The Little Elf and The Giant Rescue | Teen Ink

The Little Elf and The Giant Rescue

September 25, 2023
By zrhana06 BRONZE, Middle River, Maryland
zrhana06 BRONZE, Middle River, Maryland
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

On a sunny morning, a ship paddled across sparkling waters. Suddenly, a white elf fell overboard. The little elf tumbled into the poppling water and floated down, twisting and turning with the ebb and flow of the sea, and finally landed on a rock. She had never been under the sea before and wanted to say hello to the animals. A jellyfish side-eyed her but then fluttered away. A group of turtles paddled past the elf, and she followed them discreetly, catching a ride on the back of one’s shell. Then, a huge sperm whale appeared and opened its mouth in greeting.The elf spread her arms wide because she wanted to hug the beautiful whale.

She saw at least fifty sharp fangs in the whale’s widening smile. She got nervous as they came closer and closer. Luckily, she tumbled by without getting sliced, but then she felt a burst of pressure and fell and fell and fell. The elf was surrounded by darkness. There was a pungent stench like low tide and everything felt sticky. She wanted to leave this humid and peculiar environment. She trembled in fear. She had been swallowed by the whale. 

“Where am I? I can’t see!” the elf screamed.

 Someone grabbed her hand and took her down a passage. 

“Don’t worry,” a voice said. It was another elf. “We are in a whale’s stomach. Luckily we should be able to get out. If not, we may need to stay in this stomach for years and years and years.” The mysterious elf’s voice was energetic and nasally.

“Years? You must be kidding!” the white elf said in desperation. She did not want to be in this strange place for long.

“Yeah, trust me. We are not that easy to degrade.” 

“Your first whale?” A more mature voice said, sounding very tired. “She’s right. I have sailed through several whale’s stomachs and here I am, still alive.” The third elf broke into a coughing fit before continuing: “Grab my hand young ladies, I can help you out.” 

The little elf couldn’t believe that there were so many other elves in the same whale as her. Some were white like her, some green, some brown, some with red shapes across their skin. They all seemed to be uninvited guests here, but they piled up in the stomach of the sperm whale and chatted like they were at a tea party. 

“Yo, brother! I didn't expect to see you here!” A green elf said to his friend.

“How's it going? How long are you going to stay?” A blue elf said.

“I don't know, but there are quite a few companions here, so I could stay a little longer. Catch up.”

“Agreed. Let's take a look around.”

            The little elf felt lost in all the chatter, all the bodies. She felt around for a way out but there seemingly was none. Suddenly, a stream of water rushed through and the whale spewed a jet out of its mouth. The elves floated out of the whale and to the surface of the sea one after the other like parachutes. Then the little white elf saw her reflection, saw what she looked like in the whale's glassy eye–like something deceptively dangerous. She hugged the whale on its tail, trying to make amends.



“Mommy! Mommy! Do you see that whale? He is so close to us!” A little boy on the beach shouted. He had been collecting seashells–conchs, limpets, and whelks–along the shore when a gigantic whale emerged from the water, floating closer and closer to the shore, still and stiff like driftwood.

“Be careful honey, that whale is sick!” His mother quickly pulled the little boy away. She had never been so close to a whale before. It was a gray sperm whale with a large head and extremely long body.

The little boy raised his head and asked his mother: “Is it coming to the beach to get some fresh air like us?”

The mother smiled at her son’s sweet innocence. She explained that the reasons whales get beached are various and complicated. Sometimes it's because hungry whales chase fish into shallow water and get stuck. But sometimes they wash up on the shore because they are sick or injured. The mother touched her glasses thoughtfully before saying: “I’ve heard that whales can get sick because the ocean is too dirty. The polluted sea water is like poison. But if the whale doesn’t return to the water soon, it could be in serious danger.”

“We have to help, Mommy,”  the boy said, feeling upset.

They shouted down the beach for help, waving their arms. The little boy looked at the giant whale’s weak body, and saw sadness in its glassy eyes. He even thought, for a second, that he saw a little white elf dancing around in the lapping water under the whale’s tail. Soon, the news of the whale spread throughout the beach town and the people came to help. A muscular man proposed they move the whale back into the sea together, and several other adults were eager to join him. Other children came to help, filling their colorful pails with water and mud to pour onto the whale’s drying body. A garrulous old lady sat by in her lounge chair and cheered them on. It didn’t take long before a professional rescue team arrived. They used special equipment to make the work much more efficient and to protect the whale, but it was not an easy task. Since this whale was nearly nineteen meters, the rescue team tried several methods but all of them failed. But they did not give up. One of the rescuers  applied a salve to an injured area of the whale’s skin. As the sun went down, the whale's condition improved. Finally, the whale was successfully returned to the sea. Everyone on the beach cheered. The whale patted the water with its tail as if to thank the humans.

The little elf dislodged from the whale’s tail and drifted to the shore.

“Hello little elf, why are you here?” the boy said, picking her up and shaking the water off.

“Honey, that’s a plastic bag. Just some of the trash that was killing the whale. Let’s throw it away,” the mother said.

“Why don’t you hold these seashells and come home with me, little elf?” The boy said, hugging her to his chest.

The little elf was shocked that the boy saw her for all she could be. She grew happier and fuller with each seashell the little boy plopped inside of her. She carried his shells and held his hand as they walked down the beach, the sun disappearing under the water.

The author's comments:

My story was inspired by a sperm whale who was stranded on a beach in Ningbo, China in April of 2022. After nearly twenty-one hours, the whale was successfully saved. It is very rare that a stranded sperm whale can be rescued. Due to my interest in this news story, I started to learn more about the ocean and marine life. With my fictional story, I hoped to raise further awareness of marine conservation; therefore, I interspersed the light-hearted story with some real-life consequences of polluting our oceans. People of all ages can help our oceans in some way, whether it’s rescuing a whale or reusing plastic bags.

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