? How does the world look from up there?

By golly, boy, I have never stopped to think such foolish things! I fly because I do. I do what I must. I am always rushing from one place to the next, making sure the food gets to the hive and that the hive gets built. Flying is stressful, its work, its not whatever silly idea you have. Keep your feet on the ground worm boy! Keep your feet on the ground!

Wormie was so surprised. That was not the answer he expected. He was a little heart broken in fact. He had always admired the wasp’s elegance and mastery, but the wasp was not even aware of what luxury he had. He could ride the wind and see the world at a distance, he could be free, and yet he did not know it or see it.

But this did not discourage Wormie. Wormie knew, what he knew. In his heart in his mind he had a clear vision of what and how flying would be and it was up to him to show others what it was he saw. Wormie studied hard. He became great at math, great at art, he asked questions and was constantly reading to find new answers.

One day it hit him, he would build a wind-surf-rider. He found a nice sturdy leave and punctured it with another. He pushed them off a tree brach and watched them fall. He did this many times, changing his methods and his design every time  just a little bit. Until one day he saw the leaf board contraption actually ride the waves of the wind.  That was it!

The next time he jumped on the leaf made into a wind-surf-rider. The first time he did so, it did not go as well. But then, that never stopped him before. Then one day, the design and the machine were able to carry Wormie and ride along the wind. Wormie felt the wave dropping and rolling and looking around for signs he was able to catch the next wave of wind. And the sport of wind-surf-riding was born.

From up there in the waves of the wind, Wormie saw his old school. He waved hello to Mrs. Busy Bee, who proudly waved back. Wormie turned around and saw his mom, coming up for air from the earth. The sun’s light shined behind Wormie, but that just made Wormie glow. His mommy was so proud. Nobody could have foreseen this. Nobody could have imagined it. Before he knew it, Wormie had customers. Other bugs wanted to be able to see earth from above and feel the waves of the wind underneath. Even Mr. Wasp came by once for a ride. “To ride the air without fluttering, what an incredible feat! Wormie had changed the how the air was seen and felt for all those in his bugsy world.  Not even the earth beneath their feet would be seen the same, thanks to Wormie.


Celebrando la Navidad Recordando al Olentzero

Me recuerdo con cariño el día que me regalaron la estatuilla del Olentzero.  Un salón de quinto grado en Oiartzun supo por voz de amistades que cumplía años y uno de los estudiantes ofreció como regalo de la clase una figura pintada por su madre. ¡Qué mar de emociones! La sorpresa, alegría y vergüenza al desconocer la historia detrás de la figura que con orgullo me regalaban. Afortunadamente en el pequeño pueblo todos sabían que era nueva a los lares y a las costumbres así que las explicaciones, anécdotas, referencias mitológicas e históricas llovieron. Ahora una década más tarde me toca como parte de la vasta comunidad de descendencia vasca en el extranjero, que llevamos a Euskadi en el corazón, compartir con nuevas generaciones noticia de las tradiciones de la fascinante y bella tierra de los vascos.

Las maestras del prekinder de mi hijo, Javier Ignacio, deseaban presentar historias de tradiciones navideñas de diferentes partes del mundo. Para ello invitarom a padres y madres a compartir sus experiencias o conocimiento.  Con una mezcla de alegría y ansiedad ante la responsabilidad de representar algo que he atesorado en mi recuerdo pero que es vivido como tradición anual por cientos de miles…ofrecí hablar con estos pequeñines sobre el Olentzero.

En preparación al día de mi presentación busqué en el Internet sin gran éxito una versión de la historia del Olentzero que recogiera los cuentos que me ofrecieron durante mi estadía en Euskadi. Pero a mi pesar gran parte de lo que encontré enfocaba en la investigación de raíces paganas del Olentzero y en la recreación del cuento del Olentzero aislado de la celebración de la Navidad.  Aunque reconozco el valor de recrear y salvar las raíces vascas que precedieron la llegada del Cristianismo, no es menos cierto que la historia y la tradición del Olentzero son ejemplo de sincretismo, o dicho de otro modo ejemplo de la fusión cultural que es de esperarse en la historia pueblos en contacto con otros pueblos ya sea por vecindad, agresión o comercio.  El cambio es parte natural de todo ser humano y de los pueblos por eso me parece que  Olentzero sin Navidad o Navidad sin Olentzero no me parece representar al pueblo vasco de hoy.  Pero a falta de encontrar una historia que recogiera los temas cristianos que me fueron narrados, proveo a continuación mi versión del Olentzero a modo de honrar mi recuerdo de la tradición.


