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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: "Nothing" ... All Day Long
By Leigh MacKelvey
06/06/07


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On a great green hill sat the little town of Skillsville. The town was built by happy ants who put their skills to good use, worked hard and made Skillsville a wonderful place to live.

Down in the valley, tumbling across the land in messy shambles were the shacks of Slugabed. The Sluggards lived lazily and their town was a pitiful sight to behold.

“Pitiful? How so?,” asked Bob Bummer, Slugabed’s Mayor. “Why, we Sluggards take pride in our sleepy town. Look around, look around! I ask you ... where else does a Slug-Fest take place every day?”

Sam Slouch and Norman Ne’er-Do-Well took a break from twiddling their thumbs to support the Mayor by singing the Slugabed Town Anthem.

We are the Sluggards,
the shiftless Sluggards.
We do as little
as we can.
And if you ask us
to lift a finger,
We’ll tell you ...
Talk to the Hand!

Don’t bust our bubble,
don’t cause us trouble
We want to
be left alone.
We don’t like working
So quit your smirking,
Refrain from counting
our lazy bones.


All summer the Sluggards slouched in their lawn chairs and lounged in the sun sipping soda. The ants burst into brisk bustling and stored their food for winter. They had their fun in the sun, but they divided their weekend BBQs with punching the clock from nine to five on weekdays. Skillville’s Mayor, Laboring Larry, knew a busy ant was a happy ant. Every morning at eight o’clock, he hopped a ride with the Sheriff and blew his megaphone throughout the town with the Town Ant Chant:

Work, work, work,
then play, play, play
Makes happy, happy days.
Go Skillsville, Go Skillsville
Rah!


As summer began to end, Mayor Larry peered down the valley into the town of Slugabed.
Pizza boxes, soda cans, cookie crumbles, globs of bubble gum and mounds of newspapers piled high across the lawns. There was no trash pick-up in Slugabed. Nobody did anything. The mayor thought it would be a good gesture to make a visit and remind the Sluggards that winter was coming.

“If I might be so bold, I question how you will survive the winter since you have done nothing all summer.”

We cannot move
up off our chairs,
our muscles need
a great repair.
All summer long we
just sucked air.
We don’t do nothing.


“Ah, em .. ANYTHING, you don’t do ANYTHING.” The Mayor had earned and A + in English.

“Yep, that’s what we said. We don’t do nothing.”

I suppose, then, you don’t attend school either.”

Are you a fool?
We don’t do school.
We don’t do nothing.


“ANYTHING! You don’t do ANYTHING.”

“You got that right, we don’t do nothing.”

“ANYTHING.”

Silly Mayor,
our time is spent in
luxury’s lap.
We chill all day, then take a nap.
And when we need a
little chuckle,
we fold our hands and
crack our knuckles.
We don’t do nothing.


“ANYTHING.,” said the Mayor. He gave up and started home. Before going too far, he looked back.

“Take a lesson from the ants, you Sluggards. How long will you lie there? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest ... and poverty will come on you like a bandit." *

Summer soon ended and winter came on strong. It rained. The wind blew. The storms stewed. The sky snowed and it was cold. Yet the ants in Skillsville had hearty dinners at night and warm bread in the mornings. They were comfy by their fireplaces.

Everything was not so fine in Slugabed. The Sluggards shivered. They shook. They were so cold they couldn’t sleep. All night you could hear them weep. Their bellies were empty, their mouths had no smiles. Their tummies were angry and did nothing but growl.

Mayor Larry felt sorry for the Sluggards. He wrapped himself up in his furry coat, pulled on his snow boots and put on his electric mittens. He took a couple of extra electric mittens and some warm bread for the Sluggards.

Mayor Larry, only an ant, could not help but say I told you so.

“ Aha, I could just imagine ... you did nothing and now ... a famine! Hmmph ... I hope you learned something. Next summer you will know better than to sit around and do nothing.”

“Why thank you for the food and you’re so right, pal. We cetainly learned our lesson. Next summer, we won’t do ANYTHING.”


*Proverbs 6: 6-11


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This article has been read 756 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 06/07/07
Your descriptions are so vivid and sharp, and I love the songs and anthems - to fun and clever! Your ending seemed a touch ambiguous for a children's story, but that could just be me. I thoroughly enjoyed this!
Jan Ackerson 06/08/07
This is so cute! I just cracked up at "electric mittens." I need a pair of those!

This is a really fun and painless way to teach a valuable lesson, and the little poems and songs are adorable.

The ending made me laugh, too.
Dee Yoder 06/10/07
This was such fun to read! I like the variety of writing styles you used in your story. I think kids would enjoy this story very much, as well.
Rita Garcia06/11/07
This has so much to please a child's sense of wonder! Love it!
Sandra Petersen 06/11/07
This was so very clever. I loved the Sluggard's Town Anthem. What a wonderful way to illustrate the Bible verse in Proverbs. I could see using this in a young Sunday school class, maybe having the children do pictures showing their favorite part of the story.

The only thing I would have liked to read, or maybe the teacher could explain, is that sometimes people do not learn the lesson they were intended to learn. The Sluggards seemed to get off a little easy in the end.

But, over all, a very creative telling of a wise proverb.
Ann Grover06/11/07
I LOVED it... wonderful application of the Biblical principle. I'm not sure a child would understand the grammar, though...the difference between "nothing" and "anything" but, isn't that the point? The sluggards won't change. The story is delightful, the songs are a wonderful addition... the descriptions are colourful... everything is very well done...!!
Beth LaBuff 06/11/07
I can see this as a "Veggie-Tale" type cartoon with a catchy song. Very good!!
Leigh MacKelvey06/11/07
Yeah! Finally somebody got it!
Kristen Hester06/13/07
My 7 year old thought this was very funny. I only hope she "got it" since today is chore day at our house! I loved the chants and songs. The language and descriptions were great. I could picture the characters! Great job. This is a winner.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/13/07
"And when we need a little chuckle, we fold our hands and crack our knuckles." My favorite line of lots of delightful rhymes. This was a great story with a perfect message for little lazy folk. I wish I'd had it to read to my children when they were little.
Jacquelyn Horne06/13/07
I loved this. Such a good moral told in a delightful manner. I liked the little english learning tool(more than anything!)
Christine Dunn06/13/07
Well done. This was original and had an very good message.
Betty Castleberry06/13/07
This was a joy to read, and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. There's also a very good lesson here, and you told it without being preachy. This is a gem.
Pamela Kliewer06/13/07
What a great telling of these verses. Wonderful job!
Sara Harricharan 06/14/07
ROFL!

That is my first reaction! I certainly hope this does well, you had me laughing all the way through. I loved the comparisons and especially the A+ mayor. What a charming character! The little ryhmes in between were great and really helped to bring this across in a very nicely ant-related way. Great job with this! ^_^
Catrina Bradley 06/14/07
A late comment - but a sincere one. I love this "update" of the ants and the grasshoppers fable. I appreciate a good moral in a children's story. I learned many good things from Aesop.

I covet your creative mind - everything you write is uniquely original and well-scripted. Your writing has that certain "something" that will take you places. :)
Rebecca Jones06/16/07
What an excellent story based on a Bible verse -- I felt bad for Mayor Larry!