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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Perkin Loses His Purple
By Jan Ackerson
02/05/08
~1st Place


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Perkin Pepper knocked on the door of Pansy Pearlheart’s cottage, a bouquet of glowing starpoppies behind his back. He crossed two of his four long fingers for luck, and held his breath.

The door opened with a squeak, and the top of Pansy’s head appeared, followed by her violet eyes and the tip of her turned-up nose. She stepped out and closed the door quickly behind her, brushing flour from her ruffled pinafore.

“Perkin!” she whispered. “What are you doing here?” A butterfly lit on her shoulder, sending up brightly colored sparks before flittering away.

Perkin produced the bouquet with a flourish. He doffed his cap and bowed low. “Miss Pansy Pearlheart, I’ve come to ask you—“

“Shh!” Pansy touched a finger to Perkin’s lips. Glancing behind her, she led Perkin into the shadow of a large tree. Its bright blue leaves had been whispering, but they hushed when Pansy started to talk. “Papa says you’re not to come here any more. He says I can’t be seen with you, now that you’re…” She hesitated, and a tear welled in the corner of her left eye. The flowers that dotted the lawn drooped, with a sad little hum. “…now that you’re Green.”

Perkin dropped the starpoppies, which scampered away, softly chattering. “What do you mean, I’m Green?” He held out his hands and waggled all eight fingers. “See? I’m just as Purple as you are!”

Pansy blushed, and her lavender cheeks became a pretty dusky rose. “Papa says you’ve been cavorting with G-green folk, so I guess that makes you G-green.”

“But Pansy! I’m not Green! Look!” He pushed up the sleeves of his tunic, then thrust out one knobby, plum-colored knee. “See, Purple!”

With a look of hope, Pansy stooped to pick up one straggling starpoppy and tuck it behind her ear. It wiggled into place and chirped contentedly. “So you haven’t been—you-know-what?”

A fluffy white kitten walked between them on two legs and stopped to listen, munching on a cricket.

Perkin paused, remembering…

He’d been walking to the market when they called out to him, three grass-green lads casually leaning against a wall. “Hey, you! Lilac-liver! C’mere, we wanna show ya somethin’!”

Perkin tried to look brave. He sauntered toward the trio, stumbling once on a stone in the road. The stone grunted and shuffled out of his way.

The tallest lad draped an arm over Perkin’s shoulder and drew him in, showing him things he’d never seen…

He came back often to enjoy the unfamiliar Green wonders. Eventually, the lads taught him the Green Song, and he would join in nightly, brandishing a tankard of viridian ale:

What a wonderful color is Green!
All the others are simply obscene.
Red, yellow, and blue
Are like buckets of poo,
And there’s nothing that rhymes with Purple!

Green food is the best you can find,
But those Purples eat horses’ behinds!
They eat garbage and trash
That will give you a rash—
Like liver and peach pits and rinds!

Green music will give you a thrill,
And Purple songs just make you ill--
When they sing, kittens die
And Green babies all cry
‘Cause it’s vile, disgusting, and shrill!

Green houses are fancy and nice,
Filled with every convenient device;
But those Purples are poor.
I am perfectly sure
That their hovels are crawling with mice!

Green girls are the prettiest, too—
And they know what to do with shampoo.
Not like those Purple hags
Who are greasy old bags,
And their skin is a hideous hue!

The song went on for several more verses, and Perkin sang them all with gusto, paying scant attention to the image of Pansy Pearlheart’s smiling lavender face, rapidly fading from memory…


“Well?”

Perkin gazed at his toes. “Maybe I’ve made a few Green friends—but I’m still Purple, I promise!”

Pansy’s eyes filled again, and this time two sparkling tears landed upon the grass. She touched Perkin’s cheek with one soft hand. “Purple isn’t here, Perkin. It’s in your heart. Come back when your heart is Purple again.”

She turned and walked back to her cottage, petticoats a-swish.

