ELFISHKI AND PERFORMANCE IN THE FOUNTAIN
a bedtime story
by Elvira Baryakina
The little Sea Elfishki Rinka has dreamed of becoming a circus performer. She would always come up with tricks and show them to her friends at school. However, teachers rarely appreciated it. Every now and then, Rinka’s mother got calls from the school office:
“During lunchtime, Rinka juggled sea cucumbers at the cafeteria.”
“Rinka tried to ride a sea elephant during our field trip to the zoo.”
“Rinka brought a magician hat to the classroom and took a thorny puffer fish out of it. Please talk to her about following the school rules.”
When the school break began, Rinka’s mother decided to find a babysitter for her daughter. But no one volunteered. Babysitters suspected that Rinka would go training sharks or would think up another dangerous trick.
Only a kind-hearted cat, Mr. Thomas, who lived in Elfishtown on the Rainbow Island, agreed to look after Rinka.
“Have a Fish Bowl Taxi bring your daughter to the big fountain next to my house,” he said to Rinka’s mother. “Your little one will be safe there and won’t get herself into trouble.”
Rinka had never been to Elfishtown. As the Fish Bowl Taxi drove her along the streets, she was all eyes and wondered at every car, streetlight, and ice cream seller.
But she did not like her fountain at all: Indeed, it was boring to swim all day long from one side to another. Moreover, Mr. Thomas did not want to get into the water and play with Rinka.
“He says cats are afraid of water,” Rinka told her mother. “But I think he’s scared of me. Every time he comes up to my fountain, he puts on a life vest.”
Indeed, the old cat was afraid of Rinka’s tricks. Once, Rinka made him sit on the fountain’s edge and pretend he was a circus spectator while she played a cannonball gymnast who got ejected from the underwater cannon into the sky.
As a result, Rinka showered Mr. Thomas from his head to his tail. In panic, the cat fell into the fountain and nearly drowned.
Now poor Rinka did not know how to keep herself busy besides decorating the fountain sculpture with sea foam she brought from home.
Once, Rinka saw little girls playing jump rope.
“I wanna do something like that!” she said to Mr. Thomas. “It will be my new circus trick: I will jump over the water jets—as if they were a rope.” Then Rinka thought some more and added, “Also, I'll learn how to do somersaults in the air like a real acrobat. It will be a great show, huh?”
“Well, give it a go,” Mr. Thomas replied. “But you have to work hard.”
“I will,” promised Rinka.
One day traffic lights went down in the square by Rinka’s fountain. Cars got stuck in a traffic jam and honked.
“Look, look!” one driver yelled, pointing at the fountain.
A real performance was taking place there. Mr. Thomas was playing his violin, and Rinka was jumping out of water in tune with the music. She did it so well that the drivers immediately forgot about their troubles and started cheering and clapping their hands.
When Mother came to take Rinka home, Mr. Thomas said he was very proud of her daughter. “Our Rinka has become a real circus performer. She worked hard, learned a lot, and now all of Elfishtown talks about her show.”