The Child and the Caterpillar: Life’s Journey

One bright morning, the brightest morning in some time, the Child woke up from a night of playful dreams. She wiped her eyes and sat up stretching into the brilliant sunlight.

What a wonderful day, thought the child.

She looked around the forest at the edge of the sea and something colorful caught her eye.

She stood up from her hammock and wandered over to a branch.

Before her was a most curious thing… not quite animal and not quite bug.

It was bright green with orange spots that looked like eyes on its one side and long hairs and two beady black orbs on the other.

“Hello and good morning,” announced the Child with a huge toothy smile.

The strange thing stopped its chewing on its leaf and half its body rose up to look the Child in the eye.

As it rose up the Child could see that this creature had hundreds of little legs with little suckers on each.

“Hello young Child, are you here to eat me?” quizzed the creature.

The Child looked in horror at this beautiful creature of the forest and assured him she wasn’t planning to eat him.

“Why no… I am mostly curious,” assured the Child.

“Why curious? I am not doing anything to harm you. I am just getting ready for my change,” replied the creature.

“Change?” The Child looked inquisitively at the creature, still standing upright.

The Child carefully scooped up the creature and ran to the wise Owl.

“Look what I found, eating a leaf on my tree,” and the Child opened her hand.

The creature again stood up, looking the Owl in the eye, and asked again, “are you going to eat me?”

The wise Owl looked at this small creature, all covered in long hair and hundreds of legs.

“If I ate you, you would not go through the change and become a beautiful being.”

The Child was bewildered by what the Owl said to this small creature.

The Owl told the Child to watch over this small creature and be sure it is safe.

The Child slowly closed her hand and ran back to her favorite tree and gently placed this strange creature on a low branch by her hammock.

“I will protect you and you will be my friend,” promised the Child. “Do you have a name?”

“I am a Caterpillar,” informed the creature.

“I am this color and design to stop birds and other animals from eating me.”

The Child looked sadly at the Caterpillar and wondered how it would be to live in a world where you were so different no one would want to come near you. Again, the Child gave her word that she would keep him safe.

Days turned into weeks and the Caterpillar continued to spend his days in the Child’s favorite tree, eating all the delicious green leaves it could.

One morning, the Child woke up from the most wonderful dream, and found the Caterpillar moving very slow.

“Are you okay,” she asked her new friend?

“I feel strange,” said the Caterpillar.

“Are you sick? Should I go get Otter, she can heal anyone!” The Child was deeply concerned about her friend, so she ran as fast as she could to the river where Otter lived. She frantically explained to Otter that her new friend called Caterpillar was sick.

Otter took the Child by the hand and they went back to her favorite tree together.

He was wiggling and wiggling.

When they arrived, the Caterpillar was hanging by the branch the Child had left him on.

“What should I do?” cried the Child to Otter.

Otter took the Child by the hand and told her that this is what Caterpillars do… just watch.

The two watched for hours as their friend spun and spun, covering himself in silky thread until he was gone.

The Child began to cry, but Otter wiped her tears and told her that he is now in a cocoon and her duty to her friend was not over, she still had to keep him safe.

The days turned warmer and warmer, and everyday the Child would wake up to the sun, thank the day for coming, and looked in on her friend. It had been weeks since he had spun himself into a cocoon. His cocoon had gone from bright white to a hard brown color. She wondered if she had done something wrong but continued to do as Otter and Owl told her, and never let the cocoon out of her sight.

One day, while swinging in her hammock, she noticed a crack in the cocoon. She ran through the woods again to the river to find Otter.

The two ran back to the tree. All the animals of the sea, forest, and sky had gathered around the Child’s tree.

Otter took the Child’s hand and whispered to her to watch, this is the change he spoke to you about.

Slowly the crack grew bigger and bigger until a wrinkled, winged creature, emerged.

The animals and the Child all watched for hours as this creature began to grow wings.

The Child stood in amazement as she watched her friend come out of his cocoon and turn into a beautiful winged creature.

The creature then released itself and floated silently on its new wings over to the Child.

She put her hand in the air and her friend landed on her finger.

“Hello my dear friend,” said the Caterpillar.

The Child looked at this delicate, beautiful creature. On its wings were the same orange eyes she had seen on the Caterpillar, it had only 6 long skinny legs, instead of the hundreds he once had. It’s body was much more slender and its black eyes still remained.

