Peter Alsop

Music for Children and Adults

Peggy The Quadrapus

From the album In The Hospital Buy Now

with Bill Harley

- story of an octopus with four legs

PEGGY THE QUADRAPUS

Way down under the ocean, there lived an octopus whose name was Peggy. 

Peggy was different.  Octopus means you have eight legs, but Peggy didn't have

eight, she only had four.  When she was a little octopus, she'd gotten too

close to a giant clam shell and that clam had bitten three of her legs off and

hurt another one, and that one got so infected that the doctor had to cut it

off.  You know, amputate it.  And so she only had four left.  She hated having

four legs.  It made her sad and miserable and hurt and confused. 

 

Some of the other octopuses made fun of her. 

"Hey gimp!  You look like a table!  Hahahahahaha!"

"Hey look!  It's Peggy!  She can't be an octopus, she's only got four

legs.  She must be a quadrapus!" 

 

That made Peggy mad.  She'd squirt ink in their faces.  They'd just

laugh.  It seemed like the madder she got, the more they made fun of her. 

"I can't help it!" she'd scream at them. 

 

There were a lot of things that she could do, just like other octopuses,

but she hated being different.  She hated looking in the mirror too, because

it just reminded her she was different.

 

But Peggy did have one friend.  His name was Gus.  Gus was an octopus

too, a little bit older than Peggy.  He was her friend.  He only had six legs. 

He'd been born that way.  Gus spent most of his time in a huge abandoned

shell.  Peggy used to go visit him.  He'd make her feel better. 

 

"Hey, Peggy!  Don't be sad,

"I love the way you laugh

I love the way you smile

I love the way y'act

Y'got your own style!"

"That makes me feel better.  Thanks a lot, Gus." 

 

Gus spent all of his time in that huge abandoned shell.  He wouldn't go

out at all. He had when he was little, but he said he wouldn't any more.  He'd

just stay where people or octopuses wouldn't make fun of him.  Peggy would go

visit him and try to make him come out. 

 

"Gus!  C'mon out!  It's really calm.  There's a whole school of fish over

by the reef." 

"Nuh-uh.  I'm not goin' out there.  Nobody likes me.  It's safer in

here."

"Yeah, but, but I like you." 

"I'm still not coming."

 

Peggy used to swim up close to the shore, far away from where the

octopuses played. Sometimes she would stick her head out of the water and look

around.  She could see birds flying overhead.  Sometimes she would see boats

passing by. She saw strange creatures with only two legs.

"Look at them.  They only have two legs.  They're really weird."

 

And then one day, the octopuses in the school had been really mean to her. 

"Hey, Peggy, we heard that song that Gus sings to ya.  We made up our own

song, listen! 

 

"Let's face it!  You're not like us

Let's face it!  You're just a quadrapus

Let's face it!  Ya only got four

Let's face it!  Y'don't have more!

 

"Ha-ha, how d'ya like that!?"

Peggy was miserable.  She floated far away from where the other octopuses

were, close to a dock. When she looked up, she saw one of those two-legged

creatures that had another animal with four legs on a leash, a dog.

 

"Look at them.  Nobody's making fun of them.  They both have smiles on

their faces.  Must be down here where everybody's so mean.  Maybe I'll go up

there and I'll be happy." 

 

She went back and told Gus. 

"Hey Gus, up there on land there's things with two legs, and four legs,

and nobody makes fun of them.  I want to go up there." 

"No, no, Peggy, don't go up.  I like you here." 

"Yeah, but nobody else does." 

"Don't go. Let's face it, we're different, but I like you." 

"That's not enough, Gus.  C'mon, I want you to come." 

"Uh, no. I'm stayin' here where it's safe.  It'll be hard for you to

breathe.  Besides that, I don't want you to go.  You're the only friend I

have." 

"Gus, ya gotta come out of there.  I like how you look." 

"No.  I'm stayin' right here."

 

So Peggy decided she was going to go up on land.  She knew she was going

to need water, so she found an old bucket on the ocean bottom and filled it. 

She dragged it up onto the land. 

 

"This is heavy, but at least no one will make fun of me." 

Peggy walked up on the beach, onto the road.  She had to stop every once

in awhile and fall in the bucket so she could breathe.  Peggy walked down the

street until she came to a bunch of stores.  She walked by a store with hats

in the window.  Some were tall and a lot had different colors.  Some had

flowers on top.  Some were bonnets with ribbons to tie under the chin.  just

then, a huge woman walked out with a new hat, feathers all over it. 

 

"Hey!  I could get a job as a hat.  They could tie two of my legs under

the chin to keep me from blowing away when he wind blows."

She walked into the store and talked the woman into letting her try and

be a hat.  The woman hung Peggy on a hat stand.  Peggy sat and waited.  In a

little while, a very small, skinny woman came in with dyed red hair. 

"I'm looking for the latest fashion, something no one else has yet."

The lady in the store said, "I've got just the thing for you. Just came

in this morning from the coast.  Truly unique."  She took Peggy off the hat

stand, put her on top of the lady's head.  Peggy wrapped two of her legs

around the lady's head and held on with her suction cups. 

"AAAAHHHH!!  It's slimy and cold!  Get it away!  Get it away!"  Peggy let

go and slid down the woman's face.  "OOOHHHH!  It's moving!"

"Of course I'm moving."  Peggy grabbed her bucket and headed out the

door. "Her hair was getting stuck in my suction cups...I didn't want to be a

hat anyway." 

 

She walked down the street, by a pet store.  In the window she saw some

puppies. 

"There!  That's what I want to be."  She walked in.  "Hello.  I've come

to apply to be a dog."

