Gently down the stream,
Life is but a dream.” (author
unknown to me)
t was a little hard to see the map,
considering that he was expected to
row the boat at the
same time. So at this point, he
didn’t know how much farther they
had to go, and cared, but said
Turtles usually don’t row boats,
he thought. But a boat was a good
idea, it did save a lot of time and
was tomorrow – he,
Lane Turtle and his fellow
ship-mates (though it could hardly
be considered a ‘ship!’) would have
time to rest and prepare for the
following day’s events, should they
ever find their destination. He
felt his spectacles slip from his
nose and into the bottom of the
However, they hadn’t figured out
travel time, not
limit though! And turtles
don’t usually row boats! But then
again, neither did rabbits. He
looked over smiling at Chumly, the
big white floppy-eared rabbit that
had commandeered their craft from
Powered by turtle and rabbit and
lookout-mouse, they were well on
their way to the Great Forest Picnic
that had been planned for years by
the Forest Collective. The purpose
of The Picnic wasn’t overly clear,
except that all the animals of The
Great Forest would find themselves
gathering as friends to have a merry
time, it was said. There was
otherwise no “official” purpose for
“One would think we’d have been
there by now” he yawned and
continued to row the boat at his
end, at the front of it.
“I agree!” hinted the lookout mouse,
Bramble, looking straight at Chumly,
as if he were responsible.
“Well we can’t be lost unless we
took the wrong direction on the
river and I have my doubts there. I
think we are just fine and we’ll be
there soon, enjoying the
“So do I, I think we are traveling
in the right direction, but I’m
wondering why it’s taking so long,
we should have been there already I
“We didn’t know exactly how long it
would take, but yes I think so too.
Maybe just a little longer, we’ll be
there I’m sure? The Great Forest is
just that, GREAT big!” Chumly
scratched his white furry head
between the long flopping ears and
wrinkled his nose curiously. “Just
“It shouldn’t be nightfall by the
time we get there.”
Said the mouse.
“No Bramble, I should think not.”
The rabbit commented again.
“Timmy Turtle, what do you think,
eh?” Chumly directed his question
at the other, smaller and younger
was not rowing the boat and not
paying much attention.
“I think we’ll get there.”
“Thank you for the confidence,
Timmy.” Chumly grinned.
“But I’d like to open the picnic
basket; I know it’s for tomorrow,
but what about today?”
“There’s enough in there for today
as well, Little Guy.” The elder,
rowing turtle replied.
“Well, I would like to think we’ll
get there soon, I do need a break
here Chumly, don’t you?”
said breathlessly. “I’m sweating!”
“Yes, rowing endlessly for hours
seems to get on the nerves for a
rabbit as well, Turtle.”
“Yes, yes it does. May we stop for
a rest soon perhaps?”
“Rest? If we
rest we’ll miss it won’t we?”
The group rowed on and on and on,
watching the sun roll across the sky
west to east, west to east,
east. The sun always goes down in
the east doesn’t it?
turtle once again.
But, something was peculiar, as they
noticed that instead of being
surrounded by lush green forest,
they were now rolling on the river
passed hills and cows and
countryside, which was rolling too!
It had been hours and hours and
there was now no sign of the Great
Forest at all, it lay somewhere in
the distance behind them now.
must turn around Chumly!”
The elder turtle shrieked, noticing
the cows. “Those are NOT forest
creatures, Rabbit!” He pointed a
long nail toward the floppy eared
one. Hissing more like a Snapping
“And this is not my fault!” Chumly
“Does it matter?” noted Bramble.
“Blame is not what we’re looking
we’re looking for the Picnic!”
“Yes, I can agree with that.” the
old turtle snorted.
“But I think we got adventures,
the little mouse.
Chumly the rabbit’s floppy ears
stood straight up, and the others in
the boat merely gasped as they
turned their heads to look ahead of
them – they had fallen into shadow
suddenly drifting into the wide open
mouth of the biggest fish they had
ever seen. They had reached the
mouth of the ocean! And the mouth of
“STOP US!!! STOP US!!!”
Timmy the little turtle screamed.
But stopping wasn’t an
option as this was a whale and he
was far bigger than they, and their
own forward motion pushed them
inside, passed the teeth. He was
his mouth was wide open and waiting
for them to fall in!
And surely enough, in
they went, boat and all with a mad
flash of water that they’d never
felt before. The oars were of no
use, the little boat simply swished
inside with the rushing waters and
they felt themselves spinning,
disappearing into the black of the
End of story? Noooo!!!!
Not yet. Not done yet.
Darkness was all around
them, since the monstrous fish had
not only swallowed them whole but he
had also closed his big fat
“I can’t fathom that
we’ll get out of this one, guys!”
Remarked the big
rabbit, with his furs standing
straight out from his body.
