A story for children – Jaime Leah Moore, to be precise – who can decide whether or not it is suitable for grown ups.
Once upon a time, the best dancers in the land were also the best of friends, and their names were Jaime and Oliver.
They practised all year, and danced for the rest, and were loved all over the world.
Then one sunny day came the world semi-final, and they danced the dance of their life.
The audience cheered, and stood, and clapped, and flowers were thrown at their feet. Jaime smiled and Oliver bowed. The room was full with their grace.
That night they slept well and had happy sweet dreams, for their families had nothing but praise.
They awoke the next day to a beautiful scene, and decided to go for a walk. Down tracks, through woods, by rivers they went, till they were tired out.
They sat on a rock and looked at the water, which sparkled under the sun.
Then Jaime noticed something sparkling a little bit more than the rest.
A pink shiny thing moved closer to them and popped up its bright, wet head.
“Well hello,” it said, in a voice made of silk, as the dancers stared at the fish.
“Hello,” they said back, and wondered how this fish could speak.
“I’m not any old fish,” it said. It seemed to read their minds.
“I’ve heard about you!” cried Oliver, “But I can’t remember much…”
“You’re queen of the river,” Jaime said, “Your name’s Salmon Ella.”
The pink thing winked and grinned at the pair, who suddenly weren’t tired anymore.
“I think we should go,” said Oliver, “We’re late for our dinner.”
Jaime took his hand and the pair got up on their feet.
“But dinner’s right here in the forest, if you just look for it.” Salmon eyes looked up at them with kindness. “Just over there, at Tall Tree Scare… And pudding’s not far away…”
“Pudding?” The children’s eyes lit up, their teeth were sweet as their feet.
The salmon grinned a horrible grin. The children should have known better…
… But off they walked to Tall Tree Scare, in search of a tasty supper,
Which they found, and cooked, and ate, but all in a bit of a rush.
All the while, Allda Wiser, the big grey owl, tutted from her branch.
The next day saw the pair in bed, not full of sweets but pain and moan,
For they had wolfed their tea.
No room for sweets or fruit or drink, Just some green in their cheeks.
The next day Jaime and Oliver were even more determined to get to the pudding So temptingly near to their spot.
“We’ll do it today,” said he,
said her, “I’ll get me some nice fruit.”
Off they trogged, back to Tall Tree Scare, and found some meat again.
So hungry for pudding were they that this time, they didn’t even cook their meat!
It was barely white when they wolfed it down, not brown, like decent folk would hope.
Allda Wiser heard chuckles that night, from some corner of the deep…
The third day came, and Jaime and Oliver were struck down by the worst illness they’d ever known.
All day they slept and moaned and cried, and doubled up in pain.
No food they had that day, no meat, no fruit, no veg…
A sad day it was, for sure, for they were meant to dance.
The final had crept up on them, and they would miss their chance.
But guess what, someone saved the day, and nursed them back to health.
As Oliver and Jaime lay repairing, their saviours danced the dance.
They had always wished to end up on a shiny stage.
They danced the dance of their life, and then, they danced some more.
The audience cheered, and stood, and clapped, and flowers were thrown at their feet.
Good old Uncle and Auntie Histamine had saved two things in one.
The Gold Dance Cup went to the same home, with new names on its face.
Uncle and Auntie smiled and sat. The house was full with their grace.
Now the fourth day came, and a third dinner came, and I’m not going to name names… But the family feasted on fruits and chocolate, every pudding you can dream.
But only after a big, pink, shiny dinner, that their owl friend had roasted for a long, long time…