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Stories, Dreams and Allegories. Schreiner, Olive, 1855–1920.
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page: 155

THE WINGED BUTTERFLY

THE insects lived among the flowers. They were all soft, lovely little creatures without wings.

By and by one little caterpillar began to have tiny lumps upon his shoulders that grew out and out. “Ah,” said the others, “he is ugly, see, he is deformed.” And the little caterpillar hid behind the leaves, and the lumps grew more and more, and at last they came out lovely little wings. Then he came back to his fellows, and they all said, “Oh, lovely little brother. Oh, lovely brother.” And he shook little wings, and he said, “It was for this I went away, for this to grow I was deformed.” And he flew round. And he came to one that he loved and he said, “Come, climb with me and let us go and sit on that flower.” And his comrade said, “I cannot climb; it tires me; I have no wings like you. Go alone.” And he said, “No, I will go with you.” And the other said, “I am going here in this little hole in the earth.” And the butterfly tried to fold his wings and creep in after him, but he could not; and he almost tore his wings off in the door, but he could not. Then he went away, and he said to another, “Come, let us be companions.” And the other said, page: 156 “Yes, I like your wings, but you must walk by me; you must not use your wings and fly.” And he said, “Yes, I will only wrap them down.” And they walked a little way together. Then the other said, “You are going too fast; your wings blow you on; do go slower.” And the butterfly held his little wings as still as he could. And the other said, “They stick up so; couldn’t you lay them against your side?” And he said “Yes.” But when he held them against his side they ached so they nearly fell off. They ached, and ached, and ached. And the other said: “What are you so slow for? I thought one with wings would go faster than another. I thought you were so beautiful when you were up in the air. You are very ugly now. What are wings for? They only draggle in the mud.”

Then the little butterfly spread his wings and flew away, away, away; and he kept far from the others and flew about by himself among the flowers.

And then the others said, “See how happy he is flying about there among the flowers, he’s so proud of his wings.”

And one day the little butterfly sat on a rose, and died there. And the others thought it died of drinking too much honey. None of them knew that it died of a broken heart.

Harpenden, August 27, 1888.
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