Abluent Adventures of the Albescent Mr. Seal

As keen-eyed readers may have noticed, our friend Mr. Seal is not like other seals. Most harp seals lose their white fur when they reach adulthood, but Mr. Seal has reached a respectable age without ever turning gray. Some speculate that he is part polar bear, but Mr. Seal knows better than to dignify such rumors with a response.

Nevertheless, the other day when adventuring in the snow he could not help noticing that his fur was not, perhaps, quite as snowy as he'd thought it.

He asked Arkadiy to confirm this, by comparing a sheet of white paper to Mr. Seal's coat.

Arkadiy was reluctant, but in the end he agreed. The results were incontrovertible; Mr. Seal was not so much a white seal as a dingy seal.

There was, of course, only one possible course of action: A BATH

But first, a vacuuming to clear out dust.

Then Mr. Seal resolutely tucked himself into the washing machine, bidding his friends farewell just a little solemnly. Getting in a washing machine is, after all, a pretty serious business, as one often comes out in a very different shape than one entered.

Arkadiy and Nikolay were worried. All they could do, however, was wait.

And wait.

Their patience was repaid when Mr. Seal emerged, wet but unharmed, from the machine. He was wet all through, so that it was hard to judge whether any whitening had taken place. In order to avert the risk of mold (an unpleasant event for seals) he had to be hung up to dry for several hours.

Mr. Seal accepted this with his usual philosophic attitude.

Dry at last, the moment of revelation was at hand. Had Mr. Seal's bath been worth it? Had his fur been restored to pristine condition? He could tell it was softer and fluffier, but--now that it was dry--was it whiter?

Mr. Seal peered at himself in the mirror.

There was a long silence.

It's wonderful, Mr. Seal observed. What these washing machines can do! What an improvement! Isn't it something?

Arkadiy and Nikolay looked at one another.

Oh, yes, said Nikolay.

It's definitely something, Arkadiy said.

Mr. Seal beamed at them both.