2013 – 2014 Competitions

20.    A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS POEM COMPETITION

21.     A HANDSOME HORSE POEM COMPETITION

22.    A SUPER SILK ROAD STORY COMPETITION

 

 

COMPETITION NO. 20:  A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS POEM COMPETITION!

Hello to all you wonderful poets out there! I trust you all had a very merry Christmas! It seems that you’ve all gone back to school with heaps of ideas and energy, as this time we had a grand total of 94 entries in the competition, from 15 different schools in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Melbourne and New Delhi! I loved judging this competition – the poems were so full of delicious food, dancing elves, fabulous presents, cosy fires and beautiful scenery that I wanted to turn the clock back and do Christmas all over again! Never mind, we all know that next Christmas will come around fast enough and before we can say Rudolph, the stockings will be on the mantelpiece and Santa Claus will be dusting off his sleigh once more! As ever, I was looking for excellent vocabulary, interesting imagery and great originality, as well as, of course, great spelling and grammar. I was also looking for poems that made me smile! It was a very difficult job choosing the ten winners in each category, and for those of you who didn’t make it this time, please do enter again – next time you may well be on the list! Here are the results:

Grades 1 to 3

In this section I was delighted to receive 32 entries from 5 schools: – the French International School, Glenealy School and Harrow International School in Hong Kong; British International School Shanghai in Puxi, Shanghai; and St Joseph’s Institution International School in Singapore.

 FIRST PLACE: Ben Hanson, 7 years old, Grade 3, British International School Shanghai, Puxi Campus

Ben’s poem was one of the shortest entries I received, but proves that you don’t have to write a lot of words to create an effective poem! I loved the imagery and the successful internal rhyming pattern. Well done Ben!

Christmas

The moon is bright and the sleigh is light.

Santa and the elves have everything off the shelves.

People are singing carols and the elves are moving barrels.

 

SECOND PLACE: Gauri Ranjan, 7 years old, Grade 3, French International School Hong Kong

Readers will recall that Gauri placed second in the Autumn Haiku competition last year. Well done Gauri for another wonderful entry with an excellent rhyming pattern!

My Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree is pretty

Its leaves are green and glittery

It has a little shining star

And hanging from it is a little car.

Outside it is snowing

The lights on my tree are glowing

The presents below are big and small

Round and flat and short and tall

I look at it every day

And I wonder if it could say

Merry Christmas my dear

Wish you a happy new year.

 

THIRD PLACE: Jules Milan, 5 years old, Grade 1, Glenealy School, Hong Kong

Congratulations to one of the youngest entrants in the competition for this lovely word picture of Christmas dawn. I can just feel all the excitement and anticipation of waking up early on Christmas morning!

The wind is howling.

The snow is falling.

My parents are sleeping.

The dark is leaving.

Around the Christmas tree, in a circle, the gifts are waiting.

For me!

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Shaan Mohan, 7 years old, Grade 3, Glenealy School Hong Kong

There were a large number of acrostics in the competition, and they really are fun to write and to read! I thought that Shaan’s was the most successful and certainly the longest!

 Merry Christmas everybody in the world!

Everybody loves Santa and his elves.

Rudolph and the other reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh.

Rudolph’s shiny nose lights the way.

You and your friends will get lots of presents. 



Christmas is a time of year when people eat turkey.

Hang lots of decorations on your Christmas tree.

Icicles fall from every tree branch.

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Tell your friends how many presents you got.

Me and my family love Christmas.

Angels hang from every Christmas tree.

Snowflakes are falling all over the place.

 

RUNNERS-UP:

Joe ?, 8 years old, Grade 3, British International School Shanghai, Puxi Campus

Chocolate is yummy,

Hot fire in the chimney,

Reindeer are coming,

Igloo making,

Santa and elves,

Time to have fun,

Making snowmen,

Amazing gifts,

Singing Christmas songs.

 

Abhay Ramnarayan, 8 years old, Grade 3, British International School Shanghai, Puxi Campus

The floor was bright ice,

And the children were feeling fun and nice.

Snowflakes were flying around,

The whole place was quiet not a sound.

The Christmas trees looked extremely bright,

And the children were waking and turning on the light.

 

Adam Zhi Feng Lee, 5 years old, Grade 1, Glenealy School Hong Kong

Christmas is really fun

Riding a sleigh is also a lot of fun

Playing in the snow, building a snowman is absolutely fun

And eating candy canes is the best form of fun

If you wear a Santa hat you will look like Santa Claus which is really wonderful

Also our Christmas tree always looks bright and beautiful

As you help put the wrapped presents to the side

You are hoping for what you want but never know what’s inside

Santa’s reindeer is flying through the air

Delivering presents everywhere

Singing Christmas songs while standing in the cold night

My favourite Christmas songs are Jingle Bells and Silent Night

Hanging up my stocking hoping Santa will come with a toy

If so I’ll really be happy because it means I’ve been a good boy!

 

Diya Jalan, 8 years old, Grade 2, St Joseph’s Institution International School, Singapore

Santa, Santa

Santa, Santa what do you see?

I see an elf coming to me!

 Santa, Santa what do you smell?

I smell cookies and milk fresh, sumptuous and of course sweet!

Santa, Santa what do you taste?

I taste cookies and milk melting in my mouth.

Santa, Santa what do you hear?

I hear toys being made by elves.

Santa, Santa what do you feel?

I feel my soft reindeer’s fur as soft as a pillow.

Ho ho ho merry Christmas!

 

Ronit Mendonca, 5 years old, Glenealy School Hong Kong, Grade 1

A special thank you to young Ronit Mendonca for this lovely poem that reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

It’s Christmas Day

Baby Jesus was born today, on this very Christmas day.

All dressed up in our new clothes, we go to Church and pray, as I am thankful to the Lord for blessing my family and me in everyway.

It’s a day for giving and rejoicing, as I decorate my box of hope for a special child today.

Making someone happy brings a smile on my face and reminds me of God’s grace.

I love decorating the Christmas tree.

And once it’s done, it’s such a beautiful sight to see.

Making the Crib brings us so much joy as it tells us the story about how Baby Jesus was born on Christmas day.

My brother and me jump around all day, waiting for Santa to come our way.

Santa’s going to come soon with a bag full of toys for all little girls and boys.

Oh Christmas is so special in everyway.

It’s the pure joy of celebrating with my family as we sing, dance & play.

Visiting friends and loved ones near and dear.

Hugs and kisses from everyone just add to the cheer.

Singing carols late into night and watching the stars twinkling so bright.

Home made sweets, snacks and goodies; Oh how I love to share them with everybody.

As I step out holding my brothers hand, we see the entire city light up as we stand.

Beautifully decorated shopping malls, parks, cafes, buildings and streets. Not to forget supermarkets displaying my favourite sweets.

Oh how I love Christmas day as I dance with joy and sing to Baby Jesus “Happy Birthday”.

 

Curtis Zhou, 7 years old, Grade 3, British International School Shanghai, Puxi Campus

And finally, this little gem from Curtis, who did make me laugh with this funny entry!

A little chubby snowman stood up nice and tall,

With two little grape eyes that come from the mall.

A bunny came along,

Looking for some lunch,

Took the grapes,

“Nibble nibble nibble”

“Crunch!”

 

Grades 4 TO 6

In this section there were a whopping 62 entries from 13 different schools: in Hong Kong, Beacon Hill School, Christian Alliance International School, Glenealy School, German Swiss International School, Hong Kong International School, Quarry Bay School and Shatin Junior School; in Shanghai, British International School Puxi, Shanghai American School and Shanghai United International School; in Singapore, St Joseph’s Institution International School; in Melbourne, Meadows Primary School, and our first entry from India, from Somerville School in New Delhi. Big congratulations to Glenealy School for scoring six of the top ten places! Here are the top ten entries:

FIRST PLACE: Sadie Elizabeth Kerry Baillie Engel, 11 years old, Grade 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

I loved Sadie’s free verse poem with its vivid imagery and excellent choice of vocabulary. I especially appreciated the “vermillion wine”, the “harsh, scratchy voices” of the singers and the last line, which was a perfect clincher! Her poem summed up for me all the cosy comforts of Christmas, with snow outside and warmth inside, but above all, Santa on his way.  Congratulations Sadie on a well-deserved win!

Christmas Is Here

As the golden turkey bakes,

And the fire crackles softly,

While the adults all drink vermillion red wine,

As we rip open our presents with eager, happy faces,

As the sweet, milky flavor of chocolate washes over our taste buds.

While laughing round the pine,

And we compose cards to cousins,

And belt out the carols in harsh, scratchy voices,

While the ivory snow drifts down from the sky,

As we reach into our old, ragged stockings,

Santa is flying through the sky.

 

SECOND PLACE: Danielle Richards, 10 years old, Grade 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

Another lovely piece of imagery from Danielle in this free verse poem about snow. I loved the “crystalline floor” and the “mushy silver-ness” as well as the excellent use of verbs to pull the reader in: swishing, gliding, rising, hovering. Well done, Danielle!

