A koala arrived at Carrot Ranch World Headquarters by post from Australia in time to take a trip out to the first Carrot Ranch Nature Writing Refuge in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This critter made the rounds and connected the international writing community that hangs out at the Ranch.
Writers had two weeks to ponder a koala and a kingdom. Where would it lead? As always, each writer followed the prompt.
The following are based on the July 11, 2019, prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom.
Koala in the Kingdom by Charli Mills
Koala jangled plastic hips when the morning sun hit her solar panels. She danced with a big grin while three loons circled in a pattern like a watery Celtic knot. She guarded the birding binoculars from her book perch beneath wildflowers. Koala stood in a mound of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, watching the Lead Buckaroo sneak bites when she was supposed to be fixing dinner. Koala smiled when the card from her Australian writer connected the gathered Ranchers from the Kingdom to Down Under. In 99-words, no more, no less, Koala bore witness to literary art and writerly friendships.
The Koala’s Picnic by Susan Zutautas
“The wombats are coming, Mama,” said joey koala all excited after waking up from his nap.
“Yes, they are dear now would you help me set up the picnic table for the feast.”
“When are they going to get here mama?”
“They should be here shortly. They move much faster than we’re able, so I’d say sooner than later.”
“Here put this plate of tussock beside the eucalyptus leaves and then we’re going to tidy up before everyone gets here.”
When the wombats arrived they all mulled around the picnic table enjoying the food before starting to play games.
Surprise Party for a Koala by Norah Colvin
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Little Koala’s eyes pinged open.
There it was again. BANG! BANG!
She stretched, clambered down the tree and headed towards the noise.
She stopped under possum’s tree and peered into the branches.
“What’s going on here?”
Possum peeked out, glancing left and right. “Nothing.”
“Nothing. Go away.”
Koala scrambled up the tree. “What’re you doing?”
Possum grimaced, pointing to a sign.
“You know I can’t read yet.”
Possum placed a crown on Koala’s head. “It was supposed to be a surprise. Happy birthday.”
Koala felt special as a princess when all her friends arrived.
My Spirit Animal by Goldie
Visiting Australia and NOT seeing koalas? A travesty.
“The koala’s been sleeping all day” – the caretaker said as soon as we entered the exhibit.
A sleeping marsupial meant no good pictures.
We approached not knowing what to expect.
“Oh, he’s up! You guys are lucky” – said the caretaker enthusiastically.
The koala’s black, beady eyes met mine.
Jonah whistled and Dot – the kangaroo hopped on over.
“Get in!” – Jonah motioned for me to get inside Dot’s pouch with him and I swiftly obeyed.
We went around the zoo, meeting every animal in there.
Ah, the eucalyptus haze…
Up to here with Koalas by Bill Engleson
Aussie stuff’s ringing out loud and clear today.
An Australia bound Air Canada hits a vortex and plummets’ down.
It returns to the nearest land.
Two day earlier, I wheeled a wheelbarrow of scrap, crap wood and punctured skin. I go to the Doctor for an infected hand.
He gives me some Australian Papaw Gel.
Charli posts “My Kingdom for a Koala.”
My Kingdom, such as it is, a little ratty by regal standards, is overflowing with Australian minutae.
Then I remember that my cousin once got deported.
Cute, maybe, but unbearably pushy.
Princess Koala at the Kingdom Diner by Sascha Darlington
Small town America. Ya gotta love it. I try to, although they don’t understand me or my humor.
But he gets me.
From the moment he strode into the Kingdom Diner, his motorcycle boots heavy on the wood floor, and settled on a stool, his crystalline blue eyes searing through me, I knew.
“What can I get you?” I asked.
He grinned the grin of a kid with an ice cream cone.
“I love koalas,” he added as if that would solve everything.
Arms across chest, I glared.
“Can I start over?”
Koala’s Kingdom by Ritu Bhathal
A parcel had arrived, covered with Australian postmarks.
‘Oh, how thoughtful,’ Ritu smiled at the generosity of her cousins.
The baby was only a few weeks old, and a package rammed full of gifts for her and her son had been sent to her.
Books, clothes, little fur boots, and a tiny koala for baby to snuggle with.
Soon his cot became crowded with soft toys, so Ritu had to move them.
A small hammock was constructed where the myriad toys sat, with Koala right at the front.
