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How Zebras Got Their Stripes by Ally Keating Once long, long ago deep in the heart of Africa, there was a herd of zebras. Back then, zebras were white. One day a little trickery and curiosity changed all of that. “Hey, Zebra,” said Lion “Do you want to go see the pool of tar on the other side of the territory?” “I have never been,” Zebra responded. “Then let’s go, it is one of my favorite spots,” Lion said. “Come on hurry up!” Lion yelled as she pounced up and ran off towards the pool of tar. Little did Zebra know that all of this was one big trick. When Lion and Zebra got there, Zebra was so tired she fell asleep on the rock by the pool of tar. As soon as Lion was sure


that Zebra was absolutely asleep she started to plot the trick out. While Zebra was asleep Lion was drawing up her plan in the dirt. Lion was going to tell Zebra that one of her favorite things to do was to go in the mango tree nearby and eat the mangos right off the tree. Then she would tell Zebra the best of all mangos grew at the end of the branches. Then Zebra would go to the end of the branch and Lion would push her off into the pool of tar. “Yes, this is a perfect plan!” Lion said to herself, “Now all I have to do is wake up Zebra then I will put my plan in motion.” Lion prowled towards Zebra and woke her up. “Zebra, I am so glad you are awake!” Lion said “I don’t know about you but I am starving. Do you want to go up in that mango tree and eat some mangos?” “Sure, I need help getting up in the tree though.” replied Zebra. “That won’t be a problem for a big strong lion,” said Lion


As Lion was hoisting Zebra into the tree she started plotting what she would do after she pushed Zebra off the tree and into the tar. Then she started running all these questions in her head. Who is going to be blamed? What is Zebra going to tell the herd when they ask what happened? Then Lion thought of it, she would go get the herd and tell them that Zebra fell into the tar and if they all helped, they could pull Zebra out of the tar. “Yes, this was a perfectly wonderful plan!” Lion said to himself. When Lion turned around Zebra had already fallen into the tar. Zebra had already done half of the work! All Lion had to do was get the herd and she would practically be done! Lion went to go get the herd of zebras but she couldn’t find them. By the time Lion got there, Zebra got out and scraped all the tar off. Zebra had been in the tar so long that the tar had left some residue and left stripes. That is why zebras have stripes and why zebras run from lions.


Why Deer Have Antlers by Braden Holliday Long ago there was a deer and a bobcat. They looked exactly alike until Deer played a trick on Bobcat by ironing his ears to make them strait and pointy. Bobcat wanted revenge on Deer. Deer was getting ready for a party until he forgot his cake. He ran to the store. Meanwhile Bobcat put sticks and spider webs in his house so Deer would get stuck and he would look funny for his party. Later Deer finally got home. He went straight into the sticks and got stuck. Bobcat laughed so hard and Deer got so mad that he charged. Bobcat stepped aside and deer hit a tree. The sticks got stuck in Deer’s head and stayed. That is why deer have antlers.


Why Elephants Have Trunks by Nia Dowling In the beginning a long time ago there was only an African jungle. The African jungle was made up of three things, Elephant, the Animal Council, and Hippo. Elephant had a short, stubby, cute nose. He was young and very proud, and loved to brag about his nose. There was the Animal Council to keep the jungle in check and that was made up of the Lion leader, Lioness and Monkey. There was also Hippo who was very jealous of Elephant and was determined to make his nose long and ugly. Hippo had a plan. To make sure he wasn’t going to be blamed for what he was going to do to Elephant's nose he waddled to the animal council. Hippo exchanged many words with the council but from the start both Lioness and Monkey disagreed. Finally Lion said, “You may go teach Elephant a lesson.” He also disagreed but he couldn’t risk commotion and rumors spreading because it was a small jungle and everyone knew everyone. After the meeting Lioness was turning everything over in her head then finally it hit her. All the pieces fit together! She


said to Lion “Hippo lied to us because he is jealous of Elephant. He is going to do something awful!” “Well then” said Lion “let’s go!” Hippo found Elephant and told him he must be thirsty. When Elephant wasn’t looking, Hippo hid in the swamp Elephant was going to drink from. Hippo grabbed Elephant’s nose and Elephant was so confused that he just pulled and pulled and STRETCH! Hippo’s plan was complete! Elephant’s nose was long and very, very ugly. Poor Elephant. He ran off to join his herd for the rest of his days. When Lion and the whole Animal Council showed up Hippo was punished for his wrongdoings. That is why Elephants have trunks.


How Skunk Got His Smell by Ian Simmonds In the beginning skunks did not have a smell. This is the story of a skunk that was taught a lesson. Long ago in the forest Skunk wanted all of the animals to think that he was so brave when he really wasn’t. He said that he could do anything. It bothered the other animals. It bothered Rabbit most of all. One day, Rabbit decided to teach Skunk a lesson. He challenged Skunk to wake up Bear. Skunk said “But Bear is fierce when he wakes up.” Skunk foolishly goes to Bear’s den, shivering with fear. The animals secretly followed Skunk. It was very dark and Skunk could barely see. When Skunk is about to wake up Bear, he roars very loud. It scared Skunk. He let out a stench and all the animals laughed. Skunk was very embarrassed.


