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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: The land of my dreams
By Esther Gellert


I eagerly turned on my computer to discover the new topic for the challenge. “The United Kingdom”. My mind filled with images of castles, idyllic English villages, cloud enshrouded mountains in Scotland, green, green hills in Ireland and long, awkward names on signs in Wales. How do I write a realistic story about the land of my dreams? I wouldn’t know where to begin.

As I pondered different ideas I remembered a favourite movie from my childhood, ‘Pete’s Dragon”. Somewhere we have a copy of it. Pulling out the DVD version, I found what I was looking for. One of the ‘extra’s’ is a documentary about the search for the Loch Ness Monster. Well, at least it's a start to my research. It wasn't long before my children arrived to see what I was watching. We discovered many things about Loch Ness and its resident ‘Nessie’.

We learned of the Abbey with a statue of St Columbus overlooking the Loch. Apparently in 565AD St Columbus himself recorded an encounter with Nessie. A man was swimming in the Loch when a monster appeared and attempted to devour him. Fortunately St Columbus was watching and rebuked the monster who released the swimmer and disappeared. Since then there have apparently been regular sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.

My children were fascinated by the story of ‘Nessie’ and quickly decided to draw their own pictures of her. Master five gave a running commentary as he drew.

"He’s got a long tail with a point at the end and he’s got a long neck, ‘cause it’s called a long neck monster so it must have one. He’s got stripes up his tail and pointy ears and a horn on his nose. He’s got claws on his feet and an extra claw on the side of his leg. There’s a dot on every leg, right in the middle. He’s got three humps on his back with a claw on top of every one to make him look scary. He lives in the water and he likes to drink the water, but he goes on land to eat the bread the ducks didn’t want. He eats grass and stuff too. He likes hiding and scaring people and he makes big waves when he walks through the water."

Master seven was eager to explain his picture as well. "Mine has webbed feet and a horn and a big thing on its neck like dinosaurs have. It has a big red tail like a kangaroo, but it doesn’t jump. There are sharp spikes on its back and spurs on the back of its legs. It can walk on land but it’s very heavy so it stays in the water. It has red eyes, because it’s VERY mean, and very sharp teeth. It’s very big, twice as big as Daddy. I don’t really know, but maybe it’s mean... maybe it eats people. Actually, it’s about ten feet taller than Daddy. Is that big?"

Miss eight smiled with self-confidence in her own superior knowledge as she described the facts of life to her younger brothers. “If there was only one Loch Ness Monster, it would get extinct in, like, a month or something, unless it was a girl and there had been other ones around, maybe sometime in the past, and it was pregnant. Then they wouldn’t get extinct.” She proceeded to turn her picture so I could see it.

“It’s rather big and it’s got yellow eyes. It has a horn on the top of its head. It’s like a black monster. It has a frill on its back that opens when it’s scared or angry. The female doesn’t have horns or a frill. When it’s hungry it goes to the surface and eats bread or ducks or fish.”

“Can we go see the long neck monster one day?” master five asks when they have completed their pictures.

I smiled to myself as my mind wandered away again to those mental images of the land of my ancestors. “I’d love to take you to Scotland to see Loch Ness one day, but I don’t think we’ll get to see Nessie.”

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to drift away in an imaginary trip to the land of my dreams.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/30/09
Very sweet--your eager, curious children seemed very real to me.

I think you could do without the first few sentences about the Challenge and your computer, and just start right in on your story.

I'd love to go there some time, too!
Karlene Jacobsen02/03/09
We went camping a couple years ago after watching something about 'Nessie'. My boys told everyone they met about her and that they were on the look out for her. Crazy the way kids think.
I enjoyed this, it brought back fond memories of my boys.