Snow

Gentle, pure snowflakes,

Flow along the swishing breeze,

Gliding to the ground,

Our spirits rising,

As our feet crunch the leaves,

The crystalline floor,

A land of white,

Layered with a mushy silver-ness,

The snow like a fuzzy blanket hovering over the trees,

Constructing an archway,

For Father Christmas to soar over,

Concealed from our sight.

 

THIRD PLACE: Charlotte Wu, 11 years old, Grade 6, Shanghai American School, Shanghai

Charlotte’s beautiful poem contains some really striking, original imagery and unusual vocabulary. I particularly liked the bells “fingering” the outskirts of town and the “euphony” of Christmas songs.

A Vanilla Winter Night

A drop of snow, a twitch of flake

A Christmas present for children’s sake

A kiss and hug laced with love

A buff of cheery merry chocolaty dove

The branches of the Christmas tree

Obscure the children underneath

The soft titter of the candy-thieving infant

Amusing the parents at an instant

The Christmas bells finger the outskirts of town

The illustrious cheers and laughter lift up frowns

Affable sales people running around

People buying presents from out of town

The euphony of Christmas songs

Urges everybody to sing along

The cajole of kids to dear family and friends

And the scribbling of paper attached to pens

The thick brick roofs blot the night

It reflects the traces of Christmas light.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Spencer George Paddy, 9 years old, Grade 5, Glenealy School Hong Kong

Spencer’s punchy, funny rhyming story in verse made me laugh out loud! I thought it showed a lot of imagination and originality, and the rhymes were well-executed. Fantastic work Spencer!

Mercury, Mars or the Moon 

For Christmas, dad said we’re going to Uncle Rudolph’s place.

“Not again,” I cried. “How about we sprint to outer space?”

Said brother Blitzen, “Let’s go to Mercury, Mars or the moon.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Can we to go to the moon and soon?” 

Said sister Dancer, “Mercury’s for me. I want sand and a tan.

And I hear the Mercurians have a hot new Christmas band.”

“You’ll get more than sand and a tan,” I said to Dancer, who’s fat.

“At 400˚ C, you’ll be a puddle of Mercury muddle in no time flat.”

Said brother Blitzen, “Mars is best. We can skate day and night.

And I’m told the Martians have snow that’s whiter than white.”

“You’ll get more than snow white and ice,” I said to Blitzen, who’s dumb.

“At minus 70˚ C, you’ll be Santa from Mars, only frozen and numb.

“Hey, I’ve got a better plan. Let’s grab the sleigh and to Uncle Rudy’s fly.

He’s got treats and presents and a candy-cane tree as big as the sky.

Besides, we can skate until noon and prance in the sun all afternoon.

Maybe next Christmas we can fly to Mercury, Mars or the moon.”


RUNNERS-UP:

Lillian Lee, 9 years old, Grade 5, Beacon Hill School Hong Kong

Christmas

 If you walk along the seasons,

Winter blows the warmth away,

Snowflakes patter onto your tongue,

Hoping winter’s come to stay.

 You write your special Christmas list,

With all the things you want,

You decorate the Christmas tree,

With baubles from your aunt.

 You prepare your pretty stockings,

And hang them by the fire,

Putting out delicious cookies,

And hoping you don’t tire.

 Santa comes on down the chimney,

With a bulging bag of toys,

Drops a lot into your stocking,

Bringing so much Christmas joy.

 

Osborn Ma, 10 years old, Grade 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

My dog Strawberry’s Christmas

Glaring at the glittering tree

Heavy gold wrapped presents underneath

Baubles shining, reflecting warm hearts

Staring at stuffed stockings

I wonder if there is anything for me?

Mail exploding through the letterbox

Children laughing 

Tuneful carols

Birds chirping at the frosty window

Delicious smells waft…

People rubbing me on the head saying ‘’aw strawberry!’’

A sleigh shooting through the night sky

Mmmmm, I wonder what that’s about?

 

Nathaniel Ho, 9 years old, Grade 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

A Christmas List to Santa

I want:

A reindeer like your own

Your sleigh to soar around the world

A life sized Christmas dome

A cracker full of valuable gifts

A TV with the hugest screen

A computer with apps for free

An Ipad with a built in wallet

A phone full of cheese

A flying saucer with the wildest thoughts

A Minotaur to take apart

Please remember a dinosaur

And a steam powered elf

Oh please Santa,

If I just had these things to play

I promise

I’ll give them back someday.

 

Hillary Lo, 8 years old, Grade 5, Shatin Junior School Hong Kong

Christmas Poem

C is for Christmas, the celebration of gifts!

H is for Holly, my decorative flower!

R is for Resolution, it is time to make you perfect!

I is for Ice, where’s my snowman?

S is for Santa, our mysterious north- pole children admirer!

T is for Turkey, our sizzling delight!

M is for Magical, how our glorious night feels.

A is for Angels, they whom you start with a sparkle.

S is for Surprise, gifts and crackers!

Christmas Eve, Joy to the world.

 

 Christina Lee, 10 years old, Grade 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

Perfecting Christmas?

My name is agent 00E

E stands for elf

I’m scampering through the corridors

Flitting from shelf to shelf

Snipping pine needles from Christmas trees

To stack more lumpy parcels on top

Popping luscious marshmallows into frothy cocoa

Nimbly from cup to cup I hop

I twirl like a wooden spinning top

Lustrous glitter falling like intricate snowflakes from the sky

Touching down on quivering fire-bright baubles

Sweet smelling branches where the excess lies

I admire the mouth-watering succulent golden brown turkey

The check is done to my delight

Though Father Christmas will be enraged

I ate every piece of food in sight

I scavenged for each morsel

I devoured the scrumptious bitter-sweet cookies

Oh what will jolly Santa say?

He’ll certainly fire me!

 

Archita Ray, 10 years old, Grade 5, Somerville School, New Delhi, India

It is Christmas day

Say Hi! It is Christmas day,

The reindeers are headed this way,

My tree glows all day like a light,

Santa is coming on a sleigh,

This is the day when Jesus was born,

In a manger with animals and corn,

On this day, flowers are bright,

It is truly a beautiful sight.

Christmas is a special time,

I like the music and the rhymes,

Just like big waves passing by a bay,

Say Bye! It is Christmas day.

 

 SPECIAL MENTION: Helen Yim Man Huen, 8 years old, Grade 4, Quarry Bay School, Hong Kong

Finally, I couldn’t resist a Special Mention to Helen Yim with her very funny take on MY Christmas with my characters from the Chinese Calendar Tales! Here it is, complete with Run Run Rat, Sybil Snake, Chester Choi and none other than my latest character, the Dark Horse! Thank you Helen for your very original effort, as well as for complimenting my roast turkey J!

 The Christmas of Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan doesn’t think that Christmas is the same without the Zodiac animals,

So they celebrate the jolly season together,

She bakes them Christmas pudding, and makes little Zodiac bobbles that represent everyone.

She makes little Christmas presents for each and every one of them,

Suddenly the Christmas spirit gets a little crazy!

The Zodiac animals all jump out of their books and boogie like they’re mad!

Run Run Rat runs, Sybil Snake slithers, even Chester Choi’s bottle is waltzing around the room!

After Dance-like-you-are-out- of-your-mind time is over it was the time to sing the carols,

They were a bit toooo off key for me even Sarah Brennan has to admit.

Then the big enormous Christmas dinner started,

Sarah Brennan was a wonderful cook; I highly recommend her roast turkey!

Soon jolly Christmas was nearly done, sadly that meant Christmas was nearly over, but you know what they said?!

Well they said: “We don’t care!”

Christmas is always before Chinese New Year! Dark Dark Horse is coming to Town!

 

 

 

COMPETITION NO. 21: A HANDSOME HORSE POEM COMPETITION!

darkhorse_cover_lores
 

HARUMPH! What a fantastic time I’ve just had judging the entries in my Handsome Horse Poem Competition! There were 105 fabulous entries from 17 schools in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom, with some excellent acrostics, haikus, diamond poems, limericks, free verse and some really good attempts at rhyming couplets. Jerry Li from SWIS in Shenzhen even attempted a sonnet – well done Jerry! There were horses of every type too! There were baby foals with silvery hooves, gentle little ponies, horses that were shy, curious, fearful, giddy, graceful, famous, wild, lonely, very fast (of course!) and many that were mighty! There was even a horse that ate homework! And horses of every colour, from snowy white steeds to dashing dark stallions to horses striped like a zebra! I loved reading them all, and, as ever, it’s been a very hard job to choose the winners. Congratulations to everyone who entered for their efforts, and special congratulations to the winners in each Section. The First Place Winners each receive a free signed copy of one of my books!

