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Why Fish Cannot Talk

Published June 15, 2010
Countries: Finland
Age Levels: 5-6 and up

Let your mind go back to the beginning of time

When all of the world was new.


The mountains were growing.  The rivers were flowing.

The fields were covered with dew.


The Creator called to all that could hear,

"Listen to what I now say!"


"I want to give you a voice, a voice of your choice,

 So you may speak as you work and you play."


The mountains were the closest to where the creator lived in the sky.  When the Creator came down to earth he walked along the mountain peaks making loud booming sounds.  The mountains liked this sound and decided to speak with the voice of thunder.  When mountains move and the earth quakes, we still hear the sound of thunder.

The wind also wanted to be able to roar out loud, but the mountains had already taken the sound of thunder.  So the wind listened to hear the whistling and rattling as the Creator hurried along the earth.  The wind copied these sounds and still whistles and rattles to imitate them.

The river loved the sound of Creator's fingers strumming over his harp and began to make musical sounds of bubbling, gurgling and babbling.  The trees enjoyed the sound of Creator's sleeves rustling as he walked and took that rustling sound as their own.

Birds heard the Creator playing his flute and singing.  They copied the sounds and learned to whistle and sing for their way of talking.  Some birds are not good at singing, so they screech, crow and hoot as best they can. 

Creatures of the ground learned how make other sounds:

They barked and they howled,

They growled and meowed,

They whispered and hummed,

They bellowed and drummed

They baa'd and they cooed

And they yelled and they mooed.

They made every type of sound possible. 


Man learned how combine the sounds.  He can mimic the sounds of the animals, but he can also make his own unique sounds with his voice.  Man calls this talking.  He thinks only he can talk and forgets that animals have their own way to communicate.


The Creator was happy to give a voice to each of the animals.  However, the creatures of the sea did not get voices to use.  The fish were under the water where they could not hear what was going on above them.  They saw mountains rumble and felt the vibrations.  They saw the wind blowing clouds through the air, but they could not hear the whistle and rattling sounds.  They saw the birds and other animals open and close their mouths doing something, but they could not tell what the animals were doing.  They could have put their heads up out of the water where they would have been able to hear what was going on.  But they were afraid.  So they stayed below the water and opened and closed their mouths like the other animals but did not learn how to speak at the beginning of time.


Some people stop the story here and say, "And that is why fish cannot talk!"?  But if you look today flying fish leap through the air listening to people on boats.  Carp stick their heads out of the water and move their mouths trying to speak.  Scientists have recorded what sounds like singing from pods of whales.  And I know I have heard more than one dolphin chatter as it tried to learn to make sounds of its own.


Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at