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I first started writing stories when I was in the second grade, eight years old. By the time I was in the third grade, I was writing lots of stories and reading them for "show and tell" at school. My first story was a take-off on a cartoon TV series "Crusader Rabbit", which included a tiger named "Raggs"


The Adventures of Rags


One summer morning Rags went for a walk.  It was a sleepy morning and everyone was asleep.  But not Rags.  He was on his way to school.


But when he got there the door was not open.  He was surprised because it was 10:00 o'clock.  "I'll open the door.  What, I can't open the door!  Well, I'll go to the back door.  What, the back door isn't open!"  Rags said to himself as he tried to get into the school.


Then all of a sudden Rags heard a noise.  It came from the school.  But who could be in the school?  Rags went to a window.  It was open.  But Rags had shut and locked that window the day before, and his teacher had locked the door.


Then all of a sudden Rags saw a man with a mask.  The man was taking all of the paper and putting it into a bag.  Rags was afraid because the man looked like a counterfeiter who Rags had read about in the morning paper.  But then Rags remembered the space patrol pledge.  It said, "I will uphold law and order."


but then the counterfeiter got into a car.  When the car started Rags jumped onto the back of it.  And when the car stopped and the man got out of it, Rags jumped on him.  The man fell and hit a stone which knocked him out.


And then Rags took the counterfeiter into a building nearby.  He went to the phone and called the police.  But before the police came, Rags looked in a room that he had not seen before.


Rags saw someone in there.  He saw a scientist.  The scientist was sleep on a chair.  Rags walked into the room.  There were all kinds of tubs in the room.  Then Rags saw a big pan that said, "Sleeping Solution."  Rags looked in the pan.  There was a little bit of the solution in the pan.  Then the scientist began to move.  As soon as Rags saw him moving, Rags picked up a stick and hit him with it.


Then the police came and took away the scientist and the counterfeiter.  And Rags now knows why everyone was asleep that morning.  It was because the solution put everyone to sleep and rags is a tiger and the solution couldn't put tigers to sleep.  And from that day on no one was late for school.  And everyone was happy.


My most creative second-grade story I wrote while waiting at my mother's office.  She worked as a secretary for the superintendent of schools, and my school was next door. So after school I had to wait there until she could drive me home.  Often I would draw maps of imaginary countries and islands and continents and imagine stories that would take place there.  One day, after reading "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling, I decided to write a story like that.  I remembered having noticed that the parakeet at my grandparents' house had purple cheeks.  So I wrote "How the Parakeet Got Purple Cheeks".


How the Parakeet Got Purple Cheeks


One cool day in Africa a parakeet was flying around. 

Then the parakeet saw a ship in the distance.  So the parakeet went to see it because the parakeet had never seen a ship before. 

And so he got on the ship and the ship went out to sea.  But the parakeet had not gotten out of the ship yet.  And while the ship was sailing the parakeet was looking around.  When the ship was about 20 miles out at sea the parakeet was ready to get out. 

So the parakeet got on deck but it was hailing and the parakeet had to go below or he would be killed. 

So he went below, but he didn't  know that the ship was going to Alaska. 

Then after about an hour the parakeet went on deck.  The hail had stopped. But it was snowing outside so he went back below and the captain saw him and put him in a cage. 

The captain taught the parakeet to talk, and then after a month the ship landed.  The captain and his crew got out and the parakeet was left alone. 

The parakeet saw the key on the table.  And he saw a string in his cage.  So he made a lasso out of the string and threw it at the table.  And the string caught the key and he pulled.  The key came to him and he put it in the lock and got out of the cage.  And he flew by a snow mountain.  But the mountain started to fall and then snow broke one of the parakeet's wings and he fell. 

But an Eskimo boy came along and saw him.  The Eskimo took the parakeet to his home and patched his wing and after a week the parakeet could fly. 

So the parakeet flew to where the ship had been.  The parakeet saw the ship in the distance.  So he flew to the ship and went below. 

The ship went back to Africa and the parakeet got out.  And when his friends saw him they would say, "Where did you get purple cheeks?"  And he wouldn't say a thing because he didn't know.  But you do.

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