An Adventure with the Glintguins

by Twiny Tsang

“You have such a big, red spot on your arm! So weird!” I cried, in a disgusted way. 

Big, fat tears started cascading down the young boy’s eyes as he rubbed his face with his sweaty hands. Immediately, he ran to his mother, pointing at me as she narrowed her eyes and patted the boy. I chuckled, still picturing the ugly spot on the boy’s arm, and continued walking on the path. Suddenly, a tall man with a long, curly beard scattered with dirt stopped me. I stared at him, shocked to find that it was a wizard. 

The wizard stared back with cold, blue eyes and whispered something under his breath. Hoping that this frightening man would go away, I threw him a few insults about his dirty beard, but it only made it worse. He waved his wand violently, and a huge gust of wind blew me over. I closed my eyes, feeling myself float away into the bewilderment.


When I opened my eyes, around me were hundreds of creatures, which looked like penguins but were glittering all over. I was in a place full of ice, snow and cold. It was Antarctica. I glanced at my body and saw that I had the same incredibly stupid outfits as them! Worst of all, I had fluffy fur all over me too, which I hated because it made me sneeze. But surprisingly, I didn’t. Of course! I was a different creature now. Then, a few baby creatures flew over me with cute puppy doll eyes that I almost couldn’t resist. I was about to push them over when a huge creature loomed over me with a pointy spear-like stick in his hands. I wanted to comment about their lame skins, but I figured that since the effect of doing it to a wizard was that big, I shouldn’t say anything about it. And that thought saved me as the next moment, the creature roared at me fiercely. 

“How dare you not look after your siblings! We are all working hard here, don’t you see? And these naughty children will ruin our hard work!” was what he shouted. 

The baby creatures quickly scampered away, and I could tell that this person was pretty important and powerful, maybe a leader. When he saw that I looked taken back by his roar, his voice softened a hundred times less. He shoved me a stick and set me to work. 

The other animals were all digging holes in the thick ice, so I did the same. But before I could set my stick down an iceberg, something caught my eye. It was a big, round dot on someone’s arm! I snuck a look at the creature’s face and all I saw was a toothy grin and an impressively dumb smile on his face. Just what I was looking for. Hopefully he wouldn’t be so angry if I said something about his dot. 

Taking a deep breath, over the whole crowd I screeched, “That dot on your arm is so strange, Toothy Grinner!” 

The message seemed to get through pretty easily, as the creatures around him parted and immediately knew that I was talking about him. The creature knew too, and immediately turned around to face his opponent. I’m not sure why, but he recognised that it was me, probably because of the smile on my face at that moment. He flew across the ice, which was amazing to me as I thought penguins couldn’t fly. 

“You sneaky Glintguin. Come out now and apologize,” he started calmly as he approached me. 

I refused, as I never had the intention of apologising to anyone. That was when trouble started or, you could say, when changes were made . . .


As I refused to apologize to the ‘Glintguins’ or whatever their names were, a lot of fighting, shouting and disapproval was caused. It was so loud that the huge Glintguin, who had come to me before, ran in and reprimanded everyone, even those who were totally innocent. When it was my turn to be scolded, I only saw a strong, stern, and cold glare that shot straight for me like a laser in his eyes. 

Surprisingly, he faced me with a totally different tune: a calm, welcoming tone. “Welcome to our world. You are now a Glintguin,” he declared to the tribe. 

Ploddingly, they recovered quickly from the reproach and agreed to prepare a feast for me, so at that moment I was full of pride. My cheeks blushed as red as a tomato as I smiled reassuringly for all the attention. 

The Glintguin who I had teased had a puffing, red face and his powerful stare glowered at me as I tried to look away. I sighed briefly, wanting to do something benevolent for the silly-looking penguins once. If I was him, my reaction might have been even bigger. 

I approached him gently with a nervous chuckle and started, “I’m sorry for what I did …” 

He took me by the arm, led me away into their work ground and patted me on the back. His optimistic silhouette of joy turned away with an obvious expression on his straight but relaxed back. I was flabbergasted at his mood. When I was about to run after him with perplexed questions, I had something else to worry about. The questions were going to have to wait. Shadows that reflected over the ice came creeping in, with round-oval heads, a pointy thing sticking out of them, and … (hair?) that came flying around despite the screaming gusts. They had sharp, glistening weapons in their hands—spears and experimenting equipment. 

My brain screamed for me to run, but my legs did not budge. I stood in the middle of the work ground, like a stiff, planted tree. Around the corner appeared two magnanimous-looking humans with stretchy, grabby hands. This was about the scariest thing that had ever occurred to me. 

Solitary. Aghast. Vulnerable. 

I had no choice. 

Just as I was about to get caught in a way I would regret, Glintguins came rushing out all over the place to rescue me from the humans. They picked up a few cold, wet bricks of ice that they had left around on their work ground, and with all their mighty strength in their flippers, threw it directly into the smug human faces. 

Quickly, the Glintguins dragged me into their contemporary igloo and closed the door without a creak. From outside, I heard shouts of pain and equipment collide into the thick, strong ice. Now I knew what was troubling the Glintguins and how to help them.