A walk on the beach
Little Yosef had his new sailor suit on. It was blue and white and had a little sailor hat to match. It was not the sort of present a boy would choose for his sixth birthday, but it was better than nothing. He looked up at the grown-ups and smiled. Mother looked down at him and felt proud. Father looked down at him and felt proud. Grandma, who was staying with them for a week or two, looked down at him and said: 'I'll take him for a walk along the beach.'
'Oh no!' thought Mother. 'Oh no!' thought Father. Little Yosef liked the idea and he smiled again. Grandma waited.
'Perhaps it isn't a very good idea,' said Father.
'Why don't you just take him for a walk in the garden?' said Mother, thinking that it was much safer.
'Nonsense,' said Grandma. 'Yosef and I will be all right,
The child smiled again. He liked his grandma and he liked going to the beach. He liked to watch the huge waves coming in off the sea.
Father thought of those huge waves and shook his head. Grandma was getting old and careless. It wasn't a good idea at all.
'Come on, Yossi! Off we go!' said Grandma.
'Just don't let go of his hand!' said Mother.
'Promise!' said Father.
'Don't make such a fuss!' said Grandma.
As soon as they were on the beach, little Yosef managed to get away from Grandma and went to stand right by the water's edge to watch the waves. Grandma looked up at the sky. It was a lovely day, sunny and windless. The sea was calm, thank goodness. She sat down on the sand and watched her little Yossi. 'Be careful, darling!' she shouted. 'Don't go too near the water.'
He turned and smiled at her. Just at that moment, out of nowhere, a huge wave crashed on the beach. A really huge wave. When it flowed back into the sea, Yosef had disappeared. The wave had swept him out to sea. Grandma ran to the water's edge, screaming.
'Oh Lord! What has happened? Oh Lord! Oh no! Please bring little Yossi back!'
For the first time in many years, Grandma prayed. She prayed to all the gods she could think of. She prayed to Wodan and Tann and Osiris. Then she prayed to the Great Spirit and to several other gods whose names she couldn't quite remember.
In all her prayers, she promised to be good, to be a perfect grandmother, a perfect citizen, anything as long as they would send her Yossi back to her. She had never felt so bad in all her life. Yossi's parents were right. She was not to be trusted any more.
At that moment, another huge wave, even bigger than the first one, crashed on the beach. She looked down. There was little Yosef, sitting on the sand, pale and wet, but otherwise all right. He looked up at his grandma and smiled.
She picked him up, held him tight, covered him with kisses, and thanked all the gods for bringing her little grandson back to her. She put him down and began to tidy him up in that fussy way that grandmothers have. She ran her fingers through his hair. And then she stopped suddenly. Leaving the little boy on the sand, she went to the water's edge. Her face was red with anger. She looked up into the sky and shouted as loudly as she could: 'Where's his hat?'
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