Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Nook: The Story of Zig Zag the Worm and Wooly Bear the Caterpillar

“I must worm my way through more fine literature,” said Zig Zag the worm, who lived in a nook of books.

The Book Nook lay hidden in the corner of the library in an abandoned French castle near the Rhine River. Although there was an entire castle to explore, Zig Zag crawled through volumes of the world’s best stories. He had become an expert in kings and queens, princesses and knights, witches, and ghosts, and even fairy elves.

Along with fiction, he read theses in education, health, science, the Arts, world history, and politics. One day, a fuzzy caterpillar wiggled its way into the library and opened “The Encyclopedia of Butterflies.”

“I’m Wooly Bear, and I’ve been told that I will one day be a butterfly,” the brown-striped creature said. “Do you know anything about how that is possible? It absolutely seems impossible to become so beautiful.”

Zig Zag put on his reading spectacles and scrunched his nose, paging through the Encyclopedia. 

“I’m only a worm, not a caterpillar, so I’m not acquainted with this type of magic,” Zig Zag said. “According to this book, it seems like you enter a cocoon. It almost seems like a cave, and then you emerge. When you emerge, you come out with brightly colored wings, and you can fly anywhere you like.”

“Oh, how painful! How can you say such a thing? I can’t imagine having such an experience,” the Caterpillar said. All of the fuzziness on the Caterpillar’s skin stood on edge, and he could not even feel his body.

“I would rather stay my wooly old self. Why do I have to become new? I like myself the way I am,” he said.

“Well, it’s all right here in the book. It’s very well-detailed in drawings, facts, and figures,” the Worm said. 

“Why don’t you have to go through something like a cocoon? So dark and scary. Why me?” the Caterpillar asked.

“Scientists don’t say why. Maybe worms are fine just as they are, and they don’t need to change,” the Worm said. “It must only be caterpillars who need to improve themselves. I feel fine, good enough as I am.”

As the Worm thought of himself as superior, the Caterpillar decided the cocoon could be for the best. After all, the Caterpillar had no choice, so he might as well make the best of mysterious transformation. 

“If I have to go into the cocoon, at least I can do it around great literature in the Book Nook,” the Caterpillar said. 

“Oh, wait! It says right here that not all caterpillars come out of the cocoon alive. Some of them die before becoming butterflies. It’s a tragedy, but a reality in the lives of some caterpillars,” the Worm said.

“Please don’t tell me anything else. I’d rather not know,” Wooly Bear said, already determining himself to live. 

During the winter chill, Wooly Bear Caterpillar made its home in “The Encyclopedia of Butterflies.” Despite all odds, he snuggled up against pictures of what he would one day become—a lovely butterfly.

“Hope to see you in the springtime,” Zig Zag said. “Until then, I’ll be worming my way around . . .”

“I’m sure you will be worming your way through everything,” the Caterpillar said, wishing to never be a worm. 

“When you see me again, please call me by my new name: Monarch the Butterfly,” Wooly Bear said. 

“I’ll still be Zig Zag, but I will remember to call you by your new name,” the Worm said, scribbling it on a pad.

Wooly Bear’s cocoon grew sticky and quite uncomfortable for the Caterpillar, even when he wasn’t sleeping. Great magic went on inside the cocoon, which the Worm had never read about in the pages of the Book Nook.

In fact, Wooly Bear, soon-to-be Monarch the Butterfly, knew he would never be able to explain it to Zig Zag. Only if Zig Zag had gone through the cocoon himself, then he would understand the mighty magic of the cave.

In the meantime, Zig Zag became more and more wrinkly as he analyzed every piece of writing in the Nook. Zig Zag’s skin flaked and peeled, and he found himself bumpier the more he wiggled his way through the library.

“How are you doing, Wooly Bear? Can you hear me? At least you’re becoming new; I feel old,” the Worm said. “I might be dried-up by the time you emerge, but I’ll be waiting for you. Now I wish I could be a butterfly, too.”

Of course, Monarch did hear Zig Zag and didn’t want him to die. He was now a friend, even if he was a worm. When springtime approached, one day the owner of the castle returned for its annual spring cleaning.

He tromped and stomped all throughout the Book Nook, straightening the novels and making dust clouds.

“Who made this place such a mess?” the owner said. “There must have been a burglar when I was in Florence.”

“How can this be? I didn’t know someone actually owned this place,” the Worm said, hiding from the dustpan. “Monarch isn’t even out of the cocoon yet. He must get out of the cocoon before he’s squashed in the cleaning!”

            Zig Zag pushed “The Encyclopedia of Butterflies” under a large red curtain by the tall window. “Please come out of the cocoon now!” Zig Zag said, trying to unravel the cave-like womb. 

“Ouch!” Monarch said. “I was liking it in here! I thought I would stay awhile. Why do I have to come out?”

“Hurry up! The books in the nook didn’t tell us about this part of the transformation,” the Worm said. 

“There is no paragraph in the Encyclopedia on what to do if the owner of the deserted castle that you’re living in comes back and you are in danger of being stepped on,” Zig Zag said, wrestling with the once caterpillar. 

“I suppose I have to spread my wings and save both of our lives,” Monarch said, breaking lose from the cocoon.

The beautiful orange and black butterfly swooped out of the cocoon and grabbed the Worm with its wing. Zig Zag and Monarch flew off into the sunset until they found a new home, a castle with many cocoons.


Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters

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