Esta es la historia, según me acuerdo, del Olentzero, un ser muy querido por el pueblo vasco. Allá las historias comienzan “Behin batean…” por acá en las Américas decimos:

Érase una vez, allá para los tiempos cuando los bosques eran lugares de misterio y magia. Dicen las leyendas que en los bosques vascos vivían hadas,  “prakagorriak” que quiere decir pantalón rojo en la lengua de los vascos y eran unos duendecillos pícaros conocidos por sus pantalones rojos, hablaban también de gigantes y otros tantos personajes fantásticos.  Las personas vivían en poblados pequeños y evitaban adentrarse al bosque, a excepción de los pastores y carboneros que pasaban gran parte del año fuera del poblado andando por las montañas y bosques. Cuentan que al llegar al pueblo los pastores y carboneros solían contar las peripecias y hazañas en el bosque.

Algunos dicen que el Olentzero era un pastor, otros dicen que era carbonero. Siempre que he visto imágenes de él lo he visto sentado o arrimado a una bolsa de carbón así que creo que la evidencia apunta a que era carbonero. En aquellos tiempos los carboneros vivían en chozas adentrados en el bosque. Durante el año trabajaban allí cortando árboles y partiendo el tronco en pedacitos para enterrarlo y hacer carbón vegetal.   Cuando entraba el frío del invierno y las noches se hacían cada vez más largas los carboneros bajaban al pueblo con su carbón en una gran bolsa.

Dicen que en un principio al Olentzero no le gustaban los niños y era algo gruñón. Quizás era porque al ver a este hombre de gran tamaño, barrigón, despeinado y manchado con tizne, se burlaban de él.  A nadie le gusta la burla y por eso quizás el mal humor del Olentzero para aquel tiempo. Todavía hoy día, cientos de años después, en la canción del Olentzero que se canta en el País Vasco cantan pedacitos de estas burlas. La canción habla de un cabezudo de poca inteligencia, barrigón y sucio. El Olentzero no era como decían las burlas. El era un hombre bueno y trabajador.  Pero les aseguro, que aunque así eran las cosas antes, el Olentzero, como escucharán, llegó a ser y es muy querido porque una buena noche todo cambió.

El Olentzero se econtraba en su choza en las montañas cuando de momento vio una luz extraordinaria llenar el cielo de la noche. En el resplandor sintió una voz que le decía: No habrá porqué temer. Ha nacido en Belén el hijo de Dios hecho hombre. Su vida sembrará amor y esperanza en la tierra.” Algunos dicen que la voz fue la de una hada, otros dicen que fue la voz de un ángel que entre los pastores de Belén incluyeron a nuestro carbonero en la buena noticia de esa noche.

Impactado por tan especial visita el Olentzero sintió su tristeza desvanecer y la alegría contagiosa nacer, pero no sabía que se esperaba de él. Al amanecer, el Olentzero salió a caminar a ver que había de diferente en el mundo. Buscaba entender aún el mensaje de aquella noche. En su largo caminar se dio cuenta que del bosque habían desaparecido el misterio y la magia. En su camino no divisó hada o ni gigante.

Tanto caminó, buscando entender, que llegó a un lugar que no había visitado antes. A lo lejos vio una casa en la que vivían muchos niños al cuidado de unos pocos adultos.  Para evitar la burlas el Olentzero se quedó observando desde lejos lo que allí pasaba.  Era un hogar para niños huérfanos. El Olentzero, quien de por sí era huérfano, se sintió conmovido de ver tantos niños que hubieran estado solos como él pero que tuvieron la suerte de tener este hogar.  El Olentzero volvió varias veces a ver a los niños jugar. Pero un mal día el Olentzero llegó y vio como el hogar ardía en llamas. Sin pensarlo dos veces, el Olentzero corrió a socorrer a los niños.  El trabajo del Olentzero requería que fuera grande y fuerte, y lo era, probablemente por eso logró salvar a todos los niños.  Agradecidos todos en el hogar le invitaron a venir más amenudo. El Olentzero aceptó la invitación y les ayudó a reconstruir la casa.  Así nació el amor del Olentzero por los niños. Ver a los niños jugar le hacía feliz.

