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Sunny the seahorse hummed a song to himself. He felt happy to take a swim above the cool ocean floor. He liked to share God’s love with the other sea creatures. So, when he swam around a speckled rock and saw Shrimp tugging angrily at some seaweed, he wanted to help.
“What’s the matter?” Sunny asked.
Shrimp gave a hard pull and fell backward onto the sand. “I want new seaweed curtains for my door and I’m trying to pull up this bunch.”
Shrimp righted himself and went back to work.
“Let me help you,” said Sunny. “Maybe we can do it if we work together.”
“I can do it by myself. I don’t need your help.”
Shrimp pulled and tugged while Sunny watched. He wanted very much to help, but he did not want to make Shrimp angrier.
Suddenly a deep voice said, “Move over Shrimp. I’ll get those for you.”
Turtle reached out two strong arms and pulled the seaweed loose.
“Here. He held the seaweed out to Shrimp.
Shrimp grabbed it from Turtle. “I could have done it myself. I wish everyone would stop helping me so much.”
“Everyone needs help sometimes,” Turtle said.
“Not me! I don’t need anyone’s help,” said Shrimp.
“All right. I’ll remember that. Helping you has made me late to tea with Squid,” said Turtle.
Turtle swam slowly away.
“Now that you have the seaweed, what do we do?” asked Sunny.
“I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m going to hang my curtains by myself,” said Shrimp.
“Then, I’ll go and watch,” said Sunny. Shrimp took the seaweed back to his cave where the old ragged curtains hung in the doorway. Shrimp had no trouble pulling them down. But as soon as he tried to put up the new curtains, he got in a terrible temper.
“I can’t hold these curtains and fasten them on the ledge at the same time,” he complained.
Sunny tried to help, but bumped Shrimp and made him drop the curtains.
“Stay out of the way. I can do it myself,” Shrimp yelled.
Sunny rested near a rock in front of the cave to watch. Soon Octopus swam past. He noticed Sunny and stopped.
“Shrimp looks upset. What’s he doing?” asked Octopus.
“He’s trying to hang new curtains, but he isn’t tall enough to hold them up and fasten them to the ledge at the same time.”
“Oh, I could do that,” said Octopus.
“I don’t think he wants help,” Sunny began to explain.
But Octopus had already grabbed the seaweed.
“Stand aside. I’ll do this for you,” he said to Shrimp. He held the long row of seaweed with seven arms while he fastened it with his eighth. Soon he had the seaweed neatly hung.
“There. How’s that?”
“It’s just fine. But I didn’t need your help,” said Shrimp.
Octopus looked hurt. “Sorry. I only meant to be friendly.
“I wish my friends would mind their own business and not be so friendly,” said Shrimp.
He turned his back and went into his cave.
“Well,” said Octopus. “I’ll have to remember not to help him anymore.”
Shrimp straightened up his cave, then, getting hungry, he decided to look for food. He found plankton floating in the water, gathered what he could carry, and started home. He was straining to carry his dinner when he saw Sunny, Turtle, and Octopus.
He was so sure they would offer to help, that he swam away. In his hurry, he bumped into a small, heavy rock, setting it off balance. It began to tumble, falling right above his head.
With a screech, Shrimp jumped back. The rock missed his head but caught his whiskers, pinning them tightly to the ocean floor. He tugged and tugged but he could not get his whiskers loose.
He noticed his friends watching.
“Why don’t you get me out?”
“When I helped you pull seaweed, you didn’t want my help,” said Turtle.
“When I hung your curtains, you didn’t want my help,” said Octopus.
“But this is different,” wailed Shrimp.
“Not if you really want to do everything for yourself,” said Sunny.
“I’m sorry. What the Bible says is true. Pride really does go before a fall. I’m sorry I’ve been so proud. I do need help sometimes. I promise I’ll be nicer from now on.”
Turtle lifted the rock from Shrimp’s whiskers and Shrimp swam gratefully out.
“Isn’t it wonderful how God gives each of us special gifts to help each other, like Turtle’s strength and Octopus’ many arms?” Sunny said.
“Yes. It is wonderful,” agreed Shrimp. He looked around at his food that was drifting away in the water.
“Would you mind helping me find my food?”
“No, we don’t mind helping you,” said Sunny, “because that’s what friends are for.
Sunny the seahorse lives in the ocean with his friends. He loves all of them and is sad when one of them has a problem. In this story, Shrimp becomes upset because he is too small to hang his seaweed curtains. His pride keeps him from asking for help. He gets angry and is rude when anyone tries to help him. When he is trapped and can't get free, the others don't offer to help him. Will he swallow his pride and ask for assistance?