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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Bright Side

"Ryan, Ryan, wake up". Ryan rolled over to see who was calling him. It was Rafa, Ryan’s younger brother and he was tugging on the side of sheet in an earnest attempt to wake him.
"What is it Rafa?" Ryan asked, still half asleep.
"Get up! It’s nearly time to leave; mom made breakfast and soon it will be time to head off to the lake." Rafa said. "Come on, come on, come on!" he repeated excitedly as he bounced from the room.
"I’m all set for our camping trip." Rafa gushed, as he hopped back to the room with his backpack. "I packed my boots, tons of snacks and even a compass, just in case we lose our way". Rafa shoved more things into his already overflowing backpack.
"Come on Ryan, what are you waiting for? Are you alright? You don’t look so good." Rafa observed as he noticed that Ryan was still sitting in bed.
"I’m fine. My head just hurts a bit, that’s all." Ryan said weakly.
"Oh no; what happened?" Rafa asked.
"I’m not sure." Ryan said.
"Shall I go get mom?" Rafa asked.
"No, no. I’ll be fine. I just need to get up and all will be well. Besides we have been planning this trip for forever and I sure don’t want to miss it. It is going to be so much fun!"
"Ok, if you are sure that you are alright. Come on. It smells like a great breakfast mom has prepared for us. Mm-mm." Rafa continued to talk excitedly as he walked out of the room.
In the kitchen Mama Bunny was busy bustling around making pancakes and chocolate sauce for her little bunny’s big day out.
"Mm, yummy! These sure are good. Thanks Mom." Bianca, Ryan older sister, was saying.
"Thank you Darling. Now eat up; you need to have lots of strength for your hike today." she said with a smile as she patted her on the head.
"Ryan, what’s wrong? You have barely touched your food. Normally you love pancakes. Are you feeling okay? You look a little bit sick." Mama bunny said, as she came over to where Ryan was sitting.
"I’m fine Mama. My head just hurts a little." Ryan replied in a soft voice.
"Here, let me see." Mama said, as she leaned over to touch his forehead.
"I think you have a fever, little one. Your head feels all hot."
"But Mama, does that mean that I can’t go out camping with Rafa, Bianca and uncle Bob?" Ryan asked, his face already looking a little tearful.
"Well sweetheart, if you are not feeling well, then you should stay home and rest so that you can get better."
"But mom, the trip, the hike, the camping, I can’t miss that." Ryan spluttered.
"I am sure that there will be another chance for you to go again Ryan. Right now you need to take care of yourself and become healthy again."
Ryan choked back the tears and despondently walked back to his room and lay on his bed. He looked out the window. The sun was out and the birds were singing, it was a perfect day for a hike, a perfect day to go camping.
"It’s not fair." Ryan thought to himself. "Why do I have to be sick today of all days? I have been looking forward to this trip for so long. All week long I have been planning and preparing and now I can’t even go." Ryan sadly eyed his camping backpack, where he had so meticulously and carefully placed everything that he needed for his trip.
Outside he could hear his Uncle Bob arriving and the last minute details for the trip being arranged, the food being packed and the map being checked one final time. It was all too much for poor Ryan. He rolled over and covered his head with his blanket, trying to shut it all out.
"Goodbye Ryan, I hope you get better soon." he could hear his brother Rafa say as they all hopped out the door. Ryan just lay there, crying and trying not to think about all the fun that he was going to be missing: the hike up the river, the marshmallows and stories around the campfire.
"Ryan, how are you feeling?"
Ryan rolled over and pulled the blanket off his face at the sound of his mother’s voice.
"Ok, I guess." Ryan mumbled. "I really wanted to go, Mom. They are going to have so much fun, and I am going to miss it all." Ryan sniffled.
"Well I wouldn’t say that you would miss all the fun. It is true that you will not be there with them and do the things that they are doing but, you can still have fun here."
