The Quest for the Tomato Sauce

Once upon a time, in Noosa, there was a fisherman. He had one of those wonderful old wooden putt putt boats that went up and down the Noosa River. He was always casting his line out here and putting a crab pot over the side there, and every day when he came back, his baskets would be full of fish and crabs.

One day he pulled in to the jetty, down at Pelican Beach, and his best mate, the commercial traveller was there to meet him. He was sitting out in his truck and when the boat came putt putt putt beside the jetty, he blew the horn. TOOT TOOT.

The fisherman in the boat called out; "Hey! Here I am!" The traveller hopped out of his truck and walked down to the jetty. The fisherman threw out the orange rope and his mate wrapped it around the pole on the end of the jetty.

"Hi! Have you had a good catch today?" called the traveller

"Ah, not too bad. I've got a basket of fish and a basket of crabs."

He lifted them up onto the jetty and took them over to the truck, opened the big back doors and pushed those two baskets into the truck. He noticed something sitting just inside the back of the truck and said: "Why have you got your clock in the back of the truck?"

The truck driver said: "I don't know. I haven't seen that before. Would you like it?"

"Yeah," said the fisherman, "I would. Thank you."

So the truck driver gave him the red travelling clock.

The fisherman said: "I wonder if it works? Oh well, I guess I'll find out." He folded it up and put it in his pocket, and he walked back down the jetty. He got into his boat, untied the orange rope, and went putt, putt, putt, putt down the river.

He hadn't gone very far before he felt a very strange feeling on his chest round about where his pocket was. He reached into his pocket, and do you know what?

That clock had sprung open, and, instead of there being just numbers on the dial, now there was this strange writing that was pulsing and glowing.

The fisherman said: "Eeaarrgghh!!" and in his surprise, he let go of the clock. It flew up in the air and came down splash into the water.

Where it landed something very strange happened. An octopus came up and said: "Blup Blup Blup! What was that?"

The fisherman said: "That's my clock and what are you doing talking?"

The octopus swirled around in the water, lifted up one of its tentacles and there was the clock. But now the strange writing had disappeared, and in its place, there were 5 special numbers.

The fisherman said: "That's strange. I wonder what they are. I'm not going to put it back in my pocket, that's for sure."

He put it in the bottom of the boat and he didn't notice it at all until about a week later. He fished it out from amongst the mangrove leaves, prawn heads and Bundaberg Ginger Beer bottles in the bottom of the boat and he sat it on his table.

"Gee. Those numbers look familar. I wonder if they've got something to do with a map?" He got out his old map of the Cooloola National Park and looked at the numbers again.

He said: "I think it's that part of the beach in Cooloola National Park where the coloured sands are. That's strange." So next time one of his friends was running up the beach in his 4-wheel drive, he went along too. When they got to that part of the National Park where the big red and brown, yellow and gold dunes run down to the beach they stopped. He got a shovel out of the 4WD and he started to dig in the coloured sands.

After a while the shovel went clink on something hard. He thought, "Wow. I bet I've found some treasure." He quickly scooped away the sand with his hands and there in the coloured sands he found a bottle of tomato sauce.

"That's weird," he said to himself, "I guess I'll never know who put it there or why."

The next time he met his mate with the truck to give him a load of fish, he said: "You know what happened to that clock? It turned into a bottle of tomato sauce." And from that day on, whenever he ran out of sauce to put on his fish and chips he'd just go up to the coloured sands and dig up a new bottle!

(© Daryll Bellingham, 1997. This story was created as part of a 1997 Children's Book Week session organised by Maureen O'Shea at Noosa Shire Library Wednesday, 20th August, 1997. The drawings above - felt pen - were contributed by Ashleigh Jae Elliott, Jenna Cherie Elliot and Julia Turner. Thank you very much to all the children who helped with the story and contributed illustrations. I wish I could have scanned them all. )

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Storytelling in Australia

Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
P.O. Box 5300, West End, Q4101, 
Brisbane, Australia
Tel. 61 (0)7 3846 3135
Mob. 0417 478408
All contents copyright (C) 2001, Daryll Bellingham. All rights reserved.
Last update: 26th August, 2003.
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