Here’s a competition I couldn’t resist. Children’s writer Susanna Leonard Hill has launched her fourth Annual Holiday Contest – a December tradition that has hitherto passed me by. The task this year: write a children’s story of 350 words or less in which wild weather impacts the holidays. Here’s my effort:
Pablo’s First Christmas by James Lloyd (349 words)
Like most parrots, Pablo had never heard of Christmas. After all, not many animals celebrate Christmas in the wild and windy jungle.
But, one December, Pablo had a rather unexpected adventure.
It all began when he was out looking for some breakfast. He’d just spotted some nice, juicy mangoes when a hurricane appeared out of the blue, ripping through the trees and sucking him into its spiralling winds.
Whooooosh! Before he knew it, Pablo had been carried high above the clouds, and when the hurricane finally died down, he found himself in a quiet, suburban street. Christmas lights shone overhead, and the ground was dusted with a layer of fine, untrodden snow.
“How pretty!” said Pablo, smoothing down his feathers. He peered through the window of the nearest house. Inside was a beautiful Christmas tree, glittering with baubles and tinsel, and around it were three children, excitedly opening their presents. Rich smells of roast turkey wafted through the letterbox as Pablo watched them play, but as much as he wanted to join in, he was already missing his home.
“Brrrr,” shivered Pablo. “It’s much too cold here for a parrot. I’m going to go home and show all the other animals how to celebrate Christmas.” So Pablo spread his wings and flew off towards the jungle.
When Pablo arrived home a few days later, the other animals hurried towards him.
“Where have you been?” they asked.
“Well, you’ll never guess,” said Pablo. “A hurricane swept me away to a cold, faraway place where they celebrate Christmas.”
“What’s Christmas?” they asked.
“Oh, it’s amazing,” said Pablo. “There’s snow and there’s lights and the humans all give each other presents.”
“And what do they eat?” asked the lion.
“Roast turkey,” said Pablo. “It smells delicious!”
“You know, there aren’t any turkeys in the jungle,” said the crocodile, a mischievous glint in his eye. “We’ll have to find another bird instead.”
Pablo noticed that all the other animals were looking in his direction, their mouths drooling.
“Oh guuuuys!” said Pablo. “Come on!”
And from that day on, he never mentioned Christmas again.
Check out all the other entries on Susanna’s blog here.