By Margo Wayman
Darr the dolphin lived in the clear blue waters of the Red Sea. He was a very happy and playful dolphin, but he was also mischievous. Darr loved to play tricks on the other creatures that lived under the sea with him. One day, Aneesa, the octopus, was sorting out her yarn. She had eight different colors of yarn on her eight different legs. It had taken her a long time to untangle them. Darr snuck into Aneesa's cave, swam right up behind her, and yelled "BOO!" She was so scared that she dropped all of the yarn and it fell into a big messy pile. Then, in terror, she swam to the back of the cave to hide.
Darr started to laugh. Aneesa peeked and saw that it was Darr who had scared her and that the eight colors of yarn were all mixed up into a tangled mess."You'll be sorry for this one day, Darr. Someday you'll be in big trouble and I won't help you!" she warned.
Another time, Darr, the dolphin, swam into an oyster bed. All of the oysters were sleeping, allowing time for their pearls to grow inside of them. Darr snuck in quietly, gently pried open each and every oyster, and took the pearls out. He switched them around and put different ones back into the wrong oysters. When he finished, he swam behind some coral to wait and watch.
When Omar oyster woke up and checked his precious pearl, he was that it wasn't his. Amal oyster did the same. Soon all the others were awake and checking their pearls, only to discover that none of them had their own. They began to get angry and started accusing each other of switching them, because theirs had been bigger and better.
Darr couldn't stand it any longer. He started squealing with laughter. The oysters stopped their arguing and looked angrily at Darr. Omar said, "One day, Darr, your dirty tricks will get you into big trouble." Darr just laughed harder and harder, then swam away.
Once Darr was swimming along quite merrily. He was thinking about all the funny tricks he had played on the others. He looked down on the seafloor and spotted Habib, the hermit crab, sitting on a large rock, reading a book. Darr swam around, searching the sea bottom, and found piece of fishing line. He bit some off, then snuck up behind Habib and tied the line around his shell. Then he swam around the rock and went in front of him. "What are you reading?" he asked the old hermit crab.
"It's called Moby Dick," Habib answered. "Go away, young dolphin. You're bothering me," he continued.
Darr teasingly said, "No! I won't go and you can't make me!"
Habib got very angry. "Why, you annoying pest. I'll show you that I can!" He moved to chase Darr off. When he jumped down off the rock to go after him, the fishing line pulled tightly and yanked Habib's shell right off his back.
Darr laughed hysterically. HA! HA! HA!
Habib looked back. "My shell! How will I ever get it back on? I'm too old for this. You are a bad dolphin. One day you're going to get yourself into big trouble with all these dirty tricks. None of us will come to help you!" Habib was angrier than Darr had ever seen before.
He started to laugh again, but stopped. It didn't seem that funny anymore. But he still didn't apologize, or even try to help Habib get his shell back on. Instead he just swam away. He did some other dirty tricks that day. He drew a bulls-eye on Suhail, the starfish's back. He put a clothespin on Ammar, the eel's tail while he was sleeping. He went as far as to put pink dye into Samir, the squid's ink.
Everyone under the Red Sea was mad at Darr the dolphin that day. He kept swimming along, thinking about his funny tricks. He didn't see the net in front of him. He swam right into it. His fins and flippers got caught. Darr began to struggle. The more he wiggled, the more he got tangled.
He began to squeal. "Help me! Help me! I'm stuck! I got caught in a fishing net! Please, someone help me!"
The oysters looked up from their bed and saw that Darr was stuck in the net. "Serves him right!" Omar cried out.
"Leave him in there," said Amal. The oysters ignored Darr's cries for help.
Aneesa the octopus had just untangled her yarn again. She had it all organized in her arms. She heard Darr crying out for help. "I'm not coming to help you, Darr," she mumbled to herself. "You deserve it!" Ammar the eel, Suhail the starfish, and Samir the squid all heard the dolphin crying for help, but they didn't care either. They'd all had enough of Darr's dirty tricks.
Habib the hermit crab had just gotten his shell back on when he heard Darr crying for help. "What's that dirty-trick-playing-dolphin gotten himself into now? I warned him that he'd find trouble, and , well, I'm not going to help him."
Darr was terrified. He was getting very tired from all the wriggling about. "Please, help me someone, please. I promise that I'll never do another dirty trick again to anyone."
Habib thought about it for a while. He swam up to Darr as he was hanging in the net. "Do you promise me that your trick-playing days are over forever?" he asked the dolphin.
"I promise, Habib. I promise," Darr assured him.
"Well, you don't deserve it, but I'll help you," Habib said. He swam around the net, took his sharp claws, and snipped it, freeing Darr.
Habib and Darr swam down to the bottom of the sea. "I'm sorry, Habib. NO more dirty tricks. I promise. Thanks for saving me," Darr apologized.
"Now, you dolphin, you need to go and tell all the other sea creatures that you are sorry for what you did to them too. Then promise them that you'll never do another dirty trick again," Habib demanded of the dolphin.
Darr agreed and spent the rest of the day swimming around the Red Sea, visiting the oysters and helping them sort out their pearls. He helped Aneesa octopus with her yarn, then swam off to see Samir the squid, Suhail the starfish, and Ammar the eel. He apologized to them all. One thing everyone knew was that life under the deep blue sea would never be quite the same again.