The Lichen Tale

Written by Madeline Sabella


This story is about the struggle between the Kingdom of the Algal and the Kingdom of the Fungus. Each one needs each other in order to survive, but are stuck in their own ways. Will they find peace or will their kingdom fall?

Keywords: teamwork, small but mighty, science, fantasy

On a granite boulder deep in the forest of Adirondack lived two kingdoms. These two kingdoms were divided between a dry, crispy field that had looked more dead than alive.

The two kingdoms had not been united in over a million years! They believe that they could work on their own. However both kingdoms were facing problems that were bigger than themselves.

One of the kingdoms on the East side of the boulder was the kingdom of Algal. The people of the kingdom of Algal were made up of single cell organisms that created great food through photosynthesis (which is just a fancy word for changing light into food).

These people were geniuses that could live and survive on their own. Their bright green skin was due to their bright and helpful personalities. Even though the algas did not need help from others they were not capable of protecting themselves. Whoever could help them?

Directly across from the kingdom of Algal was the kingdom of Fungus. The fungi were very loyal people that focused on collecting minerals and special compounds. They were the decomposers of the granite boulder and were very fast workers.

Even though the kingdom of the Fungus were diligent workers, they were unable to make any food. The kingdom was in desperate need of a good meal. Maybe there were some chefs close by that could help them?

As the days got hotter and hotter, the kingdoms started to feel the stress and pressure of their problems. They desperately needed help but were both too stubborn to reach out.

The king of Algal told his people, “The outside threat is not too bad! We can wait a little longer since our conditions are manageable.”

One member of the kingdom yells, “Maybe we can reach out to other fungi kingdoms? We don’t need the help of the Kingdom of Fungi,”

Another member yells, “Or we can do it on our own! We do not need anyone else but ourselves!”

“Hush! We will keep waiting to see if the weather changes and then we will figure out a plan” stated the king. He was feeling the pressure of the crowd to make a decision, but he was hopeful that protection would come soon.

Across the boulder, the Kingdom of the Fungus was having their own conversation about their current state.

The Fungi Queen called a meeting for all of her people to discuss their food situation. “As many of you already know, we have not had decent food in a long time. Many of you are very hungry from all the decomposition you have done. And your hard work is not unnoticed.”

“Before the kingdoms split we worked very well with the Kingdom of Algal and vowed to only work with them. However, they are being stubborn and are refusing to accept our help.”

The court jester chimed in “Why wouldn’t the Algal want to work with us? We are all fun-guys.”

The crowd grew silent and suddenly one young knight said “What if we crossed the brown field to show the Kingdom of Algal we are willing to help?” The crowd murmurs with agreement. The Fungi queen responded with “ It sounds like it is settled then. We will cross the brown field to show our commitment to protect the Kingdom of Algal.”

The crowd shouted with excitement because soon they will be able to have a delicious feast.

Soon after the Kingdom of Fungus decided to help, the conditions got even worse! There was no sign of rain or anything that could help the kingdoms. Panic struck the Kingdom of Algal and chaos started. The king made a decision to cross the brown field to ask for help from the Fungi.

Both of the kingdoms fled from their original locations to seek out help. The stress and harsh conditions was enough for the two kingdoms to meet each other. From across the brown field the two kingdoms spotted each other and realized that they had been saved.

King Algal said “We need more help since we are unable to protect us from death. In return we can offer you food.” Queen Fungi exclaimed “We are in desperate need of food! My people will protect you from dying.” Both groups shouted and celebrated their success! Finally the two kingdoms were able to come together and help each other.

As the kingdoms celebrated, the sky began to rain. The brown field and the kingdoms turned bright green and moved closer together! Queen Fungus suggested “Let us change our name to Umbilicaria americana and create a united kingdom that moves as one.

At last the kingdoms had solved their problems and decided to work as one to help one another! There was peace and a feast on the sugars created by the Algal. The kingdom of Umbilicaria americana lived happily ever after. The end!


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Humanizing Science through STEAM Challenges Copyright © 2021 by E.J. Bahng and John M. Hauptman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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