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Literature by TheMoorMaiden

Lit by sentienttree


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Submitted on
November 8, 2012
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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
×
I was once friends with a kappa named Cucumber.

We met on a Saturday. It had rained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Come Saturday it was still raining, so I put on my yellow boots and jacket; and I took an umbrella, a bucket, and some cucumber sandwiches; and went down the lane to collect frogspawn.

Along the way I splashed through every puddle, but thanks to the yellow boots my feet stayed nice and dry.

When I got to the pond, I saw something floating on the water. It had big green eyes, so I thought it was a frog. But as I came closer it suddenly spoke!

“I know it well, that human smell.”

It wasn't a frog at all… it was a little girl! She was standing in the pond and looking at me with her huge, round eyes, green as green. She had long, red hair and a lily pad on top of her head.

“If you don’t get out of the rain, you’ll catch cold” I told her, and I offered her my umbrella. But the girl shook her head.

“Underwater it’s wet enough, the cold and the rain is what I love” she replied.

As I thought how strange it was to speak in rhymes and swim in the rain, I noticed the girl looking at me very hungrily. So I took a cucumber sandwich out of my pocket.

“If you’re hungry, you may share my lunch with me” I said.

Quick as a flash she snatched it away, opened wide and swallowed it whole. Then she wanted the next sandwich, and the next. Before long she had eaten them all.

I asked her: “Do you really like cucumbers that much?” She nodded and smiled. I smiled too.

“Let’s be friends!” I cried “Please, oh please! After I get some frogspawn you can come to my house and play.” The girl looked very sad.

“Although I would like to come and play, here in the water I must stay” she said apologetically. But then she took my bucket and dived beneath the surface. A moment later she returned, and the bucket was brimming with frogspawn!

“Come find me in the pouring rain, when you want to meet again”. So I picked up my things and splashed all the way home.

From that day on, whenever it rained I would go down to the pond to see her. I always took her favourite cucumber sandwiches, and because she loved them more than anything else I called her ‘Cucumber’.

I didn't tell anyone else about her: she was my special, secret friend.

Sometimes we played checkers (which Cucumber always won).

Sometimes we shared stories (though Cucumber preferred to listen).

We paddled in the shallows and when there was no more frogspawn she helped me collect pebbles. One day the bucket was so heavy I couldn't carry it. Then, when Cucumber came to help me, I looked down and saw she had webbed feet like a duck.

“Why do your feet look like that Cucumber?” I said.

“All kappa toes are the same as those” answered Cucumber, and shrugged. “Who knows?”

I didn't know what a kappa was, but it felt rude to say so. Instead I went home and asked my mother. Her face turned a strange colour and she got very angry.

“Kappa are the river children; foul, evil creatures who make mischief wherever they go. They cause floods, sink boats and drown animals. If they catch you they will drag you into the water and gobble you up! Don’t you ever go near the river, that’s where they live – and there’s nothing they like better to eat than little boys!”

I ran outside before she could wonder where I had heard of kappa. I was in such a hurry that I even forgot my umbrella and jacket.

By the time I reached the pond my clothes were drenched and my shoes were full of rain; I felt so miserable that I burst into tears, but Cucumber waved at me brightly.

“How very nice, to visit twice” said she, bobbing up and down. I thought about her webbed feet, her scaly skin, her bulging eyes and spiky teeth – she wasn't human.

“Were you going to eat me, Cucumber?” I mumbled. She stopped combing the weeds out of her red hair and stared down at our reflections for a while.

“Yes, human meat is what I eat; and yes, at first I planned the worst” she replied.

“Yet in the end we’re best of friends! Please don’t get mad, I'm not all bad… and since we met I've felt so glad; for every day you came to play.”

She bit her lip as if she were about to cry.  But kappa are made of water – they cannot cry.

At that moment I heard my mother calling me. When she arrived I was soaked and shivering and Cucumber was nowhere to be found. Mum took me home and put me to bed.

I lay watching the rain outside my window wondering if I would ever see that strange little girl again.

