The Fraser Writing Contest
Aspen, CO ColoradoThe Fraser Writing Contest was started six years ago by Aspen-based author Jill Sheeley and her yellow dog, Fraser, to honor writing in Aspen Elementary School’s third and fourth grades.Every year, they get over 60 entries. Aspen Times columnist Mary Hayes and Jill are the judges and every year, they say the judging gets harder and harder every time. The stories are judged anonymously.Julie Wille organizes the contest at the school. Each student who enters receives a certificate and there are ribbons and medals for Honorable Mention, Third Place, Second Place and First Place. First Place finishers have their names engraved on the perpetual trophy that hangs at the school.We are printing stories written by the first place finishers: fourth-grader Alex Bush and third-grader Diana Flores. Enjoy!
By Alex BushOne day, 2000 years ago, I was sledding down a dried riverbed on Mars. It was a very clear day because, well, it is only cloudy when there is a dust storm. There are no clouds there. It’s a very dry, freezing cold place. During the day it is about -50 degrees and at night it is about -200 degrees. The reason I came to Mars from a different universe, from a planet called Utheonis, was that I wanted a longer winter. The winter on Utheonis was only 5 days long. The winter on Mars was 6 months long!While I was sledding down the 5-mile-long dried riverbed, I looked away at this weird looking monster creature and then felt myself lift off into the air by a bump in the snowy riverbed. The gravity is much weaker on Mars than Utheonis so I went very, very high. Just then I saw this creature fly right in front of me, then I saw many more. They were the same creatures I had seen just before I lifted off the ground.The creature looked like a three-headed snake with a bull’s bottom half of a body and it had retractable wings that came out of its ears so it could fly. It ate whatever it found.I was getting so scared that my magic almost fell out of my backpack. My magic gives me the power to breathe when there is no oxygen and survive when there is no water to drink and live in a freezing cold area. My magic also gives me the power to turn things into candles, and to fly from universe to universe. Those are all the powers that I had with me.Then I looked behind me. I saw that there was one creature right on my tail with its glistening sharp teeth. Then I saw more joining in behind him. I was being chased by these evil snake-like dummies that called themselves the “Shamash.” Then I accidentally dropped one of my potions from my bag. It was the potion to transfer me to different universes. Now I was really out of luck!When I saw that more had joined in, I remembered that I still had one power that could help me. I pulled out a bottle that looked like a candle and I drank it. A silvery glow circled around me, then – Poof! – my hands turned into little cannons. I pulled the trigger and little shots of light poofed out. Two of the creatures got hit, turning into candles. They fell to the ground standing straight up. Then two more fell, then two more, then two more. They keep falling by twos. Forty-one of the candles fell and made a big star.There were still nine left. This time I was eager to get them all in one shot. I put three more blasters on one hand and four more on the other hand. Then – Bam, Boom, BANG, ZAP!Then it was quiet – absolutely quiet. When the dust cleared, I looked down. There was the star of 41 candles, and inside the star there were nine candles: two at the bottom on the ground, two more on a bit of an up rise, two more a bit higher up and two more even higher up with one candle right in the middle – the tallest candle standing! These candles created the very first menorah ever made.Then I went back down into the riverbed and saw that the potion that had fallen out of my backpack had not been broken. Then I said the magic words to get back to my planet, “aflaga waba guga sawba maba flawba.” Then, in a swirl of wind and a cloud of dust, I was gone.Because the potion had dropped, it took longer to get to my planet. I had fallen asleep while it was bringing me there. When I woke up, I saw that I was in a lush green forest and I was surrounded by these two-legged creatures. As I have three legs, I did not know what they were. I yelled out the names of everyone I knew on my own planet, “Oppy, Thigwig, Woppy, Sopig and Germice.” No answer! I yelled louder … louder … louder … LOUDER … Still no answer!
