Once upon a time, there was an Octopus named Herb.
Herb was scared of everything: He was particularly scared of French Fries, seashells, window cleaner, bottled water, shoes, children, stuff animals, handkerchiefs, bologna, picture frames, doorbells, apricots, apples, bathtubs, and otters. But he was scared of everything else, too. He was even scared of his own reflection, because he was 98% sure it had an evil gleam in its eye and any moment would burst through the mirror and tackle him with its eight tentacles.
Herb wished with all his heart and soul that he could be a chameleon. To be able to just blend into your surroundings and essentially become invisible to all the many things in the world that were out to get you! It would be splendid.
So, one day, Herb decided to try being a chameleon. He couldn't change colors at will, but still, he decided to try to blend in to his surroundings as best he could. Maybe if he were really still, despite the color thing, he'd just fade into the background.
His first attempt was in his mother's garden. He nestled in, right in the middle, and pretended to be a statute. He didn't move a muscle. He didn't bat an eyelash.
Mission accomplished!, he thought.
But then he heard his mother's voice: "Herb! Stop squishing my seaweed and go clean your room!"
Next, Herb went to the playground, which was sooooooo scary he almost turned and ran away when he saw a nice little mermaid named Chastity on the swings. Chastity had quite an extravagant hairdo and Herb was positive she wouldn't notice the extra weight if he got atop her head and pretending to be an additional bun.
So that he did. And everything went along swimmingly, until several of Chastity's merfriends arrived and immediately began shrieking, "Oh, no! A purple people eater is attacking Chastity! It's atop her head, slurping out her brains! Oh, no! What shall we do?!"
Herb almost wet himself, because purple people eaters are very scary. WHERE exactly atop Chastity's head was this purple people eater? Herb didn't see it, but then again, Chastity's hairdo was VERY extravagant. Was Herb well hidden enough that the purple people eater couldn't see him, either?
Then he realized the girls were talking about him! They thought HE was a purple people eater.
"That's no purple people eater, guys" Chastity called. "That's just Herb. And he's not slurping anything."
"You knew I was up here?" asked Herb.
"But you didn't say anything," said Herb.
Chastity shrugged. "I figured you had your reasons."
"I was trying to be a chameleon."
"Oh," Chastity said. Then thought for a moment and said, "Well, you shouldn't do that. Chameleons fade into the background and it would be very bad if you did that, because you are a beautiful shade of purple and you should let everyone see you."
After that, Herb and Chastity became friends and though he still shrieked like a little girl whenever he saw a slice of bologna, he was learning that the world was a much less scary place when you have friends.
The story of Herb & Chastity was inspired by the following exchange between my mom and Kaylee (my 3 year old niece), about this (pink highlighter on notebook paper) artwork of Kaylee's:
"Is that a purple people eater?" - my mom
"No, Mimi...it's a PINK, people eater." - Kaylee
We adults just don't know anything, do we? ;)
P.S. #1: Thank you for all the kind thoughts and prayers for my father. They are much appreciated.
P.S. #3: The portrait of Chastity & Herb were done with a combination of: chalks, 2H graphite pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils, Twinkling H20s, a bit of water, and some Paint Shop Pro tweaks and touch-ups.
P.S. #4: Next Adventure Hint - The KJBot 2009