The Easter StoryBy Annie Willis McCullough
It was late in the fall when Fuzzy Caterpillar gave up.
"I suppose this is the end of me," he thought in his little round head as he tried to wriggle across the road and couldn't because his back was so stiff. "Now I am an old man and I shall never see another summer. Good-bye." And Fuzzy Caterpillar rolled himself up in a gray blanket and hung himself on the end of a dried twig. "This is the last of me," he said once more as the dried little grub he now was rattled around in the cold.
All his beautiful furry coat was scattered to the winds. The path he had made in the dust grew narrower as it wound across the road. That was because Fuzzy Caterpillar had shrivelled as he crawled. Poor Fuzzy Caterpillar, who had so loved the Out-Doors!
The winter was white, and cold, and long. Then it was over, just as all winters are over at last, and Spring came. Spring came over the hills, in a pretty new green frock and with wild flowers in her hair. Sometimes she looked up at the sky, but oftener she looked down at the ground. Spring was looking for the little creatures that she loved so much; the tiny ants, the patient spiders, the cheerful beetles, and Fuzzy Caterpillar.
"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" Spring wondered. She did not see him, all dried up and hanging in his gray blanket from the twig.
"Of course Fuzzy Caterpillar is here somewhere," Spring said to herself. "And wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the day he comes out with some kind of a surprise?" The more Spring thought about this, the happier she was, and the nicer she thought it would be. So she spoke to the grass about it.
"Long Green Grasses," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover the ground for me?"
So the Long Green Grasses pushed their slender fingers up out of the earth and they covered the whole ground until it was bright and green again. But the Grasses looked everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar.
Then Spring spoke to the trees.
"Patient Trees," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover your branches with new green leaves?" So the Patient Trees burst their hard brown buds, and they hung new green leaves upon every one of their branches. But the leaves looked everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar. All they could see was a little rolled-up gray blanket hanging from a twig.
But Spring was not one bit discouraged, and she spoke to the Laughing Brook.
"Laughing Brook," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you run between your banks again, and sing a song?"
So the Laughing Brook began dancing and tripping over its stones again, and singing as it ran between its banks. Sometimes, though, it stopped in a quiet pool, and it could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar anywhere along its edge.
But Spring, who is very wise, was not discouraged yet, and so she spoke to the flowers.
"Sleepy Roots," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you grow and send up plants that will bud and bloom?"
So the Sleepy Roots did just as Spring had asked them. They awoke, and they sent up leaves and buds through the earth, and the buds blossomed. So there were crocuses in purple petticoats, and daffodils in bonnets with yellow ruffles. There were tulips, red, yellow, pink, and white. They filled all the gardens, making them beautiful. And the fields were golden in the sunshine because the dandelions had bloomed again. But the flowers could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar anywhere.
Then Spring stood on the top of the hill and she looked all over the wide Out-Doors. It was very, very pretty again, so she decided that the day had come when she would celebrate.
"This is Easter Day," said Spring.
"But where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" whispered the Long Green Grasses.
"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" rustled the New Green Leaves.
"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" tinkled the Brook so sadly that it did not sound like singing.
"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" the wind sighed as it blew through the flowers.
Just then a wonderful thing happened. As if it had floated down from the sky, a beautiful moth flew and lighted on the tip of Spring's finger. It had all the colors of Easter in its wings, the green of the grass and the leaves, the blue of the waters, and the gold of the spring flowers. It was such a beautiful creature that only to look at it made one feel happy. But every one wondered about the moth.
"It is a stranger from far away," they said.
"Oh, no," said Spring. "Fuzzy Caterpillar has come out."
And this was true, for the gray blanket that hung from the twig was torn and empty.