storytime with G, The Tiniest Capen

Gwyneth and the Sand Tunnel

Once upon a time Gwyneth went to the beach with her friends Blue Dog and Malcolm. After they’d played in the water and splashed in the waves, they decided to build a sand castle. They thought the castle should have a moat, so they started digging. They dug the circle around the castle, but it was uneven — Malcolm, it turns out, is a really good digger, and his section was deeper than Gwyn’s, and deeper than Blue Dog’s. And in his deepest section, the sand wasn’t yellow, it was black! That was really interesting, so they kept digging in that spot, and started making a tunnel. The sun was really very hot as they dug in the sand, but as they started into the tunnel, it got nice and cool. So they kept going.

As they dug, the tunnel spiraled around down under the moat, and just when they thought they should probably turn back, the sand turned orange! Yellow sand, black sand, and now orange sand?! As they poked at the orange sand, the front edge of the tunnel caved in a little, and they found a small cave. Inside the orange cave was Mr. Crab! Mr. Crab said hello.

“What are you three doing here, knocking down my wall?” he asked.
“We’re digging a tunnel!” explained Gwyn excitedly.
“Well that’s a good idea,” Mr. Crab agreed, “but this is where I spend my days. It’s too hot up there in the sun, so I burrow down here. And if you keep going the way you’re going, you’ll ruin my hideout. Can you turn a little to the left?”

So Gwyn and Blue Dog and Malcolm agreed to turn left, and said goodbye to Mr. Crab. They turned left, and Malcolm kept digging, until the sand wasn’t orange any more — it was purple!

They dug through the purple sand, and then suddenly they  hit another cave! This one was half full of water, though, and inside was Dr. Octopus. Dr. Octopus blinked, and undulated over to the new hole in the wall of her cave.

“Why, hello. Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Gwyneth, and this is Malcolm, and that’s Blue Dog,” Gwyn explained, “and we’re digging a tunnel!”
“Well, your tunnel has bumped into my cave. This network of canals is where I do my experiments on underwater light sources, and if you keep going you’re going to drain my water out. That’s no good… so can you go a little to the left?”
“Of course!” Gwyn agreed, and they dug onward, a little to the left.

After the purple sand, Malcolm’s paws hit a big stripe of white sand. And in the white sand, his claws started clicking on something hard. Blue Dog took over digging, carefully exploring with his delicate paws to see what Malcolm had found. It turned out to be a clam family!

The clam family was very surprised. They lived down in the nice damp white sand, and no one ever came to visit them. They offered Gwyn and Malcolm and Blue Dog some tea, but it turns out that clam tea is pretty salty, so after one taste they politely declined a second serving. And then the clams asked “don’t you have to go home at night?” Gwyneth was very surprised by the question, and a little confused.

“At night? Yes. But it’s afternoon! We came down here because the sun was so bright and hot.”

Mama Clam chuckled as only clams can chuckle, a burbley slurpey sound. “You three better turn around — it’s almost sunset! You’ve probably been digging for a while!”

So Gwyn and Blue Dog and Malcolm thanked the clams for their help (and the strange tea) and turned around. They climbed out of the white sand back into the purple sand, and saw that Dr. Octopus had repaired her canal wall with scallop shells and seaweed. They climbed out of the purple sand, and saw the orange cave where Mr. Crab had been, empty now that night was falling. They climbed out of the orange sand and the black sand was cool under Gwyn’s bare feet. And then they were back in the yellow sand, and coming out of the tunnel next to their castle, just as the sun started to drop to the ocean’s edge and turn the sky a bright pink.

And off they went, back to their house to shower off the sand and salt, and tell their family about their adventures in the sand tunnel.

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