The Mermaids of Mermaid Cove

Welcome to Story Quest, a weekly podcast where we bring your stories to life!

In this episode we bring Zara’s story The Mermaids of Mermaid Cove!- to life.

If you have a story idea, you could be like Zara and have it turned into a Story Quest. All you have to do is send us your story idea here. We know you have the best imaginations and together we can create the most brilliant stories!

That’s just what Zara did. You can watch the story they suggested come to life below, plus they tell us all about the inspiration behind the story at the end.

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Read along to The Mermaids of Mermaid Cove! Here

You can read along to the story while you listen. Just follow the text below. Don’t worry if you find a word tricky – you can pause the video whenever to give yourself more time.

The Mermaid’s Cove

Lily swam down, further into the depths of the bay – and try as she could she was struggling to keep up – deeper and deeper they went into a knotted mass of seaweed. It became dark and she found herself trapped in the trailing fronds – she shouted and shouted for help, her words bubbling in the depths but the others seemed too far away… What had started as something out of a dream was becoming a nightmare!

But the story starts in Pebble Bay the previous day. Pebble Bay was a really lovely seaside resort and Lily was on holiday with her family. And far from being a nightmare it was just a well – the opposite – a total dream. It was hot and sunny and the family would have picnics on the beach and paddle and explore. One of the best things about coming to stay here was Granny Silvia. She was actually Lily’s GREAT grandmother, and it was at her house they would stay.

Granny Silvia was very old indeed – and was great at telling stories. The stories Lily liked the best were about the mermaids of Pebble Bay.

“Did you see them Granny?” said Lily with wide eyes.

“See them! I used to swim with them – and sit and brush their hair and listen to their songs. There are three of them – older than the hills, but so beautiful they stop you in your tracks. Now let me see – there was Pearl – she was always laughing – like a babbling brook! Then Coral – she made the prettiest trinkets from shells and wow she could sing! I can almost still hear her song now…” Granny hummed a few notes which didn’t sound very mermaidish but Lily was transfixed.

“Who was the third?”

“Ah the third was the smallest of them all and she loved to play tricks! Could be quite.. well annoying to be honest. But they were magical!”

Do you have any of Coral’s combs or shells?

Granny Silvia sadly shook her head. “Not any more. Coral gave me so many shells but I was too young and careless – I didn’t realise how special they were.”

“Mermaids don’t exist!” said mum from behind her book. Mum was a scientist and only believed in things that were right in front of her eyes.

“That’s what YOU think!” smiled Granny Silvia – “They’re just very choosy about who gets to see them! I’m too old to get to the Cove now, but I used to still be able to hear their song on the wind – until – well until I couldn’t any more.”

Lily wondered what had happened but Granny Silvia looked a bit sad and so Lily changed the subject but couldn’t stop thinking about the mermaids.

Maybe because she had mermaids on the brain as she was lying on the beach she thought she could hear a strange song on the wind. Like the one Granny Silvia was humming? She slowly went towards where the sound was coming from. Over the squishy dunes and around the bay the song was louder and louder and finally she saw a small cove – it seemed to be twinkling… she tiptoed down the dunes and was astonished to see that rocky walls of the cove were adorned with shells and sparkling stones. The sand was silver like glitter, and hearing splashing she turned around the edge of the rock to see – well, they could only be – yep you got it – MERMAIDS! Two were splashing in the sea and one was sitting on a rock singing the beautiful song. They turned to look at her and burst into squeals of excitement!

“It’s Silvia!” said Pearl – as she called to the others – “Coral! Crystal! It’s Silvia!!!” there was a bubbling and foaming of the sea and swam delightedly towards the shore.

Lily couldn’t believe her eyes! They were a little smaller than humans with long hair and shimmery skin. But why did they think she was Granny Silvia?

“I’m not Silvia – I’m Lily!” she said, wading into the water excitedly! The water was warm and rainbow hues seemed to catch on the surf. This HAD to be the magical Mermaid Cove – she’d found it!

The Mermaids swam curiously around, peering at her closely.

“Not Silvia – how strange. Hmmm I suppose her nose IS bigger… “

“CRYSTAL BEHAVE!” said Pearl, but Lily couldn’t help laughing.

Come dive with us!” Urged Coral, handing Lily a necklace made of tiny pink shells. “This will help!”

“She means it’ll help you keep up with us!” shouted Crystal cheekily.

