Piper and the Strawberry Surprise

Piper and the Strawberry

Piper and the Strawberry Surprise

by Samhita Singh, 9

A May 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner

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Once upon a time, there lived a sweet little girl named Piper. Piper was always full of energy and had a passion for adventure! As summer was starting to arrive, she became more and more excited about going strawberry picking. (Her favorite fruit was strawberries.) The best strawberries would be in this season, and she didn’t want to miss it. The bright red delicacies floated in her mind, and the thought of them alone made her mouth water. She would dip the biggest strawberries in melted chocolate and eat them just like that, she decided.

The moist air one morning was cool and fresh, reminding Piper that summer was only a day away! The family was almost ready for the strawberry picking, with their baskets and all. 

TWO DAYS LATER: it was the first day of summer! Piper was so excited that she jumped out of bed, got dressed, and ran down the hallway, up the multiple staircases, and back down again. All throughout the time shouting gleefully: “It’s summer! It’s summer! Wake up people! Stop lollygagging!” (Lollygagging was her new favorite word.) You might think the family was actually “lollygagging”, but it was really five in the morning. 

Finally, when everybody was up, (due to Piper) and eating breakfast, her mom and dad announced that they would be going strawberry picking only in the middle of the summer. 

Piper was confused, “But strawberries are the ripest at the beginning of summer.” She said.

 “We know.” Said her mother with a sigh, “but your mom and dad have things to do.” Everybody groaned. “But…. you may go strawberry picking on your own if you’d lik,” finished her mother. “The strawberry patch is not far from here so it would be alright” Everybody cheered. Her parents smiled. So Piper made plans to go picking the next day.

She woke up the next day, excited and ready. After breakfast, Piper grabbed her big basket, bolted out the door, and set out for the strawberry patch. As she approached the patch, she could faintly smell the sweet and sour scent of the fruits. She wasted no time getting started and tried to pick all the juiciest, ripest ones. She moved from row to row, and then decided that it was time to go home. Her basket was overflowing anyways! But then she felt a pang of hunger, and she thought it really wouldn’t hurt to eat a few. 

After fifteen minutes Piper had finished half the basket! Uh oh, she thought. So she got up to pick some more. When Piper was close to the top of the basket again, she saw a light coming from under one of the bushes, in an isolated section. She got curious and cautiously walked towards the bush. She knelt down and peeled away the leaves to reveal a dimly glowing strawberry, surrounded by a halo of light. She plucked it from the stem and held it up. Well, this is something you don’t see everyday! She thought, turning the strawberry around in her palm, which was difficult to do because the strawberry was bigger than her hand. 

Suddenly, a flash of light appeared before her. A white circle, which was most likely a portal, opened. The circle was bright, but you could see the colors swirling inside. It was inviting the girl, it seemed. But she knew she should go back home. On the other hand, she was longing for adventure, something exciting. And this seemed like the perfect thing.

Then Piper closed her eyes and stepped inside the portal, taking the basket of strawberries with her. Almost instantly, she was swept away, tumbling and twisting, but somehow….peacefully? Just as quickly as she had been swept away, she arrived at the next place. Piper couldn’t believe her eyes, she saw mountains, houses, trees, parks, and shops too. But the thing she couldn’t believe the most was that they were all in the form of strawberries! For example, the mountains were upside down strawberries with the leaves cut off, the houses were mini strawberries stacked on top of each other, The trees were strawberries with tall stems of leaves, the playground was a variety of strawberries and surprisingly in many different colors! It seemed to her as if she had arrived in strawberry land. 

Piper was so stunned by the structures that she had not noticed the little strawberry people walking along the sidewalk. She suddenly saw one and her eyes widened in disbelief. Piper felt disoriented for a second. Questions raced through her mind. Are they dangerous? Are they going to hurt me? What are they like? 

Then she heard someone shouting. “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The berry exciting Smoothie Showdown this Saturday!…read to find out more.” 

A crowd of berry-people had gathered around the newspaper boy. (Or newspaper berry.) They were all trying to get a copy of the news, so no one had noticed the human girl standing behind the tree peering out at them. Piper, as curious as ever, wanted to know about this world so she bravely stepped forward and went to the newspaper berry. 

