The Ugly Caterpillar

Wormy and covered with a million hairy spikes! He couldn’t sleep that night, for every time he tried to close his eyes, there it would be: an ugly, hairy picture of himself.

At dawn the woodland creatures began to stir to welcome a new day. Bees began to buzz. Birds began to chirp. Squirrels scampered about, looking for nuts and berries. Frogs hopped about and dived into the pond. But Caterpillar refused to smile.

Bzzzz….bzzzzz….bzzzz….

“Go away! Leave me alone,” said caterpillar as Bee buzzed around him.

“That’s so rude,” said Bee.

“I’m so hairy and ugly,” said Caterpillar.

Bee buzzed around a little more and had to agree. But he wanted to help. “I have an idea,” he said. And rushed off!

Caterpillar was a little puzzled. How can you have an idea and simply dash off without saying anything! In a little while, Bee was back.

“Let’s see if this can make you any prettier,” he said, and sprinkled Caterpillar with pollen dust that he had collected.

“There!” he said, when he was done.

Caterpillar looked down into the pond. “Look what you’ve done! Now I look like furry mountain of dreadful orange,” he screamed and began to cry. “Go away!”

“I only wanted to help sweeten your day,” said Bee and buzzed off. If Caterpillar couldn’t appreciate it, he had other things to do.

By noon, Caterpillar was really sad. And as he sat sulking on the leaf, he saw a little bird, perched on a branch nearby.

“Why are you looking so glum?” she asked in her sing-song way.
“Why do you care?” asked Caterpillar. And added, “Can’t you see for yourself? I’m a big mountain of furry dreadful orange!”

Hmmm... thought Bird and she wanted to help. So she said, “I have an idea!” And rushed off.

Caterpillar was a little puzzled. How can you have an idea and simply dash off without saying anything! In a little while, Bird was back. “This will make you smell wonderful,” she said as she sprinkled the nectar she had collected from the most sweet-smelling flowers in the woods.

“Stop, stop!” cried Caterpillar. But it was too late.

Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo!
Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo! Aaaaahchoooo!

“Look at what you’ve done! Now my nose is all runny and red. It is like a big, round clown nose! Go away,” cried Caterpillar.

“I only wanted to help sweeten your day,” said Bird and fluttered off. If Caterpillar couldn’t appreciate it, she had other things to do.

By evening Caterpillar was at his bluest best (or was it bluest worst?) Squirrel scampered down the tree and noticed glum Caterpillar.

“What’s the matter? You don’t look too well,” he said.

“Can’t you see for yourself? I’m a big mountain of furry dreadful orange, with a red clown nose!”

Hmmmm... thought Squirrel and wanted to help. So he said, “I have an idea!” And rushed off.

Caterpillar was more than a little puzzled. How can you have an idea and simply dash off without saying anything!

In a little while, Squirrel was back. “This will cheer you up,” he said and gave Caterpillar some green, juicy berries.

Caterpillar mumbled his thanks and began to eat them. Ewww! They were sour and bitter at once! Caterpillar threw up and turned an ugly green while doing so. And when he looked down into the pond, there he was — a mountain of dreadful orange pollen, with a bright red clown nose, his face turning an ugly green!

“Go away,” cried Caterpillar.

“I only wanted to help brighten your day,” said Squirrel and scampered off. If Caterpillar couldn’t appreciate it, he had other things to do.

Caterpillar sighed. It simply couldn’t get worse!

The sun dipped into the horizon, and the woodland creatures settled down to sleep. Except for wise old Owl, who came and perched on the branch near Caterpillar.

“Not getting any sleep?” he asked. “You could give me some company. I don’t sleep the whole night.”

“Go away! Can’t you see how ugly I am? An ugly mountain of orange pollen, with a bright red clown nose, and a green face,” said Caterpillar.

Hmmm... thought Owl, and wanted to help. He cleared his throat.

“In a few days, you’ll see how you’ll turn into the most beautiful of all creatures. Just because you feel ugly today, it doesn’t mean you will remain so. Be patient. And then you’ll see a miracle!”

Over the next few days, Caterpillar did feel better. And before he knew it, he had turned into the most amazing butterfly ever, dressed in the brightest of oranges, reds and greens!

When he left his leafy perch and fluttered about, everyone in the woods exclaimed, “How beautiful!”

And Caterpillar, now Butterfly, blushed bright pink.

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