Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Fate of Alex

“I’m going to be a beautiful butterfly.” Said Alex, a caterpillar, to his friends Rodney, a stag beetle, and Eric, a dragonfly.

They were always teasing Alex for being slow moving and fat. He did nothing but eat all day, and gaze up to the sky, counting the days when he would be mature enough to build his cocoon and thus begin his transformation.

Rodney snorted. He raised his pinchers proudly. “Fat chance you’ll be able to fly, with your size and all. I may not be able to fly, but I can defend myself well. I can snap my enemies in half.”

“You need to be light, lean and sinewy.” Eric chimed in, and then flew in circles around Alex before landing on a fig. “Otherwise, you’ll never fly.”

Alex felt bad, but he tried not to show it. “I know I will, one day.” He said as he crawled away. He was hungry again. He looked for a fresh branch to chew on.

His eyes wandered around the forest, and saw beautiful Monarch butterflies arriving.

“Why do you look so blue, my dear caterpillar?” The speaker was a gray moth.

“Oh I’m not sad.” Alex lied. “I’m just wondering when I’ll get to be like them.” He said, nodding in the direction of the bright-colored Monarchs.

“They are beautiful aren’t they?” The moth said. “Some things in this world are meant to be pleasing to look at, and some are not. There are a lot of things you can still enjoy. Look around you, the forest is full of wonderful things.”

Alex tried hard to understand what the moth said, as it flew away. He decided to crawl towards one of the branches where a Monarch was resting.

The branch shook because of Alex’s weight, waking the Monarch as Alex approached.

“Hello.” Alex said pleasantly.

“Yes?” The Monarch said, stretching her wings lazily.

“I was just admiring your wings.” Alex said.

The Monarch fluttered them proudly. “I have traveled with my family from a far away place. We come in this rather dull forest to lay our eggs.”

“It’s not too bad here,” said Alex, “the trees are plenty and the insects are nice.”

“Yeah?” The Monarch said disinterestedly.

“Well, I have to rest. Please leave.” The Monarch said as she folded her wings gracefully.

“Goodbye.” Alex said. He wanted to ask the Monarch a question, but was too polite. He decided not too disturb her as she rested.

And so Alex crawled once more, looking for a fresh branch to rest on, and perhaps chew on some leaves. As he found a spot, he began to feel drowsy. He had an urge to wrap silk to cover his body like a soft blanket. “I must be turning into a chrysalis.” He thought happily.

Days went by and inside the cocoon Alex was changing. The leaves in the maple tree had turned into hues of orange and gold, and then slowly fall to the ground.

One day, a little child was walking through the forest. Clinging to a low branch of a maple tree, he saw something hanging and swaying in the breeze. He reached over and pulled on the object.

He slowly opened his small fingers. It was a cocoon! He called excitedly to his brother, “Get a jar!” He ran back into the clearing clutching the cocoon in his hand.

“Andrew, mom says we have to go home now.” His older brother called. Andrew held out his hand and carefully placed the cocoon in the small jar his brother brought.

In that moment, Alex awakened. As he tried to stretch his back, a wing emerged, piercing the cocoon. Slowly he made his way out of his blanket of warm silk. He had wings! Alex was overjoyed. He wanted to find his friends and show them off. But as he tried to fly he kept bumping into a hard wall. Alex felt sad. He could see what was outside, but he couldn’t get out.

He was flying in circles inside a glass jar.

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