Once upon a time there lived a very small otter named Flynn, who lived in a town called Otterville. One day Flynn was sat on the riverbank thinking. (Now this is the twist.) Flynn was the only otter at his lake who couldn’t swim! All of his brothers, sisters and even his parents teased him saying, ‘Why don’t you go for a dip in the lake, oh wait, we forgot, you’re the only otter on earth who can’t swim!’
At 5 o’clock Flynn was still laid on the riverbank, but this time Flynn was making a can do/can’t do list. On his can do list was:
Forwards roly poly
Backwards roly poly
Being nice to butterflies
Making brilliant sandcastles
On his can’t do list was only:
The next day Flynn was in his usual spot, the riverbank, when a big, brown bear came along. He saw how down in the dumps Flynn was and decided to talk to him, ‘What are you doing on the riverbank? Why are you not in the water smallest Ottie?’ said the bear showing his strong Scottish accent.
‘Can you keep a secret?’ Flynn unsteadily replied.
‘Of course I can,’ said the bear trying to reassure Flynn.
‘This is embarrassing, but I can’t exactly swim,’ whispered Flynn.
‘What, can you speak up?’
‘I can’t swim!’
‘I can’t swim,’ yelled Flynn
‘Only kidding, I heard you the first time,’ said the bear, he saw Flynn blushing.
Completely changing the subject the bear then said, ‘My name is Oscar, do you live around here? It’s very nice, especially compared to my cave.’
‘Thank you,’ said Flynn
‘So then Flynn are you competing in the diving competition this weekend?’ asked Oscar forgetfully.
‘I can’t swim remember,’ sighed Flynn.
‘Oh don’t let a little thing like that get in the way,’
‘But you need to be able to swim to dive Oscar and I can’t swim, besides everyone has been practising for weeks now.’
‘Don’t worry smallest Ottie, just believe.’ Flynn just in time managed to stop Oscar singing that song by Bob Marley, how does it go again, ‘Don’t worry, about a thing …’ Back to the story,
‘Smallest Ottie,’ whispered Oscar.
‘Yes Oscar,’ Flynn replied.
‘Wanna learn to swim?’
'Do you want to learn to swim?'
'Yes, yes, but how?'
'Easy, soon you will be diving off the top board at the diving competition, soon you will be the diving champion of Otterville. All big things start small.'
So every day Oscar taught Flynn one new step. Soon Flynn was swimming to the half way rock, then through pond weed to the extremely big rock (and back) and then the whole way around the lake. He was ready to start diving. To Oscar's surprise Flynn was a natural and was diving off the second board in no time.
The next day Flynn confidently strode up to the highest and last board ready to jump, until ... Flynn saw how far away the water looked from the top board. He started to feel very dizzy. 'Flynn are you all right champ?' he heard Oscar shouting from down below. But then, in the blink of an eye, Flynn started to fall. Down, down and down Flynn fell, then tumbling and tumbling through the water.
Suddenly, Oscar, as quick as lightning, heroically dived into the water in an attempt to save Flynn. Luckily, just before drowning point, Oscar dragged him to the surface. 'Ottie, Flynn, wake up,' said Oscar, tears pouring from him eyes. There was no answer.
'Oscar?' Flynn spluttered, water gushing out of his mouth.
'Ottie I thought you were a goner, never do something like that again.'
'It was an accident Oscar I swear, I don't know what happened, all of a sudden I was falling. Oscar please don't be made I'll try again tomorrow.'
'Oh no you will not, you could have died!' replied Oscar.
'But I didn't did I Oscar? And stop exaggerating!'
'You are lucky I don't tell your mother, but if you go up there and dare to pull another stunt like that again I will do! You are not ready to dive Flynn, so stop thinking that you are!' roared the bear.
'I can dive and I will show you at the competition,' sobbed Flynn, but Oscar had already disappeared.
The next day Flynn went back to the big lake with the diving boards and nervously tip-toed up to the highest board. What Flynn didn't know was that Oscar was hiding in the bushes getting ready to say sorry for shouting last night. Oscar was watching him. 'I can do this,' said Flynn quietly and jumped like he was jumping for all of Otterville.
He did a graceful Swan dive so beautiful and neat even Oscar in the bushes was left stunned. He leaped out of the bushes to Flynn and couldn't help himself saying, 'That was simply beautiful Flynn.' Flynn's eyes filled with happiness. 'Flynn I am so sorry for yesterday, can an old bear ever be forgiven?'
'Of course they can,' said Flynn, smiling straight back into Oscar's dark brown eyes.
'Flynn do that again tomorrow and you certainly will get top marks at the diving competition. You have come a long way now Ottie, don't waste it.'
'I'll try my very hardest Oscar,' replied Flynn proudly.
'That's the right attitude Ottie.'
It was the day of the diving competition and Flynn was restless. ‘When is it my go Oscar, when, when Oscar?’
‘Just be patient Flynn, good things come to those who wait.’
In no time at all it was Flynn’s turn to dive. He skipped up to the top board looking very confident but then his nerves started to get to him, what if he fell again, would Oscar still be his friend? Was Oscar his friend?
‘Flynn, Flynn, Flynn,’ he heard Oscar cheering him down below. He jumped, he turned, he flipped and he dived his hardest just like he had promised Oscar. Once Flynn had returned to the surface he saw the judges’ final scorecards up. Holding an eight point five, a ten and an eleven point five, giving him a total score of thirty, putting him in first place (so far). The crowd went wild.
The final competitor stepped up to the top board,
‘That’s Johny,’ said Flynn, ‘he always used to tease me at school because I couldn’t swim. He is the best diver in Otterville and has won this competition three years in a row.’
‘Well, he isn’t the best diver now, is he?’ replied Oscar.
‘Flynn, what are you doing here, you can’t be here,’ screamed Johny.
‘Why not?’ asked Oscar shocking him.
Johny was going to attempt a triple backwards summersault to win the judges over, he flipped and flipped and flipped until he neatly dived into the deep water. After Johny had come back to the surface he saw his scores. A ten point five, an eleven and an eight, putting Flynn in front by zero point five! Boy was Johny annoyed. He started to cry! Flynn happily hopped onto the first place podium and received his well-earned shiny, gold medal for him to wear.
On his way home, wearing his new medal, Flynn asked Oscar, ‘Oscar, what can I teach you?’
‘You taught me everything I could ever wish for Ottie,’ Oscar replied.
‘And what is that Oscar?’ asked Flynn.
‘How to make a friend Ottie and that’s all I ever wanted, so thank you, although I have never really been good at sandcastles,’ laughed Oscar.
Then both Oscar and Flynn saw something so mesmerising, the first snowflake had fallen and landed right on Flynn’s nose.
‘Snow,’ they both said at the same time.
‘Jinx, double jinx, triple jinx,’ they both said together excitedly in time and their giggles could be heard over the sunset.
by Eve Jessica Nutter (11)
St Winefride's Catholic Primary School, West Yorkshire
Competition - Lets Get Writing
Copyright remains with the author.