The Tale of Patrick Drummond

…the ocean’s creatures stream and flutter, racing towards his presence. He dives deep into the water, his gargantuan tail sweeping with so much power and energy that the water whirlpools and sends waves of change throughout the Blue World. Not all ocean citizens can truly be said to see Patrick Drummond—not all of him, anyway. He is so large that most can only see his greyness, or the curve of his jaw, or a fin scything past. When he rises to the surface to breathe he eclipses the sun for all beneath him. Although gentle, Patrick needs to eat. He drifts casually through krill-infested water, sifting  it with his brush-like, baleen-plated mouth. He consumes so many krill each day that some creatures tell scary tales warning against  contact with the unfortunate crustaceans.

“Stay away from krill,” they say, “or you’ll be gobbled-up by the King.” It is for this  reason that the krill, although famously witty and good-natured, are the most unpopular denizens of the ocean.

Hunger sated, Patrick consorts with the orcas and the greater sharks; they discuss many of the ocean’s problems and Patrick offers his solutions. He is wise and good-natured, and the others listen to every word he says and follow his advice diligently.

Patrick’s closest friends are the giant and colossal squids. Animals usually too deep, too elusive and mystical to consort with whales. The squids and Patrick are at ease in each other’s company, and they play games, and tell each other nonsensical jokes.

It is now late in the day and most of the province has stopped feeding in order to listen to Patrick sing. Pious, filled with awe and love, they maintain a healthy distance, so as to not be deafened by his voice. Everyone in the ocean can hear his song. It is the greatest gift for those living in Patrick’s Blue World. His evensong carries beauty and grace throughout the waters. Once he even heard the dim echo of a song he had sung a day before. It had travelled the entire world and had returned to him. Like the message of God, his poetry surrounds and affects everything in the ocean—as if his own joy and eminence is everywhere, his music universal.

His song ends strangely, with a plagal cadence more haunting than beautiful. It means Amen.

Patrick Drummond then decides to venture on another epic journey. He stretches out at the surface and inhales. Then, with adventure in his heart, he sets off, beating his mighty tail through the water—and all around him the ocean changes…

 

Patrick wakens from his peaceful slumber and stretches his vast form out across the bluescape. His tail thunders with vibrations as his muscles remember their omnipotence. Several citizens had been watching him while he slept, for it was impossible to miss the great mass where previously there had been only water. The lesser sharks understood who he was, and they kept their distance, but the crabs and other crustaceans discussed the nature of the new island that had arrived during the night. When the island took in a large breath and moved as fast as a sailfish, the crabs cried out the end of days and the sharks sniggered at their stupidity.

Patrick races through the water with unbridled ardour, the water thrashes and boils—swept away with his furious energy. This is how Patrick starts every day: racing from one ocean to the next to pump blood through the hugeness of his body. He sometimes screams as he does this. He roars as loudly as he can and he delights as all of the little people in his kingdom run out to catch a glimpse of their beloved king. All but the krill, who dart in all directions, terrified by the dooming sound of Patrick’s roars.

Before long, Patrick finds himself in the refreshing coolness of the arctic currents. As he approaches land, he can see the bulbous bodies of the walruses. Some of their scouts see Patrick approaching and they herald him by calling out to the others. Patrick reckons that their calls sound somewhere between a lion’s roar and a belch, although he cannot remember why he knows about lions. But he does.

Patrick considers the unmistakable power in the walruses, even though they are tiny creatures—though to others they are perhaps not so small. To most sharks and fish the walruses are huge. He wonders what it would be like to be so small. To be as fragile as a walrus. Or more so.

The chieftains meet Patrick at the place where water becomes ice. He regales them with tales of his journey, and they savour every word in order to retell the tales to their tribesmen later in the day. For there are no tales as popular as the legends of Patrick Drummond, The King of the Blue World.

When story time is over, Patrick bids the chieftains adieu and begins feeding for the day. Patrick is so swift that most of the krill feel no pain. Most of them do not even know he is coming for them. They simply are—then are no more. The survivors pass on his legend.

Hunger sated, Patrick dives to deeper depths than any ordinary blue whale has been before. For he isn’t ordinary. He is the king. He is a legend. He is Patrick Drummond.

Patrick is searching for his nemesis, the Kraken. The Kraken, the biggest of the colossal squid, has been in hiding ever since falling out of favour for eating some of Patrick’s favourite citizens. The Kraken is not a true nemesis, for he is not even a hundredth of Patrick’s size, but Patrick relishes the hunt and he enjoys the deep’s bioluminescent animals, who grace the great blackness with gentle offerings of light. It reminds Patrick of the night’s bright sky, and he feels as though he is swimming through the vast solar systems of his universe—larger than suns, more vast than entire galaxies—Patrick slowly weaves through the universe with wonder and joy. And then, for no other reason but happiness, he begins to sing. His song is slow and deep and it rumbles to the ocean floor where it resonates and vibrates through to the core of the planet. His song finds its way to the other side and calls out to his people. Everyone stops and listens to the beautiful song. Everyone melts and sways to the beauty of its melody, which sometimes seems to remember some sadness Patrick has never truly known. Then, before anyone, including Patrick, can truly be sad, they are filled with sweetness and joy and adventure. All of the oceans vibrate with his music, and they are inspired with new zeal, new potential.

Everything in the blue world knows him and is glad to share the seas with someone so special. Patrick feels their love and acceptance. His song finishes and he resumes his journey of discovery, further into the depths of his kingdom.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Peter McCune

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