And to this day skunks smell and only come out at night when no one can see them.


How Zebra Got Its Stripes by Ben Eddy Long ago in Africa, Zebra was all white and friends with Lemur and Warthog. Lemur was deceitful and wanted Zebra to have stripes like him. Warthog told Zebra that Lemur was going to do something sinful. Zebra didn’t believe Warthog and said, “Lemur is my friend and wouldn’t do that” and then he walked away. Later that day Zebra took a nap under a sun beam. While Zebra slept, Lemur gathered dark berries and mashed them into paste. Zebra was still sleeping when Lemur painted the paste in stripes on his body. When Zebra awoke the paste had dried already. Zebra was so angry he ran into a tree. After that Zebra was so stunned that he couldn’t think. Then Lemur started to laugh in his tree top perch. He thought it was hilarious that Zebra ran into a TREE! Lemur said to Zebra” I just wanted you to be like me.” He kept on laughing. Zebra got so mad he picked up Lemur and tossed him to South America. Zebra was then satisfied. That’s why


zebras have stripes and why lemurs are mostly in South America.


Why Horses Have Hooves by Grace Walker A long, long time ago there were only 3 animals on Earth: Horsefly, Horse, and Pig. They were all friends in the forest. One day Horse and Horsefly were playing hide and seek. Horse was seeking and Horsefly was hiding. Horse was trotting around looking for Horsefly. He did not find him so he said “Horsefly I give up you can come out now.� Unfortunately Horsefly did not. So Horse backed up and knocked down a tree. It fell just beside Horsefly. So Horsefly got mad and yelled at Horse. Horsefly got so mad at Horse he stung Horse’s feet. They swelled up like a fat blueberry. He had a friend who was very smart, his name was Pig.


Pig was a very smart fellow. So Horse went to him for help. He got there and talked to Pig. Horse asked Pig “Do you have anything for me”? “I think I have something for this”. So Pig went to get some mud. “This will do the trick” said Pig. Pig put the Mud on Horse’s feet. Pig said “just let it get as hard as a rock and you will be good”. “Thanks pig, I will”. So Horse waited a few days and finally it was as hard as a rock. “Perfect” said Horse. “Now I can go get it off” said Horse. So he went back to Pig’s house. Pig took him into the room and took it off. It did help the swelling go down, but all of his toes formed together and they turned into hooves. That is why horses have hooves.


How Black Bear Got Black by James Tanner Long, long ago in the forest, bears were all brown or white. One day a clever brown bear wandered off because he smelled food. Where the food was the Indian hunters were eating fish. Bear loved this kind of fish that comes out at night. The fish could see Bear so he never got to eat them. The Indians had dogs. One of the dogs did not like Bear. When Bear snuck up on the hunters he hid in the brush. The dog sniffed all around Bear and barked at Bear. The hunters looked over and saw Bear. The hunters grabbed their bows and arrows. They walked over near Bear and Bear climbed up a tree. The


medicine man set the tree on fire to get Bear down. Bear climbed down the tree through the black smoke and ran to a nearby pond. The smoke stuck to his fur. When he jumped into the pond it didn’t wash off. Now the bear can hunt the night fish. So that is how the black bear got black.


Why Hedgehogs Have Spikes by Sarah Sherman One day there was a Hedgehog, he was the smallest animal in the forest. He was brown like bark on trees so he could blend in. Hedgehog was always hiding from Fox. Fox bullied everybody but he bullied Hedgehog the most! One day Hedgehog was taking a walk in the forest and Owl swooped down from the trees and said, “You can’t keep on coming in the middle of the forest. Fox lives close by and he is going to get you “ “No he won’t ever get me. Don’t you know I am the best hider in the forest?” Owl tries to warn Hedgehog but he is not listening. Then Hedgehog saw a huge shadow behind him …


It was Fox! He came up and pushed Hedgehog down the hill. There were spikes all over the hill. Hedgehog was covered with spikes all over his back and from that day on Hedgehog never came out of his tree and that’s why Hedgehogs have spikes.


