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Autumn's Gift
By Maia Brown
Genre: Fiction Level: Elementary 4-6
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

            Long ago, when the world was young and the seasons were playful children, it came the time for celebrating. Mother Earth's birthday was in a week, and the four seasons were eager to surprise her with their thoughtful gifts.

            Winter, the eldest, decided right away that she was going to string a necklace with beads of pure snow, ice, and glimmering frost. She crafted thousands of unique snowflakes in the clouds, using only her nimble fingers and the sharpest icicles. At night her frozen charms sparkled in the light of the stars.

            Spring, noticing Winter's breathtaking skill, took the fragrance of her newly bloomed flowers into a bottle as clear as stream water, yet as colorful as a rainbow. She tested the perfume on herself and decided that it was fit for the gods.

            Not wanting to be outdone by her sisters, Summer flew through the trees, gathering the ripest fruits in a basket woven of lush green leaves. She washed them gently in a small brook, then left them in the shade to ripen in the warm breeze.

            Meanwhile, Autumn, having nothing to give, sadly settled on a hilltop to watch the sunset. As the last ray of sunlight lit up the world, Autumn noticed the brilliant colors of the leaves. She suddenly had an idea to sew together the leaves of red, yellow, and brown to make a quilt wide enough to cover the entire world. She shook the trees bare, shivering from Winter's impending cold, and worked in solitude, struggling against the fading light, until at last she was done.

            The girls surprised Mother Earth with their gifts. While she treasures Winter's snowflake pendants, Spring's flower perfume and Summer's fruits, she cherishes most of all Autumn's thoughtfulness and the colorful blanket of leaves that keeps her warm.

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