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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: A Tale By Serenada The Cicada
By Janice Fitzpatrick


Beneath a cloudless sky of darkness they arrive like thieves, small musical bandits that mean no harm. I should know for I am one of them. My name is Serenada the Cicada and this is my story.

I come from a long line of singers. My ancestors first met the Pilgrims back in the Plymouth Colony about 1634. They were amazed at the number in our choir.

The Indians foretold that many people would become very sick from us. That same summer many Indians and Settlers caught the fever and died. In the Autumn the sickness stopped. So did we.

Our group went underground. We were given the name, “The Nymphs”. It sounds more like a rock band. Being young we didn’t do much but drink root juice from saplings.

We didn’t reappear until 1651. We were so glad to get out of there. How much can a guy do under the dirt?

Anyways, there is no proof that anyone was sick because of us. We were given the name of locusts or “Pilgrim Flies”. The name sounds like an insect that wears black tights, knee pants and carries a loaded musket.

We probably would be better off if we did. Those birds would like nothing better than to have us for an appetizer, main course and dessert. At least we would have a better chance of survival.

I’m not brooding but I do belong to a brood, entitled Brood Thirteen or X111 for short. Our group last appeared in 1990.

There are at least 15 different broods. Twelve of them have a seventeen year cycle while the other three only live for thirteen years.

We may be tiny, only one and a half inches long but what we lack in size we make up in vocals. We vibrate our tymbals, a membrane that is in our abdomens which makes a high pitch sound.

When our all male choir gets together it is sweet music. Unfortunately, no one sings base or baritone. We have tried out for quartets but never made it. Someone needs to sing the melody. So, what can I say?

The girls like our singing. We don’t see much of them though. You see, our days are few. It’s a fate that brings tears to my eyes. No, that’s not why they are red. It’s a family trait. Please don’t stare, it’s rude.

While the butterfly flaunts their beauty, each time they flap those wings, we on the other hand are known as the ugly bug. I take it in stride. It goes to show you that beauty is just skin deep. Music comes from the heart not from looks.

In one way we are similar to those brightly dressed showoffs. Not too long ago we shed our skin but came out soft and white. Hours later we hardened and our wings grew out.

It’s a lot like humans I’d say. We grow and develop and have a reason for living, to sing and give life. Everything has a purpose.

Well, I don’t have a lot of time to sing my song. I need to find me a princess to settle down with. My life span is not much more than a week.

Girl Cicada’s on the other hand get to see the neighborhood longer. They are busy making slits in trees where they lay hundreds of eggs.

About six to ten weeks later, the spawn will hatch. Another group, also called, “The Nymphs”, will drop to the earth. Then they'll bury down deep underground.

Just like the rest of us they won’t make their debut for another seventeen years. All I can say is, find a nice rootlet, you're going to be there for a while.

I wrote a song to sing before I leave. It goes like this.

Under a promising moon
slowly he climbs
to a stage made of bark and leaf
where a red eyed bug
longs for a hug
for his short life is full of grief

Sweet maiden he cries out
Serenada is my name
your sweet prince I do long to be
I have songs to sing
much joy to bring
we’ll go down in history

We are like two passing ships
floating swiftly
upon a vast and mighty sea
with no time to waste
I bid thee haste
and pray I make it up this tree

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This article has been read 934 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright06/07/07
Your title drew me in and then more than fulfilled its promise. What an absolutely wonderful piece - so creative and I loved, loved, loved, the closing poem. I think you will place first this time, and you will desreve it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/08/07
I loved this story and the poem of the cicada, as well as its use of humor. I can see this fitting very well in a science lesson in mid or upper elementary grades. There are so many interesting details about the cicada woven into the story. About three or four summers ago they swarmed in our area. They surely are ugly and loud. I would have liked to know as much about them then as I do from your story! Well done!
Jacquelyn Horne06/09/07
What a unique way to bring a science lesson. Enjoy and learn at the same time.
David F. Palmieri Sr.06/10/07
Beautiful, informative, interesting story. I printed it to show my grandkids. They love science. I love the Cicada song at the end. Should interest kids of all ages. A few illustrations and you'll have a great childrens book. It doesn't count... but you have my vote...dave
Joanne Sher 06/11/07
Excellent - great title, too! Such great learning in here, in a wonderfully entertaining tale.
Jan Ackerson 06/11/07
I like this a lot (except for the fact that I'm bug-phobic...) The best thing about it is its language--it doesn't talk down to the children, and for those who are interested in bugs, this is also an exemplar of lovely writing.
Trevas Walker06/11/07
I loved this story - great job!!
Beth LaBuff 06/11/07
It just goes to show that even an adult can learn something from a children's story. Thanks! I always enjoyed the locust "buzz" on a summer evening!
Nancy Jo Wilson06/13/07
I'm a Floridian, I can't resist a good cicada tale. Very interestingly written.
Kristen Hester06/13/07
My son,who loves science,would love this story. It's educational but also told in a language kids can understand. Good job.
Pat Guy 06/13/07
My grandson would love this. And yes, bug lovers would LOVE it!

the voice on this was perfect all the way through.

I don't like bugs - but this was really good.
Rita Garcia06/13/07
Fantastic story - sure to please the kiddies! Great writing!
Kenneth Bridge06/13/07
Well written, imaginative and informative. Aside from one or two minor syntactical stumbles that reading aloud might reveal I have one quibble. "No one sings base" your character says. That is absolutely true. Some humans, if no cicadas, sing bass, however. Spell check would never flag that error. Only careful rereading could catch it.
Overall, very good effort and certainly displays talent worthy of moving up the ladder.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/14/07
Note by the author. I realize some minor boo boo's and would have caught them had I not been ready to nod-with only 10 hrs sleep over the course of 5 days.I can't believe I mis-spelled bass,Yikes and I use to win spelling bees,LOL.Thx all!
Sharlyn Guthrie06/16/07
I love the name of your main character! You did a great job of both entertaining and informing in this piece. Keep up the good work. You won't be in beginners for long.