by G. Eustace Owen
A butterfly rested upon a flower,
Gay was he and light as a flake,
And there he met a caterpillar
Sobbing as though his heart would break;
It hurt the happy butterfly
To see a caterpillar cry.
Said he, ’Whatever is the matter?
And may I help in any way?’
‘I’ve lost my brother,’ wept the other,
‘He’s been unwell for many a day;
Now I discover, sad to tell,
He’s only a dead and empty shell.’
‘Unhappy grub, be done with weeping,
Your sickly brother is not dead;
His body’s stronger and no longer
Crawls like a worm, but flies instead.
He dances through the sunny hours
And drinks sweet nectar from the flowers.’
‘Away, away deceitful villain,
Go to the winds where you belong.
I won’t be grieving at your leaving,
So take away your lying tongue.
Am I a foolish slug or snail,
To swallow such a fairy tale?’
‘I’ll prove my words, you unbeliever,
Now listen well, and look at me.
I am none other than your brother,
Alive and well and fancy free.
Soon you’ll be with me in the skies
Among the flirting butterflies.’
‘Ah!’ cried the mournful caterpillar,
‘Tis clear I must be seeing things.
You’re only a spectre sipping nectar,
Flicking your ornamental wings,
And talking nonsense by the yard.
I will not hear another word.’
The butterfly gave up the struggle.
‘I have,’ he said, ‘no more to say.’
He spread his splendid wings and ascended
Into the air and flew away.
And while he fluttered far and wide,
The caterpillar sat and cried.