Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)
TITLE: The Misfit Turkey
By John Barnts
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Sam looked around. The world was so much bigger and brighter than the inside of his egg. He sat there blinking and feeling hungry until a strange-looking creature walked up to him.
“I’m Gabby,” said the creature, staring at Sam with a curious expression. “You look funny. Where’s your feathers? Where’s your wattle?” Gabby tipped up her beak, proudly displaying her bumpy red wattle.
Sam frowned, feeling very uncomfortable. “I don’t know. I just hatched.”
Gabby looked Sam up and down one more time. “I guess we can be friends. Would you like something to eat?”
“Yeah. I’m starving.”
Gabby led Sam to a nearby bush where she began to peck at the small red berries. “These are delicious,” she announced.
Sam ate a couple berries, but didn’t like them at all. Gabby suggested some acorns, nuts, and even small insects, but Sam didn’t like any of them.
“You’ll learn,” said Gabby, happily filling her stomach. “My family will teach you.”
For the next few months, Sam lived as a part of Gabby’s family, running from place to place and eating whatever the ground had to offer. As he began to grow, Sam noticed that he looked nothing like his adopted parents. He was much smaller with fewer tail feathers and without the slightest hint of a wattle.
One day, Sam wandered away from Gabby and her family. He wanted to be alone. He stared into the treetops, feeling as if he belonged up there somehow. While he was staring up, he spotted an old owl staring down at him.
“Whooo are you?” asked the old owl.
“What are you doing down there on the ground? You should be up here, like me.”
“I can’t climb all the way up there.” Sam lifted one short leg for the owl to see. “I can barely even run.”
“Those legs aren’t made for running. They’re for catching meat. What do you think those wings are for?"
Sam seemed to notice his wings for the first time. “I don’t know. I guess I never thought about it.”
“You’re made to fly, Sam. You’re not a turkey. You’re an eagle.”
Sam watched the owl fly away and wondered if he could follow. He unfurled his wings, focused all of his thoughts on the sky, and flapped. In a thrilling moment he felt himself lifting off the ground. Then he was soaring up, up, up, into the treetops, into the sky. For the first time, he felt at home. For the first time, he was free.
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