bubbles. a short story about a watering can.

This piece also appears on the Frogs For Breakfast blog and my Cowbird page.


“Oh, can we water the plants now?” Zoe ran over and followed as Grandma opened the sliding door to the deck.

“We can. I’ve got something special for you to use.” Grandma reached down beside a chair and pulled up a new watering can.

“Oh!” Zoe gasped with both hands covering her mouth in surprise. “It’s fantastic!”

She reached up and took the blue tin elephant from Grandma by it’s light yellow handle. She looked closely at it, touched its trunk and decided that she loved it very much.

“Do you want to use the elephant to water the plants?” Grandma asked. She had a tub of water on the table ready to go.

“Yes!” Zoe looked at the elephant. “Do you want to water some plants, elephant?”

“Actually, not really Little Zoe” came the elephant’s gruff reply. “I have been quite happy enjoying this afternoon sun and would like to keep doing so. Besides, you’ll have to come up with a better name for me than just ‘elephant’ “ He was quite miffed at the intrusion to his peaceful afternoon.

Zoe giggled and took the elephant over to Grandma and the tub of water. She was going to have a peaceful time watering Grandma’s plants.

Grandma pushed the elephant into the large tub of water and he came up spluttering.

“My goodness! Was that really necessary?!” he exclaimed. Grandma didn’t seem to notice the elephant’s protest. It just made Zoe giggle again and say “We have to put some water in so we can water the plants!”

“Yes we do” said Grandma as she handed the elephant watering can to Zoe, keeping hold of the light yellow handle as Zoe took it just in case it was too heavy now that it was full.

Grandma and Zoe then walked around a chair and over to the pot plants in the corner. Zoe tipped the elephant down towards the plant and a rush of water not only came out of his trunk but also out of the big hole in his back.

“Whoa!” he cried. “Are you trying to drown me again?!”

“Oops, a bit too much water!” Zoe stepped back and Grandma quickly helped her lift the elephant up again.

“That’s ok” Grandma said. “I think it might be a bit heavy. We’d better water some more plants and get some more water out!”

“Yes! A brilliant plan!” Zoe agreed. The elephant just rolled his eyes.

Zoe tipped him over the next plant, but, with the help of Grandma’s steady hand, managed not to spill any water out of the hole in the top.

“That was better wasn’t it?” Zoe said.

“An improvement” the elephant huffed.

“It was” said Grandma. “Now for the next one.”

By the time Zoe had watered two more plants the elephant was getting bored and annoyed that he was working instead of relaxing in the sun. After one more plant the water ran out and he sighed with relief.

“Ah,” he began “thankfully that is finished. Not an entirely pleasant experience. If you could just pop me up onto that little table so I can continue to enjoy this sun in peace, Little Zoe, then that would be greatly appreciated.”

“We need more water!” Zoe cried excitedly, so she and Grandma made their way back to the tub on the table.

“Oh no! No no no! I’ve had enough of that!” The elephant trumpeted as he began to kick his legs and squirm as much as he could. All this movement made Zoe’s hand shake a little and as she stepped around the chair the elephant gave one last squiggle Zoe dropped him onto the deck.

“Silly elephant!” she said as she grabbed hold of his handle again and gave him to Grandma to put more water in.

“I am NOT happy about this Little Zoe!” he said as Zoe stood on her tippy toes to peer over the edge of the tub and watch as the water got sucked into the elephant watering can. She could see he was still yelling under water but his words were just glugging to the surface as little pockets of air making her giggle with delight.

Grandma pulled him up and after he’d spluttered as gasped this time, Zoe cried out “I know! Elephant’s name will be Bubbles!” The blue elephant just rolled his eyes. There went the rest of his sunny afternoon.

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