The next day I was too poorly for school. Mum gave me medicine and told me to rest. As I slept, I dreamed that Cucumber was peering through the glass at me – I let her in, but my throat hurt so badly I couldn't say anything.

She brought me little white flowers and a stripy snail. She held my hand, and her hands felt warm and dry.  Then she took the lily pad off her head and placed it on mine.
When I woke up my cold had gone, and there was something wet on the pillow...

Why, Cucumber’s hat! And on the windowsill I found the bunch of flowers and the snail in its stripy shell. She must have come to visit after all.

It had rained so much overnight that the streets completely flooded, people were paddling about in canoes and eating picnics on the rooftops.

Mum couldn't believe I’d recovered so suddenly, and told me to stay in bed while she was busy downstairs. Of course, I didn't mention Cucumber.

I waited impatiently until night-time, certain that she would come back again. Out in the garden the Moon floated on the surface of the water like a giant fishing lure.

Cucumber’s eyes made the Moon look square.

“ I'm so glad to see you again” I said the moment she came into view. She sat upon the fence with water streaming down her knees. But she looked deathly pale, and my heart sank. Did Cucumber get sick because of me?  

I removed the lily pad and floated it across to her. “This is yours. Thanks for lending it to me”.

She put it on and immediately perked up, but she didn't smile like she used to. When she spoke, her tone was serious. “My friend, this is the end. The deal we made has been repaid”.

“Are you leaving, Cucumber?” I asked, bewildered.

She nodded. “Because I dared to interfere, it’s time that I go far from here”.

I didn't understand, and I had so many more questions to ask her, but for some reason they wouldn't come out. Was it my fault she had to leave? Would she ever come back again?

At last Cucumber heaved a sigh. “Although I’d love to stay, I must now be on my way”.

“But… I’ll miss you” I whispered.

“I’ll miss you too” she whispered back. Then she turned away, and slipped into the darkness without a sound.

I love the rain. Now, whenever it starts to pour, I put on my yellow boots and jacket; and take an umbrella, a backpack, and some sandwiches; and splash through every puddle down the lane on my way to school. Sometimes I go to the pond where the white flowers grow to collect frogspawn or pebbles, which I keep in jars under the window.

But I’ll never forget how I was once friends with a kappa named Cucumber.


THE END
This is the script for a children's book I'm hoping to publish. It's my first try at writing for children but I'm pleased with the result. "Charming" was what I was going for.

© to Sophie Floyd, 2012
Add a Comment:
 
:iconasiapasek:
asiapasek Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Great story. Please keep writing!
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
Thank you so much :heart:
Reply
:iconmajorasmasks:
MajorasMasks Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's a nice and charming story and I liked it a lot, your writing style included. :)
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
Thank you for your time ^_^
Reply
:iconmajorasmasks:
MajorasMasks Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks to you for writing this. ^^
Reply
:iconazalane:
Azalane Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I really liked A LOT! But, English is not my first language, so I'm probably not the best person to judge the level of the composition or structure of sentences or even how it is written, but what I have read, seriously, I really like it.

There are really cute little rhymes and the story is filled with beautiful images that we can easly imagine. I wish you good luck about to publish it! I saw some great drawings from :iconnatalianinomiya: and it's because of her great illustrations that I find your sweet story.

I'm not a big fan of litterature here, on DA, but with this script, I am now more interested to read more :aww:
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you like it. Natalia's drawings are beautiful aren't they? ^_^
Reply
:iconazalane:
Azalane Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes they are! I'm quite impress by her artwork, it's very beautiful and her style fits with you writing too :nod:. This is the kind of story that I would like to illustrate myself! :love:

Maybe I could try with one of your other story? Just for the kick, I wouldn't want to charge anything but it could be like a challenge for me? I need some piece for my portfolio as an artist. Tell me if it's ok with you? ;)
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
Why, yes, of course, I would be honoured! ^_^
Reply
:iconazalane:
Azalane Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Great! I'll see what I can do, thank you! I'll put a link to your page of course :aww:
Reply
:iconthemoormaiden:
TheMoorMaiden Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This is adorable. :heart: It's very visual, and I could picture it as an illustrated storybook for children; I imagine this is something my nieces would enjoy very much. :D