Cuando no estaba en el hogar visitando, y había terminado de trabajar, el Olentzero pensaba en cómo ayudar a los niños. Por las noches comenzó entonces a tallar y construir juguetes de madera para obsequiar a los niños. Descubrió en este pasatiempo una pasión. Al año siguiente, cuando tocaba ir al pueblo a llevar el carbón, el Olentzero fue con carbón pero también con juguetes para los niños. Para su sorpresa en el pueblo ya sabían de su hazaña con el hogar de niños. Ese año lo recibieron todos en la calle como héroe que era. El a cambio venía a traer juguetes para los niños.

En el pueblo el Olentzero se reunía en las tavernas a hablar con los padres y cuando no los niños le pedían cuentos fantásticos del bosque. Pero esta vez, el Olentzero no tenía cuentos de hadas o duendecillos que contar. En vez les habló de la luz, la voz y la noche en la que su vida cambió.  Así fue cómo la noticia del nacimiento de Jesús llegó de boca de un humilde carbonero que bajaba al pueblo a saludar una vez al año. Un carbonero barrigón, con piel tiznada pero con una alegría contagiosa que compartía con los niños mediante pequeños obsequios en la Navidad.

A Boring Facebook Profile – Can I help it?

I finally gave in to curiosity and joined Facebook. Jim had already created his profile some weeks back so I was way behind the curve here. If Jim trusts it, then why should I let my skepticism and aversion to spam keep me from trying this new fangled thing out.  He is after all my Technology Guru among other things…. So there I am forced to write about myself and finding in retrospect that though I am passionate about my life and what I do… I still am mega boring on paper – what gives?! Jim tries to coach me "write about your family, spice it up" .I know baby stories are always cute. And so here it is… I am putting myself out there:

Continue reading A Boring Facebook Profile – Can I help it?

New Twist on Writing

Never thought it would be this way. I thought perhaps someday if I was lucky and my research career had gone well it might happen. Afterall, research, writing, teaching, publishing seemed to be the norm of hardworking anthropologists. But my life has been all but normal or routine. My dissertation is still under development and meanwhile I have navigated the most difficult years of a birthing a company and had 4 kids. 

In a couple of weeks I will be sending to a printer – not research, nor is the topic business or technology – short stories developed for children for use in schools. The initial run is small but it still is a new strange twist I had not planned.

The opportunity came through a client relationship.  One afternoon charing a cup of coffee we started talking about how to serve local schools, how to complement  our children’s education. Little did my client know that education was a great side-interest of mine, topic of my ever present dissertation. Our mutual interest led to me proposing an educational project sponsored by my client that fostered loyalty and targeted purchasing to access educational materials.  To help explain the project I went on to create sample materials, a "this is what it would look like scenario."  Soon those "sample" ideas became the starting point.  I don’t konw where this will take me but  I am enjoying the new adventure.

In the course of developing the materials I have gone "back to school."  I am collaborating with Jim and thinking back often to our college days and how he helped me engineer various sculpture projects of mine. Nowadays, he is bringing me up to date in his craft: computer generated and tweaked graphics. I am not the best student in the world but I am having a great time. 

The stories are  in Spanish and can be accessed through

Having said this, back to my dissertation….

The King and the Dragon, and the Knight and the Alien

"Jaimito get ready its time to go the park!" Jaimito replies, " I’m ready Mami I got my power rangers spd sandals on, look they blink! Mami can I bring my guitar I want to practice it…. because I am bigger now and I have to practice…" For those who are parents or still remember being parents of a four year old, Jaimito is about to become four in a few days. Yesterday we bought him his much anticipated guitar and some informal sandals with lights. Since then, every 3 hours or so I am asked if he can play the guitar. The answer is always the same, no, not until your birthday on Saturday. The sandals were on his feet this morning at 9am and have only left his feet for his much argued nap. The bottom line is he single minded, persistent and behind it all a little boy full of hope and dreams.

We finally make it to the park – which thankfully is just across the street. None of our park friends have arrived but they surely will within a half hour or less. In the meantime I decide to play with Jaimito. I remember playing more with Olaia but less so with Jaimito. Today, Olaia is away and Jaimito is the center of action – except for Javier-s ocasional tease ….as he leans over the edge of the steps of the playground and playfully entertains throwing his 12month old body to the grass below.

So Jaimito what do you want to play. Mami I am the king and you are the monster, the dragon!

Excellent a boy with a plan, I think and play along. I suggest he stays running and playing around the playground set, it kind of has a castle-spaceship feel to it.

