Monday, February 28, 2011

Children's Story: Let's Call Him Gupper


“I promise I’ll go to sleep if you just tell me one more story.  Please.  Please.”

“But mommy’s tired, dear, and we have to get up early tomorrow.” 

“Oh, please.  I won’t fuss in the morning.  I’ll eat my breakfast quick as a wink and brush my teeth too.” 

I sat back down on the edge of the bed and then lay down next to my little boy.  A story.  How many more stories before he’s all grown?

“Okay, but it’s going to be short.”

“Once upon a time, there was a little fish that lived in the ocean.” 

“What kind of fish, mom?”

“I’m not sure. He was just little”

“Did he have a name?”

“Let’s call him Gupper.”

“Gupper was scared of the bigger fish, and was especially afraid of the shark that swam by every day looking for food.  Gupper knew he was just what the shark was looking for.” 

“You mean the shark wanted to eat him?” 

“Yes, that’s what I mean.”

“So, every day Gupper hid behind a rock on the bottom of the ocean and hoped the shark would pass him by.  There were lots of other little fish that would hide near him.  After the shark was gone, they would come out from their hiding places and talk about how scared they were.  Gupper knew the shark would eventually find them.  They needed a plan.”

“Are fish really smart, mom?  What kind of plan do you think they had?”

“Well, Gupper called a meeting of all the little fish and they talked about their problem.  None of them wanted to be eaten by the shark.  As he looked at all the frightened fish, Gupper came up with an idea.  He told the group they would need to practice to pull it off, but he thought it just might work.”

“The next day, the shark came by at exactly noon.  He swam past the rock and then was confronted by a really big fish that swam at him with great speed and turned away at just the last second.  The shark had never seen a fish that big or one with that much speed.  It was a blur of color and motion.  The shark swerved off in the opposite direction, suddenly fearing for his own life.”

“But, mom, where did the really big fish come from?”

“Well, Gupper’s plan was quite simple.  When all the little fish worked together and swam together, they could form themselves into the shape of a really big fish.  It gave them power and size that none of them had by themselves.  By working together, they overcame their greatest fear and their biggest obstacle.”

“Did the shark ever bother them again?”

“Oh, the shark came around from time to time, but he always moved on to look for other prey.”

“Gupper sounds pretty smart, mom.”

“Gupper was a very smart little fish who knew that he needed friends in the ocean to help him survive.  We all need friends.  It makes everything a little easier.”

“I’m glad you’re my friend, mom.”

“I’m glad you’re my friend, too, son.  Now get some sleep.  Have magic dreams and a bright tomorrow.  Love you.  Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, mom.  Thanks for the story.  I hope I’m as smart as Gupper when I grow up.”

“You will be.  You already know it’s good to have friends and treat them right. A lot of grown-ups never figure that out.” 

“I guess they never heard about, Gupper.”

“I guess you’re right.”

"I love you."
"I love you back."

Swimming in schools is a common defense method for fish.  You can read more about it on the following website:


  1. Gupper is a perfect guide for a small child - AND also for a child of any age who can address inner doubts by reaching out to others. This story is so appropriate to what we've seen in recent weeks in the Middle East. Everyone (almost) was in hiding, until nearlyeveryone came together in courage. The sharks got some people, but not many. Wonderful story. I'll save for my grandchild, too. Love, Judy

  2. Thanks, Judy. You are right - there are lots of instances of many small voices coming together to overpower their oppressors. A good thing to remember. We have more power for change than we realize.