A story by Helen Dudley in which the Chief Protagonist is a Bucket as requested by Gerhard who has a Peculiar Bucket Fixation.
Once upon a time there was a very lonely bucket. The bucket had an almost constant companion in his partner, the spade and formerly they had been the best of friends. However, about a year before this story takes place, they had a serious disagreement over who was responsible for them regularly becoming covered with sand with each blaming the other and consequently they were no longer on speaking terms.
One day the children who owned the bucket and spade took the bucket out of its cupboard leaving the spade behind. The bucket was surprised but pleased by the prospect of a solo outing. It was taken to a small wooden jetty and filled with water. Shortly afterwards a strange creature was placed in the bucket.
“Hello” said the bucket, “what are you?”
“I’m a shrimp” the creature replied. “What are you? And why am I inside you?”
“I’m a bucket and I’m afraid I don’t know what you are doing here” the bucket said. “But I am glad that you came as I’m very lonely” and it related the story of its life with the spade.
While the bucket told its tale they were joined by lots more shrimps and soon they were all talking happily. The bucket couldn’t remember when it had last enjoyed itself so much.
All too soon the children had finished their shrimping and decided to return home. They lifted the bucket and started to tip the shrimps back into the sea.
“Goodbye!” they called to the bucket as they fell.
“No! Please don’t leave me” the bucket begged.
“We can’t help it” they replied, “Come with us! You can live with us on the seabed where you will always be surrounded by friends.”
“Yes!” the bucket cried and it suddenly twisted itself out of the hand of the child who held it and fell into the sea where it rapidly sank.
And now the bucket lives happily under the sea where its friends the shrimps play in and around it all day. The children bought a new bucket which soon became great friends with the spade who told it many tales of the strange and unreasonable behaviour of its predecessor.