Tag Archives: Short Stories

Katie and Gulliver

Katie waited for Gulliver’s familiar, raucous wake-up call. Instead, she heard sparrows arguing in the bushes beside the cottages. She heard fishing boats chug away in the morning mist. She heard wavelets slurp-slop under the wooden docks. She didn’t hear Gulliver.

“Maybe he missed the ferry,” Dad teased.

“Bet he found a new girlfriend,” said Uncle Ralph.

Katie pushed the cereal around in her bowl. “He’s not coming.”

“Wait and see,” Dad said, and Uncle Ralph agreed.

My short story, “Katie and Gulliver”, has been published in the July/August issue of Cricket Magazine. I’ve had quite a long association with this US literary publication, one of the best markets for the children’s short stories I love to write; they’ve published 9 of them since 1992.

Katie has grown to love a distinctive one-legged gull that turns up whenever she visits Uncle Ralph’s seaside resort. Gulliver has arrived every summer since Katie was a baby, keeping an eye on her and alerting her dad and uncle to hazards she encountered. Now ten, Katie watches and waits until the last day of holidays. But this summer….no Gulliver. Her decision to search for him outside the protected harbor almost ends badly. Except, it seems, Gulliver is still her guardian angel…

This story explores the special connection that sometimes exists between humans and animals, and how that bond endures. It may border on fantasy, depending on what you choose to believe. But it was inspired by reality: a visit to an RV park along BC’s Sunshine Coast over 20 years ago.


The lively setting was the catalyst: the campground occupied a terraced slope on the shore of a rocky harbour.


Small sailboats chased the wind,  sea birds circled, salty smells wafted from seaweeds tangled in driftwood and the tide gave up, then took back curious treasures.

While shorebirds searched the sand and rocks, or gulls screamed overhead, there was no one-legged gull that I recall. He flew into my imagination as I looked for a central theme, a way to connect Katie’s coming-of-age closely with nature.      But, who knows, maybe there is a Gulliver out there. For sure, the human-animal bond exists. If you read my story, I hope the setting and characters come to life for you….and then let your imagination do the rest.