A Note About Age-Groups: It can be difficult to decide how to split the categories when judging entries from primary schools around the world. In some countries, children start school at an earlier age than in other countries, so that they reach higher grades (and standards) at a younger age than their contemporaries elsewhere. In others, children don’t start learning in the English language until they are much older than their native English-speaking friends of the same age. So it’s hard to be fair to everyone at the same time! For the purposes of my competitions, therefore, I have had to plump for what I feel is the fairest criteria, which is how many years the child has spent in school. Hence I categorise by grade rather than age, and you will find that there are 8 and 9 year olds in both the Grade 1 to 3 and the Grade 4 to 6 categories below. Please rest assured that first and foremost it is the writing I am judging, and you’ll quickly see that many younger kids write just as well as children a year or two older!

Kindergarten to Grade 1

Poems are very difficult for the littlest ones, and this time we only had one brave entrant! Congratulations to:

Sophia Yim, 6 years old, Grade 1, Quarry Bay School, Hong Kong for her terrific entry below, which has won her First Place. Sophia wins a free signed copy of one of my books – well done Sophia!

The Land of Horses  

Ticking and tacking all around

Up the hill and down the road

They ran so fast they won the race

MUMMY horse and DADDY horse went home with them happily.

 

Grade 2 to Grade 3

In this section there were 32 entries from 5 schools: in Hong Kong (Kennedy School), Shanghai (Shanghai Community International School, YK Pao School), Shenzhen (Shen Wai International School) and Singapore (St Joseph’s Institution International Elementary School). Congratulations to all the winners below!

FIRST PLACE:  Ryan Liu, 9 years old, Grade 3, SWIS, Shenzhen

I loved Ryan’s free verse. It caught my imagination with its powerful imagery of a horse racing fast as the wind through the darkness. It also very effectively evoked a feeling of wonder and mystery. Well done Ryan – you have a lovely poetic sensibility.

 The dark wind

Horse, horse, where are you going?

I can’t tell you now.

Are you finding the Spring?

No, I’m racing with the wind.

It is a deep dark night,

The horse is fast like the wind.

It is very cold outside,

I don’t know where he is going.

 

SECOND PLACE: Diya Jalan, 8 years old, Grade 2, SJIIS Elementary, Singapore

Diya is becoming a wonderful poet, with a Runner-Up place in my Christmas Poem Competition and Second Place in the Snake Poem Competition last year! I thought this poem was terrific, with clever use of onomatopoeia, repetition, and some lively imagery. I especially loved the horse’s “shimmering coffee brown mane”. Keep up the great work Diya!

 Clip Clop Clip Clop

Clip Clop Clip Clop goes the horse

It’s tap tap tapping on the ground

Its coffee brown mane shimmering

In the scorching bright sunny sun!

Munching on hay

Sitting in the sun

Licking the water

And having lots of fun!!

So clipitty clop, clippity clop goes the horse

Who tap tap taps on the ground

Lets its coffee brown mane shimmer

In the scorching bright sunny sun!

Munches on the hay

Sits in the sun

Licks the water

And has lots of fun!!

 

THIRD PLACE: Silja Maria Kjartansdottir, 7 years old, Grade 2, SCIS Hongqiao, Shanghai

I was very impressed by Silja’s rhyming poem, especially at the tender age of 7! The rhythm was pretty good too! Keep it up Silya – I started writing poem’s myself at the age of 7, and I think your poem is definitely better than mine were!

Dark horse

What is that there racing?

Something quite amazing.

What could show such force?

Of course, a Dark Horse. 

My friend is really fast,

Riding him is a blast,

With him I feel so free,

My Dark Horse and me.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Max Kerr, 9 years old, Grade 3, SCIS Hongqiao, Shanghai

Max’s rhyming poem made me smile, especially his wish at the ending! Well done Max for the excellent work with your rhyming couplets!

I Love a Horse

Of course, of course

I love a horse

They are big and strong

Their noses are long

They eat oats and hay

And run around all day

I love to ride them super fast

I love to watch them riding past

Of course, of course

I wish I was a horse!

 

RUNNERS-UP:

Congratulations to the six Runners-Up for their great poems. A very special mention to Serina Zou, another 7 year old, for making it to the top ten against some stiff competition from the bigger kids!

Lily Hu, 9 years old, Grade 3, SCIS Hongqiao, Shanghai

The Lonely Horse                                

There is a horse in the stable,

Who are you talking to?

Are you feeling lonely?

Tomorrow I will come to accompany you,

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, day and night,

We together talking in whispers in horse language.

 

Louisa, 8 years old, Year 2, YK Pao School, Shanghai

Humble
Overactive as he jumps the hedges.
Radiant to watch running through the fields.
Shining fur and a swishing tail.
Excited after his busy day.

Serina Zou, 7 years old, Grade 2, SWIS, Shenzhen

The young horse named Mary

There once was a young horse named Mary,

Mary was rather quite hairy,

She blow-dried her hair,

It made her quite bare,

And now she has less hair to carry.

 

Richard LAU, 9 years old, Grade 3, SWIS, Shenzhen

White Horses

Big and white,

With small ears.

A big mouth,

Two big eyes.

Healthy body,

With long legs.

Long furry tail,

Like a handsome prince.

Run through the forest,

As fast as he could.

I want to be like a horse,

Run as fast as I could.

Ava Mallon, 8 years old, Grade 3, YK Pao School, Shanghai

The Horse and Bear

There once was a horse that had white hair

Who met a gigantic grizzly bear

They wanted to fight

Under the moonlight

And now they have learnt how to share.

David Yuan, 8 years old, Grade 3, YK Pao School, Shanghai

David’s poem was one of the many excellent Diamond Poems which I received from his grade at YKPao School. I will try to reproduce the diamond shape below, but this may be difficult with WordPress. So if you don’t see a diamond shape, please imagine one!

Horse

           Friendly Lovely

Galloping wandering munching

     Riding fighting carrying

              Brave safe

                 Horse

 

Grade 4 to Grade 6

In this section there were a massive 68 entries from 16 schools in Hong Kong (Australian International School, Beacon Hill School, Christian Alliance International School, Discovery Bay International School, Glenealy School, Kennedy School, The Peak School, Quarry Bay School, Shatin Junior School), Shanghai (British International School Shanghai Pudong, Shanghai Community International School and YK Pao School), Shenzhen (Shen Wai International School), Australia (Kambala, Sydney) and the United Kingdom (Great Missenden School, Buckinghamshire and South Moreton School, Oxfordshire). Congratulations to all the winners below!

FIRST PLACE: Hillary Lo, 9 years old, Year 5 Sha Tin Junior School

Hillary richly deserves her first place in this competition. She has been entering my competition regularly for several years now, winning 3rd place in my Jade Dragon Story, and Runner Up in both the Autumn Haiku and Christmas Poem competitions last year. Each time, I have watched her writing develop, until her current entry, which really is quite special. While the poem isn’t perfect, it contains some truly original and wonderful imagery (I love the way the horse “soars below the yellow sky” and the “glimmering apple of my eye”, as well as the hooves “clinking”). And the last two lines show quite a mature poetic sensibility, especially for a 9 year old. Congratulations Hillary!

Little Black Colt

Light footsteps slowly pad round the field,

Dawn falls on the bright moonlight,

Small hooves clink against the grassy floor,

As the wind gently nuzzles his ear,

Fears seep, exude through his thin body,

He soars below the yellow sky,

The beam on his dappled face is wry,

Gapes, glances and gazes join,

When he vaporizes in the glimmering apple of my eye.

 

SECOND PLACE: Madhura Tilve, 11 years old, Year 6, Glenealy School Hong Kong

Well done Madhura for this wonderful poem, with its gorgeous imagery and majestic tone. I loved the horse’s “rich mahogany mane flowing to the wind’s melody” and the “shining hooves tapping vigorously”. Great work!

 Majestic Horse

In the mist of the dark shadows,

Under the old oak tree,

A figure covered in glistening raindrops,

Waits silent and free.

The sky is dim, the sun has awakened,

A majestic horse is ready to start,

For he is ready to conquer the world,

And gallop along triumphantly.

His rich mahogany mane,

Flowing to the wind’s melody,

The snow-white mark running down his head,

Shining hooves tapping vigorously.

He will race across the world,

Experiencing pride and glory,

And victory while defeating evil,

While spreading its good will.

THIRD PLACE: Chelsea Parker-Burton, 10 years old, Grade 5, Kambala, Sydney, Australia

Welcome to Chelsea, a newcomer to my competitions, and congratulations on this lovely poem with its beautiful evocation of fields and trees. I loved your “fragrant flowers” and “glistening green leaves”. I hope to see more of your work in upcoming competitions!

 The Year of the Horse – A Poem

Horses to me are a dream far away

In a field full of majestic trees and fragrant

Flowers, horses cantering away

Under the glistening green leaves

The horse and I feeling free as the breeze.

I would like to be there,

I would like to part of that dream

Spending time with galloping horses and a most

Beautiful scene.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Emily Griffiths, 10 years old, Year 5, Great Missenden School, Buckinghamshire, UK

A warm welcome to Emily to this competition! I really enjoyed the clever format of this poem, which starts on such a jaunty note and ends so tragically. I felt that the repetition worked well too, enhancing the pace and the tone of the poem. Keep on writing Emily!

