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as dictated to a parent


A generous, imaginative turtle dreams of building a house for her friends

Seanella was an unusual turtle. She could use her shell as a boat.

As she flowed down the Owen River near her home, she felt the breeze grow more powerful.

Seanella thought the breezes were kisses coming from the friends she loved most. Seanella believed that what you thought of was real.

When she imagined a rainbow glistening on the river, she could see the strong colors, and she was never bored.

One day, Seanella dreamed she met a kitten. The kitten was shiny brown with purple eyes and a lollipop in her mouth.

The kitten introduced herself as Mouse. The kitten did the cutest dance whenever she spoke. Seanella was so happy to meet such a special cat that she wanted to give the kitten the perfect place to live.

She continued to dream up a place for the kitten with all her favorite foods, like spaghetti and burnt broccoli.

This place was always the right temperature, not too hot and not too cold. She then realized, in order for her friend to be really happy, she would have to stay there, too, or Mouse would be too sad.

Out of the blue, a very real dog came to talk with Seanella. “What are you doing floating down the river?” he barked.

“I am building my friend Mouse, who is really a kitten, the perfect place to live.”

“How can you build houses for kittens when you are just a turtle?”

“When I think of it, it is there,” she proudly said.

“Can you think of a place for me to live too?” asked the dog, Weevle.

“Yes, I can!” The turtle proudly glowed.

She then imagined the dog in a very beautiful doghouse made of swirling rainbow glass and obsidian roof tiles.

She didn’t stop there. She also thought of the bowls he would drink out of, which were studded with gems and nested in colorfully woven grass.

As she thought, the dog got impatient. “Well, are you going to do anything?” he asked.

“Don’t you see all the obsidian I used for your roof and the bowls I have knitted with grass?” she cried.

“No!” he sputtered. “I can’t see anything!”

“It is sad no one can see what I can,” the turtle lamented.

At this, the dog thought about the house and bowls the turtle had described.

“What an idea!” He realized he could make a house using obsidian and bowls made of gems and grass! “While I collect the obsidian, who can knit the grass?” he asked. “My paws are too clumsy.”

And with that, the turtle quickly knew the answer, for she was friends with many a creative bird. “My friend Lil will help you—she makes the most exquisite nests!”

In the end, the imagination of Seanella and the practical work of the dog helped create a magnificent home for the two of them, with tree houses equally beautiful for the visiting birds.

Sean O’Connor
Sean O’Connor, 3
Bishop, CA

Marco Lu
Marco Lu, 12
Champaign, IL