||The Mermaid's Cave
Carissa felt the warm, blue Caribbean Sea moisten her face as the sun sprayed its golden rays across the Island of Saba. A pale, full moon was rising in the East and would soon turn bright yellow. But there was no time now for enjoying the scenery. She was searching for a cave along the long, winding rock laden shore of the island. Unexpectedly a small entrance to what she hoped would be a cave appeared just below a small formation of crumbled rock. Softly singing an ancient song she had heard long, long ago, Carissa moved her Mermaid's tail as fast as she could toward the brown, grey rocks and dove head first into the darkness. From the time she was just a girl, she understood that her life would be guided by the tides and the moon. All the riches that she collected from the ocean floor would be in danger if she didn't find a cave to keep them in.
Carissa bobbed her head up and was relieved to see a nice cozy island cave where she could pause for the phase of the full moon. "At last," she cried. "It seems like I'll have to look no further. This cave will do just fine. Finally I can rest." The cave was a small, quaint place with numerous ledges to nap on and just enough light creeping through the ceiling cracks to make it livable.All of a sudden, from across the cave came a shrill, bubbly voice.
"Get out! Get out of my house!" The Mermaid turned in surprise only to see a small blue colored fish flapping its fins like a startled rooster. "This is my cave. I have searched all my fish-life for this cave and it's now my home. I have claimed this place. You must leave Mermaid. Your know this to be true."
"The fish was right," she thought. "He knows the laws of Neptune as well as I do." She couldn't just take the cave for herself, but maybe she could convince the fish to let her stay for awhile.
"Oh fish, master of this cave, I only need to stay for three days. After that the moon will wane and I can go back to the sea," Carissa cleverly pleaded.
The fish had heard these pleas before and said, "I know of your powers Mermaid. I will let you stay but only if you grant me a wish."
"A wish," she thought. " I have to give up a wish for this measly fish. Hmmm. Let me think." She gathered her thoughts and looked the fish in the eyes and cried, "But beautiful fish, I only have one last wish to grant and I have promised it to my betroth. We are to be married before the next full moon," the Mermaid quickly lied. "Why should I give my last wish to you? My life would be so unhappy," slyly knowing that she had many wishes she could grant.
"Is your bridegroom handsome? As handsome as I was?"
"What do you mean?" said the mermaid. "You are just a common blue fish. Nothing more."
"But your wrong," countered the fish. "I am the Prince of the Island of Saba. I was turned into a fish by Sonti the evil Sorcerer."
The Mermaid paused and thought to herself, "I have heard of this sorcerer. He has bothered my ocean sisters and brothers for many years now. This sorcerer is cruel to all he encounters." The fish continued, "If you grant me my wish, I will appear to you as I truly am. Then you can bring your beloved here and I will share all the riches of my kingdom with you both."
The Mermaid didn't know what powers the fish had, but she was intrigued with the thought of added riches. And she was also running out of time. The moon would soon be full and she would have to quickly gather her treasures and bring them to the cave. "It is only one wish," she thought. "And who knows. This Fish-Prince might be as truly handsome as he says.
The fish wiggled its gills and spoke, "I know your time grows short. The twilight is upon us. You must find a cave soon or lose your treasure. Decide now Mermaid or you will have wasted all your years of gathering riches."
"Alright," Carissa replied. "I will grant you the wish you ask for." The fish smiled, with a smile only an enchanted fish could make. With a burst of great energy, Carissa raised herself up on her tail like a dolphin and skipped around the water of the cave in a circle spinning round and round and round and round. In an instant a giant squall began outside the cave and the water came crashing down against the rock walls. A great storm began creating ear piercing thunderclaps, blinding lightning flashes, and sheets upon sheets of tropical rain.
When the storm subsided the cave was miraculously filled with thousands of gold doubloons, multi-colored jewels, gold and silver chalices, strings of pearls, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds...more riches than the fish had ever seen. Now the Mermaid flipped her tail toward the fish. An eerie, yet strangely beautiful, blue light filled every corner of the cave. The fish began to shutter and shake. Its blue scales and skin started to glow with a silvery haze and then the transformation started. But instead of becoming a Prince of great royalty, a small brown sparrow appeared and fluttered around the cave. The Mermaid looked surprised and confused.
"I thought you were the Prince of Saba?" she said.
The sparrow began laughing and seemed to sing its reply, "Do you think you would have granted a wish to a creature as common as me?" The Mermaid laughed to herself realizing what a fool she had been as she watched the tiny brown sparrow fly into the night sky and into the yellow light of the full moon.