Tag Archives: Fable

Don’t Rock the Boat — A Fable


Kayak startled awake.  He thought he heard voices in the distance.  Unlikely, he told himself as he drifted back to sleep.  It had been months since anyone had even come around.

Sometimes Kayak thought about calling out to remind everyone he was there.  He never did, though.  Kayak decided he would rather wait for them to come to him.  They know I’m here, Kayak reasoned.  Besides, what if they decided I’m a burden and got rid of me? 

As Kayak shifted in his sleep, the voices seemed to be getting closer.  Suddenly, he was jolted awake as he was being hoisted on top of a car.  It felt surreal at first, in his groggy haze, but the rush of wind on his body shook him out of his stupor.

If that hadn’t been enough, the shock of cold water certainly would have done the trick.  It took a moment for Kayak to let the realization sink in; he was back in the water!  As he glided through the lake, he soaked it all up: the warmth in the air, the brightness of the red, orange, and yellow leaves that dazzled despite the cloudy skies, and the feeling of peace that settled over him.  Yes, this is where I belong, he thought with a sigh.  I don’t know why we don’t come out here more often. 

After some time, he was pulled up onto an island shore.  A man and a woman stood up from him, stretching and stepping out, leaving Kayak alone.  He watched as they explored the island, calling to each other and taking pictures.  Kayak could feel their happiness, for it was his happiness, too.  It made him regret staying silent all those months alone as he waited for them to remember him.

An idea began to form in Kayak’s mind.  He It would certainly shake things up and maybe it would make them realize just how much they needed to be out here, too.  For his idea to work, the wind would have to pick up a little bit more and so would the current.

NO! Stupid idea, came a little voice inside his head.  You’re just asking for trouble.  What if you make the situation worse?  What if they never bring you back out here again?

Kayak considered this warning.  Yes, he would be taking a risk.  It could backfire.  But what was the alternative?  Stuck behind a shed for the rest of his life, growing old and dusty?  He had already spent months like that, alone, waiting for someone to remember him.  Now that he was out here, reminded that this was where he belonged, he didn’t ever want to go back to waiting for someone to notice him.  He needed to take action and it looked like today might be his only chance.

As he was becoming more resolute in his decision, the little voice again interrupted him, this time more loudly.   You’ll be making a mistake.  If you do it, that’s it.  You can never take it back.  The damage will be done.  Is that what you want?  To never come out here again?    

Words of fear and anxiety continued to slip in and out of Kayak’s mind as the couple returned.  They were now back in the water, but Kayak found his enjoyment of the day ruined as he wavered in his mind about what to do.

Just then, the wind started picking up.  The current grew stronger.  The rocking in Kayak’s mind echoed in his body as he was tossed among the waves.  It was exactly what he needed for his plan to work.  This was his chance and if he was going to act it had to be now.

But Kayak did nothing.  The uncertainty of the situation paralyzed him.  He couldn’t move, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t steady himself.

THWACK!  As Kayak tried to stabilize himself, he was hit in the side with an oar.  The blow shocked Kayak out of indecision.  He already knew what it felt like to sit around, waiting, hoping for something to happen.  Now was his moment.  He was not going to waste it.

With the next gust of wind, Kayak leaned in.  Then he let go in the opposite direction.  SPLASH! As Kayak flipped himself over, a moment of panic flooded through him as he felt like he was drowning.  He could see oars floating in the water and arms and legs thrashing about.

Then he was upright and it was over as soon as it started.  He felt another wave of momentum, then one more, as the couple both climbed back into him.

Kayak held his breath.  The little voice inside him said nothing, as it was stunned into silence by what he had done.

First there was panting intermingled with coughing.  Then came the laughter.  Kayak couldn’t believe it – the couple seemed to delight in what happened.  He heard one of them say, “Didn’t we used to be better at this?”

“Yep,” said the other one.  “Serves us right for not coming out here enough.”

“Then we’ll have to make sure we come out here more often.”

Kayak felt as if the sun suddenly burst through the clouds.  His plan had worked!  Kayak knew it might not be so simple – maybe they would come out here more often, and maybe they wouldn’t.  But he would no longer sit around in silence waiting for that day to come.  From here on out, he would make sure they remembered him.

Waiting: A Fable in 566 Words


The woman sank down as if anchored to the spot.  Chair absorbed her weight, taking on as much of the burden that he could.  He allowed her to clutch his arms and dig in her nails.  Chair didn’t even mind when her tears splashed his upholstery.

After a while the woman got up and said thank you.  Chair readied himself for whoever was next.  It was Tuesday and today seven different people had appointments in this office – one for each hour until seven o’clock.  Chair knew he could handle it; he was no lazy boy and the comfort and strength he provided brought him a supreme sense of satisfaction.  Supporting people was his job and he believed no one could do it better.

