Sylvia laughed at Cedric as he swam up to her. He had a paper cup on his nose. "Oh, Cedric!" she said through her laughter. "Are you practicing to join the circus?" Cedric didn't answer. He just flipped this way and that, again and again until Sylvia realized that he couldn't get the cup off his nose and it was preventing him from talking. She approached him slowly and when he came close to her, using her teeth gently, she was able to get the cup off Cedric's nose. "Thanks," he said quietly. After they swam along together for a while, Sylvia headed for the shore. Cedric followed and they both got out of the water.
"Sylvia," Cedric asked, "how come you never play in the stuff people dump into the water?" Sylvia didn't answer right away. Then she said, "Think about it for a minute, Cedric. A few minutes ago you needed some help to rid yourself of a piece of that trash." "I didn't think of it as trash," Cedric said. "The people put their waste paper and stuff into the water and I get to play with it and they watch me and laugh and we all have lots of fun."
Both of them sat on the bank overlooking the water, quietly thinking. Then Sylvia said, "Cedric, the problem is that people don't think about the consequences of putting trash in the water. They just enjoy watching you play. What if you hadn't been able to get that cup off your nose? You were having difficulty breathing and you couldn't eat. Before too long, you would have died, but the people didn't think about that and neither did you."
"Oh, I would have gotten the cup off somehow," Cedric replied.
"That's not the point," said Sylvia. "Litter should not be thrown in the water. People know that, and if we don't go near it, perhaps they will remember where the trash really belongs and even if they don't, we won't be hurt by it."
Cedric and Sylvia slipped back into the water, and playing with one another as they went, swam upstream to a park where lots of people came with picnics all year round. Sure enough, there were two bunches of young folks enjoying their lunches. One bunch was all girls and the other group was all boys.
"Those kids are all wearing the same kind of clothes," said Cedric to Sylvia.
"I think they're Scouts," she said.
"I hope they come to play with us when they're through eating," Cedric wished as Sylvia was watching the young people.
"Look!," she exclaimed. "Those Scouts are putting all their trash in the trashcan." Cedric looked and, indeed, there was no rubbish left on the ground. Then the kids came to the water to enjoy the antics of the otters.
Cedric wasn't ready to play. "Sylvia," he finally said, "wouldn't it be good if we could talk to our people-friends about this?"
"It sure would," she responded. "But people think that we were put on Earth just to have funthat we don't have a worry in the world."
"That's right," Cecil replied thoughtfully. Then his mood quickly changed and he jumped into the water. "That's the way it should be, so let's pretend it is!" he shouted. Sylvia followed him and they chased one another and even their own tails, and for all the world they looked as if having fun was all they ever knew.