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ISBN 978-0-9739644-7-9 Copyright 2010, Michael Mackinnon http://irishcrows.zapto.org irishcrows@gmail.com


It was a bright sunny morning when the Twitchy Bumble Noid opened her eyes. A slight feeling of excitement made her tremble as she remembered that spring was finally here and the ladybugs would soon be returning. Perhaps even today, she hoped.

As her feet touched the cool floor the Twitchy Bumble Noid reached for her jar of freckles. She still poured freckles on her face every morning but it was only in the spring and summer that the ladybugs came now. Not only was she excited to seem them again, but so was the giant. It had been a long winter since they had fixed up his home, and a very long time without seeing ladybugs. And the best thing, once the ladybugs came back the whole forest would turn green again, the leaves would be out and all the summer birds would be back. There would even be wild flowers. This was definitely becoming the Twitchy Bumble Noid’s favorite season.

With a fresh coating of freckles on her face the Twitchy Bumble Noid went and opened her front door. When she looked into the sky she could see a distant cloud that seem to hum as it approached the forest. She knew what it was – the ladybugs were on their way. So she sat on her front step and with barely contained excitement waited for them.

As she sat and waited she thought about her plans for the next few days. Planting season was here and she, Melodious Mistletoad and Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug were going to help the giant plant his very first 1


garden. The giant didn’t know how to plant gardens but now that he was no longer eating the forest creatures he needed to do something for food. He was pretty excited about the garden, but also a little nervous. This winter had seen a lot of change in his life, and though he was happy with it all, at times he seemed lost and confused. The Twitchy Bumble Noid had really grown to like him and they had a friendship that would last forever. And whenever he was scared she made sure she helped him be brave.

The Twitchy Bumble Noid looked at the approaching cloud. Something was wrong. As it grew larger she realized it was mainly black instead of red, with flashes of orange in it. This was no cloud of ladybugs. Instead, as it moved even closer and began to blot out the sun she realized it was a cloud of butterflies, but no butterflies she had ever seen before. They were orange and black and fairly large. She didn’t know what they were but she knew somebody who would. Melodious Mistletoad.

When she reached Melodious Mistletoad’s it was to find her waiting on her front porch, staring at the same cloud of butterflies.

“Well isn’t that something,” Melodious Mistletoad commented. “I’ve never seen monarch’s in our woods before.”

“Where are they from? the Twitchy Bumble Noid asked.

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“They come from the southern countries. But I’d heard they were moving further north with the warmer weather.” She smiled. “I love them, they’re gorgeous. “ And then she frowned. “But I know some people who won’t be happy with them.”

“Who?” The Twitchy Bumble Noid knew that some of the forest creatures weren’t very happy with newcomers or change. Some still complained that she was a friend with the giant now.

“Well the wasps will probably complain about the butterflies eating the milkweed. Don’t know about the bees and the moths. The bees have been kinda cranky this year for some reason. And the moths kinda keep to themselves most of the time.”

“Hmm,” replied the Twitchy Bumble Noid. “They’re not going to have much choice. Besides, the forest doesn’t belong to just them.”

“Yeah but you know how some creatures are. They were here first, born here you know. I can just here them now.”

The next day proved Melodious Mistletoad to be right. As she and the Twitchy Bumble Noid were having mid-morning tea Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug burst through the front door. He was waving his arms wildly. The Twitchy Bumble Noid tried to calm him down.

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“Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug calm down and have some tea!”

Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug just kept dancing on the spot. “There’s no time. I think there’s going to be a fight in the clearing.”

“What’s going on?” Melodious Mistletoad cried as she dropped her teacup. “Who’s fighting?” All the forest creatures got along now that the giant had changed his ways.

“The wasps are upset about those butterflies that arrived yesterday.” Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug could barely talk he was so excited. “They’re getting the bees upset and threatening to attack the butterflies.”

“We better go and see what we can do,” the Twitchy Bumble Noid yelled as she ran out the door. The other two followed her, leaving the door swinging open.

It didn’t take them long to reach the clearing. The trees around it were filled with the butterflies, hanging upside down as they rested from the long trip north. Wasps buzzed around the trees and the clearing angrily, sending out loud angry sounds. Lots of bees flew around as well, but they seemed more confused than anything. Dragonflies were trying to calm everybody down as the rest of the forest’s creatures chattered at each other. It was pandemonium.