 Horses

Clip clop went the horse’s hooves,

Hey! Ho! Went the horse’s moves,

Hooves, moves on a lovely summer’s day!

Clip clop went the horse’s hooves,

Hey! Ho! Went the horse’s moves,

Bang! Bang! The horse turned pale,

Oh no! Time to bail!

Hooves, moves, pale, bail on a lovely summer’s day!

Clip clop went the horse’s hooves,

Hey! Ho! Went the horse’s moves,

Bang! Bang! The horse turned pale,

Oh no! Time to bail!

Eee! Eee! Went the horse’s throat,

The horse died away in a boat,

Hooves, moves, pale, bail, eee, boat on a terrible winter’s day

 

RUNNERS-UP: Big congratulationsto all the poets below, for their excellent efforts in securing a place in a very big field of competitors. Keep on entering my competitions so we can all watch as your writing gets better and better!

Alexandra Feneberg, 10 years old, Year 5, British International School Shanghai

Twilight Horse

I saw him in a pasture

His coat as black as night

His mane glimmering softly

His hooves shining bright. 

He flicks his ears and whinnies

He seems to call my name

I leave the pasture,

Just to come back again. 

One day he no longer lives there

And I still don’t know his name

So I quietly name him ‘Twilight’

The name I treasure most. 

He is a horse of mystery

I am sad we had to part

He seemed almost human

And seems to have ripped my heart.

Mia-sam Gabay, 10 years old, Grade 5, SCIS, Shanghai

My horse Bluey

My horse is white like the stars

He has blue eyes like a sparkling ocean.

Bluey gallops in the wind gracefully and beautifully.

His tale flows back and forth

Like the ocean waves slowly going to shore.

When the roosters wake him up in the quiet farm

He’s up and ready to start his day.

All I want to do is play with Bluey.

Bluey is my sprinkles to my cupcake;

Without him I don’t know what I am.

 

Lillian Lee, age 9, Grade 5, Beacon Hill School Hong Kong

Horses 

If you walk slow and calm into a barn,

You might see spider webs with strings like yarn,

 You might smell the fresh animal smell,

But you’ll find the place where the horses dwell. 

Horses are very mature creatures,

With very, very, delicate features,

 With long graceful tails that go swish, swish,

Eating oats out of a dish.

 Beckon one forward with a carrot,

He probably will not want to share it!

 

Harry, 8 years old, Year 4, South Moreton School, Oxfordshire

What am I?

Hay eater

Saddle wearer

Grass roller

Champion racer

Show jumper

People lover

Rhythm mover

Hooves stamper

16 hands high

Brown, white, grey or black

What am I?

A horse of course!

 

Sydney Montalvo, 8 years old, Year 4, The Peak School, Hong Kong

Handsome horses,

Over the hills,

Running through the fields,

Swift strides they make,

Ever so eloquently,

Strutting into the sunset.

 

Ryan Lee, 9 years old, Year 4, Kennedy School, Hong Kong

A little white horse haiku

One little white horse,

Kind, gentle, soft and friendly,

Trotting all day long.

 

 

COMPETITION NO. 22: A SUPER SILK ROAD STORY COMPETITION!

silroad_lowres

Well that was a truly SUPER Silk Road Story Competition! It’s been such fun to read all your stories, but now I’m just about Silk-Road-ed-out!! There were dessicated deserts and mighty mountains, deadly dust storms and savage cyclones, magnificent markets and busy bazaars, humble hovels and perfect palaces! There were genial genies, dastardly demons, tenacious traders, rotten robbers, stern soldiers, evil emperors, faithful friends and ferocious foes! Above all there were camels: hot, hairy and hugely entertaining, and of course, most of them had five humps! And I won’t even start telling you about the PINK objects scattered all about! I do hope you had as much fun writing your stories as I had reading them!

There were a whopping 111 entries from 13 schools in 5 different cities around the world: In Hong Kong SAR: American International School, Beacon Hill School, Discovery College, German Swiss International School, Kellett School, Renaissance College, Shatin Junior School and Yew Chung International School. In Shanghai, China: Shanghai Community International School, Hongqiao and Shanghai United International School, Hongqiao. In Singapore: St Joseph’s Institution International School. In Sydney, Australia: Kambala Girls School and in the UK: Great Missenden School, Buckinghamshire.

It’s been a big job judging them all, and I want to thank you for your patience waiting for the results! Just a quick reminder of the basic rules: I was looking for

  • Stories no longer than 1000 words;
  • They had to include the Silk Road, the colour pink and a 5-humped super camel;
  • They also had to include at least 3 of my Wicked Words from my blog, used correctly;
  • I was looking for some close attention to the setting, including time, season and place;
  • And for evidence that you’d put in a bit of research about the Silk Road;
  • I was also looking for excellent vocabulary, good grammar and punctuation;
  • And stories with a good story structure including a great beginning and ending;
  • And finally that certain “X-Factor” which made your story stand out from the rest!

So I was looking for quite a lot – some might even say that I was looking for a 5-humped super camel! And I am very happy to report that I found quite a few!

First place winners receive a FREE signed copy of one of my books!  Here are the results:

 

GRADE 1 TO GRADE 3 CATEGORY

As you can see, this competition was HARD, with lots of special ingredients and rules! So I was really surprised and delighted to get some entries from Grade One to Grade Three students! Here are the results for this category. Wicked Words are printed in bold itallics.

FIRST PLACE: Kristina Akova, Grade 3, German Swiss International School, Hong Kong, 8 years old

Congratulations to Kristina for an excellent story about a rather shady deal! She began her story well, with excellent vocabulary and writing style throughout, and her use of speech was very well done. There was a colourful and vibrant sense of place: I can just picture those busy Persian market places in my mind’s eye!

A Jade With A Pink Streak

Once upon a time there lived a fastidious artist who could afford anything! He lived in Hamadan and his name was Qasim. Qasim had dark eyes and lightly tanned skin. He was 208 years old and no one really knew the secret of his longevity. He also owned a super camel with five humps. People often wondered if his longevity is somehow related to his beloved camel, but Qasim never revealed his secret. He had only one weakness, he enjoyed gambling.

One day the Ruler of Persia gave Qasim a jade with a pink streak to make a special pendant and earrings for his wife. The jade was really rare and only people like the Ruler and nobles could afford it. Qasim was on his way home when he met his good friend Sa’ood. Sa’ood was omniscient and also sly. He suggested a game of cards. Qasim hesitantly accepted because of the gem in his pouch.

They found a nice cool spot under a bridge and started to play cards. Qasim had no luck that day and was losing fast until finally he had to bet the jade. Qasim lost the last game and reluctantly handed the jade to Sa’ood. ”Bye! I’m going to Rayy first thing tomorrow. Thanks for the jade Qasim!” Sa’ood said.

The next day after breakfast Sa’ood went off on his camel to Rayy. Rayy had the biggest market in the area. Once he got there, he set up his stall next to a group of dancing ladies wearing colourful silk costumes. ”Come and look at a jade with a pink streak! A jade with a pink streak!” Sa’ood called to anyone watching the dancers. ”Come and get it first!” he exclaimed again. A few customers came and examined the jade, but they could not afford the expensive stone.

Meanwhile Qasim was on his camel and on the way to Rayy. He was wondering how to persuade Sa’ood to give him the jade back. ”That is it! I’ve got it!” Qasim thought to himself. He got off his camel and milked it into a container. Then Qasim popped the container into a pouch, he hoisted himself up and finished his journey.

Once Qasim got to Rayy, it was the afternoon and all the market stalls were still opened. Qasim looked around when suddenly he saw an amazing ewer. Qasim ran to that stall but their was no one behind the counter. ”Excuse me, is there anyone here?” he asked. Suddenly a young woman appeared behind the ewer. ”Yes! What would you like sir?” she said ”I would like that ewer please.” Qasim answered. ”Trade two silk dresses for it,” the woman answered. ”Will a golden tablet do?” asked Qasim. The woman whistled ”Agreed.” So Qasim gave her a gold tablet and the woman gave him the ewer.

Qasim carefully poured his camel’s milk from the container into the ewer and ran up to Sa’ood’s stall. ”Aha Qasim! What do you want?” Sa’ood inquired. ”Look. In this ewer is camel milk that will make you live forever.” Qasim said. ”Really?” asked Sa’ood ”Yes! I will give you this milk only if you return the jade.” Qasim replied.

Sa’ood hesitated for a long time. ”Hmmm…What should I do? Be rich or live forever? If I am rich, I can afford anything that traders bring on the markets… soft silk, expensive gems, delightful spices, exotic fruits and fragrances. If I live forever, I can have enough time to explore the splendiferous lands beyond Persia… Arabia, India and China. Hmmm…OK… give me that camel milk and here is the jade!”