"OK but as you run around Jaimito I will try to get you by thowing the wiffle ball as a bomblet…. " We play on and the giggles abound. In the midst of it all I supervise Javier as he decides to go down the rolling pin slide on his belly. Each roller tickles him as he slides down, when the tickling is to much he arches his back and continues sliding down on crawling position.

We have settled into a fun rythm when suddenly in the distance I spot our first friends arriving. "Gaby do you want to play Kings and Dragons?"

" Yea thats my favorite game!" he replies.

"Gaby I am the King, my mommy is the Dragon and she throws bombs at us.

Who am I going to be? We agree he can be a knight, because knights in shining armors are warriors like samurais.

We resume playing and daredevil Baby watch. We have settled into a fun routine when suddenly more fun arrives. AJ, Eduardo! We explain the game and before roles are assigned I secure my segway " AJ you can play the fun part of being the Dragon.:" AJ agrees it sounds like fun and I join the other mums.

There is now a group of 4 boys laughing and running around the park. One has a plastic gun another picked up the wiffle bat as a sword and every so often I see Jaimito on the floor being tended to as part of some grand dramatic moment.

Finally it is tiem to go and I tell Jaimito so. Jaimito is again lying on the grass, playing dead. He is broken says Gaby to AJ. AJ stretches the strange plastic rope element from his gun acting sort of medical as he tries to fix my son so I can go. There he is fixed, says AJ. Good I interject. can I take him now. Jaimito has not moved. AJ ads, let me do something else. there is igood to go. Jaimito gets up and says an unenthusiastic Bye. Gaby raises his palm in a strange vulcan gesture Bye my friend and Jaimito corresponds. But then Jaimito sttretches his arms out and acts out a sudden chest movement. it looks like a sudden jerk or brief epileptic attack. I look on, confused. Then Gaby, without loosing a second says Oh yea right goodbye alien.

Jaimito is content that his alien identity has been acknowleded and so we turn around and leave.



The Little Green Engine

Making up a story about a train for Jaimito and Olaia. 

You’ve probably heard about the little red engine or the engine that could and was saved by a kind little blue engin, perhaps you have even heard of an engine called Thomas. But this story is not like those, our little engine is a green engine, green like the grass, and green like the green in the traffic lights. It’s from these things that are known and green that this little engine got to be called the little Greengo engine.

Our little Greengo engine was simple in his likes. He was either happy or sad, and only mad for a moment or two, but he was always kind and friendly. He also loved a good competition and that is what he felt like having that morning. It was a beautiful sunny day in the Caribbean. There was a cool breeze that came off the ocean and the clouds provided occasional shade making the day all the more inviting. Greengo woke up with a nice long revving up of his engine. Everything was purring perfectly "It would be a shame not to go out for a spin and let others see how fast I can go."

So the little green engine, took to the tracks. He was no longer used as a means for mass transportation so his days were up to his design when the tourists were not in season. Outside, Greengo saw Tito the humming bird."Hey Tito chiquitito y rapidito how about we test how fast you really can fly?" " " Oh, dear Greengo I fly against the biggest hawks out here and never do they catch me." quipped the colorful little hummingbird."Are you sure you are up to it?"

"Yes Tito this sounds like fun, I feel mighty purrfect this morning everything is just right. How about we see who makes it to the end of the track over the hill and to the left?"

You are on, my man. Get ready to suffer crushing defeat mi pana.

The local Coqui, Pancho, woke up from after a night of hard serenading at the sound of something exciting going on. Hey Me and my brood can serve as referees. I will announce the race and Rafa my cousin will see and announce the winner.

ZZzuzuzuzumzumbador Tito was anxiously waiting for Pancho to say the word. Purrpurrpurrpurr shoo shooshoo Greengo sounded his steam horn in anticipation.

On your marks get set go!

For the first part of the race it seemed Greengo would be the clear winner. Him and Tito were side by side. But Tito was moving up and down showing signs of growing exhaustion. But then Tito disappeared. Greengo was sure he had the race in his pockets. Not one to rest on his laurels no matter how sure the win, Greengo kept his pace he wanted to show everybody in the valley just how fast he was. He slowed down for the curve and the ascent to the top of the hill. He stopped for a moment, He still could not see Tito, but he did see a commotion at the finish line

Surely they are already celebrating my victory! Let me give them a great show. Greengo did his fastest time ever down the mountain.

But when Greengo arrived, to his surprise, Tito had a drink of water waiting for Greengo.