“You are my friend!” screeched the Child in excitement. “How did you perform such magic?”

“I am now Butterfly,” spoke the newly emerged insect. “This is what I was born to do.”

The Child ran to her secret hollow in the tree and pulled out the paint bucket, brush and jar of smells the old lady in the cave gave her.

“As a re-birthday present, I will paint you your favorite flower and it can smell as sweet as you’d like,” offered the Child.

She ran around the forest painting flowers all around her favorite tree for her new friend.

They played games of hide and seek and spent hours in the sun resting together.

After a few days the Butterfly began to slow down and didn’t want to play anymore. He said he felt strange again. The Child asked if he was going to change again?

“I am afraid so,” answered the Butterfly. “This change is life’s own journey.”

The Child didn’t understand.

Soon Otter and the wise old Owl appeared.

“My friend is sick and is going to change again,” cried the Child, and big tears ran down her face. “He said he’s on life’s journey.”

Otter and the Owl sat next to the Child as she watched her friend fall asleep on one of the beautiful flowers she had given him for his re-birthday. He didn’t move for a long time as the three comforted him. His journey had ended.

The Child cried for days and Otter sat with her.

“We all will die, and our life’s journey will end much like your friend,” said Otter trying to explain life to the Child. “We must live our lives as good souls and take care of our land and love each other for as long as we can.”

The Child looked at Otter with her big innocent eyes full of tears. Otter wiped away her tears and the two went to sleep in her hammock.

The Child and The Dinosaur Egg: Geode Crystals

One day while walking along a desert ridge, a small child met up with a lone burro walking in the opposite direction. The burro was dark brown with white circles around his eyes, his shaggy head low and solemn. The child thought to herself, what an interesting animal to be alone out here in the desert.

“What brings you to the desert?” quizzed the child.

The burro slowly raised his shaggy head and gazed deep into the child’s eyes.

He told her the story of his life without words. The child saw his sorrow and his joy. She saw him romping around on grassy plains where he ran and played with his family.

The burro told her of how he got separated from his family and ended up walking the desert alone.

The child grabbed the burro around his neck and gave him a big hug and kiss on his nose. I will be your friend she promised him.

The burro smiled and lifted his head and thanked the child. “What brings a small child to the desert alone?” asked the burro.

“I am looking for dinosaur eggs,” answered the child.

The burro was confused since he’d not seen any dinosaurs. “Are you sure you are in the right place my child? I have never seen a dinosaur here in the desert, and I have lived here all my life.”

“Oh yes,” assured the child. “My friends, the prairie dogs, told me of piles of them all over the ground.

It is a far distance and I have packed enough food and water for my journey,” said the child.

“Perhaps I can help you get there little one,” volunteered the burro.

The child thought carefully and agreed it would be faster and nice to have some company. She drew a map in the sand and showed the burro where the eggs were said to be. The burro shook his shaggy head and bended a knee for the child to get onto his back. She grabbed hold of his mane and they trotted off.

It took most of the day to get to the special place. The two looked around and saw no dinosaurs. The child was very saddened that she and the burro came all this way and there were no dinosaurs.

Just then a small lizard darted across the ground. He was turquoise colored with a bright yellow band around his neck. He scampered up onto a rock above the two. He looked with his googley eyes at the two with a puzzled look.

“Hello Mr Lizard,” the child said politely, “ we are on a quest to find dinosaurs so we can get some eggs.”

The lizard flicked his tongue a few times and told the child he knew where the dinosaurs were, and agreed to take them.

The lizard darted from rock to rock, shade to shade until they came upon a tall butte. There is where you will find the dinosaurs gesturing to the butte. She and the burro trotted off after thanking the lizard for his information.

They got to the butte by late afternoon and the shadows were growing long. “I will share what food I have,” offered the child. The burro raised his head and thanked the child for her kindness. After a fine dinner, the two curled up together and fell fast asleep.

The birds welcomed the sun as it rose from its slumber. The pale light revealed a cave at the base of the butte that was covered in vines and sage brush and seemed a good place to start the search. The burro trampled down all the brush and the two went in.

