Photo: Adam and the Dreamfish

Adam and the Dreamfish — Spirit of all things (Credit: Adam King)

Once upon a time there was a young boy named Adam who was afraid of the dark. Every night at bedtime, his Father would switch on the night light beside his bed. One day his Father said, "You're a big boy now, it is time you learned to sleep without your night light."
Adam felt nervous about this. His Father asked him, "What are you afraid of?"

"Strange noises in the night, they might be scary things."

"OK," his Father replied, "When I turn off the light tonight, I will stay and every time we hear a noise I will shine a flash light on it to see what it is." And so it was.

He heard strange noises and each time his Father shone the flashlight on them:
The "Tick Tick Tick" of the heater heating up.

The "Bhump bhump bhump" of a moth against the window.

The "Creek and Crack" of his bedroom walls. Soon Adam closed his eyes. When he opened them again it was morning.

The next night Adam's Father asked him, "Do you want me to bring the flashlight tonight?"
"Nope, it's ok Dad, I am not afraid of the dark any longer."

That night when Adam went to bed, his Father wished him goodnight and turned off the light.

He was almost asleep when he heard a different noise altogether.


... He opened his eyes.

The moonlight was coming in through the window and it formed a silver rectangle on the carpet. In that rectangle, the light shimmered and rippled like waves in a pond. The carpet did not look like carpet any longer, it looked like water. But, what was making it ripple?

A fin rose slowly from out of the shimmering surface and then a something with scales began to emerge. The scales were dark green and covered with pale blue misty moon-like spots. As it rose out of the water, a big golden eye appeared and then gills.
A giant fish rose up into the air and floated for a moment before swimming through the air over to Adam in his bed. Adam was too amazed to be scared.

"What are you?" he asked
"I am your DreamFish" the floating, flying fish said back. Adam did not know what that meant so he asked, "What's a DreamFish?"

"By day, we are just ordinary fish in the oceans but at night under the moonlight, we become magic fish that take you to your dreams. Climb on and I will show you." Adam did not hesitate and climbed on the back of the magical fish. "Hold on!" it said, and they flew right through the window, "voooop."

"Where are we going?" Adam asked.

"To the oceans where the dreams are." Said the Py, the DreamFish.

"Dreams live in the ocean? "Adam asked.

"At night, under the moonlight, the oceans are not made of water anymore, they shimmer and sparkle. They are the stuff dreams are made of."

"But I can't swim." Adam said as they flew down, down, down, to the ocean.

"When you are with your DreamFish, you don't have to swim, you just dream." Said Py and they dove into the ocean.

Instead of cold wet water, Adam found himself in a world of beautiful dreams where he turned into a caramel lion and chased butterscotch baboons. When it was time to return to his bed, Py the DreamFish, would pick him up again and fly him home Every night was like this. That is, every night until one night, Py did not show up and Adam had a dreamless sleep.

When Py did show up, he looked tired. "I am sorry Adam, I could not make it last night." he said breathlessly.
"What is the matter?" asked Adam.

"The ocean where I live in the daytime is getting more and more polluted. There is less food for fish to eat and more and more fishermen are trying to catch and eat us. Adam noticed many of the DreamFish seemed tired.

On the way back Adam asked Py, "What will happen if people keep over-fishing and polluting the oceans?

"Well," said Py, "eventually we will not be able to take people to their dreams so people will stop dreaming."

When Adam woke up, he knew he needed to warn people that the DreamFish were getting sick. He ran past his Dad. "Where are you going so fast, you haven't even had breakfast?" His Father yelled after him.
"I have got to save the DreamFish!" Adam yelled back.

"The what!?" Adam's Father replied but Adam already gone. When he got to the school he hurried over to the class of his science teacher, Mr. Singh, to ask if what Py had said was true.

"Yes" Said Mr. Singh "this is true. The oceans are in trouble."
"We have to do something!" exclaimed Adam. "The DreamFish are getting sick"

"DreamFish?" Asked Mr. Singh

Adam forgot that only he could see them and no one else knew.

At lunch, Ms. Crowe who taught Native history saw Adam sitting alone with his head in his hands. She came up to him and smiled with her warm smile and warm brown eyes "What's wrong?" she asked?
"You would not believe me if I told you, no one else does."

"Try me." she said

Adam said, "I was trying to warn my friends that the oceans are in trouble and that if they get sick, the DreamFish will get sick and there will be no dreams for anyone."

"And they did not believe you?" Ms. Crowe asked with a frown.

"Do you?" Adam asked Ms. Crowe.

"Of course" She said. "For my people, dreams and spirits of animals and all things are very important and the oceans are magical places. Of course if we lose the fish, we will lose our dreams, we all will."

She smiled again and offered him her hand up. He took it and smiled back as he stood up. He no longer felt so alone. "My Grandfather was a fisherman." She said. "He warned me when I was a little girl that with all the new people coming to this land, that one day we might not have enough fish to feed them all. No one ever listened to him in those days but maybe now they will listen to you, you are a messenger and I will help everyone to hear you ... and my Grandfather." She added. "Bring your friends to my classroom tonight after school."
That evening after class Adam and his school mates and father met at Ms. Crowe's classroom. Native masks and pictures hung on the walls and in the center of the room was a pile of dark green stones with small pale blue misty moon like spots.

"Please have a seat everyone and we will begin." Ms. Crowe said.

Ms. Crowe spoke some words Adam did not recognize and threw a stick of incense on the pile of stones in the middle of the circle.
"Woooosh!" All the candles blew out. The rocks glowed and Ms Crowe spoke more words in a humming, sing song tone. Adam and the others felt their eyes getting heavy and finally close. Then suddenly Adam realized the chanting had stopped. Everyone opened their eyes. Behind each person, dimly lit by the glowing stones and floating in the air was a DreamFish for everyone: A lionfish for Sean, A blue tang for Adam's Father, a manta ray for Govan, a marlin for Tara and a squid for Mr. Singh.

