Friday, February 10, 2012

How Butterflies learned to fly PART 2

A nosey old aunt saw what was happening, hurried over and using her antennae to stroke his brow, she said "I know what you are thinking my dear, but it is a very bad idea. I recognized your problem immediately because I also felt like you once and I ventured to the topmost limb of our tree and I crawled to the topmost branch and then I even stood on the tip-toppiest stem. I had to hold on very tightly because the Great Wind was tempting me to let go.  Then I heard the voices of my friends and family calling and I slowly backed down into the tree's canopy. When I had recovered myself in the shade of the leaves again, I realized what a terrible mistake I had almost made. Now. There, there, don't you feel better?"  Then she waddled off in the direction of the newest blooms for a nectar-party with her girlfriends.

However, the butterfly did not feel better and could not say so because his heart was so big now that all he could hear was its thumping in his ears.  He listened to his heart and began to run. He ran all the way to the tip-toppiest part of the tree and when he got there he stopped. Waiting for him was the Great Wind. He shook hands with her and she pulled him into the air. All on their own his wings began to pump up and down and he flew! The butterfly had never felt so happy in his life. He knew now why the clouds and the sun spent their days flying.

The Great Wind was kind enough to swirl him round and round the tree so that all his friends and relatives could see how wonderful it was to fly. Soon everyone in the tree was a flutter! The old aunt rolled up her tongue and stopped sucking nectar long enough to nudge her neighbor and say, "I tried to tell him, but young ones never listen to those of us with more experience." All over the tree young butterflies were flapping their wings and declaring they would fly some day while their parents were shouting that the butterfly should come home because it was highly dangerous!

All of a sudden, a great flying bird appeared behind our butterfly. A bird, we call the Jay. It doesn't seem so big to us but back then, to the insects, it was monstrous! Jay came flying very, very fast and in an instant, the tiny butterfly was eaten up. His beautiful wings fluttered to the ground without him. The whole colony witnessed the tragedy and they mourned, Mothers and fathers all over the tree were saying "I told you so." and "You see?" But there were one or two friends of our butterfly who could not forget how beautiful he had been with his wings flashing in the wind and they continued to tell his story. Soon the story became so enhanced and exaggerated that it was all any young butterfly could talk about.

But every time the butterflies spoke of the Jay they felt fear. During their winter slumber they dreamed of flying like their friend and sometimes they dreamed of the Jay chasing them also. Both Desire and Fear grew within them all winter and the next spring when they emerged from their sleep, their desire to fly was uncontrollable.  They determined that to overcome their fear, they must all fly together. All over the tree the butterflies were folding and unfolding their wings. Hundreds of the young butterflies called out to shake hands with the Great Wind and she obliged. The air was soon filled with butterflies and the commotion attracted Jay and his friends. 

The Jays swooped into the flutter and began to catch the butterflies in their beaks. But now the Jays were spitting the butterflies out! The fear that had grown in the butterflies protected them and poisoned the Jays. The Jays flew away and never bothered the butterflies again. The young butterflies now called to their aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers to follow them into the sky! One by one all the butterflies climbed to the tip-topest part of the tree and took the Great Wind's hand.

The Great Wind began to blow in thousands of directions because she wanted to play with all her new friends at once. The butterflies held hands with her and flew to places all over the earth. Many of them changed their colors. Some chose the deepest blue of the sea and some chose the dusty green of the prairies. Some chose the colors of the rainbow.

But this is not the end of the story for now the tree found herself completely alone. So she stretched her roots a little deeper into the soil where the water was good and cold and then stretched her limbs higher into the sky to gather a little more sunlight. She grew three feet that summer and many, many seedlings grew under her shade until she became old and laid herself down in the grass to rest and then the new trees grew over her and provided shade.

And the Jays? Why the Jays flew off in a huff (they are a rowdy lot, you know) to visit an apple tree that the Robin said had a great many worms. After all, it was still very early in the morning and early in the life of the world. 

Original Version:
Once there was an insect whose wings glistened with the colors of the sun.  I believe we humans call them butterflies now but when this story happened they had no name. We were not here on Earth to name them, but he was not alone. He lived in a colony of a million insects whose wings glistened with the same colors. These insects spent their days walking up and down the branches and limbs of a sheltering tree. In the summer their movements made the tree quiver and shiver and in the winter their cocoons made the bare tree look as if it had some form of tree leprosy.  The insects were contented but they were not all happy, nor was the tree.


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