Then one day news rippled through the office.  Across town new space had opened up for rent.  This building had a fountain in its courtyard and an atrium on the first floor.  Bah, thought Chair.  We don’t need any of that stuff.  What can a fountain or atrium provide that I cannot?  People love me for the comfort I provide.  They won’t find that elsewhere.  It was at that moment that Chair made up his mind not to move into the new space.

In a matter of a few weeks, books had been packed into boxes, pictures had been protected by bubble wrap, and stacks of paper piled years deep had been sorted through and recycled.  As Chair watched the flurry of activity over the next few weeks, he felt resolute about his decision.  He did not even waiver when the movers came.  Instead, he dug into the floor and he did not budge.

Chair grinned in satisfaction as he overheard one of the movers say, “We’ll have to come back.”  Chair felt eyes on him, taking in his build and he slouched further to the floor to emphasize his bulk.  He chuckled to himself as he knew his strength and the fact that it made him immobile.

Then Chair heard another voice.  “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll just leave the chair here for the next office tenants.”

The lights went out and Chair sat basking in his victory.  Yes, he would be perfect for whoever came next.  He just knew it.

Only no one came.  Time stretched from days to weeks, then months to years.  And just like a sweater that has been worn and stretched over time, the office began to look a shabby remnant of its former self.  That included Chair.

At first Chair hadn’t minded his solitude.  His imagination ran wild as he envisioned who would sit in him next and how he would help them solve their problems.  Then Chair began to imagine his former owner bursting into the office, proclaiming that nothing had gone right without Chair and he would do whatever it took to bring Chair to his new office.

Finally, Chair relegated himself to hoping that anyone would show up.  But no one did, except for the sun, the wind, and the rain.  It was not what Chair wanted, but finally he accepted them as his only company.   Even as new life emerged around him, Chair knew it was too late for himself.  No one else was coming.  He had missed his opportunity to move on.  So now he just waited for the end, glad that he would not spend his remaining days completely alone.

In the Morning Light – A Fable in 637 words


“So beautiful,” came the woman’s voice.  Rose almost didn’t hear her.  The sky had turned from bright blue to streaks of soft pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges.  For a fleeting moment, jealousy stabbed at Rose’s heart as Mother Nature turned the horizon into a watercolor painting.  It didn’t seem fair, she thought, that she was relegated to the same colors day after day, yet the sky offered a blank canvas for the most spectacular of creation.

But then the woman’s voice broke through Rose’s indignation as she called to her friend, “You have to see this one.”

“Wow!” came her friend’s response, leaning over Rose to get a better look.  “Just gorgeous.”  She was so close, Rose could feel the woman’s hair slightly tickle her.

Rose felt mollified by these words, though she often heard the same sentiments every day from visitors.  From the time she was a bud, Rose had always been showered with praise: people photographed her; traced her satiny petals with their fingers; inhaled her sweet scent.  She knew she was the most beautiful flower in the garden, but instead of feeling grateful for this honor every morning and night Rose cast her gaze upward and compared herself to the beauty she saw in the sky.  Her only solace was she knew if she could never win this competition, then no other flower would either.   Rose relegated herself to second place status and stayed that way for a very long time.

Then one morning as Rose stewed about a particularly glorious sunrise, with fluffy purple, pink, and yellow clouds, she heard one of her usual compliments, “I’ve never seen such a beautiful flower!” What was unusual about this compliment, however, is it was not directed at Rose.  The voice came from three bushes over.

“How dare you!” Rose thought and she straightened up her stem and fanned out her petals in defense.  Only she didn’t straighten up fully – there was a slight droop to her – and some of her petals now crinkled with brown.  She couldn’t even see the other flower that had received her compliment.  How do I compare? she wondered.

The uncertainty ate away at her for the rest of the day and deep into the night.  Rose didn’t even notice the sunset that evening.  But she couldn’t ignore the sunrise the next morning, for she was again greeted with compliments directed towards someone else.  “Perfect,” said the voice.  “See how the morning light hits the petals?”

“Yes,” Rose heard another person say.  “I bet this photograph wins first place in the garden’s annual contest.”

Rose recoiled at the words.  Never once did anyone suggest she would win first place.  She again tried to puff herself up, but it was in vain as even more of her petals had now withered.  Rose’s stem slumped even further than the day before, but that could have been due to the realization of what was happening as much as it was due to time.

“Oh, please,” Rose begged as the sun ascended higher in the sky.  “Just let me go back to how I was.”  She kept it up all day and into the night.  By the next morning, nothing had changed, though, except for a few more withered petals.  So, she tried a new tactic.  “Please, give me back my beauty.  This time I’ll appreciate it.”  Again, Rose pleaded with Mother Nature for the rest of the day and throughout the night.

The next morning rang out with a sunrise so rich and beautiful it reduced Rose to tears.  She no longer begged, as there was not much left to her – just shriveled petals and a limp stem.  But her tears were no longer of sadness.  “Thank you,” she said.  “I’m so glad I got to see such a beautiful sunrise one more time.”