A Story: The Tale of Mr. Purple-Prickle-Orb.


Deep under the sea near the Channel Islands, off the Pacific coast not too terribly far from the beach cities of Southern California, there lies a prickly, purple orb about the size of a golf ball. He lives tucked into a crevice in a deepwater trench. All the little purple fellow wants to do is live peaceably among his fellow prickly-orbs, who waft gently with him, in the crevice on the ocean floor.

But all the other prickly-orbs living with him are grey — not glowing purple. They can hide in a snap when crab claws come a-calling. They blend beautifully into mud and dust when nosy flounder meander by. And they don’t like the drama and attention of having a neighbor who’s purple, and glows.

“Go away,” they say. “You’re too bright. You call too much attention to us.”

“But don’t you enjoy my pretty purple glow, shining against the blackness of the watery unknown?” Purple-Prickle-Orb would reply. “I’m bringing you poor ugly orbs the valuable gift of my beauty!”

“Bah!” was all they’d say. And “Get!”

Mr. Purple-Pickle-Orb was in a quandary, that was certain. Was it true, that staying among his friends endangered them? He wanted their friendship, but wasn’t sure how to gain it.

He tried to turn off his light, to be more like the others. But he couldn’t control it. He’d feel joy, or curiosity, or the startling touch of a spider crab, and he’d just… glow.

Should he go off by himself, and live a lonely life away from the others? Or should he just stay put, and try to make them see that being purple and glowing were valuable traits, after all?

One day, there was a strange vibration in the water. All the grey orbs hunched back on the crevice ridge in worried consultation. “What could it be?” they said. “Hide! Hide! Alack! Alas! You’re going to give us away! Get away from us, Purple-orb!”

“Well, fine, then!” he replied. “You all can cower in the mud, but I’m brave, and gloriously purple, and I”m going to go out and shine my light. Who knows what I’ll discover!”

And so he did. He mounted the ridge of the dark crevice and proudly shone his light into the vibrating blackness of the water.

Just then, the source of the vibration–a research vessel — was happening by. Inside of it were three eager and well-meaning ocean scientists, and also, a little girl. They spotted his purple glow immediately on their underwater camera.

“Ooh, what is that magnificent pulsating purple specimen?” said the first scientist to the second. “Looks like a disco ball!” “Oh yes, indeed, let’s slurp him up and examine him!” said the third scientist.

Purple-Prickle-Orb had no time to think. One minute, he was proudly shining his light into the darkness of the world. The next second: SCHLUPP! A long flexible tube, like the kind you’d find on a vaccuum cleaner, had sucked him up, up, toward a cold, bright light.

“Something tells me,” thought Purple-Prickle-Orb. “that I might have put out the wrong kind of signal.”

Once the scientists saw him pop out of the tube into the research vessel, they were elated. “Let’s poke, and prod, and find out everything about him we possibly can!” they said.

And so they did. “Come watch, little girl!” said the scientists. “Come watch us examine the Purple Prickle Orb!”

But the little girl said no. She just wanted to close her eyes and remember him as he was. She said to herself, “The best thing about Mr. Purple-Prickle-Orb is something we’ve already seen: his purple glow, proud and mysterious against the deep black water of the ocean crevice he had called his home.”

And she closed her eyes, and tried to always remember the very exquisite purple-ness of him.

And from the exam table, somehow, Mr. Purple-Prickle-Orb understood that someone had finally understood him, at long last.

And despite his present uncomfortable circumstances, that thought made him happy.


You can read about the REAL Purple Mystery Creature here.

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