The First Pearl

Once upon a time off the coast of Honshu in Japan,
lived a family of many, many oysters at the bottom of the ocean.
They lived happily, everything was easy and they enjoyed each others company.
There was food in abundance; they simply opened themselves up and caught the food without any difficulty.
They did not have to hunt or go anywhere, it came to them.
One day, as they were living happily and peacefully in their underwater kingdom, a great great storm came.
A storm no one of them had ever experienced before.
The waves rose as high as the tallest pine trees,
the wind blew in a cold fury everywhere,
the lightening sent its electric fingers over all the land and ocean.

The turmoil reached the quiet and comfortable bed of the ocean,
where the family of oysters lived.
They started to be thrown about and the sand was whirled in all directions.

Some of the oysters were swept away never to be seen again.
All of them were in a panic : “what to do in this ferocious storm ?"
All of them decided to keep close together, hold onto the seabed
and close their wide mouth very tightly.

So as Storm pounded stronger and stronger they held themselves tighter and tighter together.

Meanwhile the sand grains were tossed and thrown everywhere.
The grains were also in a panic of what to do, they could not stick together like the oysters because their tiny yellow bodies were different from those of the oysters. How could they get help?

They knocked on the shell of the oysters begging,
"Please let us in, give us some shelter till Storm passes, please".
However the oysters replied : “No room, no room and besides if we opened our mouths to let you in, who knows what Storm would do to us".
"O oysters, don't you remember, we gave you our little yellow backs where you comfortably slept and sat on the seabed for so many years ", pleaded the sand grains.

"Times have changed sand grains, now its too dangerous for us to let you in and besides ,that was in the past. The present is another reality,' heartlessly replied the oysters.

No matter how much the sand grains knocked, pleaded and begged,
the oysters kept their shells and hearts firmly shut.

One of the oysters, Shisuku, heard the pleas of one of the grains that had come to her shell and she felt she should do something.
She told the other oysters,
"Let's open our mouths just a little for some of these sand grains,
after all, they have been so kind to us in the past”.

“You are mad" the other oysters all shouted.
If we open our mouths, even just a little,
the great Storm will enter and rip us open and that will be the end of us. Definitely not!'

Still Shisuku felt mercy as she heard the cries of the little sand grains outside her shell. So, without telling any of the other oysters she opened her mouth a little and whispered to the grain;

“Come, come in my little friend and wait till the storm is over". The grain quickly stepped inside Shisuku’s mouth and very grateful for her kindness.

The storm lasted a long time but gradually passed. Shisuku had forgotten about the little sand grain and many months passed.

And then one day as she opened her mouth to eat, the other oysters looked at her and exclaimed "How beautiful ! We have never seen such a thing before.
Where did you get it ? Why don’t you tell us ? We want one too ".

Shisuku could not understand what they were talking about. Then as she looked inside herself she too was amazed. There stood a beautiful little round ball, the colour of moonlight, shining brightly.

“I want one, I want one, give me one too, give me “.The other oysters all started shouting.

Then Shisuku realised that this was a gift from the little sand grain
and was so happy and so amazed.

Story by Rafael Rao