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Coming of Age Kids Fiction

There once lived two elephants beneath the dense canopy of a mangrove forest. These two were born as sisters and they both lived under the care of their mother. “Mother” was what they called her because they knew that that was who she was, their mother, the one who had given birth to them. Aside from the fact, there really was nothing motherly about her. She woke them in the early morning, spraying them with cold water,  trumpeting at them to feed her and keep her company, as if she were the child and they were the parent. She treated them as nothing more than mere playthings and working henchmen under her possession and so, the two sisters grew up in such a miserable state of things, having no one but each other. 

There were instances, when they ran into others that brought them momentary bits of relief from their mother’s cruel presence, like when they went to the watering hole every morning. Other elephants and other animals, from lands both close and far would come together to quench their thirst and freshen themselves by the banks of a lonely pond nearby. The sisters would go in place of their mother, to fetch her some water of course, and when given any opportunity they would quite often take their time and stall returning home.

As time moved on though,  it became so that they made less and less frequent trips at times when others were by the water. This, for once, was not the fault of their mother but the fault of the elder sister. She had grown distant, weary, and cruel, and much like their mother, had made a sport of bullying other elephants for her own amusement. Despite the youngest elephant’s kindness and gentle character that had never wavered, her sister’s cruel behavior and endless succession of trickery no longer made them welcome at the pond. Soon they were forced again to keep the company of none other than who held them prisoner. 

Although her sister had ruined her chances at interacting with the outside world, the younger elephant still had faith in her. She knew that her sister’s actions were out of hurt, not hate. She knew this because she herself had endured the same as her sister. So, believing in the best, she tried to reason with her sister but to no avail. Every conversation would end the same. 

“It was never for me to decide whether I should experience all my struggles. Why should others be exempt from the same obstacles that I have faced? What makes them special?” The elder sister would then turn around abruptly and stomp away. This would end the conversation, with no opportunity given to her younger sister to come up with an answer.

Over the years the sisters' bond dimmed and slowly splintered away. Once their mother passed, they went their separate ways, only to cross paths from time to time and give each other the bare minimum that was simple acknowledgement. Eventually, they became mothers of their own and each raised their own set of children. The older sister, still resentful of her upbringing, became nothing more than a portrait of her own mother. She yelled at her children, blamed them for her misery, and made no effort to avoid the mistakes her mother made in raising her.  When her children grew up and left the nest, they never came back. 

Alone and living amongst the trees where she grew up, the elder elephant knew that her days were slowly coming to an end. She wanted nothing more, suddenly, to see how her little sister was doing. It was conveniently so, that she had nothing but time on her hands now that her children had left her so she spent little time pondering on this sudden urge and decided to act on it. 

After two days' time, the journey traced back from the memories that only an elephant can keep so dearly, she arrived at the field where she expected to find her sister, alone or perhaps with another elephant or two. But low and behold what she was more than just one elephant keeping her sister company. There were five! –no seven! Seven elephants! And to her utter shock and dismay, two of the elephants that lay roaming the field were her own children! 

Dazed and confused, the elder sister stared out in bewilderment as her son and daughter laughed alongside their cousins and aunt, the blissful moment captured by the elated spirits that took the frame. It was then when the old elephant finally realized the mistake of her own question so many years back, why should others be exempt from the same obstacles that I have faced? When what she should have been asking was in fact —why shouldn’t others be exempt from her same obstacles? She had known better than to inflict the pain she had endured onto others yet chose to do so anyway. She had chosen to be bitter as a result of her circumstances while her sister had chosen to be better. 

At this realization a little fire started in the pit of her stomach and she blew out her trumpet as loud as she could before turning back the way she had come. 

“How am I supposed to be better now?” The elder sister scorned. “Had I been presented with the opportunity by them sooner then maybe my life wouldn’t have been wasted away!” 

The words that came pouring out of her spout were nothing but an echo of her past. She had chosen once again the path she had chosen before, her bitterness plaguing what could have been a rational mind. 

Down in the valley, the younger sister flapped her ears at the horn of a trumpet that sounded so quite very similar…..

She looked up to see the shrinking silhouette of an aged elephant that resembled her mother too well. She stayed still and gazed after her elder sister’s shadow for a little while longer but just before it faded off completely into the horizon, she turned away. She knew better than to look back. She had made her peace. 

Moral: You can choose to be bitter or better based on your struggles and experiences.

April 11, 2023 10:56

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1 comment

Philippa Hibberd
19:03 Apr 19, 2023

So, so true. I know way too many people who've let their experiences embitter them, and am making an effort not to become like that, because it's all too easy. This is a much-needed moral, not just for kids, but for all age groups really.


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