This piece was written for my 3rd graders as an example of a personal narrative. They helped me out with a “juicy hook,” “5-sense details” and a “wrap it up” ending.
Once, in the summer, I was visiting a fish market in Busan, South Korea. It smelled very strong like the ocean had dried up and become a giant store. Actually, it wasn’t completely dry, because there were bright tubs everywhere filled with salt water. The tubs were red, blue and yellow. Some of the tubs were huge aquariums and some were like kiddie pools. There were fish and lots of sea creatures inside. Everywhere the sound of water gurgling and sea creatures flopping and splashing flooded your ears. Even the air tasted a little salty from the mist.
Outside the fish market, an octopus the size of a small swim ring—that you use when your family brings you to the beach for the first time—was in one of the kiddie pools with lots and lots of other squirmy octopi. It decided to slide out of the pool. Its little suckers on the back of each rubbery arm pulled it out of its shallow tub. The octopus made an attempt to return to the sea that was only one block away! It could also probably smell the ocean, its home, so very close.
Suddenly, a granny in a giant visor put an end to the octopus’ plan! She grabbed the octopus and spanked it before plopping it back in the pool.
I was across the street and looked when someone yelled, “That octopus just got spanked!” I couldn’t help but start laughing. It didn’t seem real at all!
What was more surprising is that later, an octopus—probably not that one—became my dinner. It was scary to eat something so different—I imagine, just like when the octopus tried to escape. But it was also brave! It wasn’t as rubbery as I thought it was going to be because it was raw, and cut up into little pieces. We dipped it in some tasty sesame oil.
I had to pretend that it didn’t have suckers when I chewed and swallowed it or I might gag.
Both the octopus and I found ourselves in a strange, new place. We both tried something new even though it seemed crazy at the time. I’m sorry that the octopus’ day ended so tragically. But I will never forget it!