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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: India (02/12/09)

TITLE: The Courage of Selvakumar
By Norma-Anne Hough
02/13/09


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Layak whistled happily to himself as he brought his boat towards the shore. His boat was filled with fish; his few hours out at sea had proved very successful. Looking around him, he noticed strange movements in the tide. He jumped out of the boat and shoved it ashore, helped by three youths on the beach. Securing the boat to a nearby stake, he ran towards his humble home, a concrete walled hut, just forty yards from the shore.

Nearby his eldest son, Daiwik was playing with his younger brothers and his dog, Selvakumar. The dog had been given to Daiwik on his fourth birthday by an uncle of his. Selvakumar was a mongrel. He was a large dog, with liquid brown eyes, which shone with love and devotion for his young master. It amazed everyone at the gentleness of the dog. The children could pull his tail, roll on the beach with him and climb all over him, and he never retaliated. He used to accompany Daiwik to school in the nearby village of Pondicherry. There he would patiently lie and wait for Daiwik then accompany him home again.

Layak had arrived at his home breathless; he decided to climb onto the roof of a two-storey community home next to his.

Looking out to sea, he was horrified to see giant waves rushing towards the shore. He screamed down to Anchal his wife, to get the children and to make for higher ground. Climbing down quickly he ran to tell others.

Anchal grabbed the two younger boys and yelled to Daiwik to follow her. Others joined in as they all began to run for higher ground. Anchal presumed that Daiwik was with them and kept on running, driven by fear.

Daiwik was terrified. He was only seven and his whole world was falling apart. He turned and made for the safety of his home, he did not understand why everyone else was screaming and running away. The noise confused and frightened him. Selvakumar sensing danger followed his young master into the house.

Daiwik began to cry as he saw water coming into the house. The dog tried to nudge him towards the door, but fear held Daiwik captive. Suddenly Selvakumar grabbed hold of the boy’s sleeve and began pulling him towards the door.

Meanwhile Anchal with the other villagers had reached higher ground. Looking around she realized that Daiwik was not with them. Frantically she began to call his name. Layak raced up towards her asking where Daiwik was. She had no answer!

Suddenly there was a shout from the crowd. Pushing through them, Layak ran to the front. He later told the television and press what he saw would remain with him for the rest of his life.

There was Selvakumar coming up the hill, dragging young Daiwik with him. He ran towards the pair. Hugging both the dog and the child Layak cried uncontrollably. Anchal joined them, while the villagers looked on in amazement.

This little village on the southern coast of India had experienced a miracle in the midst of the horror of the Tsunami on that tragic day December 26th 2004.

“The young boy had tried to take refuge in his home, which was in the path of a wall of water. However, his faithful dog would not let him and literally goaded him to safety – a heroic act that made headlines around the world.
Anchal said she believed some special spirit resided in the canine.”
Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun. Dogmania. Amazing but true canine tales.

Author’s note. This story is based on fact. Names are changed with the exception of the dog.


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This article has been read 717 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/19/09
What a wonderful true story!

My main suggestion would be to work on commas--you have a few where they're not needed, and some missing where they are needed. Watch out for run-on sentences, too.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this suspenseful story.
Seema Bagai 02/19/09
This story kept me riveted throughout. Gread writing.

Just a small note. Pondicherry is not a "village" but a city of over 5 million.

I enjoyed reading this story.
Sonya Leigh02/20/09
Wow, the competition is tough in intermediate this week...with good entries like this one...very good story telling here.
Marlene Austin02/21/09
Precious story. :)
Karlene Jacobsen 02/23/09
It is amazing how our animals sense danger when we don't understand what is going on. Great story.