On solitude, friendship and single parenting in a powerful story by Benji Davies

Benji Davies, The Storm Whale

Published  2013 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published March 1st 2011), 32p

The wonder of the world

The beauty and the power,

The shapes of things,

Their colours, lights and shades,

These I saw.

Look ye also while life lasts

We might not discover the complete vastness of the world but we can embrace the beauty and the magic in it. Simple yet extremely reflective, The Storm Whale is a fascinating meditation on loneliness, the magic of friendship and children’s need for parents’ presence.

Noi and his father lived in a house by the sea; the father was a busy fisherman so he would leave for work early in the morning and come back at the end of the day. There is no mother in the story and although he had six cats, the little boy spent the days alone.

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One day, after a violent storm, Noi went to the beach and spotted something in the distance. It was a little washed up whale. He knew that the whale needed water so he put it on his cart, took it home and placed it in the bath tub.

dialogue

Happy to have a friend, the boy would do anything to pleasure the whale:

He told stories about life on the island. The whale was an excellent listener.

Then he became worried that his father might be angry about the whale in the house. Instead, the parent realized the boy’s loneliness because of his absence.

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Together they took the whale back to the sea, where it belonged.

take back the whale

The boy’s separation of his friend was comforted only by his father’s presence; their connection became stronger; the father changed his routine and the two spent more time together.

Noi never stopped thinking of his little friend so he would feel thrill and love when one day, having a picnic with his father, he saw the whale in the distance waving with its tail.

The story has a huge emotional impact. The sandy island, the non-presence of his parents or of other human beings, the independent cats, all these suggest the boy’s loneliness. So his need for companionship and dialogue is essential. There is no big ending of the story, but in its simplicity and innocence it captures all children’s desire for true and valuable relationships.

Complement this story on symbolical child-animal friendship with Oliver Jeffer’s Lost and Found.

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