"How mom? I am stuck in bed."
"Well, why don’t you get some rest now and then we can discuss some things that we can do together. Maybe we can play a game, or I can read you a story, or we can put together that new puzzle that you got for your birthday. I know it seems like you are missing out on all the fun but if you just try to look on the bright side of things, we can still have a lot of fun."
"Ok Mom, I’ll try." Ryan agreed as he rubbed his eyes.
"I know you will. There now, get some sleep ok?" Mama Bunny said as she stroked the fur on his long ears. Ryan closed his eyes and soon he was fast asleep.
* * *It’s a beautiful day, soakin’ in the sun’s rays
The birds are singing, their song ringing
Through the air, the joy they share
There’s a smile on my face
That can’t be replaced
I’m happy as can be
Come on and sing with me
Ryan opened eyes.
"Is that singing I hear?" He wondered aloud as he sat up and looked around. His attention was drawn to the window, outside of which was the vast forest.
"It sounds like it’s coming from there." Ryan thought to himself. And there, sure enough, in the tree sat a monkey, singing merrily to himself as he sat there, peeling one banana after another and popping it in his mouth.
"Uh, hello there." Ryan called out his window.
"Hello, my name is Max. What’s yours?"
"Well Ryan, it’s so nice to meet you. It is a beautiful day isn’t it?" Max said cheerfully.
"It is." Ryan said a bit glumly.
"Why, what’s the matter, friend?" Max enquired.
"Well you see we were supposed to go on a camping trip today—me and my brother and sister, my Uncle Bob and some of my other friends. We have been planning it for weeks. Then, when I woke up, I wasn’t feeling very well and mom said I was sick. So now they are all out having fun and I have to stay in bed and miss it all."
"Oh, I’m sorry" Max said. "You know today I was supposed to go into the forest with my uncle, but something came up and it got cancelled. I was all set, I even packed plenty of bananas. Look." Max said, holding up a half eaten bunch of bananas.
"I was disappointed, but then I realized that there is always so much to be happy about. Maybe I didn’t get to go to the forest, but I went for a long walk and swing in the trees this morning. I found a new spot that I never have seen before with a pond there too. I swam in the water and explored. It was fun, and it got me thinking that if I had gone, I never would have found that place."
"I guess so." said Ryan.
"Cheer up Ryan. Try to look on the brighter side of things." Max said. "Before you know it, you will already feel better."
"Ryan, I brought you some cookies and milk." Mama Bunny said as she entered the room with a tray. "Did you have a nice rest?"
"I did Mama, and look, here’s my new friend. Meet max, the monkey."
"Hello Max."
"Hello Ma’am. I was just swinging by outside, singing my merry little song, when I saw Ryan."
"What’s that in your hand Mama?" Ryan asked.
"Well, I thought that maybe we can read something together, so I brought your favourite storybook for us to read. Max, you should join us as well."
"I would love to! I love stories." Max said.
They all settled on the bed. They munched cookies and bananas and drank milk while Mama read to them.
As it turned out, Ryan did have a very fun afternoon. After their story time, Ryan and Max played a fun game together. Ryan was enjoying himself so much that he hardly noticed the hours tick by.
Soon it was bedtime. Max had gone home, after promising to come back the next day. Ryan lay in bed thinking about the day and all that had happened. He thought about the trip that he had missed and realized that he no longer felt sad about missing it. He had had such a fun day, and he had made a new friend.
"It was actually a great day!" Ryan thought to himself as he drifted off to sleep.
* * * The next afternoon, the camping team returned. Over dinner they swapped stories of their days. The team had found some hidden caves and they decided to take a trip there next week to explore them. Ryan was overjoyed. Ryan also told them about Max and all that they had done together. He knew now that no matter what happens, or how things may seem, there was always something good that could come out of every situation.
The End