I love the lines: Along the way I splashed through every puddle. Thanks to the yellow boots my feet stayed nice and dry. They're just so sweet. :giggle:

Lovely work!
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Thank you, that it how I would like for it to turn out, with any luck! ^^
Reply
:iconthemoormaiden:
TheMoorMaiden Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome. :)
Reply
:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
just lost 15 minutes. the premise appears promising, sounds like the plot to a Japanese children's movie. good luck
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
I'm sorry you don't like it, but if it was really such a waste of your time, why even bother commenting?
Reply
:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ummm...because I'd like to help you grow as an artist, and I'm not just another flatter panning for faves...

I stated that the premise was good, you just need to develop it a little more...

([link])

But if you can't handle criticism, then why even bother replying?
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
Had there been anything CONSTRUCTIVE about the criticism in your first comment, I would have taken it on board with good grace. However all it seemed to say was that reading my story had been a waste of your time, plus an ambiguous comment about it resembling a Japanese film that didn't really tell me anything about how to improve upon it.

It's meant to be a book for very young children, as much as I would love to write more I'm limited to a certain number of pages so expanding it would be difficult. I tried to make it follow a traditional narrative storyline with a beginning, middle and end, but apparently (and correct me if I'm wrong) you don't agree.

I also resent being labelled 'vain', I never made any claims that this is perfect or that everyone needs to love and praise it. It's just good manners to thank someone when they say something nice about your work.
Reply
:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, so I do apologize for the miscommunication of the second comment: the link to the poem was not intended to label you as vain. I was only trying to give an example of how an excellent handle on descriptive language can make a big difference in a work of literature.

And...now that I've read the story again, I also apologize for the first comment: now that I see the way the sentences are placed, it is clear that the story was meant to correspond with a picture book, which means that detailed descriptive language is not needed so much after all. The rhyming and timing are both good, but the story doesn't seem to have a clear message or lesson that it is trying to teach children, other than perhaps to be nice to strangers so that you don't get eaten.

What that ultimately means is that the skill of your illustrator will be what determines the success or failure of story. I counted 50+ "pages" in there, so 50 x 50-100 = $2500-5000 if you commissioned a freelance illustrator from DA. Then if you put it all together and pay a small publishing company $2500-5000, that will get you enough books to circulate around to friends, libraries, etc so that you can see a chance at getting a return on your investment.

Oddly enough, it appears that I have come full circle: in the beginning I complemented the premise while criticizing the execution, but now I am beginning to think the opposite. If I were to take such a risk in the area of self-publishing, the question that I would ask myself is if whatever lesson my book is trying to teach children is important enough to risk never getting a dime back from the initial investment.

But I suppose that is question that you will ultimately have to answer yourself: is it really worth $5,000-10,000 to get a book out there that teaches kids not to be rude to strangers? Well, perhaps it is :)

Respectfully,

-SC
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Thank you for your explanation and apology, I happily accept with no hard feelings. Critique is far more valuable than any amount of praise ^^

I myself have thought long and hard about what the moral of this story might be, and it has occurred to me (though whether a child would acknowledge this I don't know) that the message is "show kindness to others, and you may receive kindness in return - it could even change a person for the better". But personally I'm not of the opinion that all children's stories MUST have a strict lesson to learn. This story is ultimately about a child finding joy and then having to part with it due to circumstances beyond his control, something my friends and I experienced when we were young and which I drew on when writing this.

In terms of publishing it, I have seen various illustrators' interpretations of my work, but though the script is finished there is still a ways to go before it looks anything like it will if I do succeed. I am still young and poor, but I shall persevere and see what develops.
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
To be fair, that was more like a flame than a criticism :shrug: I'm also not sure it's fair so say that she "couldn't handle it" - I think she's just making a (reasonable) comment about the aimless nature of your feedback.

If you'd really like to help the author, you should take the time to consider and explain why you didn't like a piece. That way she can learn from your experience.

