Monday 10 April 2017

#AtoZChallenge: The Princess and the Heroic Herring

Despite common opinion, a mermaid’s biggest threat wasn’t Ursula. Sure, Ursula roamed the waters and tricked unsuspecting merpeople into doing her bidding. Sure, there were the two eels that did her bidding, ensnaring merpeople with both body and words. But Ursula was a known enemy and therefore, whilst a threat, could be defeated. Princess Ariel had dealt with her, King Triton had defeated her. No, a mermaid’s biggest threat was sharks. Sharks big enough to eat you. Chase you down until you were exhausted and then bite your tail off. With your tail gone, you couldn’t swim. And then they’d take you leisurely, one bite at a time.

Princess Harmony was tiring. She’d swum further and faster than she’d ever gone before, but it was not enough. The blasted shark was still on her tail. She had to try trickery. Except there was no one to try trickery with. She knew the stories. How Flounder had helped Ariel escape once before, distracting the shark by weaving in and out of old wreckage until it was trapped. But she was all alone here. She’d swum too far from the city.

A movement on her right caught her eye. Was there someone else out there? She shifted her direction ever so slightly, hoping against hope that whoever was there was friendly. If not… She pushed away her pessimistic thoughts.

It was a herring, she realised. A tiny little herring, sleek and silver, darting around her. Wait, didn’t herring move in schools? Why was this one here alone? And it was a tiny one—a baby herring alone in shark-infested waters? But the heroic fish was veering off to one side and seemed to be beckoning her, so she pushed herself to follow, even if she was too exhausted to speak.

Then she was engulfed in a ball of fish, a bait ball, but with her in the centre, protected. Her and the little heroic herring. The school moved as one, broke into two, split directions, drawing off the shark. She just followed, trusting the school to know what it was doing.

“You’re safe now.”

Princess Harmony looked up to find they had come to a stop near the palace, the school of herring still swarming around her like a bright silver ball. It was the little herring that had spoken. The bait ball was starting to disband now that they were in safe waters.

“Thank you,” Princess Harmony said. “You saved my life.”

“Aw, it was nothing,” the heroic herring said with a blush. “We’re all stronger when we work together.”

A smile crossed the princess’s face. She remembered that line. She’d said it herself last week when she gave that pep talk against bullying at the local primary school. “Yes, we are, little herring. Yes, we are.”


Head over to Yuin-Y's for today's illustration.


  1. Loved it. And I love the message too. Particularly relevant in our world of today.

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  2. Cute little story with a great moral!

  3. Wonderful way to spread the message about bullying.

    I: Isla Mujeres & Indiana
    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!