The Story of the Not-So Colorful Butterfly
Sunny dreams of the day she'll have colourful wings... but what happens when her dreams are disappointed?
One day, when my daughter Sadie was five years old, she asked me to write a story. “You be the author” she said, “and I’ll be the illustrator.” She handed me a book of blank pages she had stapled together. They opened left to right, like the Japanese books her Grandma gives her. On the title page she had written in pink colored pencil: “The Story of the Not-So-Colorful Butterfly.” Underneath it, she had drawn a fat butterfly with large, puffy wings colored charcoal gray. “Can you finish it today?” she smiled hopefully up at me. I sent her off to school, my heart in my hands as I walked her to her Kindergarten class. Hours later, I sat in the warm afternoon sunlight, her pages in my lap, and began to write.
We hope you enjoy The Story of the Not-So-Colorful Butterfly!
Once upon a time there lived a not-so-colorful butterfly named Sunny.
She hadn’t started out that way. She began life as a colorful caterpillar – bright pea green and mustard yellow with black spots.
She climbed trees with her caterpillar friends, May and June.
Sunny loved climbing, and she loved munching on leaves, right after the rain when they were ripe and juicy.
But what she loved more than anything was to tell stories.
Her stories were full of adventure – pirates, witches and wizards, brave heroes who fought dragons and princesses who spoke their minds.
She loved to sit up high in her tree and weave tales to the other caterpillars, spinning a magical story web around them.
She told them in sun and shade, and at night by the light of the moon.
Her friends loved to listen, but agreed that Sunny was, well, a little strange. Or at least, different from them.
Sunny and her friends dreamed of the day when they would spin into a chrysalis, beginning their transformations into butterflies.
Sunny imagined her wings with rainbow colors that would sparkle in the sunlight.
One day in late Winter, when the first Spring buds were forming on the trees, Sunny curled into a candy cane shape, hanging upside down from a small branch, and began to spin her chrysalis.
After two long weeks of work, Sunny popped out in excitement!
She imagined how beautiful her rainbow wings must look.
She flew quickly down to a stream not far from her tree, peering into the water at her reflection.
“No!” she gasped aloud, hopping a step back. She couldn’t believe her eyes!
Staring back at her was a butterfly as black as night, with not a speck of color or pattern.
This was not what she had imagined at all! No, no – this would not do. What would her friends look like? And what would they say when they saw her?
She couldn’t bear to find out. She lowered her head, flapping quickly away to hide high up in her tree, in the shade of some leaves.
If only I could be a caterpillar again, she thought.
The sun rose higher and higher in the sky as she sat thinking all day, thinking so hard that she didn’t even notice when the sun set and May and June perched down on some branches beside her.
“Wow, what big wings you have!” May said.
“You look like the midnight sky.” said June. “We’ve missed your stories – tell us one, please!”
“Yes, tell us one!” May echoed.
Sunny hesitated. Did she really look like the midnight sky?
She looked up at the vast, dark blue-purply black sky above her, dotted with tiny stars. It was beautiful.
Sunny let out a long, slow breath and began “Once upon a time, there was a not-so-colorful butterfly..”
As she spoke, she felt just like she had as a caterpillar – breathless, excited, full of adventures and dreams.
Sunny smiled. She felt beautiful, just as she was.
Illustrations by Tina Wijesiri
1. What do you think beauty is? What do you think made Sunny beautiful in this story?
2. Sunny really wanted rainbow wings, but she discovered her wings were black. Do you think it would have been useful for Sunny to keep feeling sad about her wings being a different colour to that which she expected? Why or why not?
About the Author: Stacie Eirich is a dreamer who loves literature, music, theatre, travel, and her family. She has written and published four collections of poetry and a children’s fantasy series for middle-grade readers, The Dream Chronicles. Connect with her and read poems, prose & book reviews at her website. You can also see her works at her Amazon page. She lives north of New Orleans, La – mothering, writing, and dreaming.