The Little Lake Without a Name

in story •  last year

The lake is not a large lake, as far as lakes go. In fact, it is quite small.

It certainly is not as large or as famous as Russia’s Lake Sevan. It is very much smaller in almost all ways, but it is still a lake because it does have fish and ducks and turtles and occasional snakes who live in and around it. There are many other ducks and geese who stop for a few days as they fly along their migratory path. It is usually a very quiet place but it is also visited by Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers and hawks and osprey, and owls at night. It has many plants growing in it, although not so many as it once had before the ducks came and decided they liked to eat the plants.

The little lake did not have many visitors because it did not have a name. Men and women and children could not go to the lake since they could not say “Would you like to go to Lake ....,” and then they would not know what name to call it so they would go to another lake that already had a name. They would say, “Let us go to Lake Bikal” or “We should go on holiday to Lake Sevan.”

No one came to the little lake without a name.

The little nameless lake was hidden from the world and only one or two people in all of the far, far away land of Transcaucasia even knew the little lake was there.

Even so, it was still a very special, magic lake because it did not have a name. Men would find the lake and then go on about their business and they would not think to give it a name.

A man and his wife of many, many years lived very near the little lake, and every morning and every evening the man would go to the shore of the little lake to take food for the ducks and fish and turtles. The man did not need to give the little lake a name because no one important ever came to see the ducks and fish and turtles.

It never seemed important to the lake for it to have a name because the ducks and fish did not care what it was called. It was simply home to them and names do not matter to ducks and fish.

Still, the little lake knew something was missing but it did not know what. It did not know about other lakes or that other lakes had names.

So, the little lake lived happily from day to day, unaware of other lakes.

Then one day - on July 25 of 1998, to be exact - the man and his wife of many, many years were visited by a beautiful princess from a far, far away land in the Transcaucasia. She was Anna, the Princess of the ancient Kingdom of Hasmik and Rolandia.

That day started as all the past days had started for the little lake. Fish ate insects and ducks ate new leaves and whatever else they could find on the bottom of the little lake. Four Blue Jays were calling noisily to each other in a nearby pine tree.

But, this morning was different.

This morning the beautiful princess came down to the lake to feed the ducks and the fish with the man, her friend, Will. Will came alone at the same time every day with food for them as he had done since before any of them were born. He tossed out corn for the ducks and food for the fish and turtles and they ate and that is the way things were supposed to be.

But on this special morning, the young princess tossed corn to the ducks and food to the fish and counted the turtles as they swam up to eat. This morning was special because the beautiful princess was still wearing her night dress since it was very early in the morning and the ducks and fish and turtles saw the young girl and knew they could trust her. She sat down on the ground to watch the residents of the little lake eat breakfast.

She laughed with pleasure as the ducks went “smack, smack, smack” as they ate the floating food.

The fish came to the surface and flipped their tails as they ate and made the water splash and that made the princess laugh with pleasure.

The turtles came by one and by two to eat breakfast and to see who was laughing such a wonderful laugh so early on this July morning. The princess saw the turtles and seeing their curiosity made her laugh with delight.

The ducks and the fish and the turtles were indeed curious.

The little lake also knew something special was happening for it had never heard that kind of laughter before and it knew it was a special sound because it made everyone who heard it happy.

Everyone listened. The ducks and fish and turtles and the birds, and especially the little lake without a name. Even the Bluejays stopped chatting to listen to the magical sound.

The princess laughed again at the wonder and beauty of the little lake and all those who lived there.

The lake listened.

The old man called the princess by name. “Anna?” he asked to get her attention.

And the little lake suddenly knew that it needed that magic name. It needed to be named Anna. Lake Anna!

“I will be Lake Anna,” the lake said. It was a comfortable name.

And suddenly and magically, everyone knew that the little lake should now be Lake Anna and knowing that made everyone happy.

“We live on Lake Anna.” said the Mallard ducks.

“Well, we live IN Lake Anna” said the fish.

“The name was our idea,” said the turtles, since turtles like to take credit for everything.

But the little lake did not care. It had a name now and suddenly felt very important. It memorized the sound of the laughter and the way the sound felt as it skipped across the surface. Her laughter was soft and the color of morning sunlight and was like ripples on he smooth surface of the little lake.

The Blue Jays flew away to tell the other birds that the little lake now had a name and that everyone would call it Lake Anna from now on. Before the morning was hours old, the news had spread far and wide.

A group of Canada geese on a long flight to northern Canada heard the news and were happy to know they would be the first ones to take the news to Manitoba.

A hummingbird who was just leaving for Guatemala made note to tell the other hummingbirds when he got home, for it was important news to be shared.

The old man who had lived beside the little lake for many years, suddenly was inspired to give the lake a name. “I think this should be Lake Anna,” he said to himself, although the lake and the ducks and fish and turtles already knew that the lake had a name.

Men are very slow to know what goes on in nature and this man even thought the name was his idea.

The old man told the beautiful princess that he had decided to name the lake after her. It had always bothered him that the lake did not have a name but none had seemed proper to him.

Suddenly, “Lake Anna” seemed fitting since there was something particularly magic about seeing the princess sitting on the green grass in the early morning sunshine near the water’s edge as the wild ducks ate noisily nearby.

The princess was pleased, for not everyone has a lake named after them, especially a very small lake in this far, far away land of America.

In return, the princess gave the old man a hug and that made him happy. Maybe even happier than the lake that now had a name. Being hugged by a beautiful princess made this a very special day in his life, too. Maybe not as important as a lake getting a name and certainly not something the birds would think important enough to talk about, but it was still a very, very special thing to him.

The princess would soon return to the kingdom of Hasmik and Roland and tell her friends that she had a lake named after her in the far away land of America.

“How nice that is,” they would say.

“But that is so far away! Of what use can that be?” others would say.

All but the princess would soon forget about the little lake. After all, it was very small and very far away indeed.

After the beautiful princess returned to her home in the kingdom of Hasmik and Roland in far, far away Transcaucasia, the old man went down to the lake alone every morning and fed the ducks and fish and turtles. The ducks would make noise as they ate and the fish would splash with their tails and the Blue Jays would call noisily, but no one would sit on the grass and laugh in the early morning sunshine.

The little lake now was content. It had a name and it remembered the feeling of happiness and the magic sound of the beautiful princess laughing.

The old man would feed the ducks and fish and turtles as always, but now he would stop and look at the lake and remember the beautiful princess and laughter and the early morning sunlight, and the memory would make him smile.


---o--o---


This was written to be a child's story and should be read as if to a child. The visit was real, the old man is real, the lake is adjacent to my home, and, in retrospect, I am certain the magic was also real.

c 4-2018 by Wm Hopkins

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Nice story, filled with tenderness !