McEntyre Competition:
An Unexpected Kindness /4

Local students show off their literary stuff in the 2018 McEntyre Writing Competition

Introduction by Wayne Larsen
Illustrated by Jennifer Cook

In what has become an annual tradition in Westmount schools, the McEntyre Writing Competition always attracts a wide variety of thoughtful and creative entries, and the 2018 edition was no exception.

Endowed by the late Peter McEntyre, mayor of Westmount from 1969 to 1971, the competition encourages young writers to express themselves on a designated topic, each designed to get the creative juices flowing. It is coordinated each year by the Westmount Public Library.

In 2018, “An Unexpected Kindness” was the topic assigned to students in grades 1 through 11.

Westmount Magazine presents the full texts of the first-place entries in each grade category, as supplied by the Westmount Public Library. As well, this year these will be accompanied by Westmounter Jennifer Cook’s charming illustrations.

Here we present Grade 5.


Henri Stack-Lévesque

The Grouch of Haegurboer

I have to say that
Nothing is true
in this poem.
I have with me
a few ground rules
and this is where
I’m going to show’em.

This is like that copyright thing
that’s at the beginning of books
That nobody ever bothers
to give a second look.
1: All resemblance to actual events
is completely coincidental.
2: All resemblance to actual events
is totally
3: ©opyright to this story
is reserved
for only me.
If you think that you wrote this
you must be
completely mental.

Now that that is
cleared up,
I can start
telling my tale.
This story weaves and bends
like a meadow of cattails.

This story takes place
in the town of Haegurboer,
A place where everything goes slowly
slowly as a lazy bear.
Work starts late
and ends early too,
Leaving people
lots of time to snooze.

Everyone in Haegurboer
Is passive as a sheep
Due to their always being
At least half-asleep.
Work goes slower,
but no-one cares.
They aren’t productive
in Haegurboer.

Except for one bustling man
who goes at a
much faster pace.
His name is Mr. Suryn,
and with him,
it’s all a race.
Everyone watched out for him,
For he thought laziness a sin.
Though smart in business,
he was also
greedy and
grumpy and
and his moods were all so
that no-one liked him.

He was rich,
and intended to stay that way,
not spending a cent
that wouldn’t be repaid.

His work desk was tidy and clean
as an empty lot.
Work was one of the only things
that he enjoyed a lot.

He didn’t have
a single child
and intended to stay that way.
From his marriageable age
until his dying day.

He lived alone,
with no-one else
except for his goldfish,
who he just had
because he thought
it would keep him rich.

Now enter
a different man
in the very same town.
His name was Tom Gardotyn
and his luck
was looking down.

Thomas Gardotyn, Esq.
Would have been his name,
If he had been the rightful heir and
not had
such familial shame.

His family used to live
inside of a small shack,
Until his mom
lit it on fire
in one of her panic attacks.

Now he lived alone on the streets
in the slow town of Haegurboer,
His body with barely any meat
and that which there was
was rare.
He begged for money on Leiđist street,
bordering on þreyttur corner,
where everyone walked
going to work in the morning.

Everyone he saw
had paid him at least once,
except for Mr. Suryn,
who considered him
a dunce.

He walked by,
purposefully ignoring him.
Mr. Suryn said “Do something yourself,
or you’re gonna stay thin.”

Tom would turn his head away,
declaring “Hmph!”
“I don’t need to hear you every day
while you grumph.”

But inside,
Tom Gardotyn knew
that Mr. Suryn’s riches would
give him money anew,
and he really needed
just a little tiny bit.
So he didn’t resent.

He’d say “Mr. Suryn, got a cent?”
To which Suryn would respond,
“I’ve got cents,
but I’ve got sense,
and I won’t pay a vagabond.”

Until one August morning,
which was especially boring,
Mr. Suryn went to his fortuneteller.
Her name was Clidna Rhyfed
And “Read my tea leaves” is what he would tell her.
And she said “Oh!”
“Mr. Suryn!” “I see a very bad future for you!”
“You’ll die horribly if you don’t change your ways anew!”
“Change my ways?! What do you mean, change my ways?!”
“Give more to someone you pass almost every day.”
“Oh, I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to get a tip.”
“You won’t get extra money by flapping your lips.”
“No”, she responded, “I wasn’t talking ‘bout me.”
“Give a little something to someone you always see.”
Hmm…, he thought. “A little something.”

He ran to the þreyturr corner,
screaming “Tom Gardotyn! Tom Gardotyn!”
He took out his wallet and threw it at him.
“Here take my wallet. Take it all!!”
“Anyways, I’ve got more at home in the hall.”

“Gee”, responded Tom. “You mean it’s all for me?”
“Yes!” “Go ahead! Be as joyous as can be!”
So Tom went to the restaurant
and had a three-course meal.
Buying everything which
to him
At home, Mr. Suryn still had some money,
And for once in his life,
he was truly happy.

Haegurboer: Hi-goor-bear
Suryn: Soo-rin
Gardotyn: Gar-doe-tin
“þ” and “đ” are both Icelandic letters pronounced “th”.
“Grumph” is a Scottish word meaning “to grunt.”

Illustration: Jennifer CookBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

Read also: McEntyre Competition: An Unexpected Kindness /3

Jennifer Cook –

Jennifer Cook, with over 28 years in graphic design, brings her expertise to each creative solution she produces for businesses world-wide. Paired with her love of research, she learns the soul of each client’s story to build a successful visual portfolio, which can include a combination of strategic graphic design, brand development, illustration, and social media. For fun, she started a daily illustrated social media series What my Coffee says to me to inspire and promote good mental health. To find out more on how she can meet your visual marketing needs, contact her at

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