IGCSE narrative essay | 2011 May-Jun | Take an old tale or myth and retell it as


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

Take an old tale or myth and retell it as though it is happening in your country at this time.

Model Essay

In the bustling heart of the city, amidst the towering skyscrapers and busy streets, there was a legend that had been whispered for generations. It was the tale of a mythical creature called the Nian. Originating from ancient folklore, the Nian was said to be a fearsome beast that would emerge every New Year’s Eve to terrorize the people, devouring crops, livestock, and even children. The only way to ward it off was through loud noises and the color red.

In the modern metropolis of New Shanghai, few believed in such ancient tales anymore. The city was a hub of technology and innovation, far removed from the superstitions of the past. Yet, as New Year’s Eve approached, strange things began to happen. Livestock in the outskirts were found mutilated, crops destroyed, and several children went missing. Whispers of the Nian began to circulate once more, growing louder with each passing day.

Jiang, a young journalist with a local news station, was skeptical. He had grown up with the story of the Nian, told by his grandmother every New Year, but he never believed it. Determined to uncover the truth behind the recent incidents, Jiang set out to investigate.

He started by visiting the outskirts of the city, where the incidents had been reported. Farmers and villagers spoke in hushed tones about a monstrous creature they had seen lurking in the shadows. Jiang dismissed their accounts as mass hysteria, fueled by fear and superstition. He collected as many eyewitness reports as he could, but they all sounded fantastical and exaggerated.

As night fell, Jiang decided to stay in the village, hoping to catch a glimpse of the supposed beast. He set up his camera and waited. The hours passed slowly, the village eerily quiet under the pale moonlight. Suddenly, a loud roar echoed through the valley, sending chills down Jiang’s spine. He grabbed his camera and ran towards the sound, heart pounding in his chest.


What he saw next defied all logic. There, in the moonlit clearing, stood a massive creature covered in thick, scaly armor. Its eyes glowed a menacing red, and its jaws dripped with blood. Jiang froze in terror, unable to believe his eyes. The Nian was real.

Remembering his grandmother’s stories, Jiang quickly pulled out a red scarf from his bag and waved it frantically. The beast recoiled, growling angrily. He then fired off a series of flash photographs, the bright lights and loud shutter clicks startling the creature. It roared in frustration and retreated into the darkness.

The next morning, Jiang returned to the city with his footage and his story. He was no longer skeptical; he was determined to warn the people. He published his findings, urging everyone to take precautions. His report was met with a mix of fear and disbelief, but as New Year’s Eve drew closer, people began to heed his warnings.

The city was soon awash in red decorations, and fireworks were sold out everywhere. As the clock struck midnight, the skies lit up with a cacophony of explosions, the sound reverberating through the streets. The Nian did not appear that night, nor any night after that.

Jiang’s story spread far and wide, a modern retelling of an ancient myth. It reminded the people of New Shanghai that sometimes, the old tales hold truths that are timeless. The Nian became a symbol of resilience and unity, and each New Year’s Eve, the city celebrated not just to welcome a new year, but to honor the legend that had once again protected them from the darkness.

Word Count: 594