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The Caterpillar Story

Once upon a time there lived a caterpillar. She crawled along in the grass quite content to have one of its blades for dinner and a flower cup of dew for a drink. One day she decided to find out about her future. Having heard from a frog, she knew about Pumpkin, the fortune-teller, so she went straight there.

Turning its sinewy neck, the Pumpkin hissed, “You are in for a carefree life and new friends … follow this yellow path and you’ll find your happiness … it is a difficult road to take but you must make it all the way to the end! … they call it the ‘Pupa Way’… beware though of enemies you may encounter – the Long Nose, the Red Set and the Feathery Beak … just look at them living in a two-dimensional world and not bothering about the third dimension!”

The last cryptic phrase delivered in a somewhat didactic manner was lost on the Caterpillar who had already shuffled away determined to embark on that difficult Zen Journey.

She suffered such a fright from the Long Nose who could sniff her out among the grass and under leaf mould. Having just about managed to squeeze between some stones, she was chased by a snake-like tongue. And it was even worse with the gang of ants – they penetrated everywhere! She climbed up a burdock stem and trembled with fear watching the red hordes from the top. The ants’ collective mind was bent on using siege tactics and not head-on attack, and when one youngster tried to mount the stem, the lot gave a rather stern shout to stop him. “Mind you don’t fall and break your neck,” commented one elderly Ant with a sneer.

It was hot and stuffy in the woods as the Caterpillar stubbornly continued along the yellow path, strewn with stones. Small ones bruised her and the dust got in the way … “And you call it a carefree life?!” she thought in exasperation. Alas, freedom comes at a cost.

The path eventually led her to the edge of a cliff with a green field spreading beneath and the blue sky above. All of a sudden, something swished and whistled overhead – a huge bird about to drop down on her! In desperation the Caterpillar threw herself off the cliff to die and avoid falling prey to that monster … only to discover that she could fly! At last this was the carefree life of which the Pumpkin had spoken!

“I’ve flown away from suffering and dust, I’m free! There is endless sky above and there are other butterflies like me!”

The scent of bright flowers drifted up from the fields, mingled with the warm breath of the soil and she was carried higher and higher by a gentle breeze, light-headed in her freedom …

 
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