bedtime stories

The Princess and the Marshmallow-eating Shark

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in Baltimore who had a pet shark. She and the shark were best friends; they would play together all day long, and sleep together at night. The shark wasn’t like others of his kind–he was furry, and had soft vinyl teeth. And his favorite food was marshmallows.

One night, at three a.m., the little girl decided she was going to surprise the shark with marshmallows for breakfast in the morning. So she quietly slipped out of bed and tiptoed downstairs to the pantry to make sure there were enough marshmallows around to feed the shark. But she couldn’t find any, so she tiptoed back upstairs and woke up her father.

“Daddy, where are the marshmallows?” she asked, as she jumped on her groggy father. He rolled over and said, half-asleep, “There are some packed with our camping equipment, I think.” As she scampered back down the stairs, he went back to sleep, thinking that it was all a dream.

The little girl went to the basement and found the box with the family’s camping gear in it. She pulled out the box, dug deep into and find a half-bag of Jet-Puft Marshmallows, just as her father had said. She brought the bag up to the kitchen and left them on the counter, happy that she would be able to surprise the shark in the morning.

Meanwhile, the shark had awaken while the little girl was away, and had followed the sound of her rummaging down to the basement, where he saw her pulling out the camping gear. “We must be going on a camping trip!” the shark thought excitedly. “Maybe I’ll get to go swimming and chase some dolphins.” He flopped back up the stairs to the little girl’s bedroom, and got back into bed, dreaming of campfires and marine mammal harrassment.

When the sun rose, the little girl woke the shark and said, “I have a surprise for you!” The shark, thinking he knew what the surprise was, jumped and squirmed excitedly after the girl as she ran downstairs, following her to the kitchen. As he slid onto the kitchen tiles behind her, he shouted with glee, “Oh boy oh boy! We’re going…” and stopped when he saw the little girl holding up the bag of marshmallows.

“I have marshmallows for you for breakfast!” she said with a smile. She reached into the bag and pulled one out.

Something did not look right about the marshmallows. They were flattened, and had black spots on them. The bag was old and dusty. And when the little girl pulled out one, a moth flew out of it.

The shark looked at the bottom of the bag. “Hey, the bag says, ‘Best if used by May 5, 1985!’ Those marshmallows are ancient!” Realizing that the little girl wasn’t taking him camping, and was actually planning on feeding him rancid marshmallows, the shark chomped on her piteously with his soft vinyl teeth (which are only any good for eating fresh marshmallows.

The moral of the story: never wake up your dad at 3 a.m. for marshmallows.

The End.

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