"C'mon, Sylviawe gotta talk," said Cedric, nudging Sylvia gently with his nose. Cedric and Sylvia are otters. They live near Charleston, SC with many friends. Some of their friends live in the water, some near the water, and some visit the water whenever they can.
This sunny morning, Cedric was troubled. Sylvia knew something was bothering Cedric and quickly followed him to a muddy bank where he slipped out of the water and turned, settling as he watched Sylvia gracefully join him. Cedric was unusually quiet. When they had been there side by side for what seemed like a long time to Sylvia, she finally asked, "Well, what was so important?"
"Sylvia, I've come upon a problem that I have no idea how to solve." "All problems have a solution, Cedric," Sylvia replied. "Tell me about it."
"Well," said Cedric, "when I was swimming in the waters a little farther away from our usual playground, I found a creature as big as a boat who was caught in some lines. She can't get free and she's frightened. I don't know what she is. I don't know how I can help. This is the worst problem I've ever seen. There are so many questions that I don't know how to answer."
"Now, now, Cedric. We'll find a solution," Sylvia assured him. "Calm down and take me to this creature. Did you talk to her?" she asked.
"Yes," Cedric replied. "I told her not to be afraid and that I would help. And then I left her there because I had no idea what to do."
"Did you ask her what kind of an animal she is?" asked Sylvia.
"No, I didn't think to ask," Cedric answered. "I wouldn't have asked her anyway. If she knew how dumb I am, she would have been even more upset."
"Not knowing something doesn't mean you're dumb, Cedric," said Sylvia. "We all have much to learn, and learning new things can be lots of fun," she said, slipping into the water. Now take me to this creature and together we will find a way to help her."
The two swam quickly out around the outer edge of their little estuary, into the ocean and back into another small inlet, about two or three miles farther south than Sylvia had ever been. There, bobbing in the water like a small blimp, was the creature.
"Good morning," said Sylvia. "My name is Sylvia. This is Cedric. We're otters. What are you?"
"Hello," she said. "My name is Martha and I'm a manatee. Some people call me a sea cow. I'm sorry I got myself into a spot I can't get out of. I was just searching for more to eat and I guess I got out of my neighborhood."
"Let's see if Cedric and I can help," said Sylvia. "Come, Cedric. Let's get Martha free of these fishing lines."
Quickly, barely causing a ripple in the water, the two otters swam beneath the surface and began gnawing on the lines that held Martha. They surfaced after what seemed to Martha like a long time and assured her that they would get the job done. Again and again they disappeared beneath the surface of the water, and finally Martha was free of the lines.
"We've done it, Sylvia!" Cedric shouted as he and Sylvia quickly swam 'round and 'round Martha to be sure that she was indeed free of all the lines that had held her. A very grateful manatee thanked them again and again as she slowly began to swim out toward the ocean.
"Thank you so much," Martha called again after saying, "Goodbye, I think I'd better head south to my own neighborhood."
"I hope she'll be O.K.," said Cedric as he and Sylvia smoothly swam back to their familiar territory.
"So do I," replied Sylvia. "Martha was swimming closer to land than she was used to because she was afraid of becoming a victim of a speeding outboard or one of those loud motorized boards. For the good of everyone, we must all try to think of others and the best ways we can share the waters, as well as the lands."
"Sylvia, you always sound like a school teacher," Cedric teased.
"And that's why you always ask me for help," Sylvia teased in return.