It was the day before Christmas, and Tristan and Chantal had been making Christmas cards for their family and friends.
“I need the blue crayon, Tristan,” said Chantal.
“So do I,” Tristan answered.
“You’re not using it, though.”
Chantal reached over and grabbed the blue crayon.
“Give it back!” Tristan said angrily.
“I’m using it,” Chantal answered. “I’ll give it to you when I’m done.”
“Give it back now!”
Tristan grabbed the crayon as Chantal was using it, and as he did, he accidentally drew a blue line across Chantal’s entire card.
“Look what you’ve done!” Chantal said, starting to cry.
“What’s the matter?” asked Grandpa Jake.
“Tristan ruined my card!” cried Chantal.
“It was her fault,” said Tristan. “She shouldn’t have taken my crayon.”
“I have an idea,” said Grandpa Jake. “What if I tell you a story about when Shallo and Clip had a problem? Maybe it will help you to understand each other better.”
“Let’s hang these Christmas decorations here,” said Goby.
Old Budder held one end of the colorful seaweed, and Goby held the other end as they put it in place.
“How do you think it looks, Camille?” Budder asked.
“Okay,” Camille replied with a glum look on her face.
“You don’t like it, do you?” Goby said with a worried look.
“It’s fine, really,” she answered.
“Is your tail hurting you?” Old Budder asked.
“Not really ... at least it doesn’t if I keep it still,” said Camille.
“Then what’s wrong?”
Camille sighed. “I wish I didn’t have to be in bed. I want to help decorate, and I want to have fun. But I can’t … because of my silly tail.”
Camille had hurt herself two days earlier while playing by the reef. A large piece of coral had fallen on her tail and injured it. Christmas was always a special time for Camille, but being in bed with a hurt tail wasn’t Camille’s idea of fun. Her friends had come to cheer her up, but she still seemed a little glum.
Suddenly, from out in the courtyard came a “CRASH!” followed by angry shouts.
“What’s happening?” Camille asked.
“It’s Shallo and Clip,” said Goby.
“Looks like they’re having a difficult time with each other,” Budder said. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
Clip and Shallo had been out collecting empty shells, coral pieces, and colorful sea plants that they would use to decorate Camille’s room. Excited by what they had found, Shallo was eager to show Camille. Meanwhile, Clip had been getting frustrated with Shallo.
“Look what I found!” Shallo had shouted, as they neared Camille’s home.
But as the seahorse took off to show Camille what they had collected, Clip grabbed his tail, which landed Shallo in a big heap. The things that he had been carrying were scattered all over the seabed.
“CLIP!!” Shallo shouted. “Look what you’ve done!”
“Serves you right!”
“Why would you do that?” Shallo was very upset.
“I’m tired of you taking the credit for everything,” Clip said. “Remember, we both collected them, not just you! All morning you’ve been going on about what you collected for Camille, even if I was the one who found it.”
“I have not!” Shallo argued back.
“Have too!” Clip replied.
The crab and seahorse started fighting, shoving and pushing each other.
“Clip! Shallo! That’s enough!” Old Budder said firmly.
Shallo let go of Clip and sat down in a huff. Clip crossed his claws and gave an angry grunt.
“It sounds like you two aren’t getting along so well today,” Old Budder said.
“It’s Clip’s fault,” said Shallo.
“No, it’s not!” Clip snapped back.
“I didn’t ask you whose fault it was,” said Old Budder. “Arguing about who did what wrong is not going to help. We need to find a solution to this problem without fighting or arguing. But to find a solution, you’re both going to have to take the time to listen to each other. Agreed?”
Shallo and Clip nodded their heads.
“Why don’t you explain your problem first, Clip,” suggested Old Budder. “What happened?”
“All morning long,” Clip began, “Shallo has been going on and on about what he’s going to get for Camille and how he’d find much prettier coral than me. I didn’t mind it at first. But then I’d go to collect something, and just as I was going to pick it up, Shallo would be there and grab it first. I asked him to not do it, but he didn’t listen.
“I probably shouldn’t have lost my temper,” Clip continued. “But I was so frustrated that I didn’t know what else to do.”
“I see,” said Old Budder. Turning to Shallo he added, “Did you realize that you were making Clip feel bad?”
Shallo shook his head. “I just wanted to do something nice for Camille,” he explained. “I wasn’t trying to make Clip angry … but I guess I did.”
“Well, this is good news!” Budder exclaimed.
Shallo and Clip both gave Old Budder a puzzled look.
“What do you mean?” asked Clip.
“Well,” began Old Budder, “now that you know why both of you were angry, it’s easier to make up.”
Shallo gave a sigh. “Clip, I’m sorry for the way I was behaving. I didn’t realize it was bothering you so much or else I wouldn’t have done it.”
“I’m sorry too,” said Clip. “I shouldn’t have gotten angry at you. Please forgive me.”
“Sure,” answered Shallo.
The two friends thanked Old Budder for his help.
“Well, let’s not keep Camille waiting any longer,” Old Budder said.
* * *
“You’re back!” Camille said happily.
“Clip and I found lots of cool things,” said Shallo.
The coral, shells, and colorful sea plants were dumped out on the bed, as the five friends studied each piece and decided where to place them in Camille’s room.
“Thank you so much,” Camille said. “You’re such wonderful friends. I thought that I was going to have a terribly boring Christmas because of my accident, but you’ve made it a lot of fun.”
“You’ve always been there to help us when we’ve had our not-so-good times,” said Shallo.
“Merry Christmas, Camille,” Clip said. “And Merry Christmas to all of you, my friends.”
“I shouldn’t have been so selfish,” said Tristan. “I didn’t really need the crayon right then. I could’ve shared it with you.”
“It wasn’t nice of me to grab it from you,” Chantal said. “I could have used a different color until you were done. I’m sorry.”
“You see,” said Grandpa Jake, “there are ways to work things out without getting upset and fighting.”
“Can we finish our cards now?” Tristan asked.
“Absolutely! And I have to say, your cards are beautiful. I’m sure they’ll make your families very happy.”
Moral: Arguing and fighting don’t solve problems, and they only make you angrier at each other. Try kindness instead, and you’ll see how much better things work.
At the following link you will find the full collection of “Grandpa Jake” stories and activities for more in this series.
Authored by Katiuscia Giusti. Illustrated by Agnes Lemaire. Colored by Doug Calder. Designed by Roy Evans.Featured on My Wonder Studio. Copyright © 2008 by Aurora Production AG, Switzerland. All Rights Reserved.