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bettie’s Important Discovery

The wise old tree that grew in the magical garden provided many helpful services for those living there. Not only did the tree give shade to the many plants and flowers that grew below, but it was also the home of many types of insects that lived in its hick bark and strong, leafy branches.
High up in the top branches of the tree was something special. It was a beehive! In the beehive, the bees would work very hard to make something very sweet and yummy to eat! That’s right!—honey! The bees would buzz in and out of the hive every day; the worker bees would travel to many flowers in the fields and gardens below and they would collect pollen to make their honey. They would then fly back and give it to the other bees that would take it and turn it into lots of nice honey for all the bees to enjoy!
From time to time the gardener would also come and gather the honey for his family. They really liked the honey and would use it for so many things! And so every day the bees would continue working hard to make that delicious honey–for themselves, for all the little baby bees that lived inside the hive, and for the gardener and his family.
In that hive lived a little bee. Her name was Bettie and she was a worker bee. When she was younger, she worked hard to clean the beehive and feed the baby bees. When she got a little bit older, she helped to collect the pollen from the bees that had gone out to gather it.
Today was special though, because now Bettie was old enough to go with the others from flower to flower to collect pollen. She was a little nervous, as she had been waiting for this day for a long time and it finally arrived!
Bettie was amazed when she flew out of the hive, down to the garden below, and saw so many beautiful and colorful flowers. She spent the whole day buzzing from flower to flower, collecting pollen and then carrying it back to the bee hive. She was so excited and she just loved it. When she got home, her friend Tubs asked, "How was your day?"
She answered, "I had the most wonderful day! I never knew the outside world was like that. There are so many beautiful things to see and enjoy."
The next morning she was happy to go out again and gather the pollen for honey, visiting the pretty flowers once more and exercising her little bee wings. Day after day, Bettie flew amongst the gardens and fields. At first, she really enjoyed it and had a great time buzzing around with Tubs and her other bee friends.
After a little while, though, she began to get tired of doing the same thing every single day. One day, while gathering the pollen for the honey, she began to complain.
"Oh, it’s the same old flowers and the same old job I have to day after day. Then, after all my hard work, the other bees make and eat the honey. Sometimes the farmer even comes and takes it away. I don’t have anything saved up for all the hard work I have done. I do have enough honey to eat, but it’s still so much work and I don’t want to keep doing it day after day just so the other bees can take away the pollen that I have worked so hard to find!"
As she was going to sleep that night, Bettie had an idea. She thought to herself, "I know, I can do it all by myself! I can make my very own beehive and I can gather all the pollen and then I can keep it all for myself. Nobody will know! It will be my very own beehive and my very own honey and I will do it all alone!"
The next morning, the little bee woke up very early before any of the other bees had gone out. She buzzed over to the far corner of the garden, where she found some big plants. Bettie decided, "This is where I am going to live from now on." She searched around for a safe and sheltered spot and finally found a little hallowed place inside one of the large plant’s stems and decided to make it her home. She crawled around, inside and out, trying to make it tidy and comfortable. It was not nearly as comfortable as her little cell at home, but she still did not want to go back. She made it as nice as she could, and then went out to collect pollen.
All day Bettie traveled back and forth, collecting pollen and dropping it inside her new little home, then going out to get some more. She flew far away from the area that she and her bee friends usually collected pollen so that none of the other bees would see her and ask what she was doing and where she had been. Back and forth she buzzed. Each time the bee dropped off more pollen, she was so proud of herself, thinking, "I am going to do this all by myself and I am going to have the honey all to myself and everything".
