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Story Time with Students: The Yeti — A Gentle Giant

By Gabriele

11th Grade

The frigid breeze made my dark-grayish fur rustle in the wind as I sat atop of the Himalayas thinking. I looked down at the town that I wished I could be a part of. When you are a six-foot, three-hundred pound “monster,” humans are not the fondest of you. Not to mention, I apparently eat the towns peoples‘ meat and terrorize them.

My parents didn’t help the matters by naming me Frediano, which literally means “cold.” That’s right I said parents; beast also have parents. My parents moved away three years ago after the rumors got too bad for my mom to handle. They now live in Alaska. I refused to leave where I grew up even with the rumors.

The tittle-tattle really started when my best friend, I mean ex- best friend Akio, got mad that I wouldn’t go and terrorize some of the children in town. He wanted me to give them a good scare because they made a joke about him in class. What makes it better is that Akio means “bright,” which he is clearly not. I mean he wanted me to get killed for a joke...

After I said no, he ran to his parents and told them that I had tried to kill him and eat him, but he “got away” just in time. The funniest part about this: I am VEGAN! Mom thought it would be best since our lives were hard enough.

After Akio ruined our reputations more, we were only allowed a tiny bit of the mountain, and, if we left our area, we would be killed. Sometimes I think I should have moved with mom and dad, but I have something to prove to these people. Dad told me my stubbornness will get me killed. I think my stubbornness will make it to where mom and dad will come home.

I was pulled out of my thoughts when I heard footsteps. No one comes to my side of the mountain. As I tried to hide behind my big snowball (I'm the best at making snowballs.) I kept hearing my name pronounced terribly wrong, “Fregerono” a gentle voice called, and kept calling. I didn’t respond thinking it was a trap and tried to stay hidden.

After twenty minutes the voice didn’t stop. I finally said, “It is pronounced Frediano.”

The voice asked for me to come out, and I hesitated thinking: this is it. This is how I die.

I stood up slowly, turned around and saw a young girl no older than thirteen . She has to be freezing, I thought. I looked around making sure no one was with her as she examined my large frame.

She said again in her gentle voice, “Sorry, my grandma is old and told me your name was Fregerono, but I liked Frediano more. I’m going to call you Fred.”

I looked at the tiny human with confusion. Why weren't there townsmen coming out of nowhere to ambush me?

Before I could reply she spoke again. “Oh, rats, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Mei. I’m from the village.”

I stared at her with confusion for a minute before mom's voice rang through my head: staring is rude, Frediano. So I bent down to shake her hand. “I apologize for being rude, I thought you were a trap so the others could attack me.”

She looked at me with shock. “No, never!” She exclaimed.

I looked at her again before asking why she came up here.

She looked at me and then her response shocked me. “I thought we could be friends! I want to help you make peace with the townspeople. I know that Akio lied.”

“How do you know that?!”

Mei sheepishly looked at the ground as she said, “I might have stolen his journal. He is my cousin, and lies about everything.”

I looked at her in disbelief, someone who believes me? This day is great! Maybe Mei will be my new friend. I was ushered out of my thoughts when she shivered. “Thank you Mei, how can I ever repay you?”

Mei looked at the ground, and said “I don’t need to be repaid, I just need to set things right.”

Mei then proceeded to tell me how she lived with her grandma because her parents passed away last year. Her dad was planning on helping me before he fell ill with pneumonia. She wanted to finish what he started.

With one last thank you I told Mei to come back tomorrow after school in warmer clothes and that I will have a fire for her to sit by. I wished her farewell as she replied with an “Ok.” I watched the young girl walk down the mountain to her town. As she walked away, I thought about the great things that will come.

The next day came slowly, but it did come. I had the fire going perfectly when I heard Mei scream, “Fred!” while she ran to hug me. I hugged her back relishing the moment, because I haven’t had one of these since my parents left.

“Who needs a fire when you are like one thousand degrees!” She exclaimed.

After Mei told me about her school day we started to devise a plan — well she did most of the work and talking while I nodded my head with the occasional, “ok,” and, “sounds good to me.” She thought I wasn’t paying attention but in reality I was wondering if this would even really work.

The plan was that on Wednesday, she would stand in front of the townspeople disproving the legends and myths about me. She thought it was great that I was vegan and decided she would be, too! Which made me very happy because now I could share my recipes with someone. As we finished our meeting and said our goodbyes I still couldn’t help but shake the feeling that this would not work.

