The caterpillar's tale

Din Din liked solitude. Once in a while he visited the Dark Forest to take a walk and explore there alone. There were spooky stories about the Dark Forest which many creatures of D'Land gossiped about but Din Din had never experienced anything unnatural. Infact the cool and shady recesses of the Forest gave Din Din time to think and ponder.

Din Din was unlike the fast and assertive dinosaurs of Fruit Park and so, many a times, he felt as if he did not fit in with his community. His moments of isolation in the Dark Forest gave him relief and his time with his best friends Dazel and Delma provided him the company and comradeship he desired.

One day, after a particularly long day at Terrestrial School and feeling dejected at not being able to attempt his tests well, Din Din did not go home di¬rectly. Instead, he stepped into the Dark Forest. The cool interior of the Forest gave him comfort. He automatically made his way towards a cave which was a spot he particularly liked. The bear's family inhabited the cave. One of the bear cubs greeted Din Din as he neared the cave entrance.

"Hi Din Din! It's been a long time since you visited us," the friendly, feisty cub said.

Din Din smiled, "Hello Grizzly! I see you've grown since the last time I saw you. What are you up to?"

"Just collecting food for the upcoming winter season," replied Grizzly and scam¬pered off.

Din Din sat near the door of the cave surrounded by the shade of the willow bushes. He was thinking about how diffi¬cult things were getting in school, when he heard the sounds of giggling and chat¬tering. Looking around he searched for the source of the voices. Finally, he spotted fat, green, worm-like creatures on the willow leaves.

"Oh look at that. He's so huge!" marveled one worm as he and his group of worms looked at Din Din in fascination.

Din Din smiled at their conversation. He observed that they were all constantly nibbling on the leaves they were sitting on.

"You all seem to be hungry little worms," Din Din observed aloud. That made them all burst into giggles again.

We aren't worms," one of them replied, "We are caterpillars."

One thing lead to another and before long Din Din was enjoying the lively conversation with his caterpillar friends.

The sun was about to set and so Din Din bid his new friends good bye.

"I will return in a week or so," Din Din promised.

When you are back we’ll have a surprise in store for you," chuckled one of the caterpillars. This statement seemed to cause another cacophony of laughter from them.

Shaking his head in amusement and smiling to himself, Din Din made his way to his home in Fruit Park.

For two weeks Din Din was unable to return to the Dark Forest. Early one evening, Din Din was at the lake with Dazel and Delma and telling them how he longed to meet the caterpillars again.

"I also want to meet them. They sound fun to be with," said Dazel.

"Yes Dazel. They are just like you — with a delightful sense of humour," replied Din Din. "Come along, there's still time for sunset. Let's go and meet them." So bidding adieu to Delma, the two friends set off to the Dark Forest.

When they came to the willow bushes in the Dark Forest, there was no sign of the plump caterpillars.

"I wonder where they are?" mused Din Din. Just then Grizzly appeared.

"Do you know where the caterpillars are?" Din Din quizzed Grizzly.

"Yes, you'll find them near the beds of bluebell and violets a little further away," Grizzly said with a naughty grin.

But when Dazel and Din Din reached the colourful flower bed, there was no sign of the caterpillars.

Suddenly a sweet voice called out, "Din Din, come here!"

Din Din turned around to see a group of beautifully winged creatures flying towards him.

Din Din seemed puzzled, "How do you know me?" he asked in confusion.

"We told you we had a surprise for you," one delicate, purple-winged creature with bright red spots on its wings said and the other creatures burst out laughing.

It was the sound of their collective musical laughter which re¬minded Din Din of the caterpillars.

"We are the caterpillars," said one creature, "Only now, we are butterflies."

As Dazel and Din Din looked stupefied, one butterfly explained.

"A butterfly comes into the world as a result of a long life cycle. The adult but¬terfly lays eggs on leaves which hatch out in about 3.7 days. Young caterpillars emerge from these eggs. That was the stage you met us in," the beautiful purple but¬terfly explained.

"That is the stage when we eat contin¬uously for 2-3 weeks and keep growing. Then we hang upside down from a branch by spinning silk and are transformed into a leaf-like chrysalis. The chrysalis appears to be still but inside tremendous activity is taking place," it continued.

"And finally in about 1-2 weeks we reveal ourselves in the adult butterfly stage," another butterfly finished cheerily. "We push ourselves out of the chrysalis and cling to the chrysalis. It takes a few hours for the blood to be pumped into our hard wings and finally we are ready to fly. Oh! It's such a feeling of freedom."

Dazel and Din Din were awestruck by this magnificent tale of transformation.

"Wow!" they whispered in unison.

"So, you see Din Din, now we can fly and visit you in Fruit Park too," the purple butterfly exclaimed.

"Please do come to my home and also to the lake so that my best friend Delma the dolphin can meet you," said Din Din eagerly.

And the butterflies said that they surely would.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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