By the end of the day, Bettie was very tired. She was also quite hungry. She realized then that the pollen had not turned into honey! She thought to herself, "How do I turn this into honey?" She could not eat just plain pollen.
Now Bettie was starting to get a little bit upset and frustrated. She considered going back to the beehive, so that she could get something to eat; but then said to herself, "Maybe it will be honey by morning. Anyway, everyone will ask me where I have been, and I do not want to have to tell them about my wanting to move out into a new and different home, away from all of them." Bettie went to sleep that night tired from collecting so much pollen and very, very hungry.
The next morning Bettie woke up a little later than usual. She was still quite hungry, but decided to try again, going out on her own. She flew around all day, collecting all the pollen she could and bringing it back to her new little home. There was so much pollen, but it was still not honey. She was so tired and was about to buzz inside and try sleeping, again with an empty stomach, when she heard a familiar buzz.
It was her best friend, Tubs! "Tubs?" Bettie said in surprise when she saw her friend buzzing past.
Tubs stopped and hovered down close to her, "Hey, Bettie! Is that you? Oh, I’ve missed you so much! Where have you been? Is everything okay? Did you get hurt?"
Bettie looked up and she looked quite embarrassed. She was quiet.
Then Tubs saw all the pollen in the little stem. She was very excited and asked, "Wow, did you collect all that for the hive? That is so much! You have been working so hard. You must have wanted to surprise everybody by collecting so much pollen. You are a really hard worker, Bettie. Thank you! Do you want me to help you carry it back to the hive?"
Bettie was quiet for a moment, and then finally answered, "You know what? Actually Tubs, I wanted to do it all by myself."
"Do what all by yourself?" Tubs did not quite understand.
"I was tired of working with everybody else and sharing all the pollen I worked hard to gather. I thought that if I had my own home and I made my own honey, then I wouldn’t have to share it with the other bees, or with the farmer and that I’d be able to enjoy as much honey as I wanted to and have it all for myself."
"Oh." Said Tubs.
"Something went wrong, though. It is not turning into honey; and my little home I found here is not nearly as comfortable as the hive. I have been working so hard to collect pollen, but have not had anything to eat for the last couple of days. I am so discouraged."
Tubs said, "I understand. It is not easy to work hard, all to share it with everybody else, but you know what?"
"What?" asked Bettie.
"Everyone else is working hard too. Some bees are working to help and fix the beehive. Some bees help to guard the hive from danger. The queen bee lays all the eggs that then hatch into more bees to help us work. We go out and collect the pollen. Other bees help to get the pollen from us and take it where it will turn into honey. We all work together. Even though it is hard work sometimes, doing it together is what makes it such a wonderful hive.
Bettie said, "You are right, Tubs. I am sorry that I wanted to do it all alone. I would be happy if you could help me carry all this pollen back to the hive."
Tubs answered cheerfully, "I would be happy to do just that! Come on. All the bees were wondering where you are. They will be glad to see you again."
Tubs and Bettie flew back to the hive with all the pollen. The bees were all so happy to see all the pollen that they brought, but they were even happier to see Bettie because they missed her. Bettie was the happiest of all, because she had discovered that doing everything alone was not so fun or easy; it was most fun to enjoy the friendship of others and to work together as a team to get the job done.
Bettie went to sleep that night in her cozy and comfortable cell with a tummy full of delicious honey, and as she drifted off to sleep, she thought how happy she was to be home. She whispered, "There’s no place like my wonderful home."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Snow, Bud, and Blossom

