Jonah and the Whale - New
A new, shorter, version of the story of Jonah and the Whale.
Long ago, in a hot, desert country, there lived a man named Jonah. Now Jonah was a messenger - a sort of postman if you like - but a very, very important sort of postman, because he delivered messages from God.
One day, God said to him: 'Jonah, wake up! I have a very, very important message for you to deliver. You must go to a place called Ninevah and tell the people living there that they must stop being bad and start being good and kind. Tell them if they refuse I will destroy their city.'
But Jonah didn’t want to go Ninevah, so he said to God: 'I’m a very busy man. I don't want to go. It's too far!'
And instead of going to Ninevah Jonah jumped on a ship going across the sea - in the other direction!
God was very cross with Jonah and that night, while Jonah was fast asleep, He sent a terrible storm. The wind blew and the thunder crashed and the waves grew bigger and bigger.
The sailors were terrified and thought their boat would sink. They threw sacks of grain and big barrels of water over the sides to make the boat lighter, but still the wind blew and the thunder crashed!
The captain went to Jonah and asked him what he had done to make God so angry.
'Oh, you are right, captain! It is my fault!' said Jonah. 'I didn’t deliver God’s message. I ran away instead. You must throw me overboard and the storm will stop and you will all be saved!'
The sailors didn’t want to throw Jonah into the sea. But it was no use - the storm grew worse and worse - and so they threw Jonah overboard.
And all at once the wind and thunder stopped. The waves grew smaller and smaller, and finally the sea was calm. Then, while the sailors waved goodbye to Jonah - 'Bye!' - there was a sudden whoosh! and a huge black whale leapt up, up, up and out of the sea beside Jonah! And then with one great gulp it swallowed him whole!
'Oh, my!' thought Jonah as he was squished and squeezed through the whale’s slippery tummy, down, down, down, into its great, black belly. 'I should have gone Ninevah to deliver God’s message! Now I shall surely die.'
For three days and three nights Jonah prayed to God - prayed for a second chance to go to Ninevah. Well it felt like three days and three nights, but Jonah couldn’t be sure of course because he didn’t have a watch (they didn’t exist back then) and he couldn’t have been it anyway because he didn’t have a torch (they didn’t exist either). But, after about that long, Jonah felt the great whale’s stomach grumble and rumble and rumble and grumble and suddenly, with a tremendous burp, Jonah felt himself launched on a great gust of fishy air right out of the whale’s mouth and up onto dry land.
And what did Jonah do? He rushed straight to Ninevah and asked to see the King.
'King!' he said, 'I have travelled from far away with a message from God! You must tell your people to stop being bad and start being good and kind or God will destroy your city!'
And the King believed Jonah and was sorry. And he told all his people that they must beg for forgiveness and try to be good and kind so that their city would be saved.
And God believed that the people of Ninevah were truly sorry, so he forgave them and didn't destroy their city after all.
And he also decided that Jonah was truly sorry as well and was pleased with him for delivering His message.