How The Butterfly Got Its Wings
Long ago, Most Dearly Beloved, before the world became rough, the butterfly was only a tiny bug. ‘Most like a grasshopper it was, after it changed its skin from a caterpillar. It hopped and flopped along on the ground, and didn’t bother itself too much about anybody else. In fact, it was a most ‘ceited little bug and though it was better than every other bug around. ‘Member that, Most Dearly Beloved. The butterfly was so ‘ceited it hardly even noticed the other bugs anymore. The ladybug was most beautifuler than the butterfly, and the grasshopper jumped higher and the cricket made prettier music-songs, but still the butterfly though it was the bestest of all the bugs. You still ‘membering, Dearly Beloved?
One day when the butterfly was trip-trapping along the ground, smiling at the grass and feeling special, a big giant bird came flapping down out of a tree and landed on the ground smack in front of him. The butterfly was feeling extra ‘ceited that morning, so he just kept right on bouncing up to the bird. “Move over, big birdy-thing. You’re in my way!” the butterfly said, and glared. The bird cocked its beady eye and glared right back.
“You’re a cheeky little bug,” the bird said. “Mind you watch out, or I might eat you right up!” (The bird wasn’t a very polite fellow to strangers, Dearly Beloved.)
The ‘ceited little butterfly bug didn’t flinch a single ‘ceited muscle. He hopped right up between the bird’s big claws and looked him straight in the eye (as straight as he could, Most Dearly Beloved, for the ‘ceited butterfly was much smaller than the bird and had to look up far over his head to see it). “You just hold on a minute. Who do you think you are, anyway?” the ‘ceited butterfly asked. “You can’t go eating up every bug you see. And ‘sides, I’s much more specialer than you! So there!” The butterfly glared even harder at the big bird.
“Oh are you?” said the bird. “Well, if you are so special as you say, bug, then I won’t be able to eat you. Let’s test it out, shall we? Who’s specialer now?” and the great bird scooped the bug up in his great bird beak and flew up to his nest in a big gnarly oak tree. (Are you still ‘membering, Dearly Beloved? ‘Member to ‘member the ‘portant parts. They’re ‘portantest of all the story.)
The poor little ‘ceited butterfly was very s’prised to find his poor ‘ceited little self up in the top of a big tall tree all of a sudden. He didn’t feel so special anymore, and the big bird was very hungry looking. The ‘ceited butterfly began to tremble and shake all over with fright, and suddenly didn’t feel so ‘ceited anymore either. “Please let me down, big bird! You are specialest of all, and you’re even more beautiful and fancy than me after all! I won’t never pester you again if you let me down! Please, oh, please don’t eat me!” the poor butterfly pleaded.
The ‘ceited little butterfly pleaded and pled with the big giant bird. The bird just kept staring at the butterfly with its big bird eyes. Finally, the bird ruffled up its feathers and glared straight at the shiv’ring butterfly. “I’ll let you go just this once, ‘ceited butterfly, to teach you a lesson that your ‘ceited head needs. But if you don’t learn it proper this time, I’ll eat you right up without a thought next time!” the bird said. Then he shoved the poor ‘ceited butterfly right out of his nest! The butterfly fell down and down, all the way to the ground! He landed with a sad little ‘ceited plop right on a big leaf on the ground and had the wind knocked clean out of him. He lay there for a minute, hoping no other big birds would come along. But the time the poor ‘ceited little butterfly felt well enough to get up again, night had quite fallen.
The ‘ceited little butterfly crept not-so-‘ceitedly home and hid inside the whole next day he was so scared.
Are you ‘membering what I told you to ‘member, Most Dearly Beloved? ‘Bout the ‘ceited little butterfly?
The next day, the butterfly’s neighbor the kind ladybug came to call on the ‘ceited butterfly. “I did notice thy late return from abroad yesterday eve,” she said. (She was most well bred and talked like a lady.)
The ‘ceited butterfly nodded. “I’m scared, kind ladybug,” he said. “I don’t want to be a ‘ceited bug anymore. The giant bird ‘most ate me last night ‘cause of my ‘ceitedness! But I don’t know how to not be ‘ceited,” the butterfly said, and sighed most tragically.
The kind ladybug asked the butterfly all about his ‘speriences the night before, and by the time the ‘ceited butterfly finished, she was nodding most wisely. “Thee must away to the Mysterious Fairy Bug. She canst divest unto thee the way to become unconceited,” the kind ladybug said. (Do you still ‘member, Dearly Beloved?)
The poor butterfly asked the ladybug how to find this ‘Sterious Fairy Bug, and set out on his way directly he ate breakfast. He hop-flopped his way down the grassy path to her house in the flowers feeling downright ‘jected and most unspecial. When he finally got there, it took him a minute to work up the nerve to knock on her dewdrop-strewn rosepetal door. Once he did, though, it opened right away, and a most beautiful fairy bug came out.
She looked most like the butterfly, sort of like a little grasshopper, but she was much prettier. She had two big beautiful floaty wings that were much bigger than herself and brightly colored. The butterfly gasped in awe and ‘mazement when he saw them. The ‘Sterious Fair Bug smiled most kindly at the butterfly. “What do you need, little bug?” she asked. “Why have you come?”
The butterfly stoped gazing at her beautiful wings and looked back at the fairy bug. “I’m a ‘ceited little butterfly,” he said, “but I don’t want to be ‘ceited anymore! My ladybug neighbor said you could tell me how to be not ‘ceited anymore.”
The Fairy Bug smiled. “That I can, little butterfly. Why don’t you want to be conceited anymore?”
The butterfly hung his head. “Because I don’t have any friends, ‘Sterious Fairy Bug! And because the big bird almost ate me yesterday ‘cause I was ‘ceited to him. I don’t like being ‘ceited anymore,” he said. “It’s not fun.” (Do you see yet why you had to ‘member, Most Beloved?)
The ‘Sterious Fair Bug smiled again. “I’m proud of you, little butterfly,” she said. “From now on, you will not be the conceited butterfly. You will be the diligent butterfly. It will be your job to go to all the flowers and clean them up and make them pretty. You must brush off all the pollen from their petals and make them lovely and fresh.”
The dil’gent butterfly smiled very big. But then he frowned. “How can I reach the flowers, Fairy Bug?” he asked. “They are so far up! I can’t jump that high!”
The Fairy Bug smiled just as bigly back. “Yes you can, little diligent butterfly. When you stopped being conceited and asked to be diligent, you grew wings like me. They are a reminder for you of your promise to be good today.”
The dil’gent butterfly felt on his back, and sure enough, two great beautiful wings floated there. He flapped them slowly and lifted off the ground. “Yippee!” he cried as he flew to the nearest flower. “I’m a dil’gent butterfly! Thank you, ‘Sterious Fair Bug, thank you!” The ‘Sterious Fairy Bug waved as the dil’gent butterfly flew over the flower tops.
And that, Most Dearly Beloved, is how the butterfly got his wings. Do you see why you had to ‘member his ‘ceitedness? He was sorry for being so ‘ceited, so the Fairy Bug gave him beautiful wings and made him dil’gent instead. Now the dil’gent butterfly floats all over the world cleaning flowers and making them pretty and fresh. You can be dil’gent too, Dearly Beloved. Maybe you’ll get pretty wings too!