I’ve done it again! I’ve submitted a piece of writing to a contest for Susanna Leonard Hills 2nd Annual Holiday Contest! The rules and story are below. It seems kinda irrelevant what with all the horror in Connecticut but I thought this up long ago and now it’s time to publish. My prayers and thoughts go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary. I know all of you feel the same way. It’s not that cheery and I don’t have a chance in a million to win anything. I just like the practice and fun of writing. So thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!
The Contest: Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.” not to exceed 350 words and it’s a story to be about Christmas or any holiday you celebrate. This holiday contest is one of Susanna Leonard Hill’s favorite so click on over and check out the others.
Post: Your entry should be posted on your blog between Saturday December 15 and Wednesday December 19 at 11:59 PM EST So here it is!
JUMBO the Elephant.
Clumping up the ramp to the crate with chains on, Jumbo felt like a prisoner already. That crate would be his home for thirty days while traveling to America. It was 1881 and a trans-Atlantic ocean trip was still dangerous and long. The thought of the trip made him nervous and he shivered. How was Santa going to find him? What did they do on Christmas Eve?
He already missed his young friends that he had given rides to. His throat got a lump when he thought about all those letters from the kids who loved him. They all said “Please don’t go!” And there had been many angry notes to the Queen Victoria about P. T. Barnum the millionaire who bought him. Seems like no one wanted him to leave. Jumbo felt tears running down his big cheeks.
“Oh, Jumbo. You might just settle down now. Your feelings do you credit and all that, but there’s no good in such displays. You must be a brave boy. You’ve got through worse before, haven’t you?” Scott, Jumbo’s keeper, said.
Fortunately Scott was going along with him on the ship. Scott had been with him since Jumbo saw his parents shot to death in Africa by the poachers long ago. Scott knew him backwards and forwards. He knew he liked onions and always shared his whiskey at night. Why, he even slept next to him in the straw.
Scott said all he would have to do was to walk around the rink during the circus. He knew he could do that.
So Jumbo trudged up the ramp to the crate and day dreamed about Santa. The following morning he remembered vaguely that he had heard sleigh bells ringing during the night, and when he looked, the zoo was covered with a blanket of beautiful snow. There was a bag full of apples and peanuts and when Scott woke he exclaimed. Merry Christmas, Jumbo! Merry Christmas!
(Thanks to Emma Donoghue and her new book “Astray”, especially the first story “Man and Boy”. And Wikipedia’s entry for Jumbo.)