Sa’ood handed the jade to Qasim. “Thank you.” replied Qasim as he passed the camel milk. Sa’ood immediately drank the tasty liquid. ”Ahhh! What delicious camel milk.” commented Sa’ood satisfied. ‘‘Where did you get this camel milk?” Sa’ood wanted to know, but Qasim had already ran towards his camel and out of Rayy.

And if you ever visit Iran and happen to meet two people accompanied by a five hump camel, you would know who they are, wouldn’t you?

 

SECOND PLACE: Anjali Rungta, Grade 2, American International School, Hong Kong, 7 years old

This was a magnificent effort for a 7 year old! It was obvious that Anjali had done some great research about the Silk Road and Marco Polo, and used four Wicked Words very effectively. I’m anxious myself to know the answer to the question about Kublai Khan!

The Trader

Hello, my name is Li. I am a trader who sells silk in Rome. I am here to tell you my experience with Marco Polo.

One day, while I was travelling along the Silk Road, I saw a man with an idiosyncratic camel. That camel had 5 humps! It was a special and strange camel. The man looked illustrious, he had something special hidden in him. I ran to him and said, “Excuse me sir, what’s your name?”

The man replied, “My name is Marco Polo, nice to meet you. I’ve been travelling here for weeks, you see Kublai Khan has sent me on a mission. And now I have to give him some important Italian goods. I was just wondering could I borrow some resplendent pink silk for my wife, Donata. I would be most grateful.”

I was bamboozled, should I give my precious pink silk or should I risk getting him atrocious by saying no. I replied, “I will give you my resplendent pink silk, if you give me your super sized camel.”

Then Marco Polo answered, “I shall give my camel to you, so may you give me the silk?” I nodded and quickly grabbed my precious silk to give to Marco Polo. He gave me the leash for the camel with five humps.

Then I asked Marco Polo if he wanted to join me. Marco Polo said, “Yes, thank you. I can join you on your way to Europe.”

So we went along the Silk Road. Along the way we talked about his travels around Asia. Marco also told me about Venice and his family. I asked him about the mission he was doing for Kublai Khan, his face turned dark. He said nothing.

After many months, we finally arrived to Europe. Even though we were thirsty and hungry, I couldn’t forget the question about Kublai Khan. After that day, I never saw Marco again; he became a great explorer but forgot all about me. That question haunts me, for I will never know the truth. That remains my biggest question.

 

THIRD PLACE: Diya Jalan, Grade 2, SJIIS, Singapore, 8 years old

Readers will recall that Diya has been a finalist in two of my previous competitions. Here she has written a very neat little story about silk-weaving on the Silk Road, with five Wicked Words used correctly – well done Diya!

On the Silk Road

Long long ago there was a girl named Chang. Chang was a beautiful young girl who was kind, considerate, wholehearted and helpful. One day her mother who dearly took care of her precious Chang fell ill. She always combed Chang’s hair, showered her in lavender scented water and dressed her in lovely pink clothes. They called specialists and the best doctors but none of them had a cure. One day Chang’s mother died.

While Chang’s father worked hard on the Silk Road all he could afford was to buy a small hut. It was after all Chang’s mom who weaved the beautiful silk and earned the riches. All that went in their tummy now was a few rice grains, which they made into a watery porridge for each meal.

One day Chang decided to help her father on the Silk Road. When she walked through the gate she was amazed. They were so well organized. There was a silkworm corner. There was also a weaving corner and even a dyeing corner. There was even a camel with 5 humps in the middle that could hold 5 people.

Chang’s father headed to the weeding corner. Chang went to the weaving corner and wove and wove fastidiously until 5:00. She showed the Silk Road manager the silk she had done. There were so many beautiful, resplendent patterns that as soon as he glanced at them his jaw dropped. He said that the silk was splendiferous. The next thing he said was she was hired. When Chang told her father the news he said a miracle had happened. He was filled with joy.

Two weeks later Chang had worked in every corner everyday. She had become the most illustrious silk weaver on the Silk Road with people from Turkey asking for her work. Now they were the richest people in the world!!!! They ate sumptuous food, lived in a pink mansion and she wore a pink cheongsam to work daily. And they never were unhappy again.

FOURTH PLACE: Belle Chang, Grade 3, Kellett School, Hong Kong, 8 years old

Congratulations to Belle on a terrific effort in a difficult competition! The beginning was great, but be careful to pay a little more attention to your ending next time!

 Silk Road Story

Long, long ago there lived a foreigner named Siu Ming who came to visit China from Africa. He thought that crossing the Silk Road would be easy and so he set off in search of the Silk Road.

The minute Siu Ming strode onto the Silk Road, he saw a huge pandemonium right before his eyes! Suddenly, he spotted a camel seller nearby selling the most precious camels in all of China, the camel seller was selling five hump camels! Siu Ming immediately reached for his wallet, but he discovered that his wallet wasn’t in its usual spot in his back pocket! Siu Ming suddenly remembered that he hadn’t packed his back pack for his long trip.

Immediately Siu Ming rushed back to his hotel to start packing his bags. When Siu Ming got to his hotel room he started rummaging through his chests full of splendiferous collections of robot toys, his old play mats and so on. Finally he found his collection of water and brought with him 33 bottles of water. Siu Ming found his wallet hiding behind the dusty, disintegrating and old closet. Finally he set off again in search of the five hump pink camel seller.

When Siu Ming got to the Silk Road, he immediately saw the camel seller walking towards a group of travellers. As Siu Ming sped towards Chong Lee the camel seller on his tricycle, he didn’t realise that the group of travellers were spying on him and were plotting to kidnap him and to steal all his priceless treasures! When Chong Lee saw Siu Ming coming he cried “Cousin! How lovely to see you! I didn’t know that you came all the way to China from Africa!” “Please may I buy a five hump camel from you?” Asked Siu Ming. “Oh, yes you can buy a camel from me my dear cousin, in fact you can have one for free because you are my cousin!” Said Chong Lee cheerfully.

When Siu Ming rode on Lightning, the camel, Lightning reared making Siu Ming cling onto his mane.

By the time Siu Ming reached Antioch in Turkey, the weather was very windy and it was raining. Suddenly, four people popped out in front of him! “Excuse me but could you move please?” Siu Ming asked politely. But instead of moving they grabbed onto his shirt collar! “Give us all your treasures NOW!” Said the first. “No I will not give them to you!” Siu Ming shouted back.

As the four figures dragged Siu Ming to their secret cavern Siu Ming quickly dialled 999 on his mobile phone while the four people were busy dragging him inside the secret cavern.

Meanwhile Lightning the five hump pink camel was busy searching for Chong Lee on the Silk Road. On the Silk Road Chong Lee was wondering how it was going for his cousin At the cavern Siu Ming had managed to get out of the cavern by rubbing the ropes the four people had used to tie up Siu Ming against some sharp rocks that were nearby that was barely in reach.

Soon Siu Ming had tied the four people who had tried to kidnap him like a Christmas present! Siu Ming had also handed the four kidnapers who had kidnapped him to the police!

After Siu Ming had a shower in his hotel room he went down to the royal banquet room dressed in a neatly ironed suit to eat dinner with his cousin and his son and his wife. As soon as they finished dinner, Siu Ming went back up to his hotel room to change into a t-shirt and shorts to get ready for the barbeque up next and to eat roasted marshmallows in the outdoor garden. When Siu Ming reached for his clothes, his clothes was tantalised!

But, he didn’t know that the four people that had tried to kidnap him had put a spell on him! Every night at exactly nine o clock he would turn invisible and the spell would last up to three in the morning! Even worse, the spell will only stop when he reaches the age of eighty five. What a horrible and terrifying experience on the Silk Road!!

FIFTH PLACE: Jared Hongyi Xin, Grade 3, Shatin Junior School, Hong Kong, 7 years old

Well done to Jared, the only boy who entered this category, and only 7 years old. This was a terrific effort but please be careful how and when you use those Wicked Words next time!

The Bomb

In 1940, the Silk Road was found and it was a trading route again. The president of China found out that Americans are trading drugs for pink silk. So the president thought. aha! The president’s got a plan, a cunning plan……So things got into action. the President has put a bomb inside the pink silk. The line was out. Just think what will happen when the Americans pull it…………….BLAM!!!!

So on that same day, 9:00a.m ,the sides met. They nearly trade their thing but an ear-splitting crash! From a falling camel. That camel was ok, it was a Bacterian camel. The camel choose to be on China’s side because of silk. The camel said :”wow! Astonishing! Remarkable! The silk is so beautiful!” to the Chinese soldier .Then the camel skipped off behind the Chinese soldier. So they handed each other treasures. The Chinese soldier said :”take it. Open it. Its good, you know, pink link drink.”

“really?” The American traders asked.

“yes! Open it with the line!” The Chinese soldier screeched. So the Americans did.

