Highly Commended Story - The Termite and The Cheetah
“The Termite and The Cheetah” by Adriel Lim Shern Yang, Tenby International School, Malaysia, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Adriel is a 12-year old who is a secondary student at Tenby school, Setia Eco Park, Malaysia. Adriel enjoys reading fiction & non-fiction books, playing online chess, tennis, and gardening. His love for science is incomparable and gives him the opportunity to get top marks for the subject. His ambition is to be an entomologist or a tennis player. He is the first child in his family of four.
The Termite and The Cheetah
Deep in the African savannah, there was once a termite named Jack. Jack was a hard-working termite with a pure heart. Day and night, he would carry mud to his colony to build on the walls. Day and night, he would search for food to feed the younger termites. Day and night, he would care for his beloved queen. Most of the workers are just the way Jack is. But as always, there is always a bad guy. What would a moral story be without one? Anyways, Daniel despised Jack ever since he was born. Their story started when they first hatched out their eggs, they were in the same nesting chamber. They were just tiny helpless grubs in their fluffy grass beds. Daniel was selfish, while Jack was caring. When they turned into termites, Jack served the queen finely, while Daniel was lazy and was also jealous at him in the same time.
On the day of termite graduation, Jack was pronounced: ‘BEST GRADUATE OF THE YEAR.’ This pissed of Daniel even more, his jealousy growing larger and larger. After the celebration, Jack was ordered to the queen’s chamber. He was knighted to become the general of the worker termites, which build the nest, take care of the young, collecting food and helping the queen. However, Daniel was also ordered to the queen’s chamber, but for a different reason. Lately, he has been stealing food for himself, starving the younger termites. He disobeyed other termites and did not help them. The queen was angry and gave him one last chance with a stern face. The anger inside Daniel boiled so much he decided to do something about it. To get rid of this annoying Jack. ‘How can I do this?’ Daniel thought to himself. Then, a lightbulb lit up in his head. He grinned with delight as he thought about his plan.
While Daniel thought about his plan, across the savannah was a pack of cheetahs. One cheetah in peculiar was named Dash. Dash was the fastest of the pack. He loved to boast about how fast he was, running around his teammates to prove to them. He was quite an arrogant feline. It all started when he was first able to run. He bullied the younger and weaker new-borns by pushing them or scaring them. This made him very unpopular. But he was also extraordinarily strong, so they needed him in the pack, or they would fall apart. Cheetahs need to work together to stay strong and hunt prey. They usually round up antelopes and prey on the weakest. While they worked together, Dash worked alone, or did not work together to take down the prey. When the prey was taken down, Dash would gulf down more than he was supposed to, giving the rest not enough meat and the nutrients to stay strong and healthy. He was a selfish guy. He cared for only himself and he was very rude, usually cursing at his fellow teammates even if they treated him nice.
One day, his teammates had made up their mind. They were tired of his arrogance and drama and decided he no longer deserved to live with the pack. His complains drove them mad to the point they wanted to eliminate him. But cheetahs don’t do that, so neither did they. When Dash woke, he couldn’t see a cheetah in his sight. ‘They must have left me,’ he thought to himself. This made him angry and he took out his anger on other beings like trees, bushes and even the dirt himself, coughing up the dust into his nostrils. ‘I am hungry, is there food around?’ he thought, imagining a plump antelope in front of him. As if a dream come true, there was a juicy looking antelope, grazing near a termite mound.
Jack was fortifying his mound when an antelope galloped close by. It stopped to graze at a patch of grass nearby. ‘Whew!’ said the termite. Daniel suddenly was right next to him. He stared at Jack with disgust. ‘I HATE YOU!’ cried Daniel. Without a chance to respond, Jack was kicked down the mound by Daniel and landed with a thud. OOF! Jack got up, his body in pain. He looked around in excitement as if a new world opened to him. He has never been so close to an antelope before! The antelopes hoof suddenly shifted and was lifted, right over Jack’s head!
Dash hid between the tall grass and slowly crept up to his prey. Focusing on his meal, he did not notice a twig in front of him. SNAP! The antelope looked his way and sped off to the other direction. He cursed as his only meal galloped across the African savannah. Then, he heard a cry that sounded like a whisper. ‘Thank you!’ cried the termite. ‘How can I ever repay you kind cheetah? Dash looked at Jack and chuckled.
‘How can a tiny termite like you ever help me?’ he asked and strolled away with grace. As the cheetah grew hungry, he was also low on energy and so, decided to rest under a tree. Unfortunately, there was a trap! Dash got caught in the trap and yelled for help. ‘I will surely die without help!’ he thought.
Not so far away, Jack heard the cheetah and recruited his team. ‘We need to help my friend! Who’s with me?’ he commanded. The termites cheered and off they walked towards the helpless feline. There they cut off the branch where Dash was caught, releasing the trap. He ran around with glee.
From that day on, the Dash and Jack became good friends, living happily ever after.
The moral of this story is to never look down on others, respect each other and always help!