By Eric and Leslie Olander
Once upon a time there was a kind old man named Bud. Bud made beautiful boats.
He made big strong motor boats. He made fast boats. But Bud was not happy. He wanted to build a special boat. A quiet and beautiful sailboat that he could love just like his own child.
One day, Bud went into his workshop and began to work furiously, day and night, night and day. All of the people in the village crowded outside the workshop door to listen in wonder to all of the strange noises. Clinkety clink, clankety clank, whhiirrr! Bonk! They were so excited and squirmy and just couldn’t wait to see the new boat that Bud was building.
Day turned to night and night turned to day, and back to night again. Still Bud worked. Finally the day arrived when Bud had finished. He had created his most beautiful sailboat ever! He hugged his little boat and said “I will call you Satori Westsail, and you are the strongest and the most beautiful boat I have ever made!” “You make me proud little Satori.”
With that, Bud flung open the heavy wooden doors wide so all of the people could see his wonderful sailboat. “Hi everybody!” said Satori. “Let’s go sailing!”
At first no one made a noise. Then there was heard a gasp! And then a giggle. And then everyone in the village began to laugh so hard that their tummies hurt. “He’s so small,” a man said laughing so hard he almost choked. “What good is a tiny boat like that?” asked a gruff old fisherman. “Why, the ocean will squash him flat with the first big wave!”
The people went back to their homes happy for having had such a good laugh. But little Satori was miserable. He stayed in the workshop and cried. When Bud saw him crying he asked “ Why is my strong little Satori crying?” Satori sobbed, “because everyone laughed at me and said that I was too small and too slow and that the ocean waves would smash me to pieces!”
“Nonsense, little Satori,” said Bud. Bud was very sad for his little sailboat so he told Satori a secret that no one else knew… that he had built Satori with a heart, and that was what made him stronger and braver than any sailboat he had ever built before.
Bud carried little Satori out to the ocean and placed him gently in the water. At first Satori was quite frightened and wouldn’t move. The other boats were racing past him, splashing water all over him and circling and laughing. But Satori had a secret and so he held his head high and proud and thrust his bow forward into the waves as they sailed out of the harbor. Big strong fishing boats flew past him in a hurry to catch fish. Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! The power boats sped past Vrooom! Swoooosh! and drenched him in water! Look! They shouted, it’s little Satori wet snail! Satori wished they would play with him but they only laughed.
Summer turned to fall and Satori sailed and sailed, but still the other boats wouldn’t play with him. He sailed when it was sunny and he sailed when it was cloudy. He sailed when it was windy and he sailed when it was not so windy. Satori was especially happy when the wind blew very, very hard because then his sails would fill up and he could sail very, very quickly. He felt strong and galloped happily over the waves. He didn’t understand why all of the other boats would run back to the safety of the harbor just when the wind was getting good.
One dark and cloudy morning Bud came out of his workshop to see that all of the village people had gathered at the dock and were looking quite worried. “What’s the trouble my friends?” asked Bud. A woman cried, “The biggest storm in a hundred years is coming this way and our boats are in the path of the storm!” Bud knew that little Satori was sailing that day but he was not worried because Satori had a heart and that made him a very strong and brave sailboat.
Later, the wind began to howl and howl! The rain struck the ground with a heavy slap! The waves in the ocean grew and grew until they were as tall as a house! One by one boats began to come home. Some came home hurt and frightened. A very big sailboat who had splashed poor little Satori and had been especially cruel had a hole in her hull from the waves bashing her into the rocks. She was not strong enough to fight the waves and wind to claw off the rock and so she had to be rescued. A fishing boat came limping into the harbor with the north wind screaming behind him. But there was no sign of Satori.
Little Satori was far out to sea when the storm began and now he saw that the cold dark waves were even taller than he was! The waves grew to enormous heights and with all of their might they tried to knock Satori down. The raging wind threatened to tear up his sails and blow him into the rocks on the shore! “Ha Ha Ha! shouted Satori. “I am Satori Westsail and you can’t hurt me because I have a heart, and I am the strongest and bravest boat you will ever see! With that he threw himself at another wave and felt alive as he had never felt before.
The storm ended as storms always do and Satori, tired from his battle with the sea, found himself a nice sandy beach on which to rest. When the people went looking for him, that is exactly where they found him: on the beach, all rested up.
When they returned to the harbor they discovered the sad fact that many of the big boats had been hurt during the storm, and even worse, some of them were never heard from again. It was a very sad day in the village.
But then as little Satori danced across the waves into the harbor, full of life and happiness, the village people were amazed that this tiny sailboat they had called the wet snail had survived such a terrible storm. And without a scratch! All of the people cheered and clapped as Satori sailed past. “That’s the bravest, strongest boat I’ve ever seen” they exclaimed. Kind old Bud watched all of this from his workshop on the hill, and slowly, a smile began to crease his old weathered face, and he said …“you make me proud little Satori. You make me proud.”
“Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.”