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Knoya Peak
By Nik Unruh, Raven Correspondence School
Genre: Fiction Level: Elementary 4-6
Year: 2010 Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

It was a cool spring morning in the woods of Alaska. The snow was almost gone and the trees were just starting to get their leaves A boy named Knoya woke to find that the river beside his house had thawed overnight. The icy banks were filled with frosty water moving downstream. He put on his clothes and, without thinking how cold the water was jumped right in.

Knoya watched the beavers struggle to fix their lodge which had been destroyed over the winter. The thick-furred rodents dove under water carrying branches to work on the entrance.  Knoya, who had big teeth and very strong muscles, climbed onto the shore and chewed down a tree just like a beaver! Then he dragged the tree over to the water where the beavers floated it to their new lodge. Knoya did the same thing again and again. He chewed and dragged trees all day until the lodge was finished.

When he was a baby, Knoya had chewed on twigs like other babies used pacifiers. As he grew older, he chewed on sticks. logs, and entire branches! His dad called him Knoya because it's the Dena'ina Indian word for beaver.

The day after he helped the beavers with their lodge, Knoya walked to the railroad tracks where trains passed each day on their way to and from the gold fields in the north. While waiting for the train, he looked around at the landscape full of spruce and birch trees. He dreamed of chewing all of them down. As he looked down at the tracks, he heard the rumbling of the train.

Then Knoya heard the emergency train whistle blowing, which interrupted his thoughts as the locomotive approached. One engineer was shouting to Knoya about how an earthquake that morning had destroyed the bridge at Hurricane Gulch and how the soutbound train loaded with gold was heading toward it.

"Let me on, I can help fix the bridge," said Knoya. Everyone knew that Knoya could chew through trees faster than a chainsaw.

Knoya jumped right up and onto the train and soon they were off. They were racing to the gulch trying to beat the southbound train, which would surely end up in the water 200 feet below if the bridge wasn't fixed...and fast!

Knoya jumped off the train and started chewing down spruce. birch, and willow trees. He had never chewed so last in his life!

"I hear the train!" shouted Knoya. He catapulted the trees into place with the strength of a hundred men. He filled the entire  gulch up with trees, all 200 feet of it! Then he laid the tracks down along the logs.

The train was saved!

Knoya sat down to take a rest.  He fell into a deep sleep at the base of the mountain. Soon it started to snow. Snow and ice piled up on him. It snowed all winter. When spring came and the snow melted, there was a huge boulder where Knoya had fallen asleep. After that the mountain became known as Knoya Peak.

About the Author: Winner, UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest, 2010 - Fiction, Grades 4-6

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