The Littlest Pup

Eleanor Wang

Eleanor Wang

Third Place Winner; Age 8-9 Category. San José Public Library | Fall into Fiction Contest, 2022

In a family of cheetahs, a mother had just given birth to three pups, LuLu, Rocky, and Little Piper. Little Piper was nicknamed "Little" because of her size. Usually, she couldn't do what her older brother and sister could do, like run super fast or scare birds. Piper could try to do those things, but Rocky and LuLu thought she was too young and didn't let her try. So Piper spent most of her days cuddling with her mom.
Little Piper felt ashamed that she was so small.
If she were bigger, she thought, she could definitely play with her siblings. Mother had told her she didn't need to feel sad and that being small was a good thing; there were many things that only she could do, and her siblings couldn't. But Piper couldn't figure out what those things were.
One morning, Piper was sitting in the shade of a tree, when a little nut fell on her head. "Hmmm...." she thought aloud.
Once her siblings woke up, they started playing a wrestling game. Now Piper knew better than to interfere with their game but she thought maybe she could suggest a game that all three of them could play.
"Rocky, LuLu, want to kick around this acorn?" Piper asked, pushing the small brown object at their feet.
"No, Piper, we're too old to play acorn tossing, so go play your baby game somewhere else," LuLu said, and Rocky nodded. Piper walked away but felt hurt- how could they be too old?
Early the next morning, Piper went out for a walk.
She didn't want to wake her siblings because she knew they wouldn't talk with her anyway. She sometimes felt like running away thinking maybe her family would be better off without her. Her family didn't need a runt trailing behind. She had attempted to run away in the past but usually returned home when her imagination took over. "What if I run out of food? What if an animal wants to eat me?"
But this time, Piper was determined. She didn't turn back.
She walked to a far tree and sat down.
"Why do you run away?" a voice asked.
Piper looked up. There, staring above her was an ostrich.
"I don't know," Piper whispered, looking back on the ground. "Maybe my family doesn't need me." The ostrich sat down and nudged her a bit. Piper looked up. That's when she saw her mother frantically looking for her and her brothers and sister stop playing to look for her too. "What?" Piper was confused. Her family didn't care for her, much less her siblings, but seeing them looking for her made Piper feel a pain in her heart.
"Do you see it now? They do love you, you are important," the ostrich smiled. "You must see them in a different way. Maybe your brother and sister won't let you play because you could get hurt."
"Your mother loves you, she raised you, and what she says is a lesson," the ostrich said, stood up and walked away. Piper felt braver, and she walked back to her home where her mother was so grateful to see her. Her brother and sister smiled and walked away and went back to their game but she didn't care if she couldn't play, because it was for the best.

Third Place Winner; Age 8-9 Category. San José Public Library | Fall into Fiction Contest, 2022

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