Everyone looked up from their newspapers and stared at the girl. She asked for a copy of the newspaper and paid the berry extra. But then she quickly noticed the berry-people were not only staring at her but also at the basket of strawberries she held in her hand. She realized that her harvest was probably very offensive to the berry-people. So she quickly walked away from the crowd. Piper walked to a very nearby strawberry park and sat down on a bench, not bothering about the other berry-people who were staring at her. She started reading her newspaper and tried to understand what the “Smoothie Showdown” was. 

Suddenly, she felt a tap and lowered her newspaper, coming face to face with a berry-person. It was the newspaper berry, from earlier. 

“Hi!” He said in a cheerful voice, “you look like you’re new here.” 

For a second Piper couldn’t speak, but a few moments later she found her tongue. “Hi..” she said slowly, “ what’s your name?” She asked. 

“Oh yeah, where are my manners?” Replied the berry, “My name is Barry.”

“Oh. Like Barry the berry?”

“Yep.”

“So..what is this place?”

“This is berry land.” Barry eyed the basket of strawberries suspiciously.

“What are you doing with those baby berries?”

“They’re not actually baby berries, because I come from a human world,” Piper said. She was dreading saying the next part….“and there we actually eat strawberries.” She said quickly, bracing herself. 

Instead of the lashing out she expected, Barry nodded. “Yeah, I’ve heard about the human world up there.” He said solemnly, “but they all hoped it was just fantasies.” 

“Oh.” Piper replied, she didn’t know what else to say. They just sat there in silence for a few minutes, until she remembered something, something important: she had to get back home! Her family was waiting for her. They were probably very worried. “Barry!” She exclaimed. “Can you please help me get back to my world? I was supposed to be home….” Piper checked her watch. “Forty minutes ago!”

“Oh no no.” Barry smiled. “Time moves way more quickly here than in the human world. You are actually two minutes late. In human world time I mean. 

“Oh! Thank goodness!” 

“But if you want to go home,” said Barry, “we can start working on a way to get you home.” 

“Yes. I would like that.” Replied Piper.

So, the two set off to Barry’s home to work on a way to get Piper back. 

“How did you get here?” Barry asked. 

“I was in a strawberry patch, and I saw this glowing strawberry. So I plucked it and then a portal opened. I stepped inside because I was curious to see what would happen.” Piper said sadly.

 “Ok.....” Said Barry thoughtfully. “Oh!” Barry exclaimed suddenly, “Our leader: The Strawberry Sage, has a big strawberry hovering above his throne, we can go visit him and ask for assistance to get you back.” 

“Yes. Let's do that.” agreed Piper. 

So the both of them went off to the Strawberry Sage’s strawberry palace. When they arrived, the Sage greeted them and asked their reason for arrival. He eyed Piper and her basket but showed no signs of surprise on his face. 

“Hello, your berry-ness.” Barry said respectfully, kneeling. Piper did the same. “We have come to you because we were hoping you could help us get Piper, this girl here back to her human world.” 

“Mmmm,” the Sage said thoughtfully, stroking his pink tinted beard. “I have the portal strawberry here, which can make a berry portal and drop you back off at home,” he said to Piper. “

Yes, that would be wonderful! Thank you, your berry-ness!” Piper exclaimed. 

The Strawberry Sage smiled. “Now shall we make the portal?” He asked, leading them to his throne. He walked up to the big floating strawberry and muttered a quite complicated spell under his breath. 

Suddenly, like Piper had seen before in the strawberry patch, a portal with colors swirling opened. This time it would lead her back home. As she was about to step inside the portal, she paused and turned to face Barry. “Thank you.” She said, “I had quite a time here.” 

“Bye!” Barry said as the portal whisked her away as quick as lightning. 

BACK AT THE PATCH:

Piper had arrived at the patch and now was walking back home. When she arrived at her home, she was greeted by her family. 

“Lunch is ready!” called her mother. 

“Are they good?” Asked her siblings. 

“Can we try some?” 

“You were a little late, was it that fun?” 

Piper pushed through, and when everybody was seated at the table eating lunch, she said: “You know, I have a really interesting story that happened at the strawberry patch. But you may not believe me.” 

“TELL US!!!” The younger kids shouted. 

And so, Piper told the tale.

And what do you know? 

They didn’t believe her!



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