“We weren’t laughing at you, honestly.”
“I’d give anything to be a knight on a white charger,” alisema Arthur. It was now late morning and Merlin, Belle and Arthur were strolling alongside the side of the moat that surrounded the castle. Belle had a feeling that whilst the moat didn’t look particularly deep, it probably was. Arthur had a stick in his hand and was pretending it was a sword, slicing at the long blades of nyasi that tickled their ankles.

Belle grinned and picked up a stick from the grass. “Oh, yes? Well, let’s see how much wewe know about sword fighting, Sir Arthur.” Then she and Arthur engaged in a quick stick fight which ended with her knocking the stick from Arthur’s hand. Belle laughed, tossed her stick to one side and ruffled his hair. “Better luck inayofuata time, Arthur!”

“I wish I could, though,” Arthur said. “Slaying dragoni and gryphons and man-eating giants.”

Merlin chuckled. “Well, won’t you?”

“Oh, no. wewe see, I’m an orphan and a knight has to be of proper birth.” Arthur shrugged. “I just hope I’m worthy enough to be Kay’s squire. That’s a big job too, wewe know.”

“Oh, yes, I’d say almost impossible,” Merlin chuckled, before turning back to the lesson. “Now, when I alisema I could swim like a fish, I really meant as a fish.”

“You mean wewe can turn yourself into a fish?” Arthur exclaimed, crouching down kwa the side of the moat.

“Of course he can,” Belle smiled. “Among other things.”

“After all, my boy, I am a wizard,” Merlin agreed.

“Could wewe turn me into a fish?” Arthur asked, excitedly.

“Well, have wewe any imagination? Can wewe imagine yourself as a fish?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” Arthur said. “I’ve done that lots of times.”

“Oh, well, then I guess my magic will do the rest.” Merlin tapped Arthur on the head with his stick/wand and then hesitated “Oh, um, Archimedes, do wewe remember that samaki formula?”

Archimedes, who had been snoozing on Merlin’s hat, stirred. “Uh? Who?”

“You know, that Latin formula?” Merlin prompted, prodding him.

“Who? Fish? Latin?”

“The one we use to become fish, Archie,” Belle prompted.

“Aquarius, aquaticus, aqualitus,” recited Archimedes, and then he grouchily flew over to the branch of a nearby mti and settled himself down, wings folded. “And now, if wewe don’t mind, I say good siku to the lot of you, if wewe please.”

“When he stays out all night, he’s always grouchy the inayofuata morning,” Merlin explained in a whisper to Arthur.

Arthur giggled. “He must stay out every night!”

The three of them laughed. “Eh?” Archimedes opened one eye. “Who? What, what?”

“Nothing, Archie,” Belle grinned. “We weren’t laughing at you, honestly.”

“Aright, boy, all set, here we go.” Merlin cleared his throat and tapped Arthur again with his stick/wand. “Aquarius, aquaticus, aqualitus, quoom, aquadigiturnioom!”

He punctuated each word with a tap to Arthur’s head, and then, in a swirl of magic and a burst of smoke, a tiny machungwa, chungwa sangara was jumping up and down on the grass.

“Merlin? Am I a fish? Am I a fish?” Arthur asked.

“Yes, yes, yes, wewe are a fish,” Merlin said, attempting to catch him. “But if wewe don’t stop that flippity flopping around and get in the water, wewe won’t last long.”

“Quickly, Uncle!” Belle cried, worried some bird in the sky might see Arthur wriggling on the ground and snatch him up for lunch.

Merlin finally managed to grab hold of Arthur. “Now, wewe wait right here in the reeds and we’ll be along in a moment,” he said, and then he dropped Arthur into the moat.

“Will he be ok?” asked Belle. “That moat seems pretty deep.”

“He’ll be fine, now, come on, Belle, you’re next.”

Belle closed her eyes, as she always did when her uncle cast a spell on her. In her lifetime, she had been turned into a rabbit, a wolf, a pig, a red kite, a peacock, a hedgehog, a mouse, a kitten and a fish, the latter zaidi so than the rest. She was used to it, but even so, she always closed her eyes, automatic reaction, as it were. She felt herself changing and then Merlin caught her in cupped hands. “Now, keep an eye on the boy,” he instructed her and then dropped her into the moat.