He was totally happy, high up, able to survey his kingdom.
Koala Kingdom by Kerry E.B. Black
Beth retreated into her imaginings where her stuffed koala reigned and she served as his loyal subject.
There, nobody ridiculed her childish ways or belittled her stuttered speech. There, she read beautifully, and the court gathered from miles away to hear her recitations. They applauded and admired instead of laughed and tormented.
Beth labored over tongue placement to produce the correct sounds, to please her liege. She calmed her voicebox and sing-songed to get by difficult passages and emulate her dream self.
Beth’s mother listened from the doorway as Beth’s articulation improved with each session in the Koala Kingdom.
Koalas by Floridaborne
Do koala’s have migraines? If they do, I don’t want a koala. But why would I want to transport a creature made for Australia to Florida? What a cruel thing to do.
My daughter used to have a toy koala she hugged at night. Perhaps she’d give her kingdom to have her koali back?
I’d give my kingdom just to go back in time for a day, when she was five years old, to give innocence and her koali one last hug.
I wonder when the pain is going to go away, and if a migraine is Satan’s plaything.
Kingdom in a Twist by Geoff Le Pard
‘They’re updating Shakespeare’s Richard III. He’s no longer the baddy.’
‘A modern setting?’
‘Somewhere with unspeakably awful politicians?’
‘They’re just called silly names like flymo. No, the US. You’ve warring houses, a King who’s
pretty bloody awful…’
‘He’s not got a twisted spine.’
‘His mind is pretty bent.’
‘You’d need to rewrite some of the language.’
‘The battle scene could be in front of the Lincoln Memorial, old Rughead on his knees pleading with Fox News for their help. “My kingdom for a cola.’
‘Unless it was in Oz. Then it’d be “my kingdom for a …’
A Kingdom for a Koala by Norah Colvin
“Bring me a koala!” The king bellowed, sending servants scuttling.
His zoo was complete with all, except a koala. The omission stoked his anger daily. He wouldn’t accept that his destruction of eucalypt forests had decimated their population.
From the shadows came a tiny voice. “What will you give for a koala?”
“Yes, my kingdom! Anything! Just get me a koala.”
“I have a koala. First, your sceptre and your kingdom.”
Blinded by rage and desire, the king complied.
The koala removed her mask. The king gloated pre-emptively.
“Throw him into the dungeon. Free the animals!”
Crisis in Ucalypta by Abhijit Ray
Staring at the distant horizon, His Majesty Ucalypton X, the king of Ucalypta, appeared helpless. His only son was unwell.
“Your majesty!” pronounced the royal physician, “procure me eucalyptus leaves.”
The King had despatched the royal mule train under leadership of his trusted general.
“You returned alone?” an anxious king met his emissary at the palace gate, “where are the eucalyptus leaves?”
“Forgive me, your majesty, I have failed,” pleaded the general, “koala bears have feasted on eucalyptus leaves during mating season.”
“No Koala to be seen in the kingdom of Ucalypta,” pronounced the royal edict, “koala for a prince.”
The Koala Kingdom by Miriam Hurdle
“Welcome to the Round Table. The top agenda today is on Koala.”
“We had that six months ago.”
“I’ve met with Koala King. His concerns are about the millions of acres of their kingdom being destroyed.”
“By the developers for housing?”
“And the wildfires too. There’re no consistent legislation or adequate resources from the government to protect them.”
“What do we do?”
“The researchers suggested upgrading the Koala status from Vulnerable to Endangered. We’ll recommend that the government declaring the Koala habitat a sanctuary.”
“Yes, the Koala Foundations will jointly go to the government for securing the Koala Kingdom.”
In the Greenwood Kingdom by JulesPaige
Sheila Koala took a walkabout in a different outback. She needed a solar recharge… she wondered if even the coming full moon would be enough to allow her to dance with all the words she was planning to pen to paper. Just imagining how to listen to the wild strawberries and decode the lightning bugs, and luxuriate in the loons compelling call… this is a strange new world.
At the waterfall the sun not quite out, the trail slick from the previous days rain. Moss was growing brown veined white quartz. These are things that would also help renewal.
Koala by Anita Dawes
Mr Tom had walked for miles today
Looking for somewhere to call his own
Not easy, on short koala legs
His journey made longer by
The amount of time needed for sleep
A good eight hours is not good enough for Mr Tom
More like twenty is needed
This kingdom of eucalyptus trees
Had better be the best in the land,
He told himself.
