Justine was born in the sea waves. She was all pink and wet and she was an octopus. And believe it or not, she was one of the smartest octopi that ever lived in the ocean. She had only A's at school, and only witty dolphins matched her smarts.
However, at the same time, Justine was quite clumsy. Her body was made up of one big head and then only one hand and only one leg. Wise people on land called them tentacles. Justine had eight tentacles and that was quite enough for her.
They kept getting tangled with each other, she would mix them up, or they kept getting in her way. When she wanted to do something with one, she often mistakenly used the second or third - and did even more damage.
Sometimes, she accidentally scattered a jellyfish’s bag of underwater balls or tripped and fell into the path of the sea snails, which were slowly racing on the sandy bottom. At other times, her tentacles became so tangled that she couldn't untangle them. She twitched and pulled so hard that she scared off the small coloured fish, and they swam away crying.
The playful sea creatures liked to tease Justine. So did other sea students. But that only made Justine nervous, and she was even more clumsy then. Eventually, she became so ashamed of her clumsiness that she preferred to stay away from everyone. She swam alone for days and was very sad. It seemed that wherever she swam, she heard only giggles and whispers everywhere.
“Look at that awkward octopus!” they called at her as she swam away.
To avoid being teased, Justine began hiding in sea corals and boulders. She mastered the secret trick of all octopi: she learned to change colours to disguise…