Turtle, Jellyfish & Crab

By John
See other stories
This narrative by John is part of the Metadesigning for Children project (see a summary) with Hyaesook, Dan.


  1. To challenge the usual 'top-down' reading convention in which narrator is in full control of a complete story.
  2. (n.b. whereas 'education' suggests a one-way flow, Dysgu (Welsh) can mean either 'learning' or 'teaching').


  1. The Left-Hand page would normally contain mainly visual imagery, colours and appealing puzzles.
  2. The Right-Hand page would normally consist of texts, notes and links to additional references elsewhere.
  3. Together they would offer a safe, playground space to tackle big, difficult issues, concepts and questions.

An Example

  • N.B. as the project currently has no illustrator, there are no images on this version's left-hand panel.


square-50cm-spacer.jpg Kiddy Book square-50cm-spacer.jpg Notes

Mainly for the ChildMainly for the (adult) narrator
Long, long, long, long, long ago.Don't you just love it when kids say they are BORED??
Long before time began...What would they say if YOU said you were bored? ;-)
Long before the first Dinosaur Fortunately, kids love crazy ideas that challenge them...
Nothing happened.Did a bored Universe really begin from NOTHING?
Absolutely nothing.If we keep adding ZEROs to ZEROs will we ever get to ONE?
Absolutely nothing happened.Mmm…darkness everywhere until the Big Bang?
To be honest, not even NOTHING happened.Surely, going from nothing to something is UNTHINKABLE?
drab colours were everywhere....Maybe - but this doesn’t make it IMPOSSIBLE
It was like living at the very bottom of the sea.Ever had a Sherlock moment when you suddenly light up?
....well, this is the boring part of the story...Charles Peirce called this abductive reasoning because the
It was as DARK...SILENT...and SLOW as could be.solution came from NOWHERE (i.e. beyond the problem space).
So HOW did you and I get here, today? 0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0=1?!! - what, REALLY?!!
(From NOTHINGNESS to SOMETHINGNESS?)...Yes, really. Quantum boffin Peter Rowlands did the maths...
WHO might know the answers?
And WHAT QUESTION should we ask?Maybe this would make sense to young kids…
Shall we peep into the silent darkness…their curiosity can help us to understand the meaning of life.
that existed before time itself?
We might imagine a Turtle, a Crab and a JellyfishUsing language creatively can reveal hidden opportunities.
but these were creatures of the future.If we think something's impossible we say it's 'unthinkable'.
Therefore they did not YET exist.Wiseman’s Luck Generator make MIRACLES more thinkable.
So it was a great surprise when the Turtle
moved its head.We tune into unnoticed things when they become ‘relevant’.
Then it spoke in a sad voice.Quantum physicist David Bohm turned 'relevance' into the verb
"Nothing happens down here. I'm so BORED"to relevate as a way to describe how one sub-atomic thing
"I'm bored, too", said the Crab in a lazy voice. lifts, or illuminates another thing into existence.
"Why don't we do something?"
"Bet you're not as BORED as I am", saidHow can humans make things exist?
" Jellyfish. "Somebody needs to DO something".Bishop Berkeley said we exist when others notice us.
"Well, what do you WANT to do?" said Crab.FOOTNOTE: the African word Ubuntu explains this better.
"I'm not bothered", replied the Jellyfish.It’s easy to go along with everybody but self-reinforcing trends
"...I'll go along with whatever YOU want to do."EITHER make good things better OR bad things worse.
..."And I'll do what YOU want to do", said CrabMany are trained to wait for other people to act.
"I've had enough of this", said Jellyfish,Many refuse to do the right thing until others are doing it.
slowly drifting back to her corner.This is because we underestimate our influence in the world.
Crab looked at the Turtle. "It's your fault.
"YOU complained you were bored.Optimism may help us to reason more auspiciously.
"So YOU think of something!...together we can create a grammar of contagious optimism.
"I'm too bored to think", said Turtle.
"But I'll do whatever you decide".
"Same here", said Crab. "Wake me up
when you've got a proper plan."CHILDREN can help adults to reimagine the future.
...This conversation is so BORING."ADULTS can learn from the questions kids ask.
All this made Jellyfish feel sad. "How can weTogether we can ask better questions.
escape from NOTHINGNESS?" she asked.Here are a few types of question to think about
"Well, if that's how you feel", said Turtle,Climate change has shown the need for better questions.
"It will be a bad idea to do anything".So instead of behaving AS IF we were causing it,
"Wake me up when you have a proper plan.we kept asking WHETHER we were causing it...
He let out a deep sigh.Instead of asking HOW to make behaviour change fun
"I will continue to lounge around".We just assumed that greener lifestyles would bring pain.
Then Jellyfish saw a tiny, dancing, twinkling thing.Now that it is harder to deny climate change
What was it? What might it have been?many adults now say it is too late to do anything.
The Crab looked at it very closely.Unfortunately, they are right - but ONLY IF we all believe them.
"Yuk! I don't like the look of that!"
"It could be something really BAD."
Then the Jellyfish had a longer look.
"It's only a tiny bubble dancing in the light"
But Jellyfish couldn't take her eyes off it.Young kids are the NEW KNOWERS who learn (see diversity)
As she looked more closely it changedwithout being hindered by the inauspicious reasoning
Glinting in a sunbeam was the tiniestused by many adults.
of tiny creatures.They create their realities from the shared experience
"I think it's a tiny fish! she shouted"of each moment...
The Turtle and the Crab just stared.
"There's no such thing", said Crab.
"Fish don't exist, yet..."Wittgenstein's notion of aspect dawning notes that
"I saw it, but it was horrible", said Turtle...we take time to interpret or recognise things we see.
..."We mustn't go near it." In making sense of confusing experiences we may
But Jellyfish decided to follow it. create new opportunities.
As it swam it shimmered and glittered
She saw the purest colours:
"Against the murky waters of the deep
"It's beautiful! she shouted...
...we are so lucky to see this".
"Wearing brilliant colours is a BAD idea" saidThe scissors/paper/stone game shows us that we all
Turtle. "It hasn't even got a shell to hide in..."have unique abilities that are incomparable.
"Well, I wish I was a tiny fish", said Crab.Fuller's Trim-Tab idea was designed to show how we
"then I could swim anywhere....can all make a difference, however powerless we think we are.
"...without a care in the world.
"I've had a brilliant idea"said Jellyfish..... Stairway To Heaven
What would YOUR brilliant idea be...?What would YOUR brilliant idea be...?