"We are the Dreamfish," said Py," and we need your help"

"What do we do?" Asked Govan

Ms Crowe spoke next. "Right now the United Nations is having a meeting to decide on Ocean Protection. I think we should go and speak to them."
Adam's Father looked surprised. "I don't think we could book plane tickets this late even if we could afford them and the children's parents would have to be asked."

"Ahem" said Adam sitting on the back of the floating, flying Py, "We don't need plane tickets when we have magic fish."

"And our parents don't have to know," piped up Sean, "if we are having a sleep over at your house tonight." He grinned. Mr. Bowring phoned the other parents.
While he did Mr. Singh's squid began squirting a mysterious glowing ( if black can glow ) ink into the air around them until the room became obscured. Ms. Crowe walked over to a double door that had appeared in the mist.

"Is everyone ready? " she asked?

With nods she threw open the doors and Adam and the DreamFish flew floated into the United Nations main assembly.

It took a moment or two for the diplomats to notice but gradually a buzz arose. Soon they were pointing fingers, standing and yelling. The DreamFish gracefully circled above them and Mr. Singh's squid squirted more clouds of jet black inky mist until the walls and ceiling of the chamber had disappeared behind an inky black cloud.
Ms. Crowe took the podium and spoke into the microphone.

"My Grandfather has a message for you in this boy and carried here by these DreamFish. Years ago you did not listen to him, maybe now you will listen to your own children."
And with that she stepped aside and motioned for Adam and Py to come forward which they did.

"Hello....everyone....." Adam began uncertainly. "My name is Adam Bowring and these are .... These are the DreamFish."

With that Py then spoke, "We are the DreamFish and ever since you left the oceans, we have transformed under the magic light of the moon from ordinary fish into ones that take you, every night, back to the magical oceans were your dreams live. Your greed is killing the oceans. There are less and less of us, there are less and less dreams and soon, unless you change what you are doing, there will be none. But it is not too late. If you act together to save the oceans you can save your children's dreams, if not your own."

"We did not think you would believe us right away so we have a special surprise for you." said Py. He backed up and the diplomats looked around and then back to Py.
One by one, forms appeared out of the murky ink swirling around them. Each of the diplomats own DreamFish floated and flew over to their matching diplomats.

Py spoke again, "You might not recognize them," he said, "but they know you. They have been with you every night since you were children and even though you do not recognize them you will still recognize your dreams and maybe you will recognize the dreams of your children. Climb on your DreamFish."

The diplomats DreamFish nudged and herded and in some cased even flipped the diplomats on to their backs and then swam off into the murky ink.
"Where have they gone?" asked Adam to Py.

"Michelangelo, the squid," Py clarified, " has cast some magical ink around us that will transport them straight to oceans of dreams. When they get there, they will recognize some of the dreams they see every night. Even if they do not believe you or I, they will believe their own dreams.

One by one the diplomats DreamFish returned from the inky black mist surrounding the chamber. Each one was like the last. The diplomat from Japan was smiling, "Yes, yes we will protect the oceans! Oh my Yoshimi will have her dreams come true!" The diplomat from Russia, a big burley man was in tears. "Oh my Natia, oh what have we done, yes we will protect the oceans." Again and again as the diplomats DreamFish came back to the chamber and the scene was repeated.

Quietly, Ms Crowe motioned to Adam and his friends. "C'mon, our work here is done, follow me." And with that she walked into the black mist surrounding them. One by one they followed into the swirling mist and "Phhhhuuump!"

Adam was back in his bedroom, the morning light was streaming in through his open window and a Raven was cawing loudly outside it. It flew away as Adam's Dad opened the door to his room.
".....Adam..... I had the weirdest dream..... was that? .... Did you dream about fish last night?" his Dad spluttered.

Adam smiled. "Turn on the radio Dad; I am going to wake the others up."
Adam ran down the hall to the den where the others were also waking up and looking at one another with, "Are you thinking what I am thinking?" looks.

On the radio the announcer was reporting a news flash, the United Nations had just declared an emergency declaration saying that that the oceans were in great danger and they were enacting emergency legislation to ban over fishing and cut the use of carbon fuel around the world...... "Adam's Dad looked up from his tea, wide eyed."

"We did it!
There was a knock at the door. Ms Crowe called out. "Hello everyone, I know it's Saturday but I was just passing by and.... Can I speak to Adam?"

Adam stepped out into the crisp morning air on the porch and looked into Ms. Crowe's smiling eyes.

"You did it, my Grandfather's messenger." She said to him.
"So... now what happens?" Adam asked.

"You have delivered your message Adam that is all you need to do. As for what is next, I think there is a dragon in Britain that needs your help."

Adam's eyes went wide.

"But let me ask the elders first..." she added.

Our dreams are alive in the oceans, and both are worth keeping from harm.
Author photo

By Adam King


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Jul 13, 2013
11:44 AM

Congrats to the “David Suzuki Foundation” website for posting this story. Those that know Adam know he is a very talented and creative writer and its great to see his prose promoted in this manner on this website. Thanks.

Aug 31, 2012
9:27 PM

ummm…. you were distracted….. ?

Aug 10, 2012
11:43 AM

Awesome story Adam!

How is it that I didn't you know had this talent?

Aug 08, 2012
7:09 PM

I just wanted to thank the David Suzuki Foundation for giving me the chance to post this shortened version of a much longer, much more colourful story. Like all stories, it is never really finished but now at least when you read it, it has started. Thank you David Suzuki and friends.

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