I tried one more time even louder. I still got no answer. So I decided to wander off on my own to explore this new world. Was this Utheonis? Had it changed this much in six months?When I started deeper into the forest, the leaves got bigger and thicker until they were at least 15 feet wide (a foot on Utheonis is two human inches). The trees got thicker, till you would need a sofio (knife) to get through alive.There were a lot of other creatures, like the things that had two legs, lots with four legs, even some with no legs. One creature with no legs (a snake) wrapped itself around my yankle (ankle). It was a scaly thing and about 150 Utheonis feet long.I finally got to the middle of the forest. Suddenly, I fell off a cliff and landed in my room on Utheonis! There I saw all my friends.I grabbed a bottle of potion that would bring a life-sized thing from one planet to another and a potion to go from universe to universe and planet to planet. And the last potion I took was one to speak a different language. Then I left. I went back to Mars and got the life-sized menorah with the potion and went off to the other planet by saying “Afwaga waga saga maga”. Then – poof went the smoke, and I was gone once again.When I landed, I was under a leaf right next to what I later learned were Earthlings. I crept up to one and showed him the life-size menorah. I told him that this menorah was made for the Jewish people and that I named that tallest candle after those Mars’ creatures, calling it the “Shamash” – to be used light the other candles. All he heard was “afwaga waga cawaba jupees.”So I drank my potion that let me speak a different language. Then I said, “This menorah was made for the Jewish people for a winter celebration, just like Christmas was made for the Christians”. But that is another story …
By Diana FloresIt was a cold and a snowy Christmas. Nicole had always wanted a dog. But she never got one. This Christmas she really hoped to get one. The next day she woke up and was so excited it was almost Christmas! I’m so excited, she told her mom. I am too, said her mom, but you still have to focus on school. I know, I know, said Nicole. At school Nicole told her friends what she wanted for Christmas. Her friends also told her. Finally it was Christmas morning. Nicole thought she woke up first but actually her mom did. When Nicole looked under the Christmas tree she was very upset. Because there was only one present for her. So she just opened it. It was a puppy!Mom, she said. Mary Christmas, Nicole. Nicole was speechless when she saw the puppy. She decided to name her new puppy Scruffy. She took Scruffy almost everywhere she went. Nicole had Scruffy for about four years, but one day Scruffy began to act very weird. Nicole’s mom called the vet. He found out that Scruffy had had cancer for the past two months. When Nicole found out that Scruffy had cancer she was so sad. Just when, the vet said this is not good he also said Scruffy is pregnant. Oh no! said Nicole. This is terrible!Scruffy was taken away to the animal hospital; as the truck left slowly Nicole waved goodbye to Scruffy. When Scruffy got to the hospital she was very frightened because she had a muzzle on her mouth, and saw many other dogs going through pain. The vet took her to a big plain white room with a mouse hole in the wall, and a pile of dust in the corner. The vet checked Scruffy to see if she was going to have her babies soon. And the answer was yes, Scruffy was going to have three puppies in a couple of days.The vet felt happy for Nicole and Scruffy. The vet called Nicole and told her the good news. Nicole was so excited, but then she remembered that Scruffy was going to die because she had cancer. Nicole asked the vet how much time Scruffy had to live, the vet said that Scruffy had only five days left to live.The time had come, Scruffy was going to have her puppies. The vet called Nicole and told her to come to the hospital immediately, and Nicole did as she was told. She entered the animal hospital. The vet told her to please wait in the waiting room, and Nicole agreed. Ten long minutes passed, the vet felt really sad to tell Nicole that Scruffy had only survived to give birth to one puppy! Nicole was very sad to hear that.She took the puppy home that afternoon, she had decided to name her Rosy. She loved that puppy very much because it made her remember the great times that she had with Scruffy. One year had passed since the sad event. It was Christmastime. Nicole no longer wanted anything for she had got everything she had ever wanted.She had got Scruffy to love for four long and great years and now in her lap laid Rosy fast asleep, the puppy of a once great and fluffy dog, Scruffy. That Christmas, there were many presents under the tree, but none of it really mattered to Nicole for all she really appreciated was her loving family and her wonderful puppy!