Ryan, the baby anteater was following his mother through the jungle and learning how to find food when a purple butterfly caught his attention. While his mother wandered away, Ryan stopped to stare at the butterfly.
"Whatcha looking at?" the butterfly asked.
"I'm looking at you," Ryan told him. "What are you anyway?"
"My name is Jeremy. I'm a butterfly and the best flight instructor in the world," he bragged.
"What's a flight instructor?" Ryan asked.
"It's someone who teaches someone else to fly," Jeremy told him. "I can teach anyone to fly."
Ryan thought about that a minute. "I bet you can't teach me to fly."
"Sure I can. Everyone can learn to fly."
"That's silly," Ryan told him. "I don't have wings like you. How can I fly without wings?"
"You don't need real wings," Jeremy insisted. "You have pretend wings and "I'll teach you how to use those."
"That's the silliest thing I've ever heard," Ryan replied, intrigued with the idea. "How do pretend wings work anyway?"
"It's easy. Pretend your paws are wings and flap them," Jeremy explained. "If you flap them fast enough you'll fly."
Ryan picked up his right foot, looked at it and waved it up and down. "It isn't working."
"Of course it isn't working," Jeremy told him. "You have to flap all of them at the same time."
"How can I do that?" Ryan asked.
"Oh, Oh!" Jeremy said when he looked up and saw Ryan's mom approaching. "I'll tell you later." Without saying another word, Jeremy flew away.
After Jeremy disappeared, Ryan looked at his paws. How could he flap all of them at the same time? "I know! I'll lay on my back!" Ryan lay down on the ground, rolled over on his back and started waving his paws as fast as he could.
About that time Ryan's mom arrived and found him on the ground waving all four paws in the air.
"What are you doing? I've been looking all over for you."
"I'm flying! This is really fun."
"You can't fly, Ryan. You don't have wings."
"It's okay," Ryan replied. "The purple butterfly told me I could use pretend wings."
Momma anteater sighed. "Well flap your wings a little harder and follow me home."
Jeanie lived with her mother and two brothers near a pond surrounded by beautiful fragrant flowers. On every sunny day, Jeanie swam around the pond catching dragonflies and enjoying the wonderful smells in the air.
She felt like a queen and she knew she was beautiful for her mother told her so every day. Jeanie could hardly wait until she had shiny black feathers and a regal bearing like her mother.
One day, Jeannie decided to ditch her brothers and go exploring. Sometimes a girl just needs to be alone without the pushing and shoving of rowdy playmates. So she headed for a stand of cattails on the other side of the pond to see what she could find.
Jeannie was swimming through the cattails when she heard someone singing in a clear, beautiful voice. "I have to see who that is," she said aloud and headed toward the sound of the music. Imagine Jeannie's surprise when she pushed through the cattails and came to a clearing where a baby mermaid sat on a rock singing at the top of her lungs. When the baby mermaid saw Jeannie, she stopped singing and stared at her.
"Why did you stop?" Jeannie asked. "I've never heard such a beautiful voice. My mother sings sometimes but her croaky voice reminds me of a frog."
"Who are you?" asked the baby mermaid. "Why did you interrupt me?"
"I'm Jeannie," the baby swan replied. "And I had to find out who was singing."
"Go away," said the baby mermaid with a quaver in her voice. "Just go away."
"Why are you so sad?" asked Jeannie. "Anyone who can sing like you can shouldn't be unhappy."
"I'm lost and I'm singing because it keeps me from crying."
"Oh," Jeannie told her. "I've been lost but my mom always found me. Where's your mom?"
"I don't know," the baby mermaid told her with a sniffle. "I was picking purple monkey pods to make her a necklace and wasn't paying attention where I was going. When I turned around to go home, I couldn't find my way."
"Why don't you come home with me and I'll ask mom to help you," suggested Jeannie.
"I'm not supposed to do that."
"Because no one is supposed to see me," the baby mermaid told her and burst into tears. "Now that you've seen me I'm really in trouble."
"Millicent! Millicent! Millicent! Where are you?"
"Who's that?" asked Jeannie when she saw the baby mermaid look around.
"That's my mom," the baby mermaid told her. "She must have heard me singing. Quick. Run and hide. I'll really be in trouble if she sees you!"
"Okay," Jeannie told her. "I'm gone. I'm glad your mom found you."
Jeannie turned around and paddled home just as fast as she could. What an exciting adventure! She was so excited to tell her mom and her rowdy brothers that she met a baby mermaid even though they wouldn't believe her.
Everyone knew mermaids didn't exist or live in ponds, especially in her pond.