Not stepping in here to start a fight, I just felt like this should be said.
Reply
:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Monstroooo: I completely understand where you are coming from, and I thank you for the tact you had in your criticism of my criticism.

If you would prefer for me to not comment on future pieces in the weekly roundups, I completely understand.
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
No worries SC! I think you were out of line and felt I should stick up for ~JiaLi, but your candour and contrition are noted and appreciated. Thank you.

Your contribution is always welcome on the Round-ups, and indeed on any lit in our gallery. Criticism is also welcome - our features aren't supposed to be perfect, and if a feature leads to a piece getting in-depth criticism (as seems to have happened here, in the end), then alls well.

But criticism should be balanced, respectful and considered - words which I don't think could be applied to the conversation until my rude intervention.

I should probably also clarify that my response was a personal one, not on behalf of the group in any official capacity.

:)
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
I know it wasn't of a personal nature, but thank you for sticking up for me! I'm glad the situation has been peacefully resolved and any misunderstandings cleared up ^^
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Anytime! I'm just glad things have worked out amicably :love:
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
aw, a very nice piece! Charming indeed.

It kind of reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki's work.

I wish you luck with the publishing.
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Thank you very much!

Indeed, Miyazaki's films have inspired me greatly over the years. He is a master of taking genres stereotypically aimed at children and making them enjoyable for all ages :heart:
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
welcome

That's true - he is quite the master at making something for children and inner children alike.
Reply
:iconrisingwolve:
RisingWolve Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so cute! If I had read this when I was younger, I would've loved it as much as I do now. :) :+favlove:
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it ^^
Reply
:iconrisingwolve:
RisingWolve Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! :D
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations! :party: You've been featured in our Weekly Round-up :woohoo: :squee:

Thank you for sharing with the group :love:

:iconwritersink:
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's an adorable story, I hope one day you do get it published, it'd be nice to see in a short book of stories
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Thank you! I'm already writing various other short stories (though not all for children), perhaps in future I shall publish them together.
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Personally I'm a fan of short stories :D a variety is always good!
Reply
:iconmagnius159:
Magnius159 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
So cute! :D
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Cheers! ^^
Reply
:iconstarry-eyed-writer:
Starry-Eyed-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Student Writer
I quite liked the story, it's very cute. However, you need to work on your punctuation, particularly if you want to get published. A book like 'Eats, Shoots and leave' would be helpful.
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Thanks, I will look into that.
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
"Charming" was absolutely the word I had in mind as I read through :)

I was going to have a little whinge about the very short paragraphs, but on reading your comments I've changed my mind. This strikes a good tone for a children's story - simple language, nice rhymes, and short paragraphs all combine well. Good stuff! :clap:
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
Thank you very much for your compliments! :heart:
Reply
:iconfehnwrites:
Fehnwrites Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is frogspawn like tadpoles? "frogspawn" sounds really gross xD

And this is very cute. The first sentence really caught me =]
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Thank you! ^^

Frogspawn is what that jelly-like stuff is called before the eggs hatch and tadpoles appear.
Reply
:iconfehnwrites:
Fehnwrites Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, I see :3
Reply
:iconchar-kisses-lotte:
char-kisses-lotte Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
its so perfect!!!
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Oh thank you sweetie, a thousand times thank you!! ;w;
Reply
:iconsentienttree:
sentienttree Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Writer
I really like this, it does have a certain charming, storybook quality to it, though I don't quite understand why Cucumber has to leave. Is it because she left the water?

Also that first sentence 'I was once friends with a kappa named Cucumber'- that was what caught my attention. :D
Reply
:iconjiali:
JiaLi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Thank you for your interest, I'm glad you like it! :heart:

To answer your questions, the main character doesn't really understand why Cucumber has to leave either, but it's because she interfered with humans too much - removing her lilypad and giving it to a human was the final straw, since she would have died if he hadn't returned it. She didn't in fact have to leave the water at all due to flooding (either way she's physically incapable of doing so).
Reply
:iconsentienttree:
sentienttree Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Writer
ok, thanks. :)
Reply
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