He settled down for a spot of lunch
Then dreamily drifted off into sleep
He dreamt of his friends at the wildlife park
Upon waking, he realised his kingdom
was waiting back there all along…
The Two Koalas by Paula Puolakka
She was born in the year of the Koala (so did the new wave Japanese astrology hippies say,) and so was her son. Together they went everywhere, the tender mom and son, and teasingly she called him “Bubba,” but he replied, every time, “I am not your Bubba, but you are my momma,” and together they laughed.
Their kingdom was the God-given world. They loved the flowers, ancient trees, and the lakes, but unfortunately, many of their favorite places were violated by the aggressive building projects.
Yet, wherever the two went, people said: “Their Koala kingdom is the best.”
A Gift Fit for Royalty by Anurag Bakhshi
The raucous court of the Emperor went deathly quiet as I walked in.
The Princess, sitting next to her father, squealed with delight and ran up to me.
“I thought they’d gone extinct…” she cried out, looking at the cute and cuddly bundle of joy that I was holding.
“Apparently not, Your Highness, I found this wandering in the forest,” I replied.
“What should I call it?” the Princess wondered excitedly.
“I believe the humans used to call it a baby, Your Highness,” I answered with a smile, as the Koala Princess almost snatched her gift from my arms.
Peace of Mind by Susan Sleggs
When young I could stare at lake water long spans of time noticing the passing boats, the size of or lack of white caps, or a splash made by a fish jumping to catch its supper. Often there would be just the surface to watch; the ripples changing direction with the breezes. This past week I got to do the same in an unfamiliar, beautiful location. I again experienced a peace of mind, free of all other thought. I wonder if it’s the same peace a koala might experience in its kingdom in the tops of a eucalyptus tree.
Jill the Pirate and the Koala King by Joanne Fisher
Jill the fearsome pirate girl landed on the island. All she could see was sand and palm trees.
“Who are you?” Asked a voice.
Jill looked up to see a koala in the palm tree.
“My name is Jill the Pirate and I’m searching for treasure!” Jill declared holding up a piece of paper. “And who are you?”
“I’m Jack. The king of this island.” Jack replied.
“I didn’t know this island had a king.” Jill replied.
“Jill where are you? Lunch is ready!” Jill’s mother called out.
Jill quickly grabbed her stuffed toy koala and ran for home.
A Midsummer Night’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic by Anne Goodwin
Reaching the clearing, we unpacked the hamper, while the girls danced their teddies around the fairy ring. In the balmy twilight, it couldn’t have been more magical if we’d staged it. If we’d already popped the champagne.
“The forest looks different.” Bean-pole trees, peeling blue-grey alligator bark.
“It smells different.” Like an antiseptic spray.
“It sounds different.” Like a gargling bull.
“That teddy’s climbing the tree!”
“That one’s eating it!”
“So cute! Can we take one home?”
The girls didn’t know about the diagnosis. We’d come to make memories; finding Koala Kingdom ensured she’d live on in their minds.
The Encyclopedia Kingdom by Nancy Brady
Julie loved picking up random volumes of the encyclopedia, discovering new animals. It was there that she found entries for wombats and koalas. Both were from Australia, but she’d probably only see them in pictures.
One Christmas, however, she saw a Moore’s ad with a stuffed koala bear on sale, ninety-nine cents. She circled it and hoped the hint would be taken.
On Christmas morning, Julie was excited to open a package containing the little koala. It looked less like the pictures, but she was happy.
Years later, she saw koalas at the Cleveland Zoo. Wombats? Fingers still crossed.
So Hot by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Sweat slid down between her breasts, over her taut belly, dipping into her round navel and dampening the fabric of her summer shorts. Her sports bra was soaked, unable to absorb more sweet summer effusions.
After having mowed the lawn in 80% humidity, there were plenty.
She tipped her head back and downed the last of her water bottle, shaking it for the final shivering drops. Leaning back on the cement stoop, she peered at her boyfriend, Ted, sipping an icy Koala Cooler.
“I’m parched, Ted. My Kingdom for a Koala!”
Waggling his brows, he tossed her a bottle.