“Arthur?” Belle called as she sank and then righted herself. “Where are you?” Then she saw him half submerged in mud. “Arthur, what are wewe doing in there?”

With a plop, Merlin, as a trout, landed beside her. “So,” he chuckled to Arthur, pulling him free of the sand, with his mouth, since fins were useless in place of hands. “So, wewe thought wewe could just take off like a shot, did you?”

“Well, I am a fish, aren’t I?” Arthur asked, shaking the mud off himself.

“You merely look like a fish,” Merlin corrected him. “That doesn’t mean that wewe are a fish. wewe don’t have the instinct. Now, watch closely, boy. Every flick of a fin creates movement. So, first we’ll start with a caudal fin.”

Arthur tried flapping one fin but all he did was a half cartwheel in the water. “No, that’s your tail,” Belle told him, and then Arthur tried his tail and shot forwards, almost colliding with Merlin.

“That gives wewe the forwards thrust,” Merlin explained. “Now, let’s get a rhythm going; right, left, right, left, one, two...Left and right,” he sang as they swam, “like siku and night, that’s what makes the world go round.”

“In and out,” Belle joined in. “Thin and stout, that’s what makes the world go round.”

“For every up, there is a down. For every square...”

“There is a round?” Arthur put in.


“For every high...”

“There is a low?”

“Uh-huh. And for every to...

“There is a...?”



“Yes, fro. To and fro, stop and go, that’s what makes the world go round, in and out, thin and stout...”

“Merlin! Belle!” Arthur exclaimed, suddenly. “I swallowed a bug!”

Belle laughed.

“What’s wrong with that?” asked Merlin. “After all, my boy, wewe are a fish. Instinct, wewe know.”

“But wewe alisema I had no instinct,” Arthur pointed out.

“Oh. Oh, I did, didn’t I?” Merlin took up the song again. “You must set your sights upon the heights, don’t be a mediocrity...”


“That’s right. Don’t just wait and trust to fate and say that’s how it’s meant to be. It’s up to wewe how far wewe go, if wewe don’t try, you’ll never know, and so, my boy, as I’ve explained, nothing ventured, nothing gained...”

The trio swam twice through some long tickling grass, giggling as they did so. “Oh, I beg your pardon,” alisema Merlin as they almost collided with a catfish.

“Me too,” smiled Belle.

“Me too,” alisema Arthur. “For every to there is a fro, for every stop there is a go, and that’s what makes the world go round. Oh, let go, let go, let go!”

Belle turned her head in time to see a playful bullfrog pulling his tail. “Hey!” she cried.

The frog released Arthur, who crashed into a broken tankard at the bottom of the moat. “Oh, wewe big bug-eyed bully, you!”

“Who, me?” asked Merlin, and then looked over his shoulder and realised. “Oh, here, here, here, Wart, there’s no sense going round insulting bullfrogs.”

Arthur blew a stream of indignant bubbles at the frog. Belle smiled. “Come on, Arthur. He’ll get bored of following us eventually.”

“You see, the water world has its forests and jungles too,” Merlin explained, “so it has its Mbwa mwitu loups and tigers. That’s what makes the world go round. wewe see, my boy, it’s nature’s way, upon the weak, the strong ones pray. The human life it's also true, the strong will try to conquer you, and that is what wewe must expect, unless wewe use your intellect. Brains and brawn, weak and strong, that's what makes the world go round...”

Suddenly, Arthur darted past them both with a cry of “Help! Merlin! Belle! Help!”

“Jehoshaphat!” exclaimed Merlin as an enormous pike streamed past them, on Arthur’s tail.

“Uncle!” cried Belle, and Merlin bit the pike on the tail, its jaws narrowly missing Arthur as it was brought up short. “Oh!” exclaimed Arthur, swimming as fast as he could. The pike shook its tail, violently, and Merlin flew off and landed, tapped, in the kofia, chapeo of an old suit of armour at the bottom of the moat.

