“Test1” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Maryna Afonina, Lozova Gymnasium, Ukraine.
Once upon a time there lived a family of hamsters. They had nine children who were a bit fat, but one of them was different. His name was Bagel. He was very clever and noble. And he also was the fastest of all. Mother hamster and father hamster loved their Bagel very much and always did everything to satisfy him. They always gave him as many sunflower seeds as possible. In his room he had an amount of toys, games and everything that was presented to him. Also, he had a very soft bed and a multicolored carpet. The gifts were given to him on holidays and simply on weekdays.
All hamsters had to go to school like people. Bagel, his brothers and sisters also went to a special hamster school. They studied there Maths, to be able to count seeds; their native language and at PE lessons they played with a ball, to lose weight at least a little. Also parents sent Bagel to extra English lessons and believed that he would study English and fly abroad, to the fields. Every evening mother hamster and father hamster predicted happy future for Bagel. He heard and imagined the unknown land, and the amount of delicious things he could taste there. The parents’ love to Bagel was too great. The mother even began to do his lessons instead of him. And the father sang lullabies putting him to sleep. Bagel became naughty. He thought that his best friend was only himself. To his mind, other hamsters were unworthy. Bagel treated his family in the same way. In spring, when the birds were singing and the flowers were in blossom, he did not leave the house. He believed that spring fun was not for him.
Bagel grew up, but the attitude of his parents did not change. He finished school and it was time for unexplored edges. Bagel was the oldest son in their family, and parents worried a lot, sending him abroad. He did not show the excitement too, thinking that there he would be alone and nobody would serve him. Finally, parents said goodbye to their son, and Bagel went on.
He landed in the middle of the field. Suddenly, he realized that he was alone. He admitted that there would not be those ten pillows his mum used to put beside. Bagel sat down on the grass and closed his eyes with paws. It passed about half an hour when he felt that someone touched his shoulder. Bagel opened his eyes and he could see an old hamster in front of him. Bagel told the stranger his story. The hamster listened attentively. When Bagel finished, the older animal looked at him and told that he would help Bagel make a house if he built one for him too. In addition, he gave him some seeds.
When Bagel’s parents came to visit him in a year, they saw a young strong hamster, and that was their Bagel. In his big cozy house they also met an old hamster. In the afternoon, when Bagel went to the field, the old hamster was talking to Bagel’s mother and father for hours. After that conversation parents understood their main mistake. To bring up a really good person, they had to give a child the possibility to be independent.