Ssssssssssssssssssss………The soldier ran, leaving the camel behind. The American traders were dead, but not this little camel. The camel was injured, two humps in the sand. lots of sand gathered and made 3 hump shapes and stuck onto the camel and the sand became strong as concrete. When the camel came out of the sand, he looked at his back, and he saw 3 EXTRA HUMPS! The camel was so shocked that he fainted. When he woke up, he saw foot prints. He found his way to the Chinese base camp. He shouted:”I’m an Idiosyncrazy! Right? Right? I’m illustrious! Right? Right? I’m Iridescence!”

“Oh, forget it! Stop showing off!” shouted a Chinese soldier.

“Hey, is anybody going to ride on me? The camel cried with tears in his eyes.

“I would” said the soldier who traded the silk.

Then he was like walking in heaven, as free as a bird. THEN, they all went to war. The little camel was interested about war, World war2. So he skipped into the battle field and the camel was shocked. Guns firing people dying, ugh! An soldier in front of the camel has died. So the camel got the gun, the camel closed his eyes, got that machine-gun and fought! After 10 minutes, the camel ran to the stable and talked about life with the horses.

After five years, China won! It was a pleasure. The camel jumped around with joy.

One day the camel went for a walk and saw some food from a tree and charged up to it and ate it. Then, he got lost. Knowing this street was stranger street, he galloped to the forest. Then he met an Chinese soldier walking in the woods. The soldier said to go to his house he was actually a stranger. So the camel followed, wondering if he would get a gift. Oh! he was a butcher and he is ready to kill him for food. So the camel kick and struggled and then, the camel bit the line and kicked the butcher. ”How dare you try to kill me and eat me?! The camel ran away as fast as he can, trying to find the base. Then the camel jumped and saw a horse, which was his roommate,

Told him directions to go to lovely old base. The camel went to see the silk road but it’s too late.

There was a hole- it was where the bomb exploded. Then the camel went to sleep with his back in the air – having 5 humps are good after all!

 

YEAR 4 to 6 CATEGORY

What a fantastic response I got from students and their teachers in this category! Special mention must be made of the staff and kids of Year 5 Discovery College Hong Kong: I believe every student took part – well done all of you! I hope you had a lot of fun learning about the fabulous Silk Road and its glorious history! You certainly had me working hard…and here are the top five stories, with 5 Honourable Mentions at the end! Wicked Words are printed in bold itallics.

 

FIRST PLACE: Rohan Munro Williamson, Grade 5, Discovery College, 9 years old

Congratulations to Rohan for his standout entry, set at the time of the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages. He is obviously a budding historian, with a keen eye for detail. I thought his story was very well-written, with a fantastic beginning, a cracking good pace, an excellent structure, and a really original take on the Five Humped Camel theme! I look forward to reading more of his work in future competitions.

The Construct And The Silk Road

“…The 5th were hard pushed! General Tiberius was determined to exonerate the legion after our last humiliating defeat but the mountain tribes forced us back. In desperation the Dwarven engineers were called upon to work their magic and activated the construct. The metal Camel’s giant mouth opened, the clicking of its jaws grating, and then it spat out a horrifying jet of flame. The flame was white hot and disintegrated the front ranks of the enemy. It caused pandemonium…” General Cornelius Fuscus, Legio quinta Alaudae

Olivier de la Croix turned around one more time, after looking at his map. It contained no symbols – just a quote! Olivier saw a beautiful pink sunset, which reminded him of his other group members, as he was the last. They had travelled together on the Silk Road, but his other group members died on the way. However, they managed to bring him to the end of the Silk Road, in Constantinople. They had started in Dunhuang, all of them had died in Antioch, and Olivier was the only one who survived. He kissed his Saint Christopher necklace, crossed his heart in the shape of the cross and then the Templar quickly turned around, snuck into the staircase, and started working his way down.

While Olivier was walking down the staircase, he looked at the stairs and noticed beautiful symbols carved into the walls by Dwarves before leaving many centuries ago. Then suddenly, something caught his eye. On one of the walls, he saw a word in Latin, carved into the great Lapis Lazuli walls. It said “ASCORDIAN”!

Continuing carefully into the darkness, Olivier edged his way forward, unable to see in the growing shadows. He had butterflies inside his stomach, as if something was definitely wrong. He stepped forward on a crumbling tile, slipping slightly on the dusty floor. Suddenly, he fell as he tried to catch himself, banging his head hard against the cold stone rock as he tumbled downwards. Behind him, the sound of a deep rumbling noise echoed on the staircase. Then everything was silent.

In fear, the Templar Knight looked around. He had fallen into a very big chamber. At the end of the giant room, there were two red lights, glowing. As he got closer, he saw a huge head, with clicking sounds as a giant mouth started grating, open. There was a great, booming shriek from the creature, as it jumped up, torches being lit around the room at once, activating themselves. Then Olivier saw the creature. The legends were true, as he was standing face to face with a 5-humped construction, of a giant camel!

Olivier stuck up his shield, just in time to deflect a burning hot jet of flame. It deflected into one of the lapis lazuli walls. Olivier recovered quickly, as he had his shield up at the ready, and waited for the construct to fire back! But it didn’t. It just spoke, in a very deep voice.

Well, well, well, a Templar! I heard you come in. You were sent here on a mission to Constantinople at the end of the Silk Road to find and destroy me? You are not welcome!”

Olivier did not respond. Instead he grabbed his sword and got ready to strike. The construct spat out another jet of flame, which the Templar only just deflected. But Olivier noticed something different about the camel. He looked closer, and then he saw it. The Construct didn’t have 5 humps anymore – it just had 3!

Each was only one slip from death. Olivier was exhausted as time and time again he avoided the deadly camel…

The camel only had 1 hump left. In desperation, it charged forward biting hard on Olivier’s shoulder, making a huge rip, which made the Templar scream in agony and drop his sword.

It looked as if Olivier was going to die, with no hope of rescue. Ascordian was starting to crumble, after all the deflected white jets of flame. Finally, the construct crouched over the defeated Knight knowing it had won. It spat out one final flame, but this time, Olivier couldn’t deflect it. The heat, like lava burnt him. The fearless man didn’t have the energy to scream but incredibly he gasped and stood. Then, the Templar felt a warm power on his chest spread through his body. He thought he was hallucinating, but then he realised it was coming from his Saint Christopher. He started feeling stronger. He could hear his heart pounding, and he could breathe more easily. And best of all – his wounds were healing.

The construct was silent. At first, Olivier thought it was just tired, as he knew himself that he was feeling the same. But then he realised why – the construct had no more humps left, which meant that it couldn’t go on. It had to give in. It was no longer the 5th legion’s destroyer. The illustrious mechanical beast was dead!

Olivier smiled with relief. The Templar knew that had been the most difficult fight he had ever been in. He turned around to leave, and as he left the chamber, the torches deactivated themselves, as the room was once again, completely dark!

He was about half way up the staircase when he started to feel Ascordian shake. Then, the rumbling started as he could tell this time, that if he didn’t get out of there in seconds, he was probably going to die. Olivier dashed up the staircase as he was terrified, but knew he could still do it. He could see the starlight as he ran out and burst into the night lit sky, and looked for somewhere to protect himself. He saw a tree and threw himself at it, diving for cover. BANG…

Ascordian had been ripped to pieces, with remains of the construct everywhere, as Olivier stood to tell the world he was the man, who destroyed the Roman construct!

 

SECOND PLACE: Mary-Anne Ko, Grade 4, Shatin Junior School, 8 years old

Mary-Anne is a very talented young story-teller, and I was not surprised to find (after using my rather complex marking scheme) that she placed second amongst a large group of older students! I thought that her story demonstrated real skill, with a fluent style and careful attention to structure. I also loved the story itself! Well done Mary-Anne and keep on writing!

The Camel on the Silk Road

Have you ever seen a camel with 5 humps? No, well neither have I. Read on and let your imagination whisk you towards the desert where the camel with 5 humps can be found.

They say that if you travel along the Silk Road into the Lopnor Desert, a magical animal will help you.” Qing was a young boy and he was sitting with his brother Ling listening to their mother speak. “If you…

Qing cut his mother short and asked, “What sort of animal is the magical one?” Mother shook her head. “I really don’t know. Listen!” she whispered. “If you go past the Lopnor Desert, you will reach a land filled with treasure. I hear that the mellifluous water in this land is made of gold”.

Ling’s eyes widened. Father finished off the story, “and the trees in this land are the pinkest in the world.” Qing put down his chopsticks, gulped down his food, and dreamed of this wonderful land.

Four years later when he was 14 years old, Qing wrote a note, left it on the table, took his bag and sneaked off into the night. He mounted his horse and galloped off. He first headed towards the Yellow River, collected some water and then rode towards the Lopnor desert.

Two weeks later his horse lay on the desert floor too weak to carry him. Qing tore out some cactus flesh and began to drink from it. The young boy heard a pounding of feet. A camel! The animal was gorgeous with those beautiful long eyelashes, and an omniscient glint in her eye, but what amazed Qing most was her resplendent 5 humps. Wait! Qing had never heard of a camel with 5 humps. This must be the magical animal which his mother had spoken about. Qing struggled up onto the camel’s back and whispered softly in her ear.