Snow, Bud, and Blossom

It was nearing the end of fall, and a cold breeze blew through the garden, causing the last few leaves to fall from the wise old tree. They drifted down to the ground below, where many of the flowers were preparing to go to sleep for the winter. The plants were tired and the winter would be too cold for them to be able to grow or bloom. They wished each other a peaceful winter as they folded up their petals and leaves to sleep.

The tree had seen the seasons change many times since he was a young sapling, from spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and then back again to spring. He told the flowers to have a nice rest and that he would see them again in the spring.

Near the garden, in the gardener’s house, it was cozy and warm. A small fire burned, adding a glowing cheerfulness to the living room, where the gardener and his wife were sitting. The gardener was planning what he was going to plant in his garden the next year.

He asked his wife, “Grace, do you have any ideas about what I should plant next spring in our garden?”

The wife answered, “Gary, you always grow such beautiful things in the garden every year. There is one thing we have never planted though—a tulip. They are such lovely spring flowers.”

“That is a wonderful idea,” replied the gardener. “Now is the perfect time to plant a tulip as well, before the ground is frozen over. Tulips need to be planted the year before and stay in the ground all winter in order to sprout and bloom in the spring. Any later and the weather will be too cold for me to plant it. I will go tomorrow morning to the market and buy one.”

* * *

The next morning, bright and early, the gardener made his way to the flower market. He had bought many young plants and seeds there, and knew exactly what he wanted this time. Most of the seeds he would not plant until spring, but tulips were special.

Meanwhile a little tulip bulb, that looked very much like an onion, lay on a market stand with a lot of other tulip bulbs. This particular tulip was very eager. It was her first day at the market and she was sure that she would be bought by someone today. She could hardly wait.

She noticed someone walking straight to the stall where she was impatiently waiting to be noticed. Quite a few people had passed by this morning, but this tall man was the first who actually came to the stall. The tulip bulb wished she could bounce up and down and say, “Pick me! Pick me!” She waited and hoped, but the man turned away.

“Oh,” the little bulb thought in despair. “I am never going to be bought.” Just then, the man came back with a bag. He picked her up and gently placed her in the bag.

“I am taking you home with me,” said the gardener, “to be planted in my garden.”

The little bulb was thrilled as she thought to herself: “Oh, I am just so happy! I can’t wait. I am going to start growing the very second I get planted inside the soil. I want to grow right away into a big plant with many lovely tulips.”

Once the gardener arrived home, he went straight to the garden, found his spade, and began to dig. He made a deep hole, put the tulip bulb inside, and covered it with soft soil and sand. It was a little bit cold and dark, but the tulip did not mind. “I will be sprouting out of here any day now!” she thought to herself, and began to wait.

The tulip waited under the ground all the rest of that day, and then through the night, and the next day, and the next night as well! Still, nothing was happening.

The following morning was cold and still, as the first snowfall of the year gently blanketed the garden, beginning to cover many of the flowers and plants. The tree stood above the carpet of snow. He thought about the four seasons, and tried to decide which one he liked best of all. Although during the winter he missed the sights and sounds of the other seasons, he enjoyed the peace and quiet and the chance to rest as he waited patiently for the spring to come. Each year the garden looked a little bit different, as the gardener usually tried to get some new plant or flower. Just the other day, in fact, he had noticed the gardener planting something that looked like an onion. The tree wondered what it would grow into once spring arrived.

The tree was busy thinking that very thought when he heard a frustrated noise coming from under the ground. “Is everything okay?” asked the tree.

“Who is that?” said the little voice.

“I am a wise old tree, and who are you?”

“I am a little tulip bulb. I was planted so long ago, and I still have not begun to sprout and grow. It has been two whole days already!”

The tree laughed a deep and hearty laugh. “Two days, little bulb; it takes more time than that to grow.”

“How many more days will it take? Three? Four? It seems like I have been waiting so long. Oh, how I want to grow big and beautiful, and blossom lovely tulips!” the little bulb cried impatiently.

“Everything takes time to grow, little flower, whether it be a tree, a plant, or a little bee or butterfly. If everything grew all in one day and you did not have to wait for anything, it would not be so special, to watch things grow and enjoy each stage that life brings.”

“What is a stage?” asked the little voice beneath the ground.

“A stage is a part of life. Like when a human grows: first they are a newborn baby; then they begin to walk and talk. Afterwards, they start to run and learn many things as a child. They grow older and become a teenager. Then finally, they are an adult, and still they learn many things, as they continue to go through the stages of life.”

“When will I start to grow though? I do not even have a tiny sprout or anything!” replied the tulip.

“What you do not see right now, little tulip, is that it has begun to snow. It is cold, and the ground will soon freeze over. The covering of snow will remain for a long time, throughout the winter. If you began to grow now, your little stem and leaves would not be strong enough to last through the cold winter. You would shrivel up and die. The best thing to do is rest, and when the spring arrives, you will be ready to grow big and strong. I promise.” The tree tried his best to reassure the little bulb that was so eager to grow.

