Sr. Shrimp and Madam Shrimp were madly in love. Sr. Shrimp longed for a large family, but he also knew his dreams would never come true without his provision for the family he already had, even if it was small. Madam Shrimp wanted a family also, but desired a nice living space for them in the future, and the present. So together they set out to find the perfect home.
“What about this nice, sturdy, stone coral?” Sr. Shrimp asked enthusiastically. “It’ll keep our children safe from anything!”
“But gray is so boring.” complained Madam Shrimp, “Can’t we find something with a little more color to it?”
Sr. Shrimp agreed. Even though his first choice would be safer, he supposed keeping Madam Shrimp happy would also be safer. He started searching for the most colorful home.
“What about this bright yellow sponge?” Sr. Shrimp asked proudly, “It’s like a piece of the sun fell into the ocean.”
“Yes. It is pretty. But so is that one.” Madam Shrimp said, waving one of her swimmerets at an almost identical sponge. “And that one, and that one too!”
“So,” Retorted Sr. Shrimp, feeling a little put out and exasperated, “What does it matter how many others there are. We’re going to choose this one! It’s still a bright color, and far from boring.”
“No matter how much you wax eloquent about the color, it’s still not special. Apparently the sun lost a lot of its pieces. Let’s find something else, something special!”
“Fine…” Sr. Shrimp swam off in a different direction. He needed some time to calm down and think of what would make his wife truly happy, “I would have picked you.” He said to the stone coral,
“You would have kept our family safe from even the strongest sea creatures. What you look like wouldn’t matter if I lost my family. And you!” He said to the yellow sponges, “No matter how many of you there are, you’re all still so beautiful. Even if I had a hundred children, they’d all be special to me.” Lost in his thoughts, Sr. Shrimp became startled at his wife’s cry. He swam as quickly as he could, hoping nothing had happened to her.
“My dear! My Dear! Are you alright?”
“Oh Yes! I’m better than alright. Look what I found!” Madam Shrimp exclaimed, thrusting her swimmeret at a large ornate structure. Its many sides sparkled and shone like stars, and its intricate pattern made endless hexagons to its apex. “It’s glass. It’s perfect, glistening, glass. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“That really is something,” Sr. Shrimp said in both relief and awe. “Should we move in then?”
“Oh Yes! Right away!" Madam Shrimp exclaimed.
Sr. Shrimp sighed. The fight was over. The glass seemed strong enough to protect them, and it certainly was a unique sight to behold. Even he had to admit he liked it. And it’s a good thing he liked it too, because after the two swam down into their crystalline doorway and started their family, they failed to notice the glass sponge’s rapid growth until it was too late. Now they’re trapped forever in a glittering net of silica, only taking hope in the fact that their children are small enough to escape.
“Oh well…” Sighed Sr. Shrimp, “At least we have each other.”
Note: This truly happens in nature. The shrimp do not starve however. They’re filter feeders and water passes freely in and out of the glass sponge, bringing food along with it. Many shrimp couples are caught up in this strange shiny trap set by nature. They remain safe, continuing to raise children and release them beyond the borders of their glass prison. Odds are, one of them might end up in another glass sponge, hopefully with the love of its life.
Moral: Never let shiny things distract you from what’s really important… unless it's also shiny.