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“What’s going on here?” yelled the Twitchy Bumble Noid.

“Its those butterflies,” buzzed a wasp. “Look at the space they’re taking in those trees.”

“Yeah,” yelled a bee. “And they’ve been all over our milkweed plants. Look at all the eggs.”

“Who says there your plants?” asked Melodious Mistletoad.

“We were here first,” replied the wasp.

A butterfly broke away from a bunch in a tree and yawned as she settled on a flower near the Twitchy Bumble Noid. “We’re sorry to be so much trouble.” She said sleepily. “But it is too warm where we used to go so we had to come further north this year.” She yawned again. “Sorry, pretty long flight and we just finished laying our eggs for the season.” She shrugged her antennae. “Unless the weather goes back to the way it was we will have to keep coming here.”

“Every year?” demanded the wasp. He buzzed around her angrily. “You mean we’ll have to keep on sharing our forest and our milkweed plants with you?”

“We have no choice if we want to live,” the butterfly replied sadly. 5


At this all the creatures started to argue amongst themselves. The wasp continued to attack the butterfly, who was really too tired to defend herself. It all made the Twitchy Bumble Noid pretty sad. She had to do something. It was then a red, shiny dragonfly flew up to her and whispered in her ear. She smiled slightly and yelled for quiet.

“This afternoon we’ll have a council. Everybody can say his or her piece,” she suggested.

“Yeah, and who will chair this meeting?” demanded another wasp. “It better not be you. After all you could have gotten us killed when we went after that giant, on your suggestion.”

“The dragonfly will chair it,” the Twitchy Bumble Noid replied. “They’re always fair.”

And with that everybody wandered off, agreeing to the council and mumbling to themselves about the new mess the forest was in. The poor butterfly was asleep on her flower. The Twitchy Bumble Noid hoped that she and her friends would be awake enough for the council. A few crows flew to the treetops, a black presence prepared to warn if any more trouble started. The dragonflies drifted about the clearing, flitting to and from the trees and milkweed plants, casting reflections of red, blue and green. Things would be safe until the afternoon’s council. 6


Once the mid-afternoon teas were over creatures began to arrive in the clearing. The wasps appeared and gathered in an angry black and yellow cluster off to one side, the occasional bee flying over to talk. The butterflies were now awake enough to join in and several sat together on a clump of milkweeds, watching over some eggs. As the forest’s creatures continued to arrive they joined others of their kind, until soon the clearing held groups of all the forest’s creatures. The Twitchy Bumble Noid, Melodious Mistletoad and Dancing Dimpled Doodlebug sat by the giant, who towered over everybody and seemed a little confused. The Twitchy Bumble Noid tried to explain what was happening but his brain hadn’t grown any bigger since last year.

Soon a dragonfly with a metallic blue color to it broke from the others and flew to a rock in the clearing’s center. As he landed the sun reflected briefly like a rainbow off his wings, and the butterflies gasped in awe. They hoped this was a good sign for it was too late to fly anywhere else now. And the eggs would soon be hatching.

“As you all know, we have some newcomers to our woods,” began the dragonfly. “And this is creating some problems. First we’ll hear from the butterflies.”

The butterfly that had spoken that morning flew to the rock and sat next to the dragonfly, her wings spread out and just touching his. 7


“Every year we fly north to lay our eggs. They will hatch here and when the weather is colder start flying south. It will take three years for our grandchildren to get there.”

“So you started here three years ago?” asked the dragonfly.

“Mmm, hmm. Well, my grandparents started the trip actually. Once we leave the land we were born in we never see it again,” the butterfly replied sadly.

“So why are you here though?” a fox demanded. “You’ve never been here before.”

“The land we come from his too hot for our eggs now. They die before they hatch, and new animals are moving in that eat the eggs.”

This drew a murmur from the crowd. The giant suddenly looked sad, as he remembered what he had done to this forest.

“We need to come here to lay our eggs or we will all die,” the butterfly finished. She flew back to her kind.

Next a wasp flew to the rock, accompanied by a small bee.

