Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Laurie Theurer

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest Details found here.

By Laurie Theurer

There once was a zebra named Zed. He was a zebra of the ordinary sort… white with black stripes. He looked and acted just like the other zebras of his herd. He grazed on the sweet grass. He drank at the nearby water hole. He flicked his tail at flies.

Zed had become bored with his life and longed for something different.

“Why?” asked Zoë, another young zebra. “We have the perfect life!”

“It’s not enough,” replied Zed. “I want to stand out from the crowd and be different.”

Zed had an idea and convinced two monkeys to help. They met behind the shrubs near the water hole. One monkey gathered white dust from the dry lake and mixed it with water. This made a slimy white paste, which he smeared all over Zed’s body until the stripes disappeared! 

The second monkey gathered black stones and ground them into a fine powder. He mixed this powder with water and used his fingers to paint black polka dots all over Zed’s body. NOW, Zed felt different and special!

When Zed returned to the herd, the other zebras “oooohed” and “aaaahed” at his beautiful polka dots. 

Everyone except Zoë. She rolled her eyes and shook her head.

Zed had another brilliant idea.

“Attention everybody,” he shouted. “Come forward and meet your new king… ME! From this moment forward, you will serve ME. Bring me some sweet grass from the meadow, NOW!”
To Zoë’s amazement, the others obeyed their new spotted ruler.

Early that evening, reports zipped among the zebras that cheetahs were approaching their herd. 

Everyone was on high alert, except Zed. He was busy giving meal orders, having a polka dot touch-up, and demanding a hoof massage. As the cheetahs came nearer, the herd ran back and forth, attempting to confuse them with their shifting patterns of stripes.

This time, Zoë had the brilliant idea. She maneuvered closer to Zed and whinnied, “Zed, run!!!”

At last Zed noticed the cheetahs and bolted. Of course, the cheetahs spotted Zed’s polka dots immediately. And they didn’t mind the taste of the paint.


  1. Cameron Writes
    Apr 30, 2012

    Mwuh huh huh – have met that Zed before somewhere. Love fairystories with a moral

  2. Lisa Shambrook
    Apr 30, 2012

    Love it! A resourceful zebra…Zoe that is!

  3. SJIHolliday
    Apr 30, 2012

    Haha! Brilliant! Thanks for entering :)

  4. Jeff Tsuruoka
    Apr 30, 2012

    This is great…. I love the last line.

  5. Androw
    May 1, 2012

    Interesting because I had heard such good things about it.
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  6. Ang
    May 1, 2012

    Really enjoyed this one. I love fairy tales that read like proverbs. So much fun. And I agree, Zoe is great!

  7. Eva Rieder
    May 4, 2012

    Clever Zoe zebra. Great piece!

  8. Erin Ashby
    May 5, 2012

    Ooh, noncomformity gone wrong. Interesting and funny!

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