The Fast Letter Q
by Daniel Errico
Illustrated by Michiko Cayce
The Letter Q lived in the Land of Words.
He was the fastest runner anyone had ever seen.
Ever since he was a lower case q, he was the best at running.
He was always ready to race.
And he never, ever, lost.
Sometimes he finished so early that he’d already be in another race by the time his opponent finished.
Whenever someone challenged him to a race, he always laughed and said yes.
He ran so quickly that the older letters asked him to run by in the summer so that they could feel the breeze.
He ran so quickly that he looked like a blur. The Old Letter O thought that he had to get his eyes checked when Letter Q ran by him.
Once, he ran so quickly that he got a speeding ticket!
The Letter Q was proud of being the fastest.
One day he was challenged to a race by the Letter S.
“I’ll gladly race you,” said the Letter Q. He was sure that he’d win.
All the other letters came to see.
A horn blew, and the race started.
Letter Q was in the lead for the first half. He was waving and smiling at the fans.
Then, all of a sudden, the Letter S ran right by the Letter Q!
Letter Q couldn’t believe that he had lost.
“I shouldn’t have lost,” he said to himself.
So he bought the fanciest running shoes he could find and challenged the Letter S to another race.
But he still did not win.
He practiced running on top of a mountain to get better and then challenged the Letter S to a new race.
He still did not win.
He practiced running underwater to get better and challenged the Letter S to another race.
He still did not win…and he was covered in seaweed and sand!
“I don’t understand,” said the Letter Q, “Why is he beating me?”
Then he heard a small letter ask the Letter S to race.
The Letter S laughed and said yes.
Letter Q watched the race and saw how fast the Letter S really was.
“He’s winning because he’s faster than me,” said the Letter Q, “and that is not a bad thing.”
From that day on, the Letter S was known as the fastest letter in the Land of Words.
The Letter Q stopped challenging him to races.
Instead, he spent his time helping younger letters get faster.
He was sure that one day, one of them would beat the Letter S when it was their turn.
In the Land of Words, you must be as good at losing as you are at winning.