“Quick, Merlin, the magic!” begged Arthur.

“No, no, you’re on your own, lad! Now’s your chance to prove my point!”

“What point?”

“He’s the brawn and you’re the brains! Now, don’t panic! Outsmart the big brute!”

Belle ducked as the pike came towards them, but for some reason, it had its eyes on Arthur alone. Arthur quickly darted through one of the viungo in the chain of the drawbridge and the pike got its snout caught in it. “Uncle Merlin, we can’t just sit here!” she cried as Arthur swam off.

“That’s using the old intellect!” Merlin crowed.

The pike quickly freed itself just as Arthur ducked behind a wooden post. Belle spotted some broken arrows there, and Arthur quickly grabbed on in his mouth as the pike came towards him. “Uncle Merlin, do something!” she cried, trying to remember what the counter spell was for changing back into human form.

“Argh!” exclaimed Arthur as the pike came for him, jaws open, but he rammed the broken arrow into its mouth.

“Bravo, boy, great strategy!” Merlin praised.

“Is the lesson about over?” Arthur cried.

“Did wewe get the point?”

“Yes, yes, brains over brawn!”

“Alright, then, lad,” cried Merlin as the pike discarded the arrow kwa biting it into splinters. “Leave it to me! I’ll fix the big brute! Higgldy-piggldy! No! Hocus-pocus! Now, what was it?”

“Merlin!” shouted Arthur as he and the pike leapt out of the water.

“Alakazam, Uncle Merlin!” Belle screamed.

“Right, of course! Alakazam!”

Belle felt herself changing and then sekunde later she splashed onto the bank. She looked around. Where was Arthur? zaidi to the point, where was the pike?

“What in blazes-?” spluttered Merlin, emerging from the moat wearing the kofia, chapeo he had been trapped in. He threw it to the ground and snatched up his hat and stick/wand. “What in blazes is a monster like that doing in the moat! By, George, I’ll turn him into a minnow!”

“Merlin!” exclaimed Arthur, flopping about on the grass.

“Oh, there wewe are!” Merlin quickly waved his stick/wand. “Snick, snack, snorum!” he commanded and Arthur turned back into himself.

“Arthur, are wewe alright?” Belle cried, rushing up to him, and then, before she could stop herself, she hugged him. Arthur was surprised but in no way displeased.

“How in the world did wewe ever get out of that mess?” exclaimed Merlin.

“That big samaki almost swallowed me!” cried Arthur. “And Archimedes...he saved me!”

“Oh?” Chuckling, Merlin picked up a very wet Archimedes from the floor kwa his foot and placed him in the branch of a tree. “How about that, eh?”

Archimedes coughed up some water. “I did nothing of the sort!” he insisted, indignantly. “I intended to eat him! Young sangara is my favourite dish! wewe know that!”

“Oh, Archie!” Belle smiled, shaking her head.

“Do wewe believe that, Wart?” asked Merlin, nudging him.

“Well, I-”

“Wart!” That was Sir Ector, shouting from the ngome “Wart!”

“Oh, I’ve got to go.” Arthur turned back to them. “Thank you, Merlin, it was so much fun. See you, Belle. And, Archimedes, I-”

“Pinfeathers, boy!” retorted Archimedes, trying to dry himself off.

“Wart! Where are you, Wart?” shouted Ector.

“Coming!” Arthur called back, running towards the castle, “I’m coming!”

“Now, Archimedes,” alisema Merlin, wringing water from his beard. Belle did the same with her hair. “Why would wewe half drown yourself for a titbit of fish? Especially after such a big breakfast too?”

Archimedes tried twisting himself around to wring the water out of his feathers. Unfortunately, this cause him to fluff up like a dandelion. Belle giggled as she produced a towel. “Admit it, Archie, wewe did it because wewe care.”

“Pinfeathers and gullyfluff!” snapped Archimedes.

"That's what makes the world go round!"
"I'll turn him into a minnow!"
“Pinfeathers and gullyfluff!”