A pair of tiny white flowers sprang up in the grass, their petals embracing two glistening tears.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/07/08
This is absolutely wonderful!
Leigh MacKelvey02/08/08
One of the most creative pieces I've ever read! I just smiled and made "awwwww" and "ooohhhh"
noises all the way through. So enjoyable!
Venice Kichura02/08/08
I love this! Very creative use of the topic.
Sheri Gordon02/08/08
This is so funny -- like silly funny. Only a very creative mind can think up stuff like this. My personal favorite is the bucket of poo -- made me chuckle out loud. Great job with the topic.
Holly Westefeld02/09/08
I also enjoyed your creativity, and did I sense some allegory as well? I love your glimpse in to this different world, and hope we might get to know it better in the future.
This would even have worked for last week. :-)
Sharlyn Guthrie02/09/08
Excellent elements of fantasy are woven throughout this story. I would love to see this illustrated. Lovely.
Betty Castleberry02/09/08
Well, I was only going to comment on those entries that had few or no remarks this morning, but I just COULD NOT skip this one. It's simply a masterpiece. It's fantasy and fun and truth, all mixed up into one tasty story. If it doesn't place, I'll give it my own award.
Hanne Moon 02/10/08
Jan, I loved it. You get kudos for creativity, on topic, and just enjoyable reading. I think we have a winner here! Great job!
william price02/10/08
Another creative entry. Great pace and unique, per usual, take on the topic. Enjoyed it very much. God bless.
Patty Wysong02/10/08
Talk about creative!! Wow, this oozes creativity and it packs a lesson. I love the ending--perfect.
Shelley Ledfors 02/10/08
I absolutely love this! I should be published as a children's book with wonderful illustrations. It really nails the topic in such a creative way!
Ann Renae Hair02/10/08
Once again you deliver a wonderful piece. Truly you are have natural talent. Very enjoyable!
Karen Wilber 02/10/08
Definitely Seuss-ish. Right on topic. My favorite part is the song. Reminds me of the smart, funny songs in some recent Disney movies that you have to listen to to get all the jokes. Good lesson that purple is in the heart. Would make a wonderful children's book. (they'd love the line about poo)
Peter Stone02/10/08
Great job, and that poem is a riot! Had me in stitches.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/10/08
The message could not have been delivered more creatively. I could see the illustrations in a children's book as I read. "The purple is in the heart" was the perfect conclusion. Just delightful.
jodie banner02/10/08
I loved this. Wonderfully illustrated with so many little touches that brought the scenes and characters alive for me.
Beth LaBuff 02/10/08
Wow! Your story is amazing. Your names are just plain fun! I absolutely loved your green and purple song. What fun!! (I guess that makes me not purple). :)
Dee Yoder 02/11/08
Very Dr. Seuss-ish! I really love the many, many descriptive word pictures and characterizations packed into this piece. An illustrated book would be wonderfully colorful!
Lyn Churchyard02/11/08
Delightfull, Charming, Fun. This has all the hallmarks of the Level it was in. I doffs me hat Jan!
Loren T. Lowery02/11/08
Dr Suess or Kermit the Frog, it doesn't matter because you've created your very own unique, creative style that is so loveable. What a wonderful fantasy world to vist and stay awhile.
Debbie Wistrom02/11/08
Enchanting! The last line is exceptional. You are a gem!
Rita Garcia02/11/08
Creative! Enchanting! A FANTASTIC READ!
Emily Gibson02/12/08
Completely delightful! I wish I had this kind of creative imagination. Your mind is a treasure trove of wonderful characters.
Sara Harricharan 02/13/08
Aww! Poor Pansy! I think she really liked Perkin! The song was funny and sad at the same time, but I felt as if I were in a fairy-world! The ending with the two flowers and the tears, was my favorite line! ^_^
Gerald Shuler 02/13/08
So this is what perfection looks like... I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. This is wonderful.
Laury Hubrich 02/14/08
Oh my, Jan, how do you do it? Do you have a secret you can share?! Hmmmm? This is a magnificent piece of work! I love your song, too. Do you make up songs for your kids at school? I betcha your school kids love having you as a teacher!
Laury
Marlene Austin02/14/08
What a wonderful writer and teacher you are. I thank God that I have the opportunity to read His Word in extensions such as this. The last line was very expressive. Congratulations, and Praise God. :)
Sara Harricharan 02/14/08
***Congratulations!*** ^_^
Sheri Gordon02/14/08
Congratulations Jan! Your creativity astounds me. Only you can write a winner with 'buckets of poo'. :)
Glynis Becker 02/14/08
Delightful, Jan! And perfectly written....what an imagination you have :)!
James Clem 02/14/08
Pansie's pure words have torn him apart
I think he deserves a Purple Heart!
Sally Hanan02/14/08
Hehe; this was delightful, and you deserve every bit of the praise coming your way.
Sherry Castelluccio 02/14/08
Congratulations on your win. You certainly deserve the applause. Great, fun, and creative story. Absolutely brilliant.
LauraLee Shaw02/14/08
Congratulations on 1st place. This is a truly brilliant piece. And incredibly entertaining as well.
Karen Wilber 02/14/08
Congrats on the 1st place EC. This is still great on a 2nd reading. It entertains, it amuses, it enchants, then it comes right around and serves up a pointed message. Bravo!
william price02/14/08
Congrats, Jan!!!!!!!!!
Dianne Janak02/14/08
I am in awe of your creativity and ability to pull it off in such few words each time.( our word limit I mean).. truly an inspiration and encouragement to all of us! THANKS Jan for raising the bar of excellence .. you are special and your writing shows it... Dianne J.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/14/08
Way to go! I loved this.
Christine Dunn02/15/08
Congratulations - So creative! I especially loved the song.
Joanne Sher 02/16/08
Absolutely amazing, Jan. SO glad I'm finally getting to read this. Just wow in every way.
Charla Diehl 03/04/08
I'm a bit late in reading this but it was delightfully cute, funny, creative, descriptive and I agree with the others--it should be illustrated as a children's book. Loved how you gave personality to everything--the stone, flowers, butterfly, etc. Very talented writing!!!
Loren T. Lowery03/25/08
Jan, I said it once and will say it again, what a wonderful world you created and thanks for letting me stop by to visit again. Loren
Betsy Markman08/22/08
Such fun! My absolute favorite part was the ONE non-rhyming line in the song, "and nothing rhymes with purple." Too good.