The immense ocean spread out against the sky before the turtle. He takes a deep breath and looks back at the shell on his back. Or should I say the lack of one? You see, turtles aren’t born with their shells, they have to take a journey to find the one that’s right for them. This turtle’s brothers and sisters had already found their shells on land, while he had yet to find his. So, the brave little turtle concluded that his shell mustn’t be on land.
He looks back at the large blue body of water. “What wonders it must hold, what terrors it must hide,” the turtle thinks aloud. “Perhaps my shell is hidden under the rolling waves concealing my destiny.” So, the little turtle ventures out into the vast ocean to find his shell. He didn’t have to wander past the grains of sand beneath his claws before he came upon a conch.
The snail inside the conch looks up at the large green lizard creature and yells, “Hello up there!”
The turtles looks down towards the loud noise and says, “Oh, hello to you, too!”
“Where might you be going, lad?” the curious snail asks.
“To the ocean, sir.”
“The ocean?” he repeats. “Whatever for?”
“I’m looking for my shell,” the turtle replies.
“A shell, eh? Well, I can save you a bit of trouble if you’ll take mine instead.”
“Are you sure?” the young turtle asks, “Don’t you need it?”
“I can survive without it, plus I can find another just as easily as I found this one ‘ere.”
“Thank you very much, sir, but I don’t think that shell will fit on my back.”
The snail laughs and says, “I suppose you’re right. Sorry ‘bout that, kid.”
“It’s alright,” the turtle says. “I’ll keep looking.”
“Good luck!” The snail and the turtle promptly part ways.
The turtle climbs over the smooth rocks that are stationed between the sands and the seas. The turtle then leaps into the waters below, swimming down below the surface. He didn’t have to dive far before he came across a clamshell.
“What’re you lookin’ at, punk?” the clam inside of the shell squeaks.
“I’m sorry,” the turtle says, “I was just admiring your shell. You see, I’m look for one of my own.”
“Yeah, well, go look somewhere else," she says.
“Where should I look, though?”
The clam thinks for a moment then says, “Try the current, the sea turtles usually come around 'ere on it.”
“Okay, thank you!” the turtle says, swimming away with a new sense of purpose.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” The clam closes her shell once more.
The turtle swims for quite a while, not knowing where he was actually going. He eventually became very tired and started wondering if he would ever reach the sea turtles. Suddenly, the turtle feels something pushing him in another direction. When he’s spun around to face that direction, he can’t believe his eyes. There, in front of him were the sea turtles!
He quickly swims over to them and they take notice surprisingly slowly. It’s not until he taps one on the shoulder that they recognize that he’s not a part of their own kind.
“What’re you doing down here, kid?” the sea turtle asks.
“I’m looking for a shell,” the little turtle replies.
“A shell? What for?”
“For my back. Turtles are supposed to have shells,” the turtle explains.
“Oh, yeah.” The sea turtle finally seems to take notice of the small turtle’s bare back. “What happened to yours?” he asks.
“I haven’t found it yet,” the young turtle explains.
“Haven’t found it, huh? Why don’t you check your back?”
“My back?” Confused, the turtle looks back and sees nothing but the dry skins of his back. “There’s nothing there,” he says.
“Yes it is,” the sea turtle informs him. “You just can’t see it.”
“If I can’t see it, then they won’t believe it’s real!” the turtle snaps, becoming frustrated.
“If you don’t believe it’s there, then it’s not there. But if you do believe it’s there, others will start to believe it, too.”
“That’s not true!” the turtle says, almost in tears. “I’m never going to get any help from you, am I?”
“I’ve given you all the help you need,” the old sea turtle says.
“Fine then,” the turtle says, turning to swim out of the current, “I’ll just look for it somewhere else.”
“I don’t need luck.” And he swam away fiercely, leaving droplets of tears behind him.
He searched all day, and he searched all night but he couldn’t find the shell that was right for him. Finally, he gives up this drastic search and tells himself it was hopeless anyway. The ocean was too big and he was too small.
“If I can’t find it in the ocean,” says the little turtle as he swims toward the surface, “I’ll have to go home.”
So he returned home to the rejoicing voices of his brothers and sisters, but most of all to the loving embrace of his parents.
Late that night, the little turtle thinks about what that sea turtle had said. “Maybe he’s right,” the little turtle whispers as he falls asleep. “Maybe being different is who I’m meant to be.”
Author Notes: This was just a request from my boyfriend. It spiraled into this—whatever this is. Anyway, I hope you have a great day!