In a corner of the sea there lived a happy school of little red fish. Only Swimmy was as black as a mussel shell, and he swam faster than his brothers and sisters.
One bad day, a tuna, fierce and very hungry, was hunting for a juicy prey. Suddenly he saw the little fish playing in the sunny water. There were no rocks, no weeds to hide in, and when they saw the glittering teeth, they darted here and there.
It was too late. In a few hungry gulps, the tuna swallowed all of them. And then, with his belly full he quietly swam away as if nothing had happened.
But in the confusion, Swimmy had managed to escape. He swam away in the deep, wet world. He was scared, lonely, and very sad.
Then things began to happen. A jellyfish, full of the colors of the rainbow, floated by.
And behind a screen of weeds an object full of prickles lay in the sand.
Out came a crab with claws like the beaks of birds. “Catch me!” said Swimmy. “Catch me. Catch me if you can!”
But a cuttlefish was pumping its way through the sea. And then it was night.
Swimmy discovered a forest of seaweeds growing from sugar candy rocks. Large fish floated by, pulled by invisible threads. And out of tiny vases large ocean flowers unfolded at the touch. And what was that? An eel—so long that his tail was almost too far away to remember.
There were tunnels in the rocks. Luminous fish flickered in the dark. The world was full of wonders, and Swimmy was happy again.
Then, in the deep shade of weeds, Swimmy saw a school of little fish. They were just like his brothers and sisters.
“Let’s go and play and see things!” he said excitedly.
“We can’t,” said the little fish. “The big fish will eat us all.”
“But you cannot live this way,” said Swimmy. “We must think of something.”
Swimmy thought and thought.
He thought of this, and he thought of that, and then he thought some more. And suddenly he said, “I have it!”
“We’re going to swim together, each in his place.” And when they had taken the shape of one large fish, Swimmy said, “I’ll be the eye.”
They swam into the open water where the tunas hunted and they chased the big, bad fish away.