As she placed the necklace over her head she found herself in a shimmering mist and looking down she her skin began to shimmer and, yep, a silvery TAIL had appeared. In delight she found she could dive as deep as the others and leap out of the twinkling waters. They raced deep into the sea with sholes of fish in pursuit, nibbling at their tails and dancing around them in swirling waves.

The others were much faster – Crystal in particular kept circling back to laugh at how slow she was then dancing away like a silver ribbon – Lily found she’d lost sight of them and what was worse she was heading into a mass of seaweed – like a tangled forest there seemed to be no escape.

“Wait for me! Help!” she cried – as she became tangled in the watery fronds. She began to panic and shouted into the bubbly water and getting herself tied more and more in knots in the seaweed bed.

“Crystal! You always go to far!” she heard a voice in the water – it was Pearl. She’d come back! Lily was so relieved! Coral appeared and the pair of them unpicked Lily from the seaweed and carried her back to the cove to catch her breath.

Crystal surfaced after a while – she’d not even noticed Lily was in trouble. “You humans are always too blooming slow” she sniffed. It’s like swimming with elephants!”

Despite everything Lily couldn’t help laugh at this and she basked on the rocks with the others as Coral sang a beautiful song. She felt as if she was floating on clouds, until she noticed the sun was going down.

“My parents will wonder where I’ve gone!” she said, taking the necklace off hurriedly – in another mist her tail disappeared and she was a girl once again. A bit of a damp girl but totally human once more.

The mermaids were sad to see her go.

Coral who was brushing her hair picked a lovely conch shell from her rock – she threw it towards Lily who caught it in astonishment.

“Something to remember us by!” she said. “If you hold it to your ear you’ll hear my songs.”

“Tell Silvia we miss her!” said Pearl, somersaulting away in the evening waters.

Crystal looked a little sad. “And tell her I’m sorry – I think I scared her away!”

“What do you mean?” said Lily.

“She just didn’t seem to want to play with us anymore” said Coral – maybe CRYSTAL made too many personal comments!”

Lily wondering if Granny Silvia had ended up getting tied in knots in the seaweed too thanks to Crystals antics but she promised to tell her, and with a final glance began to ran back to the beach where her family were packing up.

“Mum! You’ve got to come and see this!”

She took her mum’s hand and practically ran all the way to the cove.

“It’s not far now!” she breathed excitedly. They staggered down the soft dunes and into the cove and saw – nothing. Craggy black rocks, soggy sand and the wreck of an old fishing boat, lashed with rotten ropes. Where had THAT come from? And where were all the magical decorations?

“But… but there were mermaids here! And coral and shells! I saw them myself! They said they knew Granny Silvia and…”

I think maybe Granny Silvia’s imagination has got the better of you.” She smiled at Lily in that annoying way adults do when they think you’ve got something wrong when you definitely haven’t.

“You can paddle for a bit longer if you like but don’t go in too far – I’ll go and get your towel.”

Lily was left mouth wide open wondering where the mermaids had gone and whether it HAD just been a strange dream. Something glittering caught her eye in the shallow waters. A comb. It was Coral’s comb. She waded in and gently picked it up and placed it carefully in her pocket with the shell.

Later Grandma Silvia looked at Lily in amazement!

“Where did you find this?” She whispered, turning the perfect conch shell over in her hand.

“Where do you think? Coral gave it to me. But you can have it.” she said, shrugging. “And Crystal says she’s sorry she scared you away.”

Tears pricked in Granny Silvia’s eyes. “I wasn’t scared – I just got too old to visit the cove. Those beautiful beings have no idea about getting old or what it’s like to be human. But the shell – the shell is special!”

And she held it to her ear and Lily could just make out Coral’s beautiful shimmering song. “It’s like I’m back in the Cove!” and she squeezed Lily’s hand. They beamed, knowing they shared a very special secret.

And as for the comb? Lily wanted to return it to Coral but no matter how many times she went back during what was left of her holiday, there was no sign of the mermaids. She thought about leaving it on a rock, or throwing it to sea, but if someone else found it they might not know it had an owner in the watery depths. So she decided to keep it and vowed to come back every year to try to return it.

And do you know what, in the years that followed she DID get to see the mermaids again and return the comb to Coral – but that’s a story for another time. So if you go on holiday this summer to somewhere with a beach and coves – keep your ears open for songs on the wind – you never know there might be mermaids nearby!

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