The Voice of the Sea

When he cried in the car, Mommy promised the two weeks would fly by. She told him he would love the seashore. She said he'd have so much fun at Grammy's, he probably wouldn't even want to come home. He stood at the edge of the ocean and let the warm water rush around his ankles and wash the sand out from under his feet. He thought he saw a giant spider, but Grammy said it was just a crab. She told him there were thousands of them on the beach. Then she walked away, sat down on her towel and began digging in the sand with a long stick. He wasn't sure what to do, so he stayed right where he was and watched the waves. He was glad when Grammy called him.

"Come here, honey. Look what I found."

He scampered across the hot sand and squatted beside her.

"Oh my," she said. "Look at the size of this seashell. Isn't it beautiful? Pick it up, dear. Go ahead. Now hold it to you ear and listen. I think you'll be surprised."

At first he didn't hear anything. Then the seashell spoke.

"Put me down at once," it said. "I do not wish to be disturbed. You'll be sorry if you don't do as you're told."

He let the shell slip from his fingers and drop softly onto the sand.

Grammy laughed and picked it up. "You heard it, didn't you? That was the voice of the sea." She grabbed his wrist, pulled him closer and pressed the shell to his ear. "Listen again."

"I'm going to teach you a lesson," the shell gurgled. "I haven't decided exactly how or when I'll do it. But rest assured, it will be soon and it will be very unpleasant."

He took the shell from Grammy and carefully placed it at the water's edge.

"That's a good idea, sweetheart. Let the surf rinse it off for a minute. There. It's clean enough. Put it in your sand bucket." Grammy smiled. "Go ahead, honey. Put the seashell in your bucket. We'll let it dry on the balcony this afternoon, then we'll sit it next to your bed. If you miss your Mommy and Daddy again tonight, the voice of the sea will help you fall asleep."