Highly Commended Story - Sub-junior Category
“The Flower Nursery” by Varshana Viknesh, Woodlands Primary School, Singapore, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Varshana is an amiable girl of eight years old. She studies at Woodlands Primary School, Singapore and is in Primary Two. Varshana loves reading and has never stopped reading books since she was three. She is fond of English classics such as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and The Secret Garden. Her favourite series authors are Roald Dahl and Nancy Krulik. Varshana also loves sports, art, singing and dancing. Her ambition is to be a children's author and illustrator or to be a teacher.
The Flower Nursery
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was a flower nursery. The teacher of the nursery was called Miss Daisy. The students in the nursery were all little three-year-old flowers called Marigold, Rose, Lily, Orchid, Tulip, Jasmine, Lotus, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Iris, Shasta Daisy, and many others. They were all beautiful flowers. The flowers learnt many things, like the ABC’s and the 123’s. They also had music lessons where they learnt songs like “Mary Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?” and “Lavender’s Blue”. They also had great fun playing games like “Ring-A-Ring-O’ Roses” and “Musical Pots”, which was played like “Musical Chairs” but with flower pots.
One day, the flowers’ fun was interrupted when Miss Daisy announced that a new flower was joining their class. His name was Heliconia. Miss Daisy introduced everyone to Heliconia. The other flowers looked at him in disgust because, to them, he was ugly. He did not have pretty petals. Instead, he had what looked like lobster claws! They thought he looked scary. The other flowers avoided him at recess while they played together. They also kept a distance from him in class. Heliconia was sad. He was like a thorn among the roses. He wondered if he should quit nursery.
One day, during recess, Lily accidentally fell into some muddy quicksand. “Help! Help!” she cried. All her friends ran to the spot. However, they all simply looked at each other. They did not want to get their beautiful selves all muddy! Time was running out as Lily was slowly disappearing into the quicksand!
Heliconia, who also ran to the spot from his lonely corner, knew he could help as he was long and strong. He reached out to Lily, who desperately grabbed onto his lobster claw. Heliconia pulled Lily out and she was saved! She was so ashamed of herself. She realized what a nice flower Heliconia was. She was so grateful and thanked him for his help. The other flowers all hung their pretty heads in shame. Lily and the other flowers told Heliconia how sorry they were for treating him so badly.
Back at the nursery, the flowers told Miss Daisy what had happened. Miss Daisy praised Heliconia for rescuing Lily. That day, Miss Daisy taught the flowers the famous idiom, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The class chimed in unison, “You mean, ‘Don’t judge a flower by its petals’, Miss Daisy!” Miss Daisy laughed and explained how one should not judge the value of something or someone by its appearance. The flowers hugged Heliconia one by one. All the flowers became great friends. Heliconia was glad. Everything was finally coming up roses!