Congratulations to CIS TK grade 6 student Vedang Deshpande for his second place finish in author Sarah Brennan’s recent Clever Competition, an international writing contest. Vedang’s entry, Yong – The Proud Rooster is the story of a proud and arrogant Rooster King who learns humility, wisdom and the true meaning of heroism with the help of a Himalayan bulbul. Ms Brennan praised Vedang’s story on her website, describing it as “superb, and highly imaginative and witty”.

Enjoy reading Yong - The Proud Rooster. We look forward to seeing more of Vedang’s writing!

Yong - The Proud Rooster

In the serene, peaceful village of Tuvas in southern China, “Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!” the King of the birds screeched as soon as the sun broke, interrupting the beautiful silence. Everyone came groggily out of their houses to hear what the King had to say.

Kuai the sparrow squeaked, “Why did you wake us up so early your majesty?”

“I called you here to tell you about how amazing I am!” Yong, the rooster King of the village boasted.

“During the war of ‘Niao’ (birds), I was crowned ‘The Best Warrior’!”

Yong truly was brave but nowadays he had stopped caring about the residents of his village. Yong wasn’t a modest ruler – he was a noisy, conceited, self-centered King.

As the loud rooster ranted on about his ‘real’ adventures, the other birds stealthily crept back into their nests trying not to get noticed by Yong. The only creature left listening to Yong’s far-fetched tales was Xiaoxue, the young myna who was in awe of Yong’s bravery.

As Yong continued to boast, a large silhouette appeared over the village. The birds chirped in panic and gathered their chicks into their nests. There was pandemonium everywhere. A massive human hand reached down and grabbed Xiaoxue. Yong watched helplessly as the human put Xiaoxue into a cage and briskly walked away.

All the birds angrily came from their nests and glared at the King. “This is entirely your fault, instead of just telling your stories of bravery you should have protected the kingdom and my baby would still be here!” Mama Xue sobbed.

“You go get Xiaoxue or you’ll be exiled from the village!!” Kuai shouted.

“But you.. You c-c-can’t do this.. I’m your leader!!” Yong protested as a group of birds dragged him out of the village. “Bring Xiaoxue home or never come back!” Mama Xue hollered.

As the rooster trudged away from the village he heard a squeaky, chirping sound. As he turned around he was hit with a blur of grey and black! Yong had never seen this bird in the village before. “Who are you?” Yong asked the bulbul.

“I-I-I’m Aragon, messenger of the Himalayan maharaja. I’ve come to inform you that some birds from our tribe have also been captured by the people, who keep them in a cage as their pets. My maharaja sent me to alert the bird villages about the same but I guess I was too late in Tuvas,” Aragon sighed.

“Birds should be free!” Yong bellowed, “Do you know where the humans live?”

“Sir, my investigation concludes that they live in the north-eastern parts of this land,” Aragon said, “Maharaja Aditya told me to help anybody who wants to free the birds.” “COCKA-DOODLE DOOO!!” the rooster crowed, “Sorry Aragon, I always crow when I get too excited, crowing also helps me think!”

“Hehe.. That’s a peculiar idiosyncrasy sir!” Aragon chuckled.

In the pleasant weather Yong and Aragon made their way to the north, the cherry blossom trees with their bright pink flowers made the otherwise dull forest colorful. Yong noticed that there were fewer birds in the trees.

“Hmm, how odd eh Aragon, there are hardly any birds in this forest!” Yong said. “I’m certain that humans captured some of the birds here, and the rest of them moved south to be safe” Aragon squawked.

After a treacherous and tiring ten-days walk, Yong found an appetizing meal. “L-L-look Aragon!! A bucket of worms! I’ve never seen such mouthwatering worms in my life,” Yong drooled.

“SIR! DON’T FALL FOR THE TRAP! THE HUMANS ARE TRYING TO TANTALISE US, SO THEY CAN TRAP US!!” Aragon screeched at the top of his lungs.

“How silly of me,” The King realized, “Aragon, look there’s a string tied to the handle of the bucket, it is reddish in color!”

“Actually it’s more of the shade of coquelicot,” Aragon pointed out.

“What’s coquelicot?” The King asked.

“Coquelicot is a unique shade of red – your comb is also coquelicot, I know this because I have read about every kind of bird species that there is, I used to borrow books from the library!” Aragon told Yong about his learnings as they followed the string.

All of a sudden, the atrocious smell of waste filled the air which made the King nauseous. He heard the shouts of the market and the unmistakable call of a myna nearby!

Yong noticed a ball of the same coquelicot string left outside a hut. Yong craned his neck up and saw some drawings which looked unfamiliar.

“Aragon, what does that say?” Yong asked, pointing towards the drawing.

“If I’m not mistaken that says ‘“Live Birds – For Sale’!” Aragon said excitedly.

They saw a man who was sitting by the birds.

“Do you know how to set a fire?” Yong asked.

“Yes, I know! I’ll start a fire as a distraction and meanwhile you can free the birds!” Aragon squeaked excitedly.

Aragon gathered materials to start a fire.

“Chnk-Chnk-Chnk” Aragon hurriedly struck the stones against each other to start a fire. Finally, he was able to light a fire which quickly spread out.

The man sitting by the birds rushed out to see what was happening and Yong swiftly entered the hut, unlocked all the cages and the birds, thanking him, happily flew back to their own villages!

Yong scooped Xiaoxue, who was scared and couldn’t fly and bolted into the forest. Aragon followed him and they went back to Tuvas.

“Yes! We did it! Thank you Aragon! If we hadn’t saved Xiaoxue then I would’ve broken my promise and I would’ve failed Mama Xue,” Yong said.

After Yong returned the bird village had a sumptuous celebratory feast with Aragon as the guest of honor. Now the King listened to the residents more often and instead of telling preposterous tales, ruled Tuvas very wisely which made him popular and well respected.

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