Jonathan’s Shell is Cleaned and Polished
Chapter 6 from the Story
Jonathan the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
A children’s fable by Jan Luthman
Jonathan’s shell is cleaned and polished by The Beetle Boys
“Right,” Jonathan instructed them, “Off you go and fetch a bucket of water and two sponges.”
As the pair scuttled off, one of them turned to Jonathan.
“Where did you learn to run like that?” He asked. There was new-found respect in his voice.
“That,” Declared Jonathan “Is a secret”
The two beetles scrubbed and scrubbed, then dried and polished Jonathan’s shell until it gleamed.
“Thank you,” Said Jonathan. He meant it; he couldn’t remember his shell looking so nice before.
The beetles were silent: nobody had ever said thank you to them.
” My shell looks like new,” Jonathan peered over his shoulder, “You worked very hard.”
The beetles shuffled their feet: nobody had ever praised them before either: they looked almost shy.
“That’s OK,” Said one of them gruffly, “Glad you like it.”
“Yeah,” Added the other, “We could polish your friends’ shells as well if you like.”
Andy was so surprised, he almost fell off Jonathan’s shell.
“There are hundreds of snails in the meadow, ” He exclaimed.
“Hundreds?” Gulped the two beetles.
“And they’d all love to have their shells polished,” Said Jonathan.
And so it was that, for the rest of the week, the two beetle boys spent every day busily washing and polishing the shells of every snail in the meadow.
There were big ones and small ones, and round ones and wobbly ones, and some were flat and some were tall, and some were brown and some were grey and some were all kinds of colours. But all of the snails were thrilled, and every one of them said thankyou and what a nice job the two beetles had done.
And, do you know, by the end of the week, what with all the smiles and thankyou’s, the beetles felt quite different. In fact, they felt so good about the way everybody else was pleased with them, they didn’t feel like bullying at all.
Instead, they discovered that they had made hundreds of new snail friends, from all over the meadow.
“And it was all thanks to Jonathan,” Declared one of the beetles.
“You see,” Explained the other, “People thought that because we looked nasty and tough, we really were nasty and tough.”
“And that made us become nasty and tough,” Added the other.
“But now everyone knows that we’re not,” They said together, “So we don’t have to be bullies any more. We can just be friends: it’s much nicer.”
Andy and Jonathan thought so too.
They waved goodbye to the two beetles, and wended their way off across the meadow towards Andy’s new anthill.
“Bye, Andy,” Said Jonathan, “Thanks for all your help.”
“Bye Jonathan,” Replied Andy, “See you in the morning.”
Andy bustled off to find some more twigs and start building again. Jonathan slid slowly up the hill to his little home in amongst the leaves that lay under the old oak tree; it had been a good week, he thought, he would sleep soundly tonight.
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Jonathan, the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
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