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by WaylandCybersmith

Fred was asleep, dreaming caterpillar dreams. He dreamt of eating succulent green leaves, of laying in the sunshine watching the clouds float by. When he woke up, he saw the silk sheet that surrounded him. Slowly, so slowly, he tore it open and eased his body out. Something was wrong. He felt very, very strange. He couldn’t feel all his legs. He looked down. He only had 6 and, instead of the short, stumpy ones that kept him safely attached to the leaves he ate, they were long and thin. His body, too, had changed. Not the comfortable bulk that came from weeks of happy gorging, but slender and graceful. On his back were two wings in beautiful patterns of red and black and white. He stretched out in the heat of the morning sun, his wings spread and, caught in the wind, he flew for the first time.


Fred flew around the garden, but something was wrong. You see, Fred was still thinking like a caterpillar. He settled on a plant and tried to eat some of the leaf, but all he could do was lick it. The wind caught him again and whisked him into the air. So it was, that seeing his good friend Eric on a nearby nasturtium, Fred settled beside him. Now, let me tell you a secret. Butterflies don’t really like caterpillars. Caterpillars crawl on their bellies while butterflies soar through the air. Caterpillars eat rough leaves and stalks, while butterflies feed on the finest nectar from the most exquisite flowers. But Fred was still thinking like a caterpillar.


Hey, Eric.” He said. His friend turned, not recognising Fred.


Hey, Eric. It’s me. Fred.”


Fred? You’re not Fred. Fred is a caterpillar like me. Not a flyer.”


I tell you I’m Fred. Look, we’ve known each other since we hatched. We did everything together. I’m Fred. You’ve got to believe me.”


What happened to you then? You certainly don’t look like yourself.”


I’m not well, Eric. When I woke up this morning I looked like this. I can’t eat leaves anymore. There’s nothing to me. What can I do? I don’t like this. I want my old life back.”


Just then, another butterfly settled on a nearby flower. “What’s wrong, Butterfly?”


I’m not a butterfly. I’m a caterpillar.”


Well, you look like a butterfly to me. What’s wrong?”


I haven’t been able to eat anything. I can’t hold onto leaves like I could. It’s all wrong.”


But your life as a caterpillar is over. You have changed. You’re a butterfly now. You have to think like one.”


I’m not a butterfly. I want to eat what I’ve always eaten. I want to be with my friend Eric. I want to be fat and full. I don’t like this.”


But you can fly now. You couldn’t before. Isn’t that better than crawling? And have you drunk any nectar yet? It’s much better than leaves.”


I’m a caterpillar. I may look like a butterfly, but I’m a caterpillar.”


For the next few days, Fred followed Eric around but Eric felt uncomfortable with having a butterfly as a friend and after a while the two parted. A number of butterflies tried to talk to Fred, but he sent them away.


Hungry and even thinner, Fred at last tried nectar for the first time. He tasted the sweet, flowery liquid and a thrill went through him. Fred suddenly realised that he was, indeed, a butterfly. He flew into the air out of pure joy and watched the ground fall away beneath him, then rush towards him as he hurtled down to another flower. He danced and tumbled trying a rose here, a tulip there, never getting his fill.


It wasn’t long before Fred forgot about his life as a caterpillar. He was now a butterfly, and would be for the rest of his life.


Fred had learned what we all must learn. Life is full of change and we can’t go back to how things were, no matter how good they seem. We have to accept the changes. Make the most of them. Sometimes, when the change comes from tragedy, it is very painful. But, when we live in the reality of the change, embracing the new opportunities, we discover courage and adventure we never realised was possible.


© Colin Nelson www.waycyber.com


© WaylandCybersmith 2011


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