”The little water sprite” is an interesting story where we have a description of the habitants of a fishpond. A little water sprite’s growing up and the first year of his life is described in the book. The life of the water sprite family is similar to human life because they live in houses, raise their kids and go to visit others.
The house where the water sprites lived was made of mud. The floor was made of white sand and the curtains were green and made out of algae. The house had a living room, dining room, bed room and a hallway. The rooms were filled with water.
The book is made out of 21 chapter that link to each other. In every chapter the life of a little water sprite is described and the story contains the period from spring to winter.
The story is made for kids but it provides the parents with important information on how to be a parent who has the strength to allow his child to learn of off his mistakes. Also a good parent encourages his child to be curious about the little things that make life wonderful.
The main characteristic of the book is the mix between reality and imagination. Otfried Pressler placed unreal characters into real life situations. The reader can, with the eyes of the real character, see the life of the people swimming on the surface. The normal for water sprites is unusual for people, for example the water sprite mother is angry when her kids go into the house with their feet dry.
The water sprite growing up is faster than human but there is a lot of similarities. The little water sprite has many human characteristics. He is a curious, impatient, happy and playful creature.
On a beautiful spring day the mood in the water sprite family was over the roof. Mom and dad got a son and when mom told dad the good news he couldn’t be happier. He admitted that he always wanted a son with green hair.
They wanted to celebrate so they threw a party and invited over 20 relatives. After they had a delicious meal they saw the new member of the family. They were surprised when the small creature started to swim right away.
The next few days the water sprite used to explore his new house. Soon he got tired of it and wanted to go out. Mom was against it but his father was supportive about it so he managed to convince his mom to let him go outside for a swim. Before that he got some necessary clothes.
The father gave his son some advice and warned him to keep his eyes wide open and try to remember everything he sees. He didn’t have to say that twice because his son was very curious. He couldn’t wait for a chance to swim around the house. He used every opportunity to call his mom and wave to her.
Swimming in the fishpond dad and the son met a lot of the inhabitants whose names the water sprite tried to remember. They got near to the sea weed and then the son got his first warning from his father but despite that he got stuck in the sea weed and his dad had to help him get out. The water sprite got very tired after that and fortunately a fish named Cyprian was swimming nearby and gave him a lift home.
He was discovering new things everyday and so he looked inside a hole one day and then he saw an animal with many eyes. That picture gave him nightmares so he spent a few nights with his parents.
Summer was very close so the days got longer. Dad used that time to take his son to the shore. It was his first time to be above water and to see people. His father warned him that he should be careful when it comes to people.
From that day on the boy visited the shore and checked what was going on. One day he saw people who had houses on 4 wheels and was so impressed by their houses that he did not hear his dad call. When he finally got back his mom was very upset and worried because his feet were dry. For a water sprite that is dangerous because he could catch a cold. He was grounded for a few days.
Dad put in a good word for his son and soon he managed to get him out of the house again. The two of them went outside when it was raining so that was the first time that he felt rain. He enjoyed the moist air. The days were getting warmer and more and more people arrived. He enjoyed watching them because he found them funny.
After he went to the surface he saw a small boat with a few people in it. He wanted to try driving and was waiting for the boat to be empty. He did not know how to row but the gentle wind helped him a lot. Soon a man came by and demanded him boat back. The water sprite jumped back into the water.
On the other side of the fishpond there was a dam. His father explained to him that the dam was there to prevent the fishpond from drying out. Cyprian was afraid of the dam and he was surprised when the water sprite invented a new game.
He only did it to play a joke on Cyprian but during the game he got on the mill because he missed the door. He liked it so much that he decided to wait for the miller to be gone and try the game again. When he finally got the chance he opened the door and started to play. His joy did not last long because his father came along. He was furious at his son for almost drying out the fishpond.
Even though he was punished again the water sprite never stopped having fun. He collected the things people threw in the fishpond. He had a collection of unusual thing such as shoes, beer bottles and others. He wanted to impress Cyprian with his collection but he did not like it because those things had no use for him. The water sprite decided to show his friends what use could all of those thing have.
One day Cyprian got angry because there was a fisherman. The water sprite played a joke on the fisherman and started putting stuff onto his hook. The fisherman was angry because his bate was gone and he only got garbage from the fishpond. The last thing he placed onto his hook was a pot and he jumped into it. The fisherman got scared of the water sprite and Cyprian had a good laugh.
After the fisherman ran away the little water sprite gave his bate worms to Cyprian. Cyprian told about everything to his father who was very proud. He took his son out during the night. He took a harp and started playing. The moon was out and that was the first time that the water sprite saw the moon. He was so excited that he jumped back to the water trying to catch it. His father let him figure out on his own that it was just a reflection on the surface.
Fall came along and the little water sprite saw a man with glasses for the first time. He came near him to ask him what was that thing on his nose but the man got offended and told him that water sprites don’t exist. The man ran after him but the water sprite managed to drown him a few times so the man ran away. Everyone in the fishpond was watching and laughing.
The water sprite tried to count the yellow leaves and then he saw boys backing something. He asked them what was that and they told him that they were backing potatoes. They gave him some and he loved it. From that day on they brought him something yummy everyday and they became friends.
He wanted to pay them back by bringing them something from his mom’s kitchen but they didn’t like it. One day he helped them gather woods for the baking and he was fascinated by matches so they gave him a box. He showed them to Cyprian who was in a bad mood. He thought that the water sprite shouldn’t hang out with people because he did not trust them.
The matches wouldn’t do the same thing they do outside the water because they got wet. Cyprian wanted to convince the water sprite that the boys made a fool out of him but the water sprite did not want to believe that. He went to the surface but he hit into something hard. It was ice. His dad explained that it was timefor hibernation and the whole family said goodbye until next spring. The water sprite experienced a lot of interesting things and had something to dream about during the winter.
Time: from spring to winter
Place: fishpond near a mill
Characters: thewater sprite, dad, mom, Cyprian,
The water sprite is the main character and he was always very curious just like a human child. He was looking forward to everyday with great optimism.
Water sprite mom is always occupied with house work and despite that she’s got enough time to show her son some love and affection. She is scared that something bad could happen to her son.
The water sprite dad is a father every child would want. Except from being good to his son he is a great authority and he demands obedience. He guided his son into life with wise advice.
Cyprian is a family friend. He is an older gentleman always ready to go swimming. Despite being older that the water sprite he always spent a lot of time with him. Their friendship shows how different can a friendship between generations be.
Author: Otfired Preussler biography