Why Cheetahs Run So Fast by Reese Horne Once on a hot summer day in the desert plains of the African Sahara, a friendly, short legged, puny Cheetah was playing with his two friends, Giraffe and Zebra. They were having fun playing in a water hole and then Cheetah turned around to admire the sunset, and in a minute when he turned back around, his friends were gone! He looked here and there, up and down, hilly nilly, no Giraffe or Zebra! Meanwhile, Lion lured Cheetah’s friends by offering a luxurious stay in his den. “Come on” he coaxed, “I will give you your best stay”. However, Cheetah didn’t know where they were and so he started to feel very lonely and sad. He did not even have a


clue to where Zebra and Giraffe were. He had looked under the old vine tree, in the bulrushes near the play area, and even under the water hole in their special secret cave. No Zebra and Giraffe! So he went to his last resort, Eastern Mirage, who was the wisest and oldest element in all the desert plains of Africa. He took pity on the unknowingness of Cheetah and said “You have been tricked by Lion and his slyness like a desert fox. He has taken your friends Zebra and Giraffe for his own. I will give you speed, strength, and height to run to him and talk to him.” Now, Cheetah had mixed feelings about talking to Lion, but he ran there and did. He said, “You don’t have to take friends, just make friends, and you can make friends with me and my friends.” Lion pondered the thought, and finally said yes. They raced each other to the waterhole and jumped in and had fun for what seemed like ages. When they went to their dens and domains that starry night, they all dreamed happy dreams. And now undoubtedly, without a question, that is why cheetahs run so fast.


How Cocker Spaniels Got Long Ears by Andrew Gibson Long ago in the jungle Cocker Spaniel had short ears. He didn’t hear that well. This was a problem because he would get words mixed up. The other animals knew this was a problem. One day Cocker Spaniel was walking along and saw Parrot. Parrot said, “Hi. It is good to see you.” Cocker Spaniel said,” You need a needle?” Parrot said, “You can’t hear that well.” Then he flew away. When Cocker Spaniel was on his way home, two wolves crept up on him. They jumped out and grabbed his ears at the same time. The wolves pulled and pulled and pulled both of his ears. Cocker Spaniel felt mad and bit one wolf on the nose. That scared them away. The next morning Cocker Spaniel saw Parrot. Parrot said, “How are you today?” “I am fine, thank you.” said Cocker Spaniel. Parrot said, “You can hear me!”


“Yes, I hear everything now,� said Cocker Spaniel and the next time I will hear an enemy. From then on cocker spaniels had long ears.


How Rainbows Got Their Color by Rylee Spence-Baker One day Chickadee and Mocking Bird kept bumping into each other and it was their last straw. They were sitting in a tree all frustrated with each other. Chickadee said, “Don’t you see Blue Jay and Cardinal? They are so beautiful against the sky.” Chickadee had an idea. He found a stray feather and he told Mockingbird, “Come here, look what I found.” So they gathered all of the feathers up and started swirling them in a puddle and they were colorful. When they were done they held the feathers in their beaks and flew across the horizon. They looked back and saw beautiful stripes in the sky.


Now until this day everybody says thanks to the birds for coloring the sky and the first person on the Earth named them rainbows. So now until this year and many others, they call them rainbows.


Why Horses Have Tails by Haley Sacre Horses have tails. They run and kick. Do you know why? Long ago, horses couldn’t swat flies because horses didn’t have tails. One day, Horse was happily chewing grass in a flowery field. It was a hot, muggy day. All of a sudden a fly landed on Horse’s back.

Horse couldn’t reach the fly and she ran all over the field. She tried everything. She stomped, she ran. She even rubbed against a tree to try and rub it off. Horse didn’t know that the tree she rubbed on had honey dripping down the


trunk. The honey dripped on her behind. Horse went and rolled in the hay to try and get the honey off. Now horse had honey and hay on her behind. Horse didn’t know how the tail worked. When horse was running around the field the tail hit her back and the fly flew off. This happened to every horse. The honey dried. That’s how horses got tails.


Why Kangaroos Jump Really High by Anthony Hearn Once upon a time in a very tropical jungle an animal named Kangaroo was always getting teased a lot! Everybody would challenge Kangaroo to a jumping contest. He could not really jump because he had the smallest feet in the whole jungle. He tried all of their challenges and he lost every challenge he took. Kangaroo started to think he was not special at all. Later on Kangaroo was walking on the jungle trail when his companion Zebra could not get his favorite ball down from the huge tree. Zebra tried everything to get his ball back. Then Kangaroo told Zebra that he could help. Then he accidently stepped in some sticky stuff. He tried as hard as he could and his feet started to stretch. Kangaroo tried jumping really high and he got the ball out of the big tree. He never knew that he could jump that high. Then he had a plan, a really good plan.


Kangaroo was trying to run down to the jungle with his new big feet but he couldn’t so he tried hopping there and he was catapulted all of the way to the jungle. Then he finally reached all of the animals and said I challenge everyone to a jumping contest. Everyone started to laugh. Nobody believed in him but then they stopped and formed a line and Cheetah started counting down, 3, 2, 1, jump! Everyone jumped at the same time and Kangaroo jumped twice as high as everyone else. Everybody was surprised. They did not know he could do it. That’s why Kangaroos jump really high!


Grymes Fourth Grade Lit Mag 2013-14  

Grymes Memorial School fourth grade literary magazine 2013-14.

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