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The bay was quiet and there was no one else there. I changed into my swimsuit very quickly. Then I crossed the hot, white sand. The blue-green water felt pleasantly cool and silky when I swam gently along the shore. Then I turned and floated lazily on my back, with my eyes closed against the bright sun. There was no cloud in the sky. I felt so carefree and relaxed.
Suddenly, I felt something cold swim past my leg. I looked around wildly to see what it was. I saw something coming back towards me. “Sharks!” I thought. I was terrified. I didn’t wait, but swam madly towards the rocks on the beach. When I reached them, I managed to pull myself up and climb out of the water. Then I turned to look again. It wasn’t a shark. It was a dolphin. He lay quietly in the water exactly where I was swimming and looked at me with his bright eyes. I watched him in delight.
But as I was about to go back into the water to join him, I heard a strange sound. Something flew past my ear and hit the water in front of the dolphin. It happened again. And I suddenly realized what was happening. These were bullets – someone was shooting at the dolphin. The shots were coming from the woods above the bay, and I shouted as loud as I could, “Stop that shooting!” I jumped into the water and swam quickly into the sunlight. I hoped that my rough movements, beating the waves and screaming would frighten the dolphin and that he would swim away from the danger. It did frighten him. He went under the water and disappeared.
I was very angry. I turned to look up at the cliffs. There was a big house there and a man standing in front of it. He was watching me. Quickly I picked up my things and started to run up towards the house. “Leave immediately,” the man shouted. “This is private property. You have no right to be here.”
When I got to the top of the cliff, he stopped me. I wasted no words. “Why were you shooting at the dolphin?” I asked.
He looked confused and puzzled. “What are you talking about?” he wanted to know.
“Don’t pretend that you don’t know. I saw you.”
“I certainly saw a dolphin,” he admitted, “but I wasn’t shooting. I heard nothing. Anyway, why would anybody want to shoot a dolphin?” he asked.
“I’m asking you,” I said. I looked at him and I said nothing more. I ran past the house and decided to contact the police as soon as I got to town.
adapted from This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart, retold by Diane Mowat, OUP 2000