Gerald the octopus

In my last post I wrote about how much I’ve loved taking part in #ShapeChallenge on Twitter. I’ve also been wondering about how to make sure I continue to find time for writing when time itself is thin on the ground. Then, inspired by a comment on my last post, I had an idea – I’d take one of my drawings and write a story to go with it! So, here is the story of Gerald the Octopus. geraldGerald was a young octopus with lovely orange skin and a rather large nose. He knew he had a large nose because all the other octopuses would tell him so:

“Big, nose, big nose!” The girls would call, swimming past him in the school yard.

“Ha ha Gerald, you’ll never get a girlfriend with that great honk!” The boys taunted.

Gerald was sad. He wished he had a small, smooth nose like the other octopuses. He tried poking his nose inwards into the soft flesh of his face… but it just boinged out again. He tried covering it with selection of seaweed scarves… but the others teased him even more. He tried hiding behind his tentacles… but, “Gerald! Get your suckers away from your face and get on with your work!” his teacher would cry.

It was no use:

“Big nose, Big nose”

“You’ll never get a girlfriend!”

The taunts continued.

As a teenager things only got worse for poor Gerald. His peers grew larger and leaner but Gerald didn’t seem to grow at all. Except for his nose!

“Big nose, Big nose!”

“…never get a girlfriend!”

Gerald just never fitted in.

Finally, he left school and swam off into the big, wide ocean. There Gerald thrived. He explored, he made new friends and he grew and grew.
His tentacles grew…
his body grew…
and he grew the most beautiful, long floaty moustache.

Everyone loved Gerald’s moustache. It was exceedingly fine and perfectly complemented his face.

No one ever called Gerald “Big nose!” any more.

No one ever taunted, “You’ll never get a girlfriend.”

One day he was visiting his parents back in his old reef: “Your favourite band is playing in the rock pool tonight” said his Dad, “You should go!”

Gerald thought about it. He wanted to see the band but he knew lots of the octopuses from his old school would be there. Could he really face them?

Big nose, big nose…

Never get a girlfriend…

The taunts flitted across his memory.

No – he wasn’t going to let them beat him. He was going to go and see the band. Besides which, he had nothing to be scared of. He was bigger now and had his exceedingly fine moustache.

Gerald swam in just before the band began to play. There was whispering and nudging. All eyes turned to gaze at the handsome octopus with the long moustache floating along in the water behind him. Gerald smiled. His moustache rippled ravishingly.

“Is that…?

“Could it be…?!”

“It’s… Gerald!”

“But he’s… gorgeous!!”

The girls flocked towards him.

Gerald swam straight past them… right up to the handsome pufferfish on the front row. He beamed at his new companion who beamed right back.

What those fools never realised, Gerald thought, slipping a tentacle around Matthew’s welcoming fin, was I never wanted a GIRLfriend anyway.


It sort of came out as a children’s story (there are parts when I could imagine one line to a page with an illustration as I think that’s just how my brain works at the moment) although I think some of the ‘ravishing ripples’ are aimed more at an adult audience. Still, a good moral for all, I think. What do you reckon?

Linking with What I’m Writing, Prose for Thought and also with The Prompt which this week is ‘milestone’. It feels like a milestone to illustrate my own story, even if it’s not an ‘illustration’ so much as a ‘drawing’, but, well, you know what I mean!

Writing Bubble



30 thoughts on “Gerald the octopus

  1. Rhyming with wine

    Brilliant! I was really drawn in, and I love the Happy Ever After at the end.

    Your sketches have opened a whole new world of opportunity for you. Can’t wait to see where it takes you xx

    Rhyming with wine recently posted…Hoodwinked!My Profile

  2. Mummy Tries

    Just brilliant Maddy, as always! Love how the tash saved Gerald and boosted his confidence. What a fab little tale of self-respect and inclusion. You clever lady xxx


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