Ow!” cried Qing as a sand storm blew wildly about him. The Taklamakan Desert sure was a dry, sandy place. The camel galloped on and on. As the storm died down, Qing found himself in a beautiful place. Gold glittered everywhere. Jewels and gemstones were scattered all over the place. Qing saw there was a river with gold nuggets at the bottom of it. Wow! The trees had the pinkest cherry blossoms Qing had ever seen but what Qing saw that amazed him the most was a girl.

Hi!” the girl smiled. She took some treasure and put them in a platinum box. “What kind of metal is this?” Qing asked. “Platinum”, smiled the girl. “Take whatever you need and stay for as long as you want” the girl added. “I’m Lai,” she said at last. Lai’s hair swayed. “Thanks”, Qing murmured. Qing stayed for some weeks in the land of treasure and during those days Lai showed Qing around her favourite places.

When Qing’s proud horse was strong enough to get back on its hooves, Qing decided that it was time to get moving. Qing told Lai that he was going home. Lai politely asked Qing to wait for a couple of minutes. Lai returned with something cupped in her hands. Qing saw that it was a piece of green jade! But not just any ordinary jade, this one had a dragon carved on it! Qing nodded his head in thanks then mounted his horse.

Qing waved good bye to Lai. His horse started to gallop. “Stop!” Qing ordered. His horse stopped. Lai and the camel came up to Qing. Qing patted the camel and muttered “Stay with Lai you cheeky camel.” Lai walked towards Qing and whispered to him, “Every full moon make sure this jade is close to your heart then when you sleep we can communicate with each other through your dreams.” The camel grinned cheekily!

Qing waved goodbye once more and set off on the long journey back. Qing’s horse raced along the path that wound up between the tall mountains. Qing took his jade out of his pocket and flipped it over. He noticed that not only was there a dragon carved on it but a girl too! He realized that this was the story of the dragon and the girl!

The story of the dragon and the girl

Long ago there was a dragon called Qing. When he raced towards the island of paradise he met a girl. Qing the dragon didn’t realize that the girl was a Chinese goddess. Qing and the paradise girl stayed together for a while but had to separate all too soon. The girl swore that they would meet again but as the days went by they never met, never. But they never forgot each other, never.

As Qing passed the Yellow-river he didn’t bother to have a drink of the sweet water. His horse raced down towards Qing’s home. They arrived home! Qing’s family was so happy. They spent time with him the whole day laughing together as Qing told them his story.

When night fell the moon was full! Ling and Qing were in their bedroom trying to sleep, Qing made sure the jade was close to his heart. “See you tonight Lai”. Qing thought. Slowly, Qing drifted off into sleep.

When Qing opened his eyes mist swirled around his feet. There was a girl beside him holding his hand. Lai! Qing realized. Lai nodded her head then started her sentence, “Will you dream with me of the adventures yet to come along the Silk Road?” Lai asked, her black eyes glittering in the moonlight. “I’m ready to dream with you.” Qing replied with a soft smile on his face.

 

THIRD PLACE: Chad Rossouw, Grade 5, Discovery College, 10 years old

Chad’s story is rollicking good fun, with a really clever take on the five-humped camel theme incorporation the five elements, and some good research. I love the title too! Well done Chad, and keep up the good work!

Penta-Hump Magic

Peter and Mollie were nervous. They thought that going exploring was a good idea but never anticipated the unruly crowd their blonde hair would attract at the Forbidden City. It was July 2010 and Peter and Mollie had just moved to Beijing. 12 year old Peter was tall for his age with piercing blue eyes and a heart for adventure. His 8 year old sister, Mollie, was energetic, fun and bubbly with excitement. Peter noticed a kind looking man beckoning to them. Peter grabbed Mollie’s hand and ran to him.

The man introduced himself as Mr. Fong. He had dark hair, a hunched back, and a huge smile. He explained that he was a magician and had been separated from his most valued friend, a 5-humped camel named Freddy. They had spent centuries magically restoring places along the Silk Road, but some awful men had stolen Freddy. He asked a fortuneteller for help but was given this riddle:

The Forbidden City will reveal a pair,

With blue eyes and golden hair.

They are destined for a ride,

To return your camel to your side.”

Please help?” Mr. Fong asked. “I have these lapis lazuli stones to buy Freddy and my magic can provide the transport. How do you feel about riding on a tornado?”

The kids happily agreed. They had to go to Kashgar, more than 2000 miles away. The Sunday Market there was advertising a five-humped camel that could only be Freddy. The sky turned pink, a whirlwind stirred and they held hands tightly as the tornado lifted them into the sky.

Soon they landed on a roof in the Kashgar Sunday market. It was incredibly noisy! There was music, shouting and horns beeping. Mollie grinned and started dancing but Peter knew there was no time to waste. He immediately started looking for Freddy. From the roof they spotted the animal section in the market.

They slid down the drainpipe and zigzagged through the stalls until they reached the animals. It smelt terrible and it was hot and crowded. This was not a place to come for a holiday! They pushed past a large crowd and saw the five-humped camel! Each hump had an unusual symbol on it. Peter realized the symbols were that of the elements: Water, Air, Fire, Earth and Metal. Many people were trying to buy the camel but it was not for sale.

The children also tried to persuade the caretaker, but she was being very intransigent until they showed her the five lapis lazuli stones. The stones looked splendiferous, and her eyes shone with greed. She accepted the stones and they led the camel away.

Around the corner, Freddy startled them by speaking! “I hated being trapped in that atrocious prison. Thanks for getting me out of there. I know you are curious about the symbols on my humps. I use these to restore ancient wonders, but I have to return to Mr. Fong to replenish whatever element I’ve used. Let’s have the tornado take us to Turpan so we can restore the Karez water system!”

When they arrived in Turpan, Freddy immediately started digging. He would need to get into the underground tunnels to repair them. He summoned the power of the “Earth” element and the symbol on his hump started glowing with power. The children were mesmerized as they watched how his hooves moved the Earth, scooping it out in great chunks.

While he was digging he explained that Turpan was the hottest place in China. The ancient people of Turpan had built the Karez irrigation system to filter the melted snow downhill from the mountains to the village. Within minutes, all they could see was a huge hole leading down to the tunnels of the system and they dropped down the hole. Walking along the river, they noticed large chunks of rock that had fallen from the sides of the tunnel and into the steam. The water was blocked in a number of places and the stream was down to a trickle of water.

Mollie suggested using the power of “Metal” to reinforce the sides of the tunnels. Once again Freddy’s hump started glowing and immediately the strands of metal started threading themselves along the length of the tunnel, clearing rocks along the way and forming a new path free of obstructions.

It was time to fly back to the Forbidden City and find Mr. Fong. When they arrived, Peter smelt smoke. The city was on fire! Alarms were blaring and there was lots of coughing as the wave of mass destruction danced across the city. Flames jumped over bridges and got to every corner of the city. It was the most terrifying thing they had ever seen. Mr. Fong was desperately trying to use his power to douse the flames, but he needed their help! They formed a plan; Mollie would go and help Mr. Fong evacuate the city, while Peter and Freddy would battle the fire.

Peter decided they could use the “Water” element to douse the roaring flames that were burning through the city. He summoned the tornado again and flew high above the city with Freddy, who made it rain so hard that it put out every last piece of flaming wood. As the last flames were snuffed out, they returned. The city was saved but Mollie was pointing to the people who were all gasping for breath from the overwhelming smoke. They needed fresh air! Together, Mr. Fong and Freddy used the “Air” element to clear away the polluted air.

There was one element left. It was time to celebrate! Freddy’s hump lit up as he hurled a huge fireball into the sky and it exploded like a million fireworks! Everyone cheered.

Mr. Fong thanked Peter and Molly and gave them golden pendants to remember their magical adventure. The next morning they woke up wondering if it had all been a dream, but then saw the pendants on their nightstands and smiled.

FOURTH PLACE: Jay Haddow, Grade 5, Discovery College, 10 years old

Jay has an interesting, rather matter of fact and descriptive writing style, quite different to all the other entries. I was impressed that he was able to maintain the present tense throughout without any mistakes (not easy to accomplish) and I enjoyed his descriptions of characters and places. Well done Jay!

The curse on the Silk Road

A small village in the snowy and treacherous mountains of North China has three precious stones that the villagers believe have special powers that protect the village from sickness.
One night, somebody sneaks into the village and steals the three precious stones. The next morning, the village elder, an old yet wise man, discovers that the stones have gone and informs the villagers. The villagers are now extremely scared and desperate to find the stones, but no-one knows what happened. There is only one clue. A little boy who could not sleep saw a strange man riding a 5 humped camel.

A few days later, something terrible happens. A few of the villagers start getting sick. The village elder decides to make the long journey down the mountains to the local market town to try and find help. He uses his horse to travel, and carries gold and silver to trade for help.