Koala Range by Ann Edall-Robson
Mac stood leaning on the fence, one foot resting on the bottom rail. He came here when he needed to think without interruption from humans. This was the pasture the retired horses were turned out in to enjoy the rest of their days, the old-timer’s kingdom. A tradition his grandfather had started, and one Mac was happy to carry on.
“Remember son, you never turn your back on the ones that made you the man you are.”
A soft nose pushed at his hand looking for a treat. Mac’s favourite gelding waited for attention.
“Here you go, Koala.”
Grin and Bear It by Roger Shipp
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through my house … all seven grandchildren were racing up and down my back stairs like little rats.
The tree was up (I keep it up year round. Yes, I’m one of those…) and the lights were blinking.
This year, each family member was to bring a small bear.
We sipped warn cider with toffee cookies as we each told our story and placed our treasure upon the tree. Collectibles… Grizzlies… Polar…and Teddies.
Emma Sue, the youngest, always wanted to go last.
“Two-for-one, Grandma,” as she hung a beautiful koala and child.
Dreamtime (Crater Lakes) by Saifun Hassam
From the eucalyptus pole at the Ranger’s old cabin, Koala can see Green Lake. Her fluffy ears are perked up, enjoying the calls of spring songbirds in the salt marshes. Her sharp claws grasp the pole, ready to climb to the upper curving branches on hot summer days.
Fall approaches. In Dreamtime she sleeps in eucalyptus woodlands in rain and wind. Green Lake woodlands turn bright with red, orange and yellow leaves. Koala hears the gentle whinny of a horse, senses the friendly park ranger checking the cabin. She dreams of crossing a vast sea, to a vast island.
Fascinating Stories From Science – I by TN Kerr
Scientists from the Kingdom of Australia are reporting that the marsupial species known as Thylarctos plummetus, commonly called ‘dropbears,’ and previously believed extinct, are thriving in the forested regions of eastern and southern Australia. The Australian Museum describes these creatures as “predatory marsupials related to koalas.”
Little is known about dropbears, to date, as they have only recently been rediscovered. Preliminary research indicates that they seldom prey on Australians. This may be caused by the marsupial’s uncanny ability to recognize Australian accents, or they may be repelled by the scent and taste of Vegemite, common in the Australian diet.
Goin’ All Out by D. Avery
“What d’ya think a this Pal?
Meanwhile, back at World Headquarters, the head honcho, Shorty, returned to find her many minions toiling away in their cubicles. The Ranch was fine.
“Kid, whut’re you doin’? You ain’t left the Ranch. Yer jist makin’ shift up about World Headquarters.”
“So what? Ain’t that what writers is s’pposed ta do?”
“Ah, Kid, still tryin’ ta write? We ride fer Shorty, but we’s fictional characters thet git written. Leave it alone.”
“Cain’t Pal. Tired a bein’ left behind.
The guards were overcome by noxious gas. World Headquarters had an intruder- Pepe LeGume!”
“Kid, you ain’t even addressin’ the prompt! This ain’t about Carrot Ranch World Headquarters, s’posed ta be about koala bears and kingdoms or some sech.”
Pepe LeGume approached the imposing building that housed World Headquarters, in the Keweena Kingdom. “Shorty, you ol’ has beans, I come all a way here ta take yer Kingdom,” yelled Le Gume. “Gonna take over the Ranch.”
“You kin go all a way back where ya come from, LeGume,” Shorty retorted.
“Wait a minute, Kid. Are you really gonna try an’ git away with using ‘go all a’ fer the prompt response?”
What a great bunch of entries!
Pepe LeGume! Now if that doesn’t take the cake. 🙂
What a great bunch of stories, and so many of them humorous. I enjoyed reading them all and I’m sure my proxy is delighted to have inspired such a collection. She’ll be feasting on gum leaves to her satisfaction.
I enjoyed reading the collection.
Feel free to share those chocolate covered macadamia nuts with me, Charli.
Btw, for a piece by Kerry E.B. Black, the hyperlink should be “https://kerrylizblack.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/koala-kingdom/” the other one does not work.
For Susan Sleggs the link should be: “https://susansleggs.com/2019/07/18/peace-of-mind/”.
A cute and cuddly collection.
For the life of me I couldn’t come up with something for this prompt! So impressive so many people were so creative! 🙂
I thought you had a koala in your backyard …! 🙂
If you count my silly dog, yes!
Haha, your dog is in!