The Boy Swallowed By The Sea

[excerpt from Dobra Tales and Lore, collected by David Hooper]

Long ago when glass was still new, a ship crashed against the shore and sank, none aboard surviving. The ship belonged to a king, and therefore carried great treasures that were spilled upon the ocean floor.

The next morning all the children of the nearby village swam out to the wreck and discovered gold coins and gems of a thousand hues intermingled with the bodies of the dead and drowned. So they collected the treasures by the handful and brought them back to their parents. And their parents were pleased, for they had industrious children.

But there was one gem, an emerald the size of a man’s chest, which was too large to move. Dozens of the children tried their hands at it, and all failed to dislodge it. So they gave up on the greatest prize in favor of the smaller treasures.

But one boy could not ignore the huge emerald, and it filled him with desire. So while the other children carried away the coins and gems by the pocketfuls, he continually wrestled with the giant gem. So while all the other families grew rich on the spoils their children brought home, the boy’s family remained poor. And so his father chided him, saying “Why do you ignore the easy and labor for the hard?”

And the boy replied, “The other treasures are just baubles compared to the emerald. It is worth more than a thousand treasures from a thousand ships, and it will be mine.” So while the other families ate well, the boy’s family remained hungry as he toiled away.

Not a week later the seabed was picked clean, and only the giant emerald remained. And with it only the lonely the boy, who could not let it go. And finally he broke it free.

But what the boy did not know was that the emerald was really the heart of the sea, the plug that kept all the ocean from draining away. And with the gem removed, the waters retreated and roared down the dark hole. And they sucked the boy with them, and he feared he would drown.

Then the roar stopped, and the boy swam towards the light. But the light was green, and he did not discover why until he reached the top to find the waters had pulled the emerald back into place over the hole. And so he was trapped, catching glimpses of the world above him through a green tint* until he drowned because he could not let the emerald go.

Footnotes from Editor David Hooper:

1. Some believe the phrase “turns green with greed” has its origins with this tale.


I fly through the air

On small feathered wings,

Seeking out life and

Destroying all things.