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'The Shell Seeker' - A Summer Tale for Young Children

One summer morning, as the sunrise glistened on the ocean waves, a lone woman was walking on the beach. She carried a large basket, and as the waves rolled onto the beach she would quickly pick up the most colorful shells that lay on the sand before the waves carried them back again into the water. The woman's name was Maris, which means 'of the sea'. This was a perfect name for her, as she loved the ocean like a sister.  

Maris lived in a small hut on the beach, and every day she would gather wonderful shells to sell in the marketplace. On this day, as she wandered down the beach, bending quickly to catch the shells the waves brought in, she noticed an unusually large wave coming towards the beach. It crashed and splashed like no other wave she had ever seen. And what treasures it brought with it! Maris ran to gather the most beautiful and wondrous shells ever found on the beach before.  

As she stood up, she noticed an extraordinary shell further up the beach. It was bigger than other shells, and glistened pink and grey in the sunlight.  Maris went to have a better look, thinking this would sell for a fine price in the market. As she got closer she heard a sweet sound, like the tinkling of little bells. When she looked inside the shell, imagine her surprise when she found a round and rosy baby cooing and singing.

Maris was sure the shell was brought in by the great wave, but still she looked up and down the beach to see if anyone could have left the baby there. There was no one at all. She gently picked up the baby and returned to her hut. There she wrapped the baby in a soft blanket and rocked the baby back and forth, back and forth. Soon the child fell sound asleep.  That night, another giant wave came upon the beach and took the baby's shell back into the heart of the ocean.

No one ever came asking about a child, so Maris kept the baby as her own, and named her Galia, which also means 'of the sea'.  She cared for the little one and loved her dearly, and Galia loved her as a mother.  As time went on the two of them went out every morning, walking along the beach gathering shells.  Together now they went to the market to sell them. Everyone in the village said, there was something special about them, something magical.

Indeed, this was so. The child was a gift to Maris from Mother Ocean herself, who understood how much Maris was of the sea.  And for the rest of time, Maris and Galia lived by the rhythms of the waves, and they lived well and were good and kind and happy.

( image by Carmela Maglasang )


This wonderful tale is my adaptation for puppetry of a folk tale from Chile.  I  fell in love with it when I first learned it and turned it into a puppet show.... one of my favorite ones ever !  It has one main character so is very doable for solo puppeteering.  xox suzanne down



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