The Price of Stars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   In a time long, long ago, there was no such thing as night. Glorious lightflooded the world with an ocean of clear blue skies. Even in the day, these skieswere full of twinkling stars whose guiding radiance protected the animals andgranted their wishes. The animals knew nothing of darkness and lived in peace,having everything they could ever want.

As time passed, however, theanimals began to get greedy. They each felt that they were better than theirneighbors and should thus lead better lives. They became angry at one another andmany animals stopped being friends. Their goals in life changed; before, theanimals simply wanted to be happy. Now, they wanted to be more special than theirnew enemies.

Back then, the stars were much closer to earth so that theycould give the animals their love and blessings. They dangled in the air likeprecious earrings, dazzling the world with their splendor. The animals saw thestars as jewels and began to steal them.

The rabbits stole stars and madetheir tails a dazzling flash of brilliant white. The fish stole stars and coveredthemselves with glittering scales of every color of the rainbow. The birds stolestars so that they would sparkle like real ones when they flew. The lions andtigers stole stars to have gleaming teeth and glossy nails. The animals allboasted of their new possessions, and the more they boasted, the more they wantedand the more jealous they became.

The tensions mounted until one day,fighting broke out. An ant had just stolen a star and made his body into a finepearl black. He was bragging about this to an anteater, who became so angry thathe struck out and killed the ant. A swarm of ants saw what had happened andattacked the anteater, killing him. When the incident was over, all of theanimals fled in shame and fear. What had happened?

That day, the sun andthe stars called the animals together. They were all very sad and disappointed inthe animals. The sun said, "We've taken care of you, given you everything youwanted. But you chose to ignore our love and to live life in your own selfishway. You brought hatred and anger into the world when you stopped loving yourbrothers and sisters. You have abandoned us in your hearts, and now we cannot bewith you like before."

The sun went to each animal and told it about itsnew life. "You wanted to be different? Fine, now you will all be unique, withdifferent gifts and powers. Rabbit, you stole a star to make your tail shiny andwhite. Now, you must keep that tail. It will expose you to new fears and enemies.You will use the tail to warn others when danger is coming; it will no longer bea mere accessory.

"Tiger and Lion, you each stole a star to make yourteeth and nails shine. Now, you must rely on those teeth and nails to hunt yourprey. All the other animals will fear you because you will kill and eat them. Youwill become friendless in the world. That is the price for your newfoundgems.

"Finally, because you have become so different and turned yourback on our ways, we will no longer be here to guide you all the time. Time willbe divided into day and night. I will be here to protect you and nurture life inthe day, and the stars will be here to look after you at night. At nighttime,however, the stars will be much farther away so that you cannot reach up and grabthem. They will look down at you from a distance, and much of their light will belost along the way.

"The world will become dark; you will become fearfuland will have to care for yourselves. We will make clouds to block us from yourworld, so sometimes you will not be able to see us at all. We will still be hereeven if we cannot be seen, but remember, because of your actions, things willnever be the same."

The animals went back to their homes feeling guiltyand ashamed. Now they had so many new troubles and enemies in the world. Theironly goal was survival, and they soon forgot about the times of peace andprosperity. The sun and the stars kept their promise. They stayed in the sky,always ready to guide and help the animals. The sun provided light and warmth,while the stars waited to be wished upon.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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