It was damp and great rock features came down from the ceiling and rose from the floor. The light filtered in and the two looked up and all around the cave. There were ancient bones that had turned to rock all surrounded in beautiful crystals. Whole skeletons of huge prehistoric creatures that were half buried in rock and mud. The girl was feeling defeated when she saw and odd rock sitting on the floor of the cave, the more she looked, the more she saw.

She bent over and picked up one of these odd rocks. It was perfectly round and felt quite heavy. The child gathered as many as she could hold and went outside into the sun. “These must be what the prairie dog saw!” exclaimed the child.

The burro looked at the rock and saw nothing special, just a round rock. He kicked at one of the rocks and it broke open.

The child ran over to see what the burro had done. Both stood wide eyed as what they saw was the most beautiful thing ever! Inside the dinosaur egg was the best magic they ever saw. The child remembered the cave in which she found the eggs. She remembered that all around the bones were crystals of every color. “Dinosaurs must’ve been magic,” the child suggested. “These crystals inside the eggs must have happened when the young dinosaurs died in their egg.” The burro shook his shaggy mane and agreed.

The child gathered as many eggs in her pack could hold and climbed back on the burro’s back. The two rode off into the vast desert in search of more adventures

The Child and The Noisy Forest: The Story of Cicadas

One morning a child woke from a peaceful dream, the forest was buzzing like nothing she had heard before. She swung her legs over the side of her hammock and looked around.

Everything looked the same…

She took a deep breath, following the air, identifying the smells…no nothing different.

She listened as the trees seemed to vibrate and hum a foreign sound.

The animals of the forest and streams became frightened. Squirrel ran to the sleeping place of the human child. Darting here and there, all in a tussle, Squirrel could hear nothing but the insistent buzzing of forest trees. It was driving him mad. “Please make it stop,” complained Squirrel to the child.

In just the most perfect squirrel talk the child promised to look into this strange occurrence of sound.

She packed just the right amount of food for a child her size and pulled a wicker pack she made out of a hole in the tree she called ‘home.’

She went in search of the black and white Magpie.

As she remembered a dream she had once about a caterpillar that turned into a beautiful flying creature. She remembered the cave paintings in her dreams. Perhaps it is this phenomenon that is causing the sound.

The Magpie appeared with a blue settler jay and they sat high on a perch in a lovely oak tree.

“What can we do for you today child?”

She went in to explain her dream and the buzzing in the trees. None of her friends had heard this sound. “I supposed since you eat in the trees you might know,” quizzed the child.

They had seen no caterpillar cocoons and only a strange hollow casing of an alien being, half mantis and half beetle.

The child was puzzled and quarried the two further, “Who else can know the answer to this?”

There is a fable told of a curse placed on an ancient beast. It would devour entire forests in a weeks time, leaving no shade for the baby birds. Huge trees died and grasses were stripped next.

The Jay said that only Mother could answer this question since it was long before their lives. The child thanked them and they flew off.

The child went to her favorite place to sit in quiet meditation. She asked for The Mother’s help. A day passed and she dreamed of walking through a canyon playing a flute. Above her was a hawk gliding on the currents. Soon her flute became the cry of the hawk and she saw through its eyes.

Many hundreds of moons ago, a witch came to the land and was made a deal by a prince. The lands were being ravaged by an ancient dragon that would consume the fields and forests. The animals called on the Witch to slay the ancient dragon. They paid a fair price for the spell and went on with their lives.

The witch found the dragons favorite watering hole and lay in waite. Sometime after the setting of the moon, in the inky blackness of night, the dragon appeared.

The witch had poured a potion into the water and the dragon soon froze in place.

The dragon asked the witch kindly to forgive its hunger and if it could, it would eat much less. The witch smiled and spoke a spell that caused the dragon to remain dormant for up to 15 years. The dragon was not happy and lashed out and the witch turned it into a small insect, and it would be imprisoned underground, only to emerge every 15 years.

The hawk released the child and she heard only her flute again echoing in the canyon.

She woke from this dream and ran quickly to the meeting place by the big lagoon. She explained her talk with the magpie and jay, her dream and the hawk.

The fear slowly faded from everyone’s minds. The sound of the creature under such a spell should be enjoyed.

Eventually one day a cold air blew from the north and the buzzing stopped.

Everyone settled in for the coming of the colored leaves.