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The Caterpiller And The Butterfly
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Donald V Mitchell
Cathy Caterpillar had heard of the dreaded Chrysalis that other Caterpillars had entered into, never to be seen again. 'I don't want to end up like my brothers and cousins,' she said to Linda Ladybird one morning 'So I'm leaving home to seek out a new life for myself in the garden.'
'But a caterpillar has to eat nourishing food all the time. Otherwise, you might get into difficulties away from your larvae family,' Linda warned.
'Oh I'm fed up being a creepy-crawly. I want to be like Beatrice Bug or Angie Ant. Perhaps even like Diana Dragonfly,' Cathy said dreamily, imagining herself flying around the entire garden in a short period of time.
'You're just being silly. Whoever heard of a Caterpillar flying,' Linda scoffed.
'Well maybe not flying, but I could fit in with the Bug family, or the Ant colony,' Cathy countered, blinking her eyes at the ladybird before waddling away on seven pairs of legs.
'My advice is not to stay away too long. I think the Chrysalis must be important to you in some way,' Linda called out in warning. Her words going unheeded as Cathy disappeared from sight, on her way to a new life in the garden
Billy Bug was the first one to cross Cathy's path. He looked at her seven pairs of legs appreciatively. 'My, you'd make a fine dance partner,' he said admiringly. How's about coming to the Bugs Ball with me.'
'I've never ever been to a Bugs Ball before,' Cathy replied, her eyes lighting up in delight. 'Yes, I'd love to be your dance partner.'
'Then let's not waste any more time,' Billy said gleefully. 'The Four Hornets are about to strike up the music and I'm itching to do a Quickstep.'
When they arrived, all sorts of bugs had gathered. There was hardly room to swing a gnat as they danced the Samba, the Cha-Cha, and the Rumba, to mention but a few Cathy just couldn't keep up the fast pace, so she asked the Band to play a slower tune.
The assembled bugs watched in fascination as the caterpillar gave a demonstration, with all seven pairs of legs moving slowly in rhythm to the music. The others soon got the hang of it and they continued dancing until a fat bug announced that dinner was being served.
'My, this jigging sure gives you an appetite,' Cathy said to Billy as they walked into the dining room, but when she saw that the meal was rotten fruit and vegetables, she stepped back on all seven pairs of heels. 'I can't possibly eat this rubbish,' she said in horror. 'Have you no juicy leaves I could enjoy?'
Billy looked at his new dance partner in astonishment. This is high-class food. Nothing but the best for us bugs,' he slurped, helping himself to everything on display.
Cathy looked on in disgust. 'Oh dear, this is not for me. The dancing is fine, but the food is awful. I've had a lovely time Billy. Now I must leave and find happiness elsewhere,' she said sadly.
'The Glow-worms are taking over after the interval and we're going to have a disco late into the night,' Billy prompted, but he couldn't persuade her. 'Oh well, I hope you find your dream world, Cathy,' he called out as she walked away. 'At least we have a new dance, thanks to you. We're going to call it the Slow Caterpillar Trot.
Cathy could hear a patter of many feet as she slowly moved to another part of the garden. From behind a blade of grass she could see a large number of ants, carrying materials to a new anthill they were building.
'This looks like something I could enjoy doing,' she thought to herself - suddenly recognising someone she knew. 'Angie! It's me,' she shouted out excitedly.
A slender ant dropped her load and greeted the caterpillar by name. 'But what are you doing so far from home,' she asked with a puzzled frown.
'I've left my family to search out a new life for myself because I didn't want to disappear into the Chrysalis. Could I join your colony?'
'I'm not too sure that you're built for this sort of life,' Angie mused, eying her friend up and down. 'But come along, the other ants will be glad of your help.'
Cathy went to work with gusto, enjoying the cheerful banter as they passed one another with the heavy loads. The ants just seemed to keep going without let-up, but poor Cathy got slower and slower until she dropped a load at Angie's feet as the ant was scurrying back for more. 'Oh dear, I'm not cut out for this as well,' she sighed. 'You ants are so agile, and I'm so sluggish. If I'm to make a new life it will have to be with creepy-crawlies like myself.'
'I think that might be better,' Angie agreed. 'Anyway, you can always say you helped build an anthill.'
Cathy arrived at a bare patch of ground and was greeted by Wally Worm, who popped up from under the soil.
'This is no place for a caterpillar,' he said, shaking some mud from his head. 'You won't find any food here.'
'And I'm so hungry,' Cathy said worriedly. 'Can you take me across this patch to the greenery over there.'
'It means you traveling underground, have you ever dug out tunnels before?' Wally asked.
'I'm afraid not,' Cathy replied glumly. 'Although I'm a creepy-crawly like yourself, I don't have a sleek body, or can to move underground like you.'
'Then just follow on behind girl, I'll soon have you eating green leaves and juicy shoots,' Wally said cheerfully.
Although Cathy felt nervous, the journey underground proved to be quite an experience. They met so many worms crisscrossing the patch, all of them greeting the caterpillar and stopping for a chat.
When they finally surfaced on the far side, Wally pointed to the abundance of green leaves and juicy shoots, saying he was only being a good neighbour when she thanked him for his help. Wally nodded approvingly as Kathy immediately started munching the wholesome food. 'That's my girl,' he said before leaving 'Eat as much as you can and you'll grow big and strong, or something.'
The hungry caterpillar munched away for a good part of the day. Then, while resting up and pondering over her adventures along the way, Cathy became aware of fluttering wings and was a little startled when a beautiful butterfly landed nearby.
'Hi, Cathy! I thought it was you I saw when flying past. How on earth did you get all the way over to this side of the garden without wings?' the butterfly asked
'Oh that's a long story, but how do you know my name?'
'I'm your cousin Betty. Don't you recognise me?'
'But my cousin Betty was a caterpillar. She disappeared into the Chrysalis and was never seen again,' Cathy replied, shaking her head in confusion.
'Ah yes, I was confused as well. That was until discovering that the Chrysalis was the natural means to turn me into a butterfly. Now I can fly all over the garden and enjoy life to the full.'
At hearing this, Cathy's heart sank. The very thing she dreaded most was the means to give her the new life she so craved.
'Oh what a fool I've been,' she cried out in despair. 'I have left the Chrysalis and will have to spend the rest of my life as a caterpillar.'
'Nonsense, girl,' Betty scolded gently. 'You have the means to spin your very own Chrysalis.'
'Of course you do. That's why caterpillars have to eat so much. Once you form the Chrysalis you'll sleep for a while, then awaken as a beautiful butterfly like me.
Well, when Cathy realised that, she couldn't get Betty to fly away quick enough. Now she could eat with relish, knowing that in a few days she would be flying around the garden - just as she'd always wanted to do
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