Lost – Reward Offered!

Nothing personal, Cyberspace, but here is a wild shot in the dark …

Many people have past experiences which haunt them, hazy memories that hover just out of sight like a dream you can’t quite remember. If only you could draw them out into the light of day and give them a good hard look, find out what they really mean to you …

When I was a young child I read a story – whether short story, novella or novel I can’t recall – which affected me deeply. I would dearly love to find it again. Trouble is, I can’t remember much about it, other than the way it seemed to stir something deep inside me.

Anyway, here’s what I remember, in case it rings a bell with someone.

The main characters were two very contrasting creatures who go on a voyage across water – sea or river or perhaps both. At one point they sail up an inlet or estuary. They set out with a purpose or quest of some kind and have experiences from which they learn important, perhaps gently philosophical lessons. The creatures – two, I’m sure, though there may have been others – were an unlikely pairing. I’ve always thought crab and bear, for some reason, but this may be a later memory overlay. The difference between the creatures was as striking and peculiar as that, though.

Other than that, well, this image fragment – an illustration, perhaps, or more likely an inner  visualisation – the boat arriving at a wooden quay or pier, lights twinkling in a village … and that’s it. Not much to go on, is it? It sounds like a children’s story but there was probably a more grown-up dimension, too, some quasi-religious or ethical message within a kind of myth or fable. I remember thinking how beautiful the story was and being moved by the creatures’ thoughts and feelings, perhaps by their unlikely friendship.

So can anybody help me find it? I’ve tried libraries, bookshops, the internet … all to no avail. Please feel free to pass this on, reblog, whatever. Being reunited with my uber-story would mean a lot to me.

And your reward?

Well, as the bishop says to the actress, what could be better than the satisfaction of knowing you have made an old man very happy?

I’d also love to know if you have something like this in the dusty attic of your mind – if you’ll forgive the metaphor! Who knows … perhaps I, or one of my readers, may be able to help you find it?

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26 thoughts on “Lost – Reward Offered!

  1. This couldn’t, by any chance, be the nonsense poem The Owl And the Pussycat by Edward Lear, could it? Their adventures are in bongo bongo land, with two other animals, and there are several versions, of different lengths?

    1. Alas, no, but the O&TPC isn’t a million miles … leagues (?) away from the story I have in mind. It’s possible that whoever wrote it was influenced by the Edward Lear poem, which was late Victorian, putting my story in the 20th century – the style was modern, as I recall – but before the late 1950s when I would have read it … not going well, is it? What would Sherlock Holmes have done, I ask myself? Oh well, thanks for the suggestion, every one helps …

    1. Think I’ll need it, beginning to look like a needle in a haystack … wish I could remember more about the story but all I’ve got is the emotion. It also made me think. I suspect it wakened me up – I was a somewhat dreamy child. It seemed to me to contain the whole of everything, if that makes sense … and thanks!

  2. I have no idea! But I hope you find it! I was looking for a series of books with these kangaroos that had oval eyes, it was a whole bunch of animals drawn in a similar creepy 70’s style, but no one ever knows what I’m talking about! 😁

    1. If I find mine, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be posting it on WordPress. The kangaroo books strike a chord – used to read a lot to my kids ’78 onwards – but that may be because the idea is weird. The only name that comes to mind is Gary Larsen, but a series of kids books doesn’t sound like him. Hope you pin it down. Cheers!

    1. I like that ‘when’, gotta think positive, though it’s a pretty long shot in the dark! After Opher’s suggestion, I woke up this morning fully expecting to find the title in my head … zilch! Will certainly post if … er, when found.

  3. Hey Dave,

    Sorry I have no clue about your uber story! But I did repost it and will keep an eye out for you! Quite an interesting site you got here. Definitely deserves a follow. I look forward to see your journey to finding the story will turn out!

  4. Hi Dave…the game is afoot to coin an infamous dectective. Not a lot to go on but then again can’t make things too easy or the challenge would not be quite so great. Any idea how old this story might be?

    Like the blog too and as someone above says…definitely worth a follow 👻

    1. Hi Gary … good to have you on board, thanks for the follow … I’m following yours which looks interesting. As to the story, I can’t add much to what I’ve said. Stories where animals act like humans go back to Aesop’s moral fables but this one was more sentimental, probably post-Darwin and Edward Lear … so anywhere from around 1900 to the late 1950s when I read it. There the trail goes cold, I’m afraid …

      1. Hi Dave, glad to be here. Mines still newbie status and only really up and running since January. Not overly sure what I’m doing yet !! Seems we have a time line then, well half a centuries worth…guess it narrows it down a bit. I’m guessing it’s probably a children’s story if you read it as a child? That might narrow the target level a bit?? Not that bit in this context actually means a bit…more like a vast expanse of haystack with a needle somewhere inside 🤔

        1. Welcome to cyberspace! I’ve been blogging a year and got going in earnest 6 months ago. Some people post daily, some weekly on a particular day and others when they feel like it. I started in the last camp but now get twitchy every few days. Mine has come down to satire, poems, very short stories and one-offs like this.

          Not sure if it was written for children – there wasn’t a lot of kids’ fiction when I was young. Might have been a philosopher exploring ideas in the form of a fable. Anyway, no nibbles on the bait yet but I’m very patient these days …

          1. Ohh heck, I’m not new to cyberspace as such but blogging is something I’ve thought I’d be rubbish at it. I think it’s something I feel obliged to embrace though. People here seem really decent. It’s surprised me that so many just make you want to be part of the community…which I guess it is thinking about it.

            It was definitely a book or written prose then as opposed to a verbal hand me down story?

            Like the bait reference too…with my word association mentality it ties in with my post about a dear angling friend who fell to prostrate cancer…point being anglers are patient too….some say it’s a virtue. Will keep pondering your quest though…

          2. Thanks, Gary, sounds like your friendly and open manner will make you many online friends. I like the worldwide side of blogging, breaking down barriers, something my mum would have loved – I wrote about her influence in two earlier posts
            https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/homage/
            https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/swimming-against-the-stream/
            Sorry to hear about your friend. My lost story was definitely a book, either illustrated or with powerfully visual descriptions! Cheers!

    1. When I read WTWTA to my kids, which they loved, I recognised the similarity with my early story straight away. It may even have involved a child who journeyed with these creatures, which might have explained my deep identification with it. Thanks for the suggestion and link, though.

    1. I certainly will, if … no, when I find it. It must be quite an obscure piece – wonder if it was a translation from a foreign story. Recalling the strong effect it had on my young mind, it deserves to be well-known – though it obviously isn’t.

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