The tulip spoke again. “I think I understand. Thank you for explaining it to me. I will try to have patience and rest so that I will be ready when the springtime comes.”

“That is good. Have a good rest. I will see you when all the little plants begin to grow.”

At that, the little bulb grew quiet and tried her best to rest. Finally she fell asleep, and remained that way the whole winter through.

* * *

Little by little, the snow started to fall less often; the sun started shining more, showing little patches of dark brown ground here and there. Underneath one patch of ground, the little bulb woke up. She noticed a tiny shoot of green beginning to sprout. “It’s time!” she whispered to herself excitedly. Every day the green shoot grew a little more, until one morning, the little green sprout broke through the ground, and the tulip finally saw the big world around her.

The first thing she noticed was a big tree that had also begun to grow bright green leaves. “Hello!” she called up to the tree that towered above her.

“Well, hello, little sprout! I see that you have finally pushed your way through the ground, just at the right time too! Did you have a nice winter rest?”

“Yes, thank you! I am so glad I did. Now I feel ready to grow and I am so excited that it is spring at last!”

“So am I,” said the tree. “So am I.”

One by one, the other plants and flowers began to wake up; their leaves started growing. All the plants in the garden were so glad that spring had come, and with it, a new stage of growth and experiencing new and happy times. Happiest of all was the little tulip, because she had learned that everything takes time to grow but that waiting patiently for something made her so happy once it finally happened.

Pretty soon, blossoms were bursting out everywhere, bringing color and life to the entire garden. The very first plant to blossom was the tulip, with a beautiful light blue flower. The gardener called his wife out to see, and they both admired the lovely little tulip.

“That is the most beautiful tulip I have ever seen!” exclaimed the wife; and the gardener wholeheartedly agreed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to read the books. I do smile when i see the comments.


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Caterpillar’s Quest

It was a quiet summer afternoon in the magical garden, when a tiny caterpillar, whose name was Conlan, hatched from an egg. He was so small, not even twice the size of the egg from which he had just hatched. The little caterpillar looked around, and realized he was hungry. He began to eat. He ate first one leaf, then another, and another. Once his appetite was somewhat filled, Conlan looked around. Stretching as far as he could see were leaves and stems, flowers and stalks.

“Where am I?” little Conlan piped up.

A nearby flower heard him and responded, “You are in the magical garden. Anyone who eats from the plants growing here, or drinks from the magical stream, can then talk to anyone else who eats or grows here.”

“Wow,” responded Conlan, as he continued to gaze at all he could see. He heard a noise and looked up. Surprised, he asked, “What are those?”

“Those?” the flower laughed. “They are butterflies.”

“They are beautiful. I have never seen anything so lovely,” said the caterpillar in amazement.

The flower whispered, “Just wait and see. Someday, something special will happen to you.”

Conlan wondered what that meant, but he was too hungry to think about it much. He began to eat again.

Day after day, the caterpillar ate and ate. He grew big and chubby. He met other insects in the garden, many of whom made comments about how much the caterpillar ate, and how fast he grew. One little ant, was busily working to collect food for his colony. He said, “I am working to collect food for the winter. Are you collecting food too, or are you just eating it all?”

A ladybug that heard the comment piped in, “He just eats and eats and eats. That’s all he ever does!”

Conlan felt bad. He munched his way over to the babbling stream and looked down into it. He saw his reflection and felt even worse. “They are right. I am just a fat caterpillar. I do nothing but eat.” The caterpillar heard some fluttering above and looked up. Again, he saw a few beautiful butterflies flitting from blossom to blossom. They looked so happy and free. Conlan began to cry, big tear drops running from his chubby green face and splashing into the stream below.