"Hey, sweetheart, ya don't look like a dog."

"Wha'd'ya mean?  I have four legs, don't I?"

"Well yeah, but so do elephants.  They're not dogs.  What are you,

anyway?"

"Well, I was an octopus, but I only have four legs, so they called me a

quadrapus, but now I want to be a dog."

"What do you eat, dog food?"

"No.  Listen, put a leash on me and let me walk around.  I'll even bark."

The man in the store put a collar around Peggy's head. 

"Look, sweetheart, you don't even have a neck, you look ridiculous. 

Listen, I could make a lot of money with you, we could go places together. 

Have you ever thought about being in a fish tank, like a guppy?  Listen,  

 

"Let's face it!  Ya look like a guppy.

Let's face it!  You're not a puppy.  Let's face it!"

 

"Forget it!  I don't want that.  I'm not something for people just to

stare at, I'm an octopus, even if I only have four legs."

 

She picked up her bucket and dragged it out of the store.  She was

getting tired of dragging the bucket, and upset that she couldn't find a place

on land, either. 

"There must be someplace for me around here, I just know it." 

 

She was walking down the street.  She saw a sign outside of a restaurant:

DISHWASHERS NEEDED.  Peggy walked in and talked to the manager.

"Look.  I've got four legs.  I can hold three dishes in three hands and

scrub with the fourth."

"Wonderful!  You are just the person, er, thing I have been looking for. 

Follow me."  He led Peggy back into the kitchen and introduced her to the chef

and all the help.  Then he took her over to the pile of plates by the sink.

"Here is your work.  Go to it!"  Peggy started to work.  At first she

thought it was going to be all right, since she was always wet washing the

dishes, and she didn't have to keep jumping in her bucket.  But then, the

water began to get hot.  She didn't like it that hot.  It hurt her suction

cups.  And then after about an hour of washing one of the waiters brought her

a plate that still had some food on it.  It looked familiar.

"Hey, what is this stuff?"

"Spaghetti and octopus sauce.  It's really good."

"Octopus!!  You eat octopus?!"

"Yeah.  It's good.  Try it."

"I'm not gonna eat that!  I'm an octopus!"

"No, you're not.  You only got four legs."

"I don't care how many legs I've got, I'm an octopus.  I'm not gonna eat

that.  It might be somebody I know.  That's disgusting!"

"Suit yourself.  It's our most popular dish."

"Well, I can't work here.  I'm not gonna work someplace where they might

eat me."

Peggy grabbed her bucket and walked out.  Now she was really tired of

dragging the bucket around.  She was sad, lonely, and it was getting dark. She

was hungry and tired.  She put the bucket down under a tree and climbed in to

go to sleep. 

 

When she woke up the next morning, she felt like something was different. 

She looked around.  She wasn't in her bucket.  There was glass on all four

sides of her, with fish swimming around, and strange plastic plants.  When she

looked out of the glass, she saw the faces of people staring at her.  And then

she read backwards through the glass the sign on the aquarium:

 

     BEWARE DANGEROUS QUADRAPUS.

     EATS FINGERS AND NOSES.

     ONLY $99.95.

 

"NOOO!!"  She sprayed ink at the sign. 

The people gasped.  "Look!  It's attacking!"

The man who owned the pet store walked over. 

"Hey there, kid.  We found ya outside on the streets last night.  Look,

everybody's starin' at ya!  You're a star.  I told ya there's money to be

made."

"I don't want to be a star.  I want to be me.  I got four legs, but I'm

an octopus, and I don't eat fingers or noses, and I'm NOT for sale!"

Peggy climbed out of the aquarium and began pulling her bucket  out of

the store. 

"Wait!"  said the man.  "Come back, honey!

 

"Let's face it!  You look funny

Let's face it!  I could make some money!"

 

"Oh, go clean some bird cages!  Go clean your camel!" 

 

Peggy dragged herself out of the store, down the street until she just

couldn't go any farther.  She sat down on the curb.  And there, all alone in

that city, next to her bucket, she began to cry.  She cried and she cried and

cried for the longest time until she didn't think she had anything left. 

"Ohhh...I just don't know what to do.  I just have to face it.  It

doesn't make any difference where I go if I'm not happy with myself.  I'm

tired of this.  I'm gonna go back and see Gus."

 

She dragged her bucket down the street until she came to the beach.  She

pulled herself across the sand until she reached the water, and there she let

waves pull her back into the ocean.

"Ahhh.  This is better."  She swam down until she came to Gus's shell. 

Gus was still there.  "Hey Gus!  I'm back!"

"Peggy!  Wow!  Am I glad to see you!  Oh, you know, I just about had it

here by myself. Without you here there's nothing to do.  I'm sick and tired of

sittin' around in this shell.  I got cramped from bein' cooped up in here."

"Hey, Gus, you remember that song you used to sing for me?  I've been

thinking about it.

 

"Let's face it!  You're in a shell

Let's face it!  Ya don't feel well

Let's face it!  It's time you tried

Let's face it!  I'm on your side.  Let's face it!"

 

"Yeah!  No matter how many legs you have, it doesn't feel good if you

stay cooped up inside."

"Gus, remember what they say, 'No one likes a lonely octopus.'  I think I

can put up with some octopuses looking at me if they haven't met me before.  I

mean, I've got four legs, and I know that's a little different, but other than

that I'm still an octopus."

"Yeah.  I like you. I think you're an octopus."

"And I think you're one too.  A great octopus.  You ready to come out of

your shell?"

Yeah!"

"Me too!"

 

Copyright 1989, Moose School Music (BMI)

On In The Hospital - www.peteralsop.com