Wednesday came way too fast for my liking. I felt like I haven’t had enough time to prepare. Mei was ready though, she was extremely giddy and happy while my stomach was in knots threading to excrete bile into my throat. I slowly made my way down the backside of the mountain — careful not to be seen too soon — as Mei ran down the correct way happier than ever.

“Fellow townspeople, please meet me in the square!” She screamed loud enough to break a glass. As the people started to fill the town square, I got increasingly more nervous.

Is this really happening? I thought.

Mei proudly stepped onto three tall logs pushed together creating a stage. “Dear friends of this town we call home, I have come here today to prove to all of you that the Yeti who lives on top of the mountain — or what you gave him on the top of the mountains — is NOT who you all think he is.”

The crowd gasped as I thought about running away.

Mei continued “Frediano, or as I call him “Fred,” is my friend, who you all hated for no reason!” One of the men in the crowd screamed at Mei, “He tried to kill my son Mei! It is not for no reason.” Mei shook her head at who I assumed was her uncle. “No he didn't, Uncle. Akio lied, and he knows it.”

Now it was Akios turn to say something, “Mei, he did try to attack, kill, and eat me. You know this, cousin.” Akios voice was harsh and cold.

Mei didn’t waver though and held up Akio’s journal. “This states otherwise Akio. Come forth with the truth now or I will.”

Akio looked panicked and started to cry. The entire town looked confused.

“Ok! I lied. I lied! Forgive me, please.”

If looks could kill Mei would have had Akio on the ground in a heartbeat. I couldn’t tell if she was mad because he lied or because he made her speech less dramatic. The entire town was asking questions.

“Why would you do that?” asked both Akio’s and Mei’s grandma.

Akio swallowed before he responded with his answer.

This is going to be rich, I thought.

“Because we were friends and I asked him for help and he didn’t help me!” He screeched.

Everyone was looking at Akio waiting for more, but he had nothing else to say.

It’s my turn to speak, I decided.

As I appeared from the corner, the men tried to attack me as Mei and her grandma protected me.

“Stop! Let him speak!'' they both yelled in the mens’ faces.

I then realized maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Then Mei’s kind voice told me to say what I needed to.

As I stood in front of the crowd — not standing on the three logs pushed together in fear they would break under my weight — I spoke for the first time ever to the people who hated me for no real reason; I spoke with so much emotion and said, “Akio wanted me to scare the school children for making fun of him, but from what I can tell Akio is the bully.” The crowd just stared at me so I continued, “I refuse to be cruel to anyone or anything.”

Mei squeezed my hands for reassurance and her grandma followed suit.

“I would never hurt any of you and have never. Same for my parents who you made move away because of hatred.” I took a deep breath and continued, “If anyone is at fault here, it is you all. My family and I have never run any of you off.”

Mei’s grandma spoke up and said, “He is right! Fred may not be human, but he clearly has a pure heart and is kind.” I smiled as she continued, “You guys do not like him because he doesn’t look like you, no other reason.’’ She shook her head and proceeded to say, “You gave him a small amount of land and after not having proof of wrongdoing, you gave him an even smaller plot.”

The townspeople had a look on their faces. Maybe realization? Then something happened — something I wasn’t expecting. A family came up to me: a mom, dad and two young children.

“We sincerely apologize, we do not want to teach our children this,” they stated.

I looked at the family and said to them and everyone, “Do not apologize, just change your ways.” I closed my eyes trying not to cry as I said, “ It is so hard to live alone so high up for things that you never did.”

Mei looked up at me with an approving smile.

A tear fell from my face and the people gasped like they were amazed that I really did have emotions. As I wept and told the people how I’ve been feeling, they all looked

shocked and the parents looked horrified when I said, “I am someone’s child. What if your child was being treated the way I am?”

Then a voice spoke up, ”I think I can say this for all of us, we apologize and me and my son will make our wrongs right by building you a hut in the town, if you would accept it.” It was Akios dad!

I was shocked and, with wide eyes, I responded “Yes, I would love to, but only if my parents are welcome as well.”

He responded with a smile on his face, “Of course they are.”

As I thought that we were finished, I said my last goodbyes and left to spend a few more nights on the mountain and pack.

Mei stood on the logs again and exclaimed, “Fred is also vegan and has been his entire life, he has the best recipes!”

Now everyone looked extremely shocked. We all laughed and said our goodbyes one more time before I went to spend my last few nights at the top of the Himalayas with the frigid breeze.

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