Suddenly, the caterpillar heard a whisper that seemed to come from the stream itself, “Someday you will fly freely with them.”

“That could not be possible. I am always going to be nothing but a crawling caterpillar.” He began to eat more leaves, until he was tired and went to sleep.

The next morning, Conlan decided to have his breakfast over at the same plant where he hatched. He really liked the taste of those leaves and thought it might make him feel happier. He hadn’t even finished eating, though, when a thin silk thread began to come from his tail. “Now what’s this?” He exclaimed. “Now the other insects will have another reason to make fun of me. I think maybe I should just hide.”

The same flower that spoke to the newly hatched caterpillar now heard his words again. “Hold on just a minute there, little caterpillar! Don’t be so gloomy. Do you remember what I told you when we first met? I said something special would happen to you; well, now is the time! All you need to do is spin a little house for yourself and climb inside.”

“What? How can that be something special? That makes no sense to me at all.” Conlan began to crawl away, so he would not have to listen to the flower.

The flower did not give up so easily: “I have seen the cycle before, little caterpillar. Perhaps you do not understand now, but if you just trust and have confidence, you will see.”

Deep inside, the caterpillar hoped that it was true. He wanted to be something different, something unique. “I guess it would not hurt to try.” He thought. “Okay, I believe you. I will do what you suggest.”

At that, little Conlan began to spin a little cocoon. It was not easy and took him a long time to spin it around himself. Everything was dark and a little bit tight inside. He thought of maybe crawling back out, but remembered the flower’s words. He decided to believe, and he completed his spinning his little cocoon, until he was tucked safely and tightly inside. Soon, Conlan fell into a deep sleep.

When he woke up, Conlan had no idea how long he had been sleeping. One thing he knew was that he felt very uncomfortable in his little cocoon. “I must have grown even bigger while I was sleeping,” Conlan thought to himself. “Now how am I going to get out of here?”

He pushed and shoved, but realized that the cocoon he spun had grown stiff, and was not moving. It had turned into a chrysalis. He tried wriggling and moving some more, and finally broke a little hole in the hardened chrysalis. Conlan was tired, but refused to give up; he first worked hard to get that opening a bit bigger. Then he kept on pushing and twisting about until he had finally wiggled his way out of the small opening.

Having at long last made his way through, Conlan was tired. He was fairly still for a few moments, trying to regain his strength, before looking around once more. “Something seems different.” Conlan observed. He looked behind himself, and there, opening and closing gently, were two brightly-colored butterfly wings!

Conlan was too amazed to even speak. He just rested there, gazing at his new, beautiful wings.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Conlan heard a familiar voice. It was the flower that had first spoken to him, and encouraged him to have confidence. “Your wings aren’t just to look at. Come on, take off! It’s time for you to fly.”

Conlan was excited. Fly? He never thought such a thing would be possible. But now, here he was, with his very own set of wings. Conlan fluttered them up and down, and sure enough, he began to hover above the leaf on which he had been standing. He flapped them a little bit faster and rose higher than he had ever been before, to where he hovered slightly above the flower.

“Thank you,” said Conlan kindly. “You gave me such good advice and helped me to believe. I will not forget you.” The butterfly gave the flower a gentle kiss, and for once, the flower was speechless.

Conlan, the caterpillar-turned-butterfly, was thrilled. He flew up and around the tree, and flittered amongst the flowers; he hovered over the stream. Everything was even more beautiful and special from above.

Conlan saw ants busily working below, and he smiled. “If only they knew…” he thought to himself. Then he heard a sound and looked behind him. A butterfly with blue and black wings flittered up to him.

“Hi. I am Bacia. You must be new. Do you want to play?”

“Yes,” Conlan replied without a moment’s hesitation, and the two butterflies flittered off together, ready for a day of fun and adventure.

Bacia flew with Conlan to fields and parks, meadows and gardens. She taught him how to sip nectar from the flowers, and took him to the blossoms that tasted the best. She introduced him to other cheerful butterflies and he made many friends that day.

