On his way home, Hashtag the Snail stumbled upon another snail's shell. He looked around, wondering who this mysterious shell belonged to, but there was no other snail in sight.
Then Hashtag heard a great amout of twittering coming from a nearby tree. He looked up to see a blue bird making its nest.
"Hullo, Bird!" cried Hashtag. "Does this shell belong to you?"
"No, it does not, but it would make a great addition to my nest. Can I have it?"
"Not if it does not belong to you. I'm going to find out who it belongs to. Good day."
Later, Hashtag saw a tortoise crawling along in the distance and waved his antenna to get his attention. The old tortoise slowly turned around and Hashtag caught up with him.
"Hi, Tortoise!" he said "Is this shell yours?"
The tortoise laughed "Not quite, little snail. Mines much bigger than that. I'm sure my children would like to have it though, they're always losing theirs."
"Sorry, I don't think whoever lost this would want me to just give it away." Hashtag said "I guess I'll have to keep on looking..."
As Hashtag slo-o-o-owly went along his path home, dragging the other snail's snail along the way, something slammed into him. Getting over his daze from being knocked over, the other shell landing just a few centimeters away, he looked around to see who was in such a rush and saw a Hermit Crab scuttling hurriedly away.
"Oy! Hermit Crab!" he shouted, "What's the big deal?"
The hermit crab looked over his shoulder and said hastily, "There's a shell auction at the foot of the Giant Oak Tree. I want to get there early so I have my pick of shells!"
Hmm, thought Hashtag, maybe the owner of this shell is in need of another shell, and maybe I can find him or her at the auction!
A random thought came over Hashtag. He wondered if the shell belonged to his friend, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. He hadn't seen or heard from Marcel in a very long time (in snail years, so approximately 1 human day).
Hashtag had a choice. Should he try to stop by Marcel' the Shell with Shoes On's house, or should he proceed along the treacherous journey past Slurpy QuickNSandy and other obstacles to Giant Oak Tree. Marcel's house was 15 snail years as the mud slips, and the Oak Tree was just 5 snail years as the river runs.
His antennae purred in the afternoon breeze (what, it was *already* afternoon?). What path should he pursue? One towards his friend, who lived much further away and may not even be home, or the shorter one, full of adventure and perils, towards Giant Oak Tree, where he would meet strangers, but also possibly, other shell owners. Maybe his old crush, Retweeta?
His antennae jingle jangled.
To the shell auction! Hashtag finally decided. Afterall, Marcel the Snail with Shoes On might be at the auction. And if he is there, then I could ask if the mysterious shell belongs to him, Hashtag reasoned. If it does, then my job would done! If it doesn't, then perhaps one of the other snails at the auction will claim it. THEN my job would be done! And a stranger can become a friend...
Pleased with himself, Hashtag settled down for leafy snack.
Imagine, Hashtag mused as he crunched, if I had traveled *all* that way to Marcel's house, only to discover that the shell wasn't his, AND I'd missed my chance to return it to its proper owner at the auction? Ugh!
Or imagine, Hashtag continued as he swallowed, if I had traveled *all* that way to Marcel's house and he wasn't even there (because he was at the auction)??? Double ugh!
All of that thinking exhausted Hashtag. He tucked his tired head into his shell and went to sleep.
Created: Mar 14, 2014estellegetty Document Media