Soblit’s Beach Riddle

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

Hi. Papa and I were on a beach.  His behavior puzzled me. See if you can figure him out. I can’t.

I was hopping all over the place, enjoying the sun, the sand, the ocean surf. Papa was sitting on a big piece of drift wood. He just sat there doing nothing.  I went over to check on him and asked, “Papa, are you ill or tired? Why are you just sitting there doing nothing?”

Port William walk back to Oban  - part of the Rakiura track

Papa said the most unexpected thing. “Solbit, dear, I was not doing nothing.”  (Whenever he puts that “dear” word in, I know he’s a little unhappy with me.)  “Until you disturbed me, I was very absorbed in doing something.”


I said, “Oh, no, you were not.  I watched you for a long time.  You sat there absolutely still.  That means you were doing nothing.”  Papa said, “Solbit, let me try to convince you that I was doing something.  OK?”  I said, “OK, Papa, make your case.”

“Solbit, you’ve learned your alphabet, and you’re beginning to learn to spell words, right?” he asked me.  “Now, I have a riddle for you.  What two different words in English have the very same six letters?”

After I had thought about it really hard, I said, “Papa, that’s a hard one. I don’t even think Nicalai would know that. Tell me the answer, please.”

Papa said, “Ok, I’m going to tell you.  The two words are:  SILENT and LISTEN!  They have the same six letters, but the letters are in different orders to spell different words. Now, you were right that I was silent, but I was doing something. I was silent so that I could listen.”

I said, “ Papa, nice try, but you didn’t convince me.  No one was talking to you.  No music was playing for you.  So, you didn’t have anything to listen to or to listen for.”

Papa smiled and replied, “Solbit, I know what you mean, but one day you’ll know what I mean.  When you are silent and if you patiently listen, you’ll learn to hear with your heart rather than with your ears. Listening with your heart is doing something very important, so being silent — calming yourself — is an important first step to being able to listen with your heart. Most of us need to practice silence, because being silent is hard to do.  That’s why I practice whenever I can, like being here on this beautiful beach looking out to that vast sea.

I said, “Papa, that’s just weird.” I told him that I had other things I wanted to practice,


like jumping from rock to rock and surfing, and I left him to practice his silence, but, before I left him there on the drift wood, I said, “Papa, thank you for telling me about the two different words that share the same six letters.  That was really interesting.” I went on my way saying to myself, “Silent. Listen. Silent. Listen.”  I still don’t get it but maybe when I’m older I’ll figure out what he means.

Well, that’s my news for today.  Hope you’re having fun doing something.  I’m your friend.



February 2014

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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