One day Bina the ant was scurrying about in search of food. Summer was almost over and autumn was approaching. Soon it would be winter and food would be difficult to find. Bina knew it was necessary to stock as much as possible so that her ant colony could have enough to eat during the difficult months ahead.

She had collected quite a bit already. Now she was on the lookout for bits of sweetmeats that younger members of her colony loved to munch on after their meal. Darting to and fro between trees and shrubs, Bina suddenly smelt the sweet aroma of pastry. She quickly went around the bush and there she saw it – a large bit of pastry with a whole raisin in it!

Just then she looked up and saw something hanging from the leaf of a bush. Looking closer, she saw that it was a tiny tail. It seemed to be all wrapped up in something, as if bandaged.

Appearances are Deceptive [Illustration by Shinod AP]
Appearances are Deceptive [Illustration by Shinod AP]

Bina did not know it, but the ‘thing’ was a chrysalis, the pupa of a butterfly.

“Oh you poor thing,” exclaimed Bina. She had no idea what a chrysalis was. “What a sad fate you have! I can run anywhere I wish, climb trees or go over mountains. And look at you, you are trapped in your shell. All you can do is move your tail around a bit.”

But there was no answer from the chrysalis. So Bina went on, “Even ant children can run around and do as much as we can. They are free, you are all bound up and can’t even move. What a life you must have.” And she walked away with her piece of pastry.

A few days later, Bina came that way again hoping to find more pastry or biscuit lying around. It was unusually hot that day and she was sweating. Suddenly, a cloud seemed to come over her and she felt a soft cool breeze. She looked up. What did she see this time?

Why, one of the most beautiful butterflies she had ever laid eyes on! Light blue spotted with light pink and yellow dots. How beautiful and how lucky to be able to fly around free, thought Bina, as she stared at the beauty.

“Look at me,” said Sundri the butterfly. “I am your much-pitied friend. You boasted of being able to run around and climb mountains. But now try to get me to listen.” And with a graceful flap of her wings, Sundari flew away. Like a soft sigh of the breeze…

435 words | 4 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #trees, #mountains, #butterfly, #colony

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