Elliott loved being a caterpillar. It was all he remembered being, and he was good at it. He loved munching on leaves, feeling the sun's rays while munching on leaves, chatting with the ladybugs while munching on leaves, and even munching on leaves in the moonlight.
Yes, being a caterpillar was grand.
But then, when he was fourteen days old, Elliott started feeling funny.
“Come on,” his friends said. “We found a great new bush to munch on.”
For once, leaves did not seem tempting. “I think I'll just stay here and hang out for a while,” said Elliot.
And that's just what he did.
After a day, Elliott didn't feel so funny anymore. In fact, he felt great. He'd discovered the one thing that was better than being a caterpillar— it was being a pupa. He thought he could stay in his cozy new home forever. So that's what he decided to do.
The other caterpillars stopped by the next day. “When are you going to get out of there?”
Elliott didn't answer. The other caterpillars went on their way. They were starting to feel funny themselves.
Three days passed. A dragonfly called down to Elliott. “It's a beautiful day. You're really missing out.”
Elliott didn't answer. The dragonfly shook her head and flew away.
A week passed. A grasshopper stopped by Elliot's bush. “You know, that leaf is starting to wilt.”
Elliot still didn't answer. His home was perfect, he had no intention of leaving it.
Nine days passed. A bee landed on a leaf near Elliot. “You can't stay in there forever.”
Elliot finally spoke, “Says who?”
The bee shrugged, “Says nature.”
“But it's warm in here,” said Elliott.
“So is the sun,” the bee reminded him.
“But it's quiet in here,” said Elliott.
“So quiet you can't hear your friends' laughter,” the bee pointed out.
“But it's safe in here,” said Elliott.
“No place is safe without food,” advised the bee.
“You're just jealous,” pouted Elliott.
“You can't stay in there forever,” the bee said once again. Then he flew off.
Another day passed. Still Elliott hung from his little home. But something had changed. His skin itched. His chrysalis felt tight. And he was starting to get hungry. As if recalling a distant memory, he remembered leaves. But they did not tempt him.
“What would it be like to eat something new?” Elliott wondered to himself. “Maybe I'll dart out – just for just a moment – to get some food. Then I'll come right back.”
Elliott wiggled. Then he wriggled. He twisted and he squirmed. He fidgeted and he struggled until – pop!– he emerged from his old home.
Elliott didn't remember having legs...or wings... or a straw for a mouth...but, then, it has been a while since he'd been out.
Elliott felt too tired to move. So he sat very still on his leaf and remembered how warm the sun could be. He heard some ladybugs chatting, and he remembered how nice friends could be.
And then he smelled something he had never noticed before, and he...
soared into the air.
The bee zoomed by. “I knew you couldn't stay there forever.”
“That smell,” Elliott said.
The bee nodded knowingly. “Just follow me.”
And he did.
Elliott discovered the one thing better than being a pupa.