2016 YAFF 3rd Place story by Thomas Ravel (3rd grade/CE2)
The American Library in Paris is proud to be the organizer of the Young Authors Fiction Festival (YAFF). The YAFF is a city-wide writing intiative that aims to strengthen community among English-speakers in the Paris area through the art and craft of storytelling. The YAFF is free of charge and open to all students ages 5-18 in the greater Paris area who write in English.
We hope that you enjoy reading this 2016 YAFF 3rd Place story by Thomas Ravel, and that they inspire you to write your own!
A Cheetah for Christmas by Thomas Ravel
(3rd Place for 3rd Grade/CE2)
Alex was lonely. He had no friends. Each day, he would watch the other kids have fun with their friends. Alex had always wanted a friend but nobody wanted to be friends with him. Christmas was approaching. He wrote to Santa asking for a friend and hoped for the best on Christmas day.
Christmas morning, he raced downstairs to open his presents, but all he found was a letter from his uncle Eric who worked at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Alex opened his letter in a second and read the letter. The letter said a magnificent gift was coming. Alex couldn't wait to see what it was!
A week later, a big package came in the mail. The box said "Fragile" on it. Alex gently opened the package and inside, he found a baby cheetah. He was shocked to see it. At first, he thought about giving it to a zoo but then he decided to see how things would go with the cheetah. He was curious about how things would work out, so he went straight to work trying to give his cheetah a home.
Alex hired some workers to make an outdoor cage for the cheetah. Then Alex went to buy some meat for it. Afterwards, he decided to give the cheetah a name. He happened to be watching the program "The Lego Legends of Chima" on TV when a brave lion on the show named "Long Tooth" appeared. The cheetah seemed to purr at it, so Alex decided to name his own cheetah "Long Tooth" too.
At first, it was difficult for Alex to take care of the Long Tooth because Long Tooth was afraid of him. Long Tooth ran off whenever Alex tried to give him some food or a toy. Long Tooth wouldn't allow Alex to hold him. After two weeks, Long Tooth seemed to be getting used to Alex and his new home. Alex thought that Long Tooth was so cute that he decided to keep the cheetah. He realized that the cheetah was as much afraid of him as he was of the cheetah.
A few months later, Alex brought Long Tooth back to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre so that Long Tooth could see his own kind at the place where he had come from. Uncle Eric happily greeted them. Uncle Eric told Alex Long Tooth had come to the center after hunters had killed Long Tooth's mother. Just then, Santa had told Uncle Eric that Alex wanted a friend, so Uncle Eric decided to send Long Tooth to Alex. Then Alex's uncle showed Long Tooth his own kind while Alex learned from the trainers how to take care of a cheetah.
After having visited Hoedspruit, Alex went back to his home with the first skill he had learned at Hoedspruit - to make a bigger cage. The problem was Long Tooth seemed to be unhappy sitting in a cage. One day, Alex brought Long Tooth on a walk but Long Tooth was hungry without Alex knowing it. When a dog passed by, Long Tooth suddenly ran after it. Alex shouted at Long Tooth, "Don't kill the dog," but Long Tooth ignored Alex. Alex ran after Long Tooth but the fastest land animal on earth was much quicker than he was. Fortunately, the owner of the dog managed to catch his dog and Alex managed to catch Long Tooth.
After the incident, Alex knew he couldn't take care of Long Tooth anymore, but Long Tooth was his best friend and he didn't want to give him up. Alex looked into Long Tooth's eyes and knew there was no choice. Alex had to let go of Long Tooth. Long Tooth was now a young adult male and he could survive on his own. Alex packed up Long Tooth's toys and his water bowl. Alex took apart Long Tooth's cage and put Long Tooth into another cage to transport him. Alex's parents drove Alex and Long Tooth to a spot in the savannah. Alex opened up the cage and Long Tooth ran out. Alex watched his best friend run away.
Many years later when Alex was looking out his window, he thought he had seen Long Tooth again. The cheetah stood in front of his window and stared at him. Alex looked back at the cheetah and smiled.