The Mermaid and the Glass Mustang
by Ophelia Spracklen, aged 11
On the shelf, in the bedroom, was an old tin box. On the lid was a picture of the sea, rocky cliffs leading down to white sand with waves breaking gently on the beach. It was a holiday souvenir from years ago and once contained biscuits.
On the inside of the lid was the same picture of the sea, but on one of the rocks sat a mermaid, looking towards the beach, smiling and waving, her golden hair blowing in the breeze.
Inside the box lived the glass mustang. He was magnificent, with a long flowing mane. The rest of his glass herd lived outside the box, arranged on the shelf, grazing the varnish, but he didn’t live with them anymore. One night, he had galloped too close to the edge of the shelf and had fallen onto the dresser below and one of his legs had snapped completely off.
Now he lived in the old tin box along with a collection of other forgotten items, including a small doll wearing Welsh national dress and a pin-cushion in the shape of a ladybird. The doll and the ladybird had both seen better days, their stitching was loose and the doll had lost a shoe, and they liked nothing better than to torment the poor glass mustang.
“One day” said the glass mustang “I’m going to jump off that rocky cliff into the sea and gallop in the waves with my friend the mermaid. Look she’s waving at me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous” said the ladybird pin-cushion haughtily, “She isn’t even real. Mermaids don’t exist.”
“In any case,” said the doll, in her prim Welsh accent, “How are you ever going to gallop again when you only have three legs. How foolish of you to fall off the shelf.”
“Yes, how foolish,” echoed the ladybird pin-cushion and they both laughed.
The glass mustang said nothing and looked longingly out to sea.
On the day of the party, birthday cards appeared on the shelf, blocking the view from the tin. When the cards were eventually taken down, there was a new addition in the bedroom. On the dresser, under the shelf, was a shining glass bowl with a bright orange fish circling round and round, opening and closing its mouth.
As the glass mustang peered over the edge of the old tin box, to his amazement, there in the bowl gazing up at him was his friend the mermaid, sitting on her rock, brushing her hair.
“Jump!” she called and waved.
“Don’t be foolish,” mocked the Welsh doll “remember what happened last time!” But the glass mustang wasn’t afraid, he gathered all his strength and in one giant leap jumped out of the old tin box and landed, splash, beside his friend the mermaid.
In the water, the glass mustang found it didn’t matter that one of his legs was missing, and he and his friend the mermaid galloped and played in the water forever.