Catertpillar and the Worm

October 24, 2008
By Krystynna Huddleston, Madison, WI

A few years back, a worm, a caterpillar and a cardinal had an extraordinary experience. It all materialized with Monique, Jenny and Clarissa. Monique was a beautiful green with pink and yellow spots, caterpillar. Jenny was a light pink worm who was very helpful and generous. Clarissa was a cardinal the color of dried blood.

Monique, who was very dark and cold on the inside, was mean to everyone. Everyday she would go around the bright sunny forest bragging that she was the most beautiful of them all. She was always putting the other creatures down and being incredibly rude. No one in the forest liked Monique.
But, in the same forest, in the same vicinity, lived Jenny. Everyone, well almost everyone, who met her (which was pretty much everyone in their forest) enjoyed her. She was always busy helping someone and doing good deeds. Monique was the one who despised her because she never complimented Monique on her “superior beauty”.
Now, Clarissa, the cardinal, was magical. She could transform creatures into something else, but of course she didn’t go around telling people that. Because, she understood the power of her gift, she normally kept it to herself. Clarissa was new to the forest so she didn’t have any knowledge about Jenny or Monique.
One day, on a dazzling sun-drenched morning, Monique was crawling throughout town. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, “I’m the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen! No one is as good as me, I’m better than all of you!” The elders sighed and rolled their eyes, they were getting sick of her doing that.
Meanwhile, Jenny set out looking for people to assist. She offered a hand to everyone who needed it, no matter how minor the problem. During all this commotion Clarissa watched silently from her new home in a large birch tree.
The next day, Monique was going around town doing her usual rounds. Bragging, and putting people down. Jenny was also out. Jenny met Clarissa and was helping her get acclimated to their forest. Somewhere along the way, Monique and Jenny crossed paths. Immediately, Monique started bragging.
“I’m the most beautiful thing here! I am so much better than you, I get everything I want and everyone loves me,” she screamed proudly. Jenny and Clarissa just listened to her drag on and on. After Monique was done boasting about how wonderful she was, she started slamming Jenny.
“You’re so ugly; I can’t believe I can actually look at you without my eyes falling out!! Pale pink? More like pigs feet! I mean seriously, what kind of color is pale pink? You think that you help people but you really don’t. I hope you know that no one likes you!” Jenny almost burst into tears. Instead she kept on walking with Clarissa.

Now, if you didn’t notice, Clarissa didn’t say anything the whole time. She just listened intently and came up with a plan. She would put her plan into action after a few more days of observing.

The next day it was raining hard, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Although the weather was soggy, Jenny still helped those who needed it. While Monique bounced from store to store and bragged. “I am the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. No one is as beautiful as me. I am better than all of you,” Monique said smugly. Every where she went she said that, and she put people down.

All the while, Clarissa was watching them both very carefully, without them knowing.

Two more days passed and Monique didn’t stop boasting and Jenny didn’t stop helping.

On the last day of the week, Clarissa and Jenny went for another walk around town. They were talking and Clarissa invited Jenny to dinner at her nest. She explained, “It will be a dinner dedicated to your kind heart of gold.”

Of course Jenny being Clarissa’s friend and all, said she would come. Clarissa decided today was the day to put her plan into motion.

After Clarissa took Jenny home, she went to Monique’s house. When Monique opened the door and saw who it was she said, “What could you possibly want?”

“I would like to invite you to my house for dinner tonight, to celebrate you. Your great beauty is worth it,” replied Clarissa.

Monique hesitated but answered, “I guess, but only because it’s to celebrate how great I am.” So here my friend, the story truly gets interesting.

That night, Jenny was first to get to Clarissa’s warm and inviting home. About an hour later Monique arrived and said “I am beautiful, but you are not! This evening is for me to make people see how beautiful I really am!” Then Monique finally saw Jenny and rudely said “Oh, I see you’re here to celebrate me too……how …um…nice.” Jenny just stared at her, not knowing what to say.

Clarissa, who was “making tea,” decided it was the perfect time. She brought out two cups of “tea” and handed one to each of her guests. “Drink this and then I have a surprise for you,” Clarissa instructed. Both Monique and Jenny silently obeyed and drank fast.

“Ok I can see you’re done. Now let me tell you a secret…..” Clarissa hesitated feeling unsure and nervous, but then she continued, “I am actually magical. I’ve been watching both of you very carefully and I’ve made a decision.”

Monique laughed coldly and replied, “You expect me to believe this? Prove it.” Jenny just sat there and listened as her heart forgot to beat.

“ I plan to prove it,” grinned Clarissa. Then, suddenly, she clicked her beak twice and Monique changed! So did Jenny!!

Now, Monique was an ugly gray, slimy worm. While on the other hand, Jenny, was a caterpillar. She was beautiful with purple, blue and magenta stripes!

Monique screamed in horrified disgust. “What did you do to me?” She yelled at the top of her lungs. Jenny just gasped and waited for a response.

Clarissa chuckled softly to herself, “ I made you reflect your inner beauty. Monique, you may have been pretty on the outside. But truly, on the inside you are a very bad caterpillar…well, now a worm. Jenny, you may have been ugly on the outside; on the inside though, you have a heart of solid gold and beauty. You always wanted to be nice to people. Unlike Monique, who could care less.”

Jenny still sat there in amazement but managed to reply, “Thank you.”

Monique got even madder and asked, “But why did you do it?”

Rolling her eyes Clarissa said, “I hope you learned a lesson. If you’re ugly or mean to others, nothing good comes from it. But if you are nice and helpful, it will pay off.”

To this day, Monique is miserable and is still mean to everyone. She blames Jenny for what happened to her.

Clarissa moved out of the forest. She hasn’t had to use magic in four years.

Jenny is still nice to everyone and helps a lot. She is grateful for what Clarissa did for her.

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