Flying Flowers

For weeks, the three eggs, tiny and pearl-like, had sat still and fast on the bright, green leaf.

They were well hidden, but that morning, when the rising sun touched them, they split open. Out crawled the three caterpillars — Hop, Skip and Flit. Sunshine dazzled their eyes and the blowing breeze shook them. They clung together in fright, promising to be there for each other whatever happened. Then, all at once, hunger struck.

Without more ado, they began nibbling on the very leaf that had been home to them. Then they gorged on the many leaves that surrounded them; but the more they ate, the more they wanted to eat.

They laughed at each other, because each grew fatter and bigger by the minute. Then something even more wonderful happened.

“Hey, Skip,” cried Flit, “you have grown beautiful, red stripes!”

“My word,” replied Skip, “So have you and so too Hop.”
Hop, who was busy, looked up just long enough to nod.

Luckily, in spite of their huge appetite, they did not have to move far away from each other, for all around were bushes full of the fresh leaves they enjoyed so much.
Contrary to what they had feared, there were not many dangers. An occasional bird did alight, but quickly shouting warnings to each other, they retreated into safe corners.

Life, it seemed to them, would move in this way forever. One day, Skip, who had become so fat that his name hardly suited him, came up to Hop and grunted, “I am fed up and exhausted. So tired in fact that I could sleep forever.”

Hop was alarmed. “Please, please don’t say such things. I couldn’t bear to be separated from you.”

Flip, who had come puffing up, exclaimed: “I must confess I feel the same way. Never thought it would happen.”

Skip looked from one to the other and then said sadly, “I feel the very same. I just hoped it would go away.”

“Maybe we need a little rest,” suggested Hop.

“Why not?” chorused the other two.

They chose spots under a leaf and perched not far away from each other.
“I’m cold and need to cover myself,” said Hop. To his surprise, the others felt the same. With that, they spun gossamer threads around them. Round and round they went, until they turned into blue and silver bundles. Once more the world outside faded. It was warm and dark and they slept.

They dreamed beautiful dreams, of brilliant wings, of flowering bushes and scented blossoms. Little did they realise that they were close to reality. The light breeze swung the sleeping forms and the gentle sun warmed their bodies.

 Slowly but steadily, the covering they had painstakingly woven, thinned and became worn out. Hop, Skip and Flit stirred from their deep sleep almost at the same time. Skip was the first to step out. He realised that he had the gift of wings. They were stuck to his sides, but it needed only a little patience to release them. As he shook himself, he saw Hop doing the same thing. Filled with joy, they flew towards each other.

What was their dismay to see that Flit was still trapped! They called out to their friend but he seemed not to have heard them. Through his thin covering though, Flit could see his friends. “I am here. Help me, help me,” he shouted. But they either did not hear or care, for they floated gaily away.

His heart was now filled with deep sadness and great fear, but with courage born of despair, he tore at his silken covering. To his great relief, it gave way and Flit struggled out. His wings were as gorgeous as those of his friends. Moments later, he joined them in their quest for honey and golden pollen.

As they flitted from flower to flower in the bright sunshine, they heard the glad voices of children exclaim, “Look at those beautiful butterflies! They seem like flying flowers!”

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