“Raises the hairs on MY
neck, looking at
the old turtle in a shaky but snotty
voice. He had lit a small
candle he had packed for the
camp-out. He also replaced his
spectacles about then and looked as
far as the light would carry,
“This is nasty!”
commented, looking around them at
the slick ‘walls’ of whale gut or
gullet, whichever you prefer.
“I brought a lantern,
hold on.” Chumly said swiftly
reaching for it, gasping for breath
out of fright.
“What if we burn him?
Won’t we die for sure then?”
“Well he might vomit us
up, that would be a help.”
Said a squeaking
NO! I can’t handle
the smell of bile right now!” Hissed
the old turtle, holding his belly.
“It smells badly enough in here!”
nearly beat the side of the whale
stomach with his oar on that.
“That’s okay, if he
chucks and you chuck, maybe
trying not to laugh despite the odd
and scary circumstances. “I
can imagine by then I’ll be chucking
“What would be your
Arky demanded. “You are
are you not? Commandeer us OUT,
please, and do it NOW?”
“I’m afraid I’ll need
some time to think, perhaps a
“For crying out loud,
you’re hungry at a time like this?”
“I’m a mammal, what can
“Well so is this whale
and if we’re not digested, I can
just imagine where we’ll be going
OUT, thank you!” The old turtle
felt himself croaking though not a
frog in sight.
“Trying to spoil my
dinner now are you?”
unfolding himself a sandwich from
the wax paper.
“How can you EAT???” he
gasped again, disgusted.
“Well, this IS a
peculiar turn of events, I’m afraid,
and I’d rather not try to think on
an empty stomach, you should do well
and join me Turtle, and you as well
friends,” Chumly spoke while
chewing. “This is our picnic, enjoy
No one could disagree;
it was likely they would not see the
outside world again, so all decided
that they would not miss their
picnic, after all.
All sat eating slowly,
somberly, saying nothing. It felt
as if hours had passed, and the
lantern’s light grew dimmer with
“It sure would be nice
to smell fresh air
don’t care anymore if we make it to
the Great Picnic.”
“Me either,” Bramble
“I sincerely don’t know
what to do Friends,” Chumly
scratched his head. “We’re just
sitting here waiting to be
“I just wanted to play
checkers with an owl and not worry
about being eaten.”
“Yeah that would have
been nice, huh Bramble?”
“Oh yes, I’d have had
interesting conversation with an
“Me too, I can’t imagine
it now, they had no way of counting
all who were coming,
won’t know we tried to come.”
“No, I’m afraid not.”
“I fear we are somewhere
in the middle of the ocean now,
huh?” Little Timmy wondered aloud.
“Could be at the bottom.”
“More than likely.”
“If he opens his mouth
then, we shall all just swim up
then?” Timmy smiled. Turtles COULD
“The ocean is made of
salt water though, Timmy, it
wouldn’t be good for us.”
Arky.” Timmy sighed.
“I think I want to sleep now.” He
“Okay Timmy, come and
sit near me, you can lean on me.”
know you’ll think of something,
The old turtle hoped the
same thing and merely answered: “I
hope so, Timmy.”
Looking over at Chumly and the rest.
“I hope so.”
Hours and more hours
seemed to pass though the lantern
didn’t burn out. They felt the
shifting of the swimming beast
eating nothing more at this time,
figuring they had been enough to
fill him, though not digested yet.
All hope seemed lost
though, as more time wore on and
nothing new happened inside
of the whale.
They all continued to
sit staring at the darkness around
them, while Timmy slept -- imagining
all sorts of horrible endings.
Eventually, all nodded off from
It could have been
it could have been days later, their
minds would not allow them to know
how much actual time had passed.
The lantern had been blown out by
Chumly when all were sleeping, so as
to preserve the light for while they
were awake. And
still had his candle should the need
But they were all
awakened abruptly by a rumbling they
couldn’t identify with the stomach
but something large sent in a streak
of light across them, waking them
up. The whale had been harpooned!
Arky gasped again, with a
yawn as if nothing had really
him. By now he had written them all
off as dead, as you well know.
“I don’t know, I think
the whale should die or the humans
will take us out.”
“Really? That would be kind
of them wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, but humans aren’t
so kind, I’m sure they’d kill us
But instead of this, the
whale merely opened his mouth and
the little boat churned up from his
stomach, remaining upright and
captives safe, were freed in what
looked like the middle of the
ocean. Not even humans in sight.
They were in shock as they watched
the whale submerge back into the
“I guess he wasn’t so
hungry after all?” Chumly smiled.
“Where are the
harpooners? And why isn’t that whale
floating, belly up?” Bramble
scratched his head.
“I’m hungry now,” said
“Well, we have a few
crumbs left from the picnic, but I
think we should just row to the
nearest shore, and get out of this
contraption, I’ve got no sea legs,
I’m a rabbit for crying out loud.”
Chumly remarked nonchalantly.
“That’s the most
sensible thing I’ve heard for
“Row on then!” Chumly
“Yes row on Friend!”
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