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“We were in this forest first,” the wasp rasped. “These milkweed plants are needed by us and the bees for our eggs. Without them we will die out.” The bee whispered in his ear. “And the moths need these plants too. What gives these newcomers the right to take away what is rightfully ours?”

The other wasps let out loud, buzzy cheers. Some sent angry looks towards the butterflies. Most of the bees looked a little embarrassed.

The wasp continued. “And have you noticed that these butterflies are all clumped together in the same trees. Before long these trees will be half dead and no one will want to use this clearing. There is no room for them in our forest.” With that the wasp flew back to the others to more loud cheers.

The Twitchy Bumble Noid went over to the rock next. She was trying very hard to stay calm. The wasp had made her very angry.

“Just because they have just arrived doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to enjoy this forest as much as we do,” she started. “At one point all of us had ancestors who came here from somewhere else. Just because it happened a long time ago doesn’t mean it belongs to us any more than anyone else.” She looked around. “And they can probably help us. We haven’t even given them a chance. Its just because they are outsiders. I think we should give them a chance. After all, we are friends with the 9


giant now, and last year no one liked him.� She smiled at the giant as she walked back to him and her other friends.

The dragonfly asked for a vote and all the forest’s animals voted. The wasps and most of the bees voted against the butterflies staying but the rest of the animals voted they be allowed to stay. And so the butterflies stayed. But the trouble wasn’t over.

Within days the eggs began to hatch and the new caterpillars started eating the milkweed plants. This really made the wasps and bees angry. They started complaining to all the animals and soon things were as bad as ever. The butterflies had disappeared but there were black and yellow caterpillars all over the place, eating the milkweed plants. And the caterpillars were leaving these ugly green nest-like things hanging all over the place, especially off of the milkweed plants. Wasps were beginning to attack the caterpillars, bees were stinging them and many of the creatures were upset with both the bees and the wasps. And still others were angry at the butterflies for bringing the caterpillars and their trouble to the forest. It was not a happy time.

So the Twitchy Bumble Noid called for another council. Only this one was held at night, so the moths could be there. Nobody had heard from them, except for the occasional owl that claimed the moths actually liked the butterflies. Again a dragonfly ran the council. 10


The night of the meeting was a clear night with an almost full moon. The clearing was bright, and the moths could be seen fluttering about the leaves of the trees. There were hardly any caterpillars left now, just those strange green growths they had left behind. It had been a very strange spring so far, and no one knew what to expect now that all that was left were the green things.

Melodious Mistletoad pulled the Twitchy Bumble Noid aside. “I think you should talk first. If the wasps go first they might just be able to get the other creatures on their side. Things are different this time.”

The Twitchy Bumble Noid agreed, and so she went to the rock first. “I know things have been different, even strange around here. But we need to be patient. The only reason we are so upset is that we expect things to be a certain way. This change is scary, but we must be fair.” The wasp and some of the other creatures started shouting at her. “Please listen” she begged. “There is still all kinds of milkweed left for you guys. Even the moths have enough.”

A moth flew toward her and landed on her shoulder. “The butterflies that came here are our cousins. We didn’t know them before they came but we want to share whatever we have with them.” She looked at the Twitchy Bumble Noid and smiled. “And we know what those green things are. They are called chrysalis, like a nest, and soon they will hatch and 11


out will come more butterflies.�

As she finished speaking a cloud passed in front of the moon and moved down toward the clearing. The Twitchy Bumble Noid looked up and realized the ladybugs had finally arrived. She could see their red backs in the moonlight, backs covered with tiny black spots. When they reached the clearing they spread out over top of those that were gathered there. As they flew around the chrysalis began to open and out of them emerged butterflies, glistening wet in the silvery moonlight.

All the creatures watched as the butterflies slowly spread their orange and black wings, while the ladybugs continued to fly around. Slowly, one by one, and then in larger groups of two and three, the butterflies rose from their plants and joined the ladybugs in the moonlit sky. Before long a flickering, sparkling cloud of red, orange and black flew over and through the clearing. Soon the moths joined in, adding white, gold and pale lunar green to the cloud. Everyone gasped and smiled at the spectacle. Even the wasps and the bees.

And after that night, all to the forest welcomed the butterflies.

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The Caterpillars Enter the Forest