The King of the Forest

Marycatherine Tavore was the youngest winner of the 2016 Crocodile Prize Literary Competition. She was the Winner of the category “Writing for Children”. This category was sponsored by the Paga Hill Foundation. Her winning story “The King of the Forest”.


By Marycathrine Tavore


Once upon a time, there lived a Bandicoot. He was the King of the forest. He had been the King of the Forest for a long time and he was getting old and could not continue his duties as a king. Therefore, in order to find a suitable replacement, he organised a competition. The purpose of the competition was to find and bring back a sample of the rare golden orchid from the other side of the forest.

Four animals entered the competition. They were the Bird of Paradise, the Cassowary, the Cuscus and the Tree Wallaby. The four competitors went to see the king. The king spent time with them and gave them a short speech: “This competition is not to know how strong and powerful you are but to see how smart you are and if you are worthy to be the king’’.

The next day the competition started. The king said “There will be a feast prepared by the other animals to welcome the new king”. Then he wished them all the best and gave the signals and the race began.

The Bird of Paradise flew high leading the competition. He thought to himself, “I am going to win this race! I can fly very fast and no one can catch up with me! It’s too bad the Cassowary isn’t like me! He’s going to lose!”

The Cuscus climbed up to the nearest tree. He was coming second in the race and he was thinking to himself, “I am going to win this race! The vine is in the trees and I am already up in the trees and am able to climb swiftly through branches! It’s too bad the Tree Wallaby isn’t like me! He’s going to lose!”

The Cassowary who was running very fast was coming third. His thoughts were, “I am going to win this race! I can run very fast and no one can catch up with me! It is too bad the Bird of Paradise isn’t like me! He is going to lose! He will find it hard to get through the trees!”

The Tree Wallaby who was hopping by slowly was coming last. He thought to himself “I might not have a good chance to win against these other animals. However, I am very keen to try out to be the next king so I’ll try my best to win this race!”

Back at where they had started, the other animals walked around here and there telling each other who they thought would win. Some thought the Bird of Paradise would win, while others thought the Cassowary would win. Another group thought the Cuscus was the smartest of the rest. No one thought the Tree Wallaby would be hailed king of the forest.

While the Bird of Paradise was flying, he came across a flock of birds. “Oh! What beautiful feathers you have!”Said the birds admiringly. “Oh yes! They are! They are very charming! I also have some very cool dance moves!” said the Bird of Paradise. Then he started to dance on the tree tops showing off to the other birds.

The Cuscus was swinging from tree to tree when he came across some juicy looking fruits. They looked so delicious that he tried one of them. After tasting it, he said “It would not hurt if I have another fruit. I will have another one!”However, he did not stop there. He kept on eating and eating all the fruits greedily forgetting about the race.

The Cassowary was running as fast as he could when he met some family friends. They were going to a lake to have a drink of water. “Could you take us to the lake?” one of the friends asked. The Cassowary said, “Sure! That is no problem. I am still going to have time to continue the race! You can put your young on my back and I can take you all there quickly”. The Cassowary ran all the way to the lake with the animals on his back but it was very far, and by the time he returned it was getting late!

The Tree Wallaby was confronted by some of his friends. “Come down to the valley with us! Let’s go and hop around down there! It is very nice to hop around there!” The Tree Wallaby had to think hard about the offer as he very much wanted to hang out with his friends but he also wanted to win the competition he was in. So sadly, he rejected their offer and continued with the race.

The Tree Wallaby hopped along through the forest until he had reached the other end of the forest. Then he saw a vine on a tree. It had a very beautiful flower. Just by looking at the flower the Tree Wallaby knew it was the rare golden orchid! The flower had a perfect shade of gold. It was shining in the sun!

The Tree Wallaby climbed the tree branches as far as he could go until he realised that there was a problem. He could not reach the orchid because the vine grew further to the top of the tree where the branches were thinner and beyond his reach!

He thought hard about how he would get the orchid when suddenly he found a perfect solution. There was a younger possum munching away some fruits in the nearby tree. So the Tree Wallaby called for it.

“Hello there, young Possum! Do you live around here? It’s a very nice place. What is your name?”

“Oh, hello!” replied the young Possum. “Yes, I do live here and my name is Sam.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you Sam. Sam, may I ask you for a favour? I am in a competition to get the rare orchid up in this tree, but I cannot reach it. It would mean very much to me if you could help me get a sample of that vine and the flower,” said the Tree Wallaby.

“Sure, that is not a problem, I am happy to be of assistance, replied Sam. So Sam climbed up the tree branches, got the orchid samples and brought them to the Tree Wallaby.

The Tree Wallaby thanked Sam and started hopping back.  “All the best and I hope you win the competition!” encouraged Sam.

After entertaining the birds, the Bird of Paradise flew off while the Cuscus started swinging from tree to tree after having his fruits. The Cassowary ran from the lake all the way to the tree! They all arrived about the same time, got their orchid samples and raced back!

The Tree Wallaby finally reached the finishing line! He was so surprised to hear from the king that he was first in the race! He was very happy with himself!

When the Bird of Paradise arrived he was shocked to hear that he was in second place! Then along came the Cuscus who was disappointed to hear that he was third! Finally, like the others, the Cassowary was also shocked to learn that he was last!  They were all shocked to hear that the Tree Wallaby was the winner!

The other animals in the forest were also surprised to see the Tree Wallaby coming in first. They did not expect him to win the race. However, they realised that in order for to win against the Bird of Paradise, Cuscus and Cassowary, he had to have been smart. The animals were happy that they were going to have a smart new king.

Then the feast was held for the Tree Wallaby. All the animals celebrated the occasion. Before the feast was over, the moment which all the animals had been waiting for had arrived. “I am now old and I believe I have found a suitable replacement! So now I hand over my title as King of the Forest to the Tree Wallaby who is the winner of the race!” said the Bandicoot.

The Tree Wallaby stood in the middle of the gathering of animals and with a grateful heart he gave his first remarks, “I am pleased to be your new king! I will watch over you just as our king did!”

All the animals cheered with joy as they too were grateful to have a new king who they knew would wise and smart enough to watch over them as they lived in the forest.

The End


A little information about our young and talented writer:

I am a very keen reader. I just love, love, love books. It’s like I can’t live without them. It’s always very exciting. It takes me to places. I have different adventures with that single book.

The story that I have written is titled “The King of the Forest”. It is about four animals who take part in a competition in the forest. The story was first written as part of my English lesson at school. When my teacher told me about The Crocodile Prize Competition, I was very eager to take part and decided to submit this story. I have worked on it to improve it more.

The story I have written tries to illustrate some morals about achieving our goals and also aims to promote our unique wildlife, by having the characters being animals that are only found in Papua New Guinea.

I hope you enjoy reading my story.

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