Tired and happy, Conlan returned to the magical garden that evening. The little flower who had helped him was already sleeping. “Tomorrow I will tell the flower all about my day.” He thought to himself.

As Conlan was flittering around for the best place to sleep with his newfound wings, he heard a soft sigh. He quickly found the source of the noise; it was a little caterpillar.

“What is wrong?” Conlan asked.

“Oh, nothing much. It’s just that I am nothing but a little caterpillar. Look at you; you are so beautiful with those wings, and you can fly and everything. What can I do?—nothing but eat and crawl around.”

Conlan smiled. “Just wait little one. Something very special is going to happen to you soon. I promise.”

The little caterpillar did not quite understand, but he was encouraged at the words of this kind butterfly that took notice of him. The two little creatures then curled up and went fast to sleep.

Jim Davies

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

At Last. The End

The flowers had been paying close attention to every word. Now they all looked around at each other. The little buttercup felt ashamed and spoke up. “I am sorry. You are right. There is no better place for me than where I am growing and living now. Thank you for your story that helped me to realize this.”

The rest of the flowers swayed in agreement.

“You are very welcome. Oh, and here comes the little boy now,” said the tree, as an old man slowly walked toward the garden.

“Our gardener?” asked the buttercup.

“That’s right. He was once the little boy that ran to listen to his mother’s stories under my growing branches. He is now much older. He did not come to visit for a long time, then began to come and read stories to his children when they were young, and now…”

“Grandpa, grandpa,” said two young children excitedly. “Look, the flowers are all so pretty!”

“I see a pretty lily.” the little girl said, as she ran up to one plant.

“And here is a cute little buttercup!” said the boy.

The old man greeted the blooming flowers. Then he sat under the big tree and watched the children run and play. After a few moments he pulled out an old book and the children came running to listen to the stories. Above, the wise old tree towered. By now, he knew that book very well, and he listened to the stories about forests and deserts, mountains and plains. He was happy though, in this big beautiful garden. The tree looked down at the flowers, and could tell they were now quietly listening to the stories as well. He knew they were happy too, for they had learned, through the story that the wise tree shared with them, how to be content in the special place they are.

Nearly done

“Then I woke up to a sun shining more brightly than I had ever seen it before. I thought for a moment that I was back in the garden, but even in the brightest and hottest summer I had experienced, the sun was never so hot. I could barely unfold my leaves when they began to wilt from the scorching sun. I stretched my roots as far down as I could, but there was no water, anywhere. All I could see around me was sand and a few pokey strange-looking plants, which I recognized from the book that the mother read to her son. It was a cactus. I realized that I was in a desert. Maybe it was the Sahara Desert, the largest and hottest desert in the world. It was much too hot for me and I needed more water than I would get here. Once more, the brighter the sun shone, the feebler I felt, and I could not remember anything more from that desert experience.

“A freezing cold and biting wind began to blow. It was so strong that I thought I would lose all my leaves. If that was not enough, it began to snow; not just a gentle snowfall like I knew from the wintertime in the garden, but a raging snowstorm. I looked around and saw that I was high on a mountain, and there was no shelter to be found. I wondered if it was Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The wind blew more fiercely and the snow fell harder; I wrapped my leaves and branches as tightly as I could around my swaying trunk and huddled against the storm.

“Then, I felt a warm breeze. I heard the birds chirping sweetly, and the bees buzzing. I could hear the gentle babbling of a stream. I unfolded my leaves to the sun, which was shining just perfectly as I ventured a look around. I was back, in our magical garden. I was just in time to see the little boy come running up and try to climb my little trunk while his mother walked up holding a book beneath her arm.

“I still enjoyed listening to the stories about faraway lands and exciting new places. I now knew, though, that this garden was my home, and I am happiest here, among the plants and flowers, the bees and butterflies, the soft sunshine and gentle rain. This is where I belong, and I am content.”