The Creative Caterpillar - A short story I wrote

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01 Aug 2012 01:28 #68844 by
I wrote this short story while studying about American Transcendentalism during my second semester of High School Junior English.
Here's an article about American Transcendentalism (if you are unfamiliar with this subject):

Enjoy my story! Comment, if you wish.

The Creative Caterpillar
"No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow"

By Sean Ching
Inspired by Henry David Thoreau
(American Transcendentalist)

Once upon a time, on the farthest leaf of the tallest crown flower bush, a creative caterpillar sat and gazed upon the passing clouds. He was raised in the most prestigious bush community and lived alongside famous explorers. Always dreaming of earning his exploratory wings, the creative caterpillar was frequently urged to calm down by the elderly and dogmatic caterpillars that raised him during his infancy. These killjoys, being one week his senior, often demanded that the creative caterpillar get down from his "dream leaf" and eat leaves till the verge of bloating: as "good" caterpillars should do. But seeing that their younger brother would not conform to a "normal" lifestyle, the elderly caterpillars would shake their antennas and go back to their morning gorge. They were already behind schedule and refused to delay their pupa stage.

So the creative caterpillar continues to sit and dream, but not for long. An ominous shadow eclipses the sunlight, and the creative caterpillar is soon staring fearfully at a colossal deer. The beast moves up to the crown flower bush and, to the creative caterpillar's horror, nibbles on "green pods" resting atop the earthy foliage below. Hysterically frightful, the creative caterpillar vigorously crawls back to the core of the crown flower bush to alert his bush community. If only he had stayed for a few seconds more, he would have seen the deer chomp a pod in two: spraying crisp and crunchy beans in all directions.

The creative caterpillar rushes into the main dining area and warns the other caterpillars that a deer could eat them if they made their pupae in the usual, lower outskirts of their crown flower bush. He suggests that they move their pupae formation location to the upper portions of the bush, even though it would be unconventional. The other caterpillars laugh and ridicule him in response. Some of them even spit at him. A group of the creative caterpillar's friends approach him and explain to him that their ancestors have always made pupae in the lower outskirts of the bush, and have never been endangered by deer. However, the creative caterpillar, on the verge of tears, begs his friends to listen to him. His friends finally decide to listen to the creative caterpillar, but the rest of the group mocks these "rebels" and begin crawling to their pupae formation locations. The creative caterpillar's friends start heading to the highest sections of the bush, as they were told, but the creative caterpillar, still trying to convince the others to heed his advice, waits the entire day and watches for that deer. All of the other caterpillars make their pupae.

Come night, and the deer never shows up. In fact, there is no sign of anything outside the crown flower bush. The creative caterpillar, defeated and confused, slides back to his dream leaf. Shaking his antennas, he feels ashamed of himself and embarrassed for the caterpillars that followed his advice. Just then, he hears the fluttering of wings and the creative caterpillar bows before the monarch butterfly that had just landed beside him. The butterfly urges the creative caterpillar to dispense with the formalities. He explains that he was only hatched this morning, so he's not that great of an explorer yet. Sensing the gloom, he asks about what is bothering the creative caterpillar.

The creative caterpillar feels embarrassed for the caterpillars that listened to him, and asks if he was foolish to suggest a new, safer idea and go against the way things have always been done. The butterfly tells him that he wasn't entirely off track. While he was mistaken about the deer, he wasn't mistaken about the danger.

After a day of exploration, the butterfly found out that a powerful gale of wind would sweep past the bush community. All of the pupae, located on the outskirts of the lower bush, would be blown away and would fall to their death. Only the creative caterpillar's friends, on the top of the bush, could survive. The butterfly explains that this same occurrence happened three weeks ago, during his pupa stage, which is how he survived.

The creative caterpillar, now confident, thanks the monarch butterfly and crawls up to his friends' formation location. Knowing that his method was proven right, he relaxes and dangles from a twig. Soon enough, he becomes a pupa.

A week later, the gale of wind sweeps past the crown flower bush and tears off lower branches and leaves. Normally a peaceful process, the pupae wake up and, to their mortification, find themselves being thrown around. One pupa struggles to hold on, but eventually falls. Another pupa struggles to break free, but is both immobile and trapped within his own casing. Finally, all of the pupae, resting on the lower outskirts of the crown flower bush, fall and crack open. Mortally injured, the half-formed caterpillars weakly gaze upwards. Shocked, they see a small group of pupae resting high above them. Moaning and bleeding, they all die.

Two more weeks pass, and the sun shines high above the partly cloudy sky. The last pupa hatches, and beautiful wings unfold. A group of younger caterpillars are amazed at what they see, but now, the creative butterfly finally gets to speak with them. Every single one of them is expecting a grand speech, but, to their surprise, gets only a concise quote:

"No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow," says the creative butterfly. With wings gleaming under beaming sunrays, the creative butterfly ascends, knowing that other explorers are waiting for him.


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