TITO? How could YOU be here? I left you back before the we even got to the curve.
How did you ever get here before me?

Ayyy my friend, you are still thinking about tracks… I am not restrained by the tracks. I did not have to take the turn, I made my own way and flew straight up the mountain and down to the finish line.

That is no fair. I assumed you would fly beside me?

If we were testing our strengths why should I follow you? We had a goal and I though small and without an engine got here first.

Another day another race. For now let us celebrate… you did look good my little Green engine.

Greengo understood his own excitement and desire to show off had caused him to not think through the details of the race. Next time he would plan the race differently. For now, he was happy to celebrate his friends win and toot his horn to the Coqui’s reggaeton.


The Giant and the Mermaid

Once upon a time there was a very big giant. Because he was so very big, he could see better and farther than anyone. He also had a very good sense of smell. He could smell a spaghetti dinner being made anywhere in the kingdom. And wherever there was spaghetti, there he would go. The people of the village knew giant and knew that he was a gentle soul. He inspired fear in the enemies because they did not know him truly they just saw him and ran. So the people of the village were happy to make a little or rather a bit more spaghetti whenever they cooked spaghetti.

But those who knew him also knew this gentle giant was not a happy giant. He was sad, perhaps more precisely a bit glum at being bored. One day at the edge of the kingdom where the ocean meets the castle wall, he saw the mermaid catching some rays. Melinda the mermaid was friends with Raul the giant.

Raul, why are you so blah these days. Are you sad, my friend.

No I-m not sad Melinda, I’m just bored. I have seen all there is to see and I can smell whatever it is that is coming. I cannot remember the last time I was surprised.

Oh, I love surprises said Melinda. So I can imagine how boring things might be without them.

Are you sure we cant surprise you? What about last year for your birthday. We all gave you that surprise birthday party?

It was sure nice you all were trying to surprise me but I knew the baker was making an extra big cake as soon as I saw the extra pounds of flour being brought to town and smelled the cake batter that morning.

But Raul, perhaps I can help you. I have a secret and whoever discovers my secret can have a wish. If you discover my secret you can wish for something that will surprise you.

I accept the challenge, though I doubt it will take me long with my great eyesight and smell I will am sure I will have my wish soon.

I have to go now Raul but I will see you around I am sure.

Raul watched Melinda dive off. Her red hair sparkled in the sun and her blue green fins playfully splashed him goodbye.

Raul obserserved Melinda closely everyday that week. From morning to night, until she was sound asleep. In the afternoon as she would hop on shore to sun bathe Raul would come and share with her his guess.

"Melinda, I know what your secret is: you wish you could go to school with humans. I see you every day as you pop up and follow the kids to school and then sit by the window of the school and listen to the class.

That is true Raul, I do do that, but that is not my secret. A careful observer can see that.

Then perhaps your secret is that you like to eat cake.

Have you seen me eat cake Raul?

No I havent but I smell the sugar and frosting on your lips.

Boy you do have a good sense of smell. Yes I do like cake. I talk to the baker when he takes breaks and he tells me all about his new recipes and sometimes he brings me a taste. MMMMmmmm boy after a good seaweed sandwich, cake is just perfect. But that is not my secret.

Another day another try. Raul had seen Melinda save a little baby that had fallen into the ocean when the mommy tripped on the peer. The mother had been inconsolable because the waves were crashing all around. When suddenly the mermaid swam to shore with the baby safe and sound. She sang to the baby a magical lullaby and by the time the mother came to get him he was sound asleep and had forgotten the danger he had seen.

I know you your secret Melinda, you have a beautiful voice.

Now Raul, many people know that about mermaids, that is no secret.

Ok, then maybe your secret is that you watch over the village people and keep them safe.

That I do, but that again is plain to see. Perhaps another day, Raul.

Days came and went and they met each afternoon to talk about the Mermaids adventures. Everytime Raul had new guesses all based on what he had seen, or smelled or heard.

Then one day, the mermaid did not come, she had been sick that day and stayed at home. The giant missed her and their afternoon chat.

The following day, Raul said to Melinda, Melinda I missed you yesterday, and that left me thinking when I did not see you that you truly are as good a friend as you are beautiful.

Raul you guessed it. My secret! Few people take the time to see what lies beneath and cannot be seen at plain sight. Now you may have your wish.

I don’t need it, everyday for the past week as I got to know more about you I discovered new and wonderful things and I have not been bored again since. As long as I have a friend with whom to