Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 2, 1999

Sunnie learns an important lesson


Did you know, children, that fish talk to each other?

All animals have their own way of talking - not like people do, but animal talk.

This story is about a sunfish named Sunnie. Sunnie lived with his brothers and sisters in deep water in a lake.

Sunnie wanted to see what it was like near the shore of the lake where all the children played.

One day, Sunnie said to his brother, "Bright Eyes, come with me. Let's swim to the shore and see the children."

But Bright Eyes said, "You are going to get into trouble. It is a long way to the shore from our home and you will get lost. You better ask Mom."

Sunnie found his mother and asked her if he could swim to the shore.

"No, no," Sunnie's mother said. "You must stay with us in the deep water. It is very important that we all stay together."

Sunnie was very disappointed. He said to himself, "One day, I am going to swim wherever I want."

Each day, as he played with his brothers and sisters in the deep water, Sunnie would swim a little farther away from them, until one day, he jumped up out of the water and saw that he was closer to shore than he was to the deep part of the lake.

"Now's my chance," Sunnie thought. "I'll just swim over a little closer to the children and then I'll turn around and swim right back home."

As Sunnie got closer to the shore, he could hear the children laughing and singing.

"I'll swim over to that long thing and sit under it for awhile where I can watch them," Sunnie thought.

He swam under the dock. When the children saw Sunnie there, they stopped what they were doing and ran over to him.

"That little fish looks hungry," a girl said. "I'll go get him something to eat."

She brought bread crumbs to the lake and fed them to Sunnie. He thought they were very, very good.

Then Sunnie saw another fish in the water - a very big fish. He told Sunnie that his name was Mr. Bass.

Sunnie enjoyed talking to Mr. Bass and he learned to jump up high in the water to make the children laugh. He was having so much fun that he forgot about the time until suddenly, he noticed that it was getting dark.

"Oh no," Sunnie said. '"I can't remember how to get home. Can you help me, Mr. Bass?"

"I don't know where you live, Sunnie, and it is getting too dark to see underwater. You will have to stay with me tonight," Mr. Bass said. "In the morning, I will help you find your way home."

Well, it was a long night for Sunnie. He thought that morning would never come. He missed his family, especially his mother. Sunnie was sorry he had gone so far from home alone.

In the morning, it was raining when Mr. Bass and Sunnie set out to look for home. It took them a little while to find the right weed bed, but eventually, Sunnie found his mother and his brothers and sisters.

The little fish was very happy to be home, but his mother said, "Sunnie, you were a very bad fish. I was very worried about you. You may not play with your brothers and sisters in the deep water today. You must learn to follow my rules."

Sunnie learned a very important lesson that summer. He learned that if his mother told him not to do something, it was usually for a very good reason.

Boys and girls, you must always do what your mother tells you to do. If you don't obey your mother, you may lose your privileges, just like Sunnie did.

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