He arrives to find out that a large caravan of 40 camels has just arrived and started unloading their goods from their camels and setting up their camp. The village elder approaches carefully and asks one of the men if he could meet the caravan boss.

The village elder is taken to meet the caravan boss, a large, tall man and the village elder explains what happened and begs for their help. He has a soft, mellifluous voice. Tears start rolling down his face. He offers gold and silver and more if he can help find the precious stones and lift the curse on his village.

He tells them that one of the stones is a very rare pink diamond, and that they only have one clue about the person who may have stolen the stones and that someone saw a man traveling fast on a 5 humped camel. The caravan boss agrees to help and takes the gold and silver. He gives some gold to his guide, a short, fat man with a scary looking face. The guide is told to share the gold with other guides in the town to try and find out any information.

The next day is very busy. The market is full of people trading. The caravan boss and guide are trading their goods – mint for silk, silver and gold for camels. Suddenly a man approaches the guide and asks to speak with him. He tells him he saw a 5 humped camel traveling east.

They finish trading and decide to camp the night before leaving the next day.

The next day, they pack up three camels, and trek east. After many hours, they reach a small oasis, like a diamond in the middle of the desert with a shimmering small lake and beautiful green palm trees. As they are resting, they meet a large caravan heading west. They ask the boss if they have seen a caravan with a 5 humped camel. He says yes, it is heading to Karakorum.

They know they are close. They leave the oasis and start heading towards Karakorum. Many hours later, they arrive in a small village to rest from the searing heat and discover the 5 humped camel in a small caravan.

Next to the caravan is a large tent. With no-one around, the caravan boss and guide enter quietly. The owner of the 5 humped camel is sitting down on his own drinking mint tea. He was a tall, skinny man with a nervous look.

They introduce themselves and ask him about the village and the stones. He says he does not know, but he looks very nervous and does not look at them directly. They decide to leave, but realize that something isn’t right.

That night they decide to go back and find the stones. A cold wind is blowing, and the night sky is clear. The moon is glistening and the stars are shining. Everyone is sleeping, they look everywhere but they cannot find the stones. They see the 5 humped camel sleeping. They have never seen a 5 humped camel, and so they go closer, careful not to make any sound.

They look at the camel suspiciously. “Yes it has 5 humps but 3 are not real” says the caravan boss. They look like humps but they are camouflaged hiding places. Inside they find lots of precious stones, gold, jade, and the 3 stones including the rare and amazing pink diamond.

They gather up all the stones and gold, return to their caravan, and disappear into the night. They travel fast, going back west through the oasis and back to the market town.

They reach the town and decide to then make the difficult trek to the village in the mountains. When they arrive, the village elder is waiting for them along with all the villagers.

They hand over the three stones, and everyone cheers and hugs the two men. The village elder is ecstatic. Now it is time to celebrate. The caravan boss and his guide are now the village elder’s guests and that night, they arrange a sumptuous feast for them.

FIFTH PLACE: Hillary Lo, Grade 5, Shatin Junior School, 9 years old

Regular contest entrant and oft-times place winner Hillary has once again demonstrated her writing talent in this rather sweet and whimsical tale of an evil Empress and a jealous camel. Hillary is living proof that the more you enter writing competitions, the better your writing gets! But take care with those Wicked Words next time Hillary – the usage is just a little bit strained sometimes.

The True Treasure Of The Silk Road

“Li Ching,” a soft voice began, “Haul that tent over here, then you can take Coco by the reins.” Her sister Li Yan bent over the stone in front of her and trembled, as cold as ice. Li Ching paused. “No, it’s fine, Coco is as gentle as a lamb, so don’t you fret, Li Yan.”

Li Ching dropped Coco’s reins, and rushed over to Li Yan. Li Yan looked really peeky and wasn’t as cheerful as she was supposed to be. Her eyes were blank and tears were gushing out of them, and Li Ching was mopping her up, staring straight into her eyes, as red as bloodshot. Li Yan was as stiff as a board, though her eyes were shining with effervescence. “Oh, Li Ching!” exclaimed Li Yan, “Look!” She turned her gaze to where Li Yan was pointing at, led Coco to it as he started neighing. There, on the sandy floor was a pink jade bracelet, resplendent with its beads glinting, as clear as a crystal.

“Li Yan! Wow, look at the iridescence of this bracelet!” Li Ching fumbled about in her pocket, fished out a purple tissue with some flowers drawn in gold. She scooped up the bracelet, cupped in her other hand, and slid it onto the tissue. “You’re copacetic, Li Yan!” Li Yan was proud of her sister’s praise. She smiled weakly at Li Ching and sat on the tent, hesitating. “Li Ching, I think we should keep on moving, I’m not tired!” Li Yan stood up, followed by Coco and Li Ching as they waded through the darkness. They walked through a sandy area, stones scraping at their soft feet and they tiptoed towards the end until they had blood trickling down their small feet.

“AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!” the voice sounded throughout the empty desert, turning people as deaf as a post.

Li Yan and Li Ching were shivering. Even Coco was alarmed. The two sisters were ineffable, bewildered at the sight of a five hump camel, trudging towards them. “Hello, am I too late? I see you have already picked up the pink jade bracelet!” the camel chuckled and turned serious again. Li Yan and Li Ching blushed. “Hi, we are Li Yan and Li Ching. What’s your name, you big beast?” The camel smiled kindly and affectionately. “Oh yes, they call me Long.” he flashed them a mysterious look and explained when he saw their blank looks. “Don’t you know anything, Le Chang and Le Yam?” he asked curiously. “It’s Li Yan and Li Ching!” corrected Li Ching, as they doubled up.

“Yes, anyway, I’ll tell you the story. I belonged to an emperor called Emperor Qian, and I was his beloved, until he married Empress Ki. She hated the very sight of me, and she constructed the Silk Road to send me away in return for some sashes, bracelets and silk. She ordered and demanded the chancellors under her to throw me to the western side and exchange for some silk dresses. Emperor Qian helped me escape, but he inadvertently slipped on the sand, and sadly he passed away. The empress wears a jade bracelet, and it is pretty, but full of power. If the bracelet is here, the Empress is settling in nearby, and EMPRESS spells trouble.” Long finished his sentence with an edge to it.

“Long, what should we do with bracelet? What? What?” Li Yan asked, eager to stop this trouble. Long was as cool as cucumber. He gave the girls a grin, and said, “Easy! Throw that bracelet out and catch the mischievous woman!”

Li Ching winced as the pink bracelet fell to the ground, shattered in a million little pieces! Coco was lackadaisical, not even caring. A nearby figure broke down, unconscious. Li Ching and Li Yan inspected her. “But she’s so attractive, Long!” squealed the two sisters in unison.

“Of course she’s a darling as pretty as a picture outside, but look inside!” Long paused and snorted, “Black heart with no beauty in it! Her brains are not working and she is intransigent to the emperor, even if she acts all sweet girly charm sometimes.” Long finished his sentence, as a tear rolled down his cheek. “I really adored Emperor Qian! Why did that innocent little thing have to steal him away!” Long whispered, as he looked down.

The whole troupe went to the mountainside, and slowly comforted Long. “Doesn’t mean you don’t have any people who still adore you, Long!” Li Yan exclaimed, braiding a complicated pattern with long strings of grass she brought. She handed it to Long and Long laughed his Long kind of laugh happily.

Suddenly, an old woman in a patterned dress walked slowly over to Long and broke the laughter and happiness. She patted Long’s five humps and smiled. “You, you, have defended the empress of China. I am a woman as old as the hills with rubbish in my head, but in my memory you are the hero!” she hugged Long and laughed as he nuzzled her ear.

“Bye, my dears! We have to go now!” the old lady introduced herself as Gale and said farewell to Li Ching, Li Yan and Coco. Long trooped by her side eagerly as the lady promised she would feed him sacks of food and provide his dream home for him.

Li Yan and Li Ching, ignoring all the blisters on their feet walked bare-footed, and gracefully danced down the road. Li Ching stepped on something silky and smooth. She picked it up and found it was a pink silk scarf embroidered with silver petals. In the distance, Long was screaming, “For you!” and the two girls grinned. “YOU’RE THE REAL TREASURE, MY LONG!” they said in unison.

“You know, Li Ching, life is wonderful and full of mysteries!” Li Yan drew an imaginary silk scarf in the bright blue sky. Slowly, the sisters’ smiles died with the sun…

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Congratulations to the following five writers, who all receive an Honourable Mention in this category. I hope to see much more of their writing in future competitions. Listed in order of merit they are:

Juliet Koung, Grade 5, Discovery College, Hong Kong, 10 years old;

David Yan, Grade 4, Shanghai United International School Hongqiao Campus, 10 years old;

Adrian Wong, Grade 5, Discovery College, Hong Kong, 10 years old;

Maelee Baron, Grade 5, Discovery College, Hong Kong, 10 years old;

Janet Hu, Grade 4, Shanghai United International School, 9 years old.

 

 

 

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