Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2021 finalist, Teagan Schmidt! Teagan finished 5th grade this past school year. The story she wrote is called “Cloud Sheep.” Enjoy!
by Teagan Schmidt
There once was a sheep that was so fluffy, it could’ve been qualified as a cloud. It was so pretty, but it was very old. It knew that its time was going to run low at some point. The sheep looked around its herd, trying to find the most well-rounded sheep. But all the sheep were acting like unsupervised babies. Many of the sheep were running around, and jumping on top of each other, some bashed each other over. The Cloud Sheep was angered by the sheeps’ behavior. It pulled some of the most rowdy sheep aside. The Cloud Sheep believed that it could change these sheep. It believed that one may be the heir to the throne.
“I am going to choose a new heir to the throne–”
“Let it be me, madam! I’m the most passionate!”
Already, the Cloud Sheep was very rudely interrupted by one of the sheep. The Cloud Sheep, the lord of all sheep, glared at the disrespectful sheep, to which it responded with a smug grin, “I’m going to choose a new heir to the throne,” the Cloud Sheep said loudly, prepared if any of the sheep would decide to very rudely interject, “you will go through a very simple task throughout the week, and whichever sheep is the most passionate out of the three of you, will be the new king of the herd.”
Two sheep crossed their arms and whined, while the last piped up. The middle sheep punched the interested sheep in the side of the arm as if to say, this is stupid, so just stop listening and let some other lucky one get it, but the interested sheep kept on listening.
“Now, may I ask of your names please?” the Cloud Sheep’s soft voice sounded like soft music flowing through a small coffee shop.
“Why do you want to know?” the right sheep said, his tone rude and nasty.
“Quiet down child,” the Cloud Sheep was beginning to become very angry with some of the sheep, “You will tell me your name.”
“Whatever,” the middle sheep complained, “the name’s Thunder.”
The middle sheep made a laughing snort at Thunder, indicating that his name was dumb.
“Shut up, your name’s worse,” Thunder spat.
The Cloud Sheep was beginning to lose its patience but then pointed to the middle sheep.
“Uh, my name’s Nelson,” the middle sheep closed his eyes shut, as tight as he could, waiting for the teasing to commence.
And it did. Thunder screeched with laughter, as loud as a siren, holding his stomach tight.
“Alright alright, listen up,” the Cloud Sheep demanded attention, “there will be NO teasing whatsoever in my kingdom, you hear me?” even the Cloud Sheep’s shout couldn’t hurt your ears.
“Yes madam,” the three sheep said in unison.
“Thank you, now young lad, what’s your name?”
The left sheep sat straight up in his seat, “I’m Kris.”
Thunder held in his laughter, to which Kris gave a sharp glare at him.
“Now, Thunder, Nelson, and Kris, you will learn to treat each other with kindness, and learn to treat each other like brothers.”
“There will be no teasing, no pushing each other, and you will use companionship.”
“Now, are we ready for training?!” the Cloud Sheep exclaimed.
“Then let’s get to it!”
The sheep followed the Cloud Sheep out to the large yard filled with flowers and mowed grass. It smelled of beautiful perfume.
“This is where you lads will train.” The Cloud Sheep looked around.
“Madam,” Kris looked around, “what will we be doing exactly?”
“Let me get to that part, child.” The Cloud Sheep sniffed up the lovely smell. It walked over to three large mounds of thick brown soil. “Now,” the Cloud Sheep began, “this is your training session.”
“How are we going to train on these stupid mounds of dirt?!” Nelson growled.
“We will be growing plants,” the Cloud Sheep explained, “whoever makes the largest, and prettiest plant wins.”
Nelson and Thunder just rolled their eyes as they began hauling watering cans and seeds they thought were the best. Kris began as well, but he carefully dug out a spot for the little seeds to go before grabbing his materials. Thunder chose to grow Marigolds. Nelson grabbed the first packet he found, which was a packet of tulips. And Kris picked out a packet of little strawberry seeds.
“I bet my Marigolds will beat your stupid girly tulips,” Thunder whispered over to Nelson.
“Well, at least I’ll beat that stupid nerd over there,” Nelson chuckled under his breath.
Kris walked over to the two of them, “Yeah right,” he bellowed out at them in a nasty tone, “bet you couldn’t even pass kindergarten.”
Nelson knew he was going to win, so he didn’t care what anyone said. Thunder also knew he’d win, his mother had been a planter, so he must’ve inherited the most amazing planting skills from his loving mother. And Kris knew that he was going to make the best strawberries in the land.
After a few days, Nelson’s tulips began to wilt. He looked around to see if he had done anything wrong. Finally, he found the packet, buried in the dirt beside his dead tulips, on which he finally read: Little sunlight needed, make sure to put in a shady area for best growth possible. Nelson frowned as he sauntered out of the castle.
Kris’s hands were as red as apples, and his back felt as if Jupiter itself had lowered all its weight onto Kris to take a rest. Thunder sat on a lawn chair in the yard, sipping iced tea, and watched the sparkling jewel of a sun lower itself into the pink and purple horizon.
Soon, Kris’s plant grew into lovely red strawberries, poking through the dirt with its thick green vines. The Cloud Sheep knew that Kris could do it. But, when it looked over at Thunder’s Marigolds, they were small, and there were no beautiful, golden, yellow petals. The Cloud Sheep was not pleased with Thunder’s plant. Thunder stood proudly on his four legs. Kris analyzed his strawberries very carefully before giving the Cloud Sheep an ok.
The Cloud Sheep took one look at Kris’s plant and pointed to it.
Thunder spit in the yard, “I did all this hard work for nothing!?” he shouted.
“You didn’t do anything,” the Cloud Sheep said calmly, “from the start you were not interested, and you took no responsibility, just like Nelson. If you two didn’t want the opportunity, I would’ve found another being to put in your place. You should’ve taken responsibility in your plant, for if you did, you could’ve been king of the herd.”
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