But Not the Little Platypus (An Ashkayous Fanfiction)

“Hello, swan,” said the duck. “I see that you are very graceful.”

“Hello, duck,” said the swan. “You seem very serious today.”

And as they both passed on, the duck thought He thinks I’m not graceful, and the swan thought He thinks I’m not serious, and they both made an effort to be even more graceful and serious than they were before.

But one little otter wondered why. He wanted to splash and play and have fun.

“Why are we all so serious and graceful?” he asked the turtle. “Isn’t that sort of an arbitrary pair of attributes?”

“Because serious and graceful are what a true citizen of this pond must be,” said the wise turtle. “So this story can make a point about accepting people of all sorts and judging worth based on an arbitrary pair of attributes.”

Pretending that he knew what the turtle was talking about, the otter slipped away to change the way the pond worked.

He passed the swan who said “Hello, otter, you seem very serious today.”

“Hello, swan,” said the otter. “I see your just swanning around today, eh?”

The swan was taken aback.

“Swanning around? Get it? Get it?”

The swan turned and swam away, thanking the stars that while she may not be as serious as the duck, at least she was more serious than the otter.

Soon he passed the duck, who said “Hello, Otter, I see you are very graceful.”

The otter just replied by climbing up on the bank and doing a handstand. Or at least, trying. He ended up falling, splashing back into the water. He came up laughing.

The duck just swam away, thanking the stars that while he might not be as graceful as the swan, at least he was more serious than the otter.

Soon all the animals in the pond were thanking their stars that they weren’t as awkward and ridiculous as the otter.

So she just stayed on her hill under her tree that shaded her from the sun. That way she wouldn’t bother anyone.  Soon all the animals in the pond were ignoring the otter. He couldn’t get an of them to pay attention to his jokes or his tricks. They were determined to be ask graceful and serious as ever.
“It’s hopeless,” he said, crawling out of the water and up the hill above the pond. He sighed and laid his head on his paws.
“What’s wrong?” asked the platypus.
The otter jumped back and tripped, falling on his face.
“I’m so sorry!” said the platypus. “That wasn’t graceful at all! I knew I would ruin everything for everyone!”
“I don’t want to be graceful!” shouted the otter. “I don’t want to be serious!”
“You don’t?” asked the platypus.
“No. Listen, you’re  a platypus, right?”
“Yes. The most awkward and ridiculous animal in the world,” said the platypus, sadly.
“Why would that be a bad thing?” said the otter. “Why don’t Mr. and Mrs. Platypus go to Thanksgiving dinner parties?”
“I don’t know,” said the platypus, “My parents usually host Thanksgiving dinners, so–”
“Because they get nervous when they hear someone say ‘Here comes the platypi’!”
The platypus giggled. “That was funny! Although not very grammatically correct, if you’re saying platypi in the sense of plural form of platypus, then ‘comes’ would be wrong, but if your talking about pie in the singular–”
“Look at this!” said the otter, doing a hand stand and walking forward on his paws before flipping back up on his feet.
“That was amazing!” said the platypus.
“Really? You think so?” said the otter.
“Yes!” said the platypus.
“But the joke wasn’t serious and the trick was awkward.”
“Um… that’s true,” said the platypus. “But… they were awesome.”
“Yes! Exactly! Thank you! I’m just so sick of the animals in the pond,” said the otter. “They’re so serious and graceful that they can’t see the value in anything else. They can’t see the value in the awkward or ridiculous. They can’t see how beautiful a platypus can be. Metaphorically and literally.”
“You think I’m beautiful?” said the platypus.
“I’m just so tired of the constant effort to prove yourself better than everyone else!”
“I know,” said the platypus, “You can stay here with me on my hill under my tree that shades me from the sun and tell me again how you think I’m beautiful.”
“I have a better idea,” said the otter. “You shouldn’t be shaded from the sun, you should be out there shining right along with it! When the other animals see how great and kind you are, they’ll realize how ridiculous they’re hatred of ridiculousness is!”
“I don’t know…” said the platypus.
“It will be great!”
“They’ll hate me!”
“No they won’t, why would they hate you?”
“Look at me!” said the platypus. “I have the bill and feet of a duck and the tail of a beaver and I’m covered in fur and I’m a mammal but I lay eggs and I feed my young with milk that comes right through my skin and my brothers all have poisonous spurs on their back feet!”
“But that’s awesome! Come on!” The otter scampered down the hill and the platypus waddled awkwardly behind.
The otter jumped right into the pond, but the platypus hesitated.
“They’ll hate me,” she repeated.
“Don’t be silly,” said the otter, splashing the platypus. That made her laugh, and she reached a flipper into the pond and splashed him back. Soon they were splashing each other and laughing and having fun. The other animals noticed the commotion and came to look.
“Look at them,” said the swan, “They’re so awkward.”
“Look at them,” said the duck, “They’re so ridiculous.”
“Is that a platypus?” said the beaver, “They have beaver tales.”
“But duck bills and flippers,” said the duck.
“They’re mammals,” said the dolphin.
“But they lay eggs,” said the aligator.
“And they feed their young with the milk that comes right through their skin,” said the trout.

“Platypi are ridiculous!” they all shouted. “They’re awkward!”

The turtle, sensing that the moral of the story was approaching, went up to the platypus and said, “Excuse me, miss, the animals of the pond wish me to inform you that they think you are awkward and ridiculous.”

Suddenly she and the otter stopped splashing and having fun. They turned around and saw the other animals watching them. The otter began to speak to defend his friend, but the platypus cut him off.

“I am awkward!” she shouted, “I am ridiculous! And do you know what? I love it! I love it! I’ve wanted so badly to be serious and graceful my whole life that I’ve missed out on how much fun it is to just be me! I couldn’t see how beautiful I was until this otter showed me. And he’s beautiful, too. He’s beautiful with his tricks and his jokes and I am going to be with him forever and we are going to have way more fun and be way happier than any of you will ever be!”

And with that, she dived into the pond.

The first things the animals noticed was how gracefully she swam through the water.

The second thing the animals noticed was how seriously she had spoken.

The third thing the animals noticed was how much fun the platypus and the otter were having splashing each other.

“Hello, swan,” said the duck, “I see that you are not having fun.”

“Hello, duck,” said the swan, “You seem not to be having much fun, either.”

The duck splashed the swan.

The swan splashed the duck.

Soon all the animals were splashing each other and laughing and joking and performing tricks and having the time of their lives.

Some of them were still serious, and that was okay.

Some of them were still graceful, and that was okay.

But some of them were not, and that was okay, too.

But they were all beautiful. And they all saw the beauty within each other. And they were all happy.

Especially the platypus.