This is a story written by one of my Grade 1 (Grade 7 in North America) students for our annual English Speech Contest. I have copied it exactly as it was written, all errors included---but, impressively, there are very few. I not only liked the story and its theme of environmentalism, but she also performed it very well.
Have you ever heard a star talking? Well, I did and I want to talk about it. Are you ready? I’ll begin.
When I was six or seven, my family went to a beach for vacation. The beach was beautiful; soft sand, white waves, lovely trees nearby. We played there like anyone else. We swam and made sandcastles during the day. We ate delicious food and slept peacefully at night. It seemed a lovely and ordinary holiday.
However, it was different. My parents woke me up at midnight and piggybacked me to the shore. I didn’t realize anything except they were carrying me to some place until mom said,
“Sumin*, look up!”
Stars embroidered the sky’s black cloth. The lights dancing against the black, coal-like sky. I just stared at them in silence. The only think I could hear was the cool sound of the waves lapping.
We walked by the shore, using the star lights as our lanterns and the waves and background music. That stroll by the clean and silent beach is one of the happiest memories of my life.
After some years, my family and I visited the same beach again. I remembered the bright stars and beautiful beach. But, it had changed. The shore was dirty and even made dangerous by debris of glass bottles, Styrofoam plates and paper cups. People had thrown junk onto the beautiful pristine sand and ruined it! I cursed an hoped those people never come to that beach again.
At that moment, I heard someone say,
“Who did you blame? Look at the sky and see how beautiful it is, just as in the past, But look at that shore, all ruined and dirty. While this shore was getting dirtier, what were you doing? Look. The skies, where human hands can’t reach, are the same as ever but the place where human hands have reached has been ruined.
Who was it that said this? There was no one at the shore except me. There was only a star staring at me. Yes, it was a star that just spoken to me.
“Who did I blame? Is it wrong to blame those people? “I wanted to answer the star’s question, but I couldn’t answer. I had done nothing for the beach. Does this mean that someone who has done nothing is the same as those people who made the Earth dirty?
That was it. I am the same as them. Sometimes I littered anywhere even though there were trashcans nearby. I was a part of the mess, even a small amount on this Earth made me complicit.
Now I realized the true meaning of the star’s words and felt remorse.
I made a promise in my heart, to clean up after the places where I stayed. Even now, when I go back home from institutes late at night, I stare at the star of Seoul in silence and believe it was the star who spoke to me. I try to keep the promise I made long ago with the star.
I hope you try to listen to the stars an promise them,
“I will help too.”
-------------- * Name has been changed