Tired of vampires, lying games, and witchcraft? Here is a story your whole family will love. Enjoy a chapter a day or an evening of storytelling. It's also great for whiling away the hours of a long drive.
I have written and narrated the Flutterby Café hoping to blend imagination and family values just like the classics. It’s the amusing and colorful adventures of young Lilyan who, convinced by her friend Katy, flies too high and too far on her first day as a flutterby. Now lost in the forest, she embarks on the long and somewhat perilous journey back to the ephemeral city of Lepidoptera. She encounters Selene the Lunar Moth, Idomenious the Great Horned Owl, and Scorch the fire-breathing Dragonfly! The Trusted GoodBees are on a search and rescue mission to find her and bring her home safely to friends at the Flutterby Café. Meanwhile she is distracted and enchanted by her dreams of Prince Daneus. She knows he is dreaming of her, and it is only a matter of time before they meet outside their dreams.
Read a few Chapters!
One cool, but sunny afternoon near the city of Lepidoptera in the grassy meadow just outside of town, things were all a flutter and buzzing with excitement. Young Rachel was a bit nervous, but like the others she searched and searched for the perfect spot to lay her eggs. She knew the Nursery Patrol would be keeping a good eye on all the flutterby eggs, but still hoped to find a special, snug, and safe little pocket of reeds for hers.
A cloud moved across the sun as she laid the last of her little eggs on the low sturdy reed which she had found in a cluster next to a patch of canary grass and some young bluebells. The young flutterby lingered in this cozy spot for a moment to sing a lullaby over her darling little ones. “Sleep my little ones, wait for time to pass, someday you will fly, sleep my little ones, here beneath the grass, listen for my voice and dream…” There had been talk of rain for the evening and Rachael wanted to be well on her way before the skies grew too dark. She took one last glance and lifted herself out of the reeds, above the grassy meadow and headed for home.
The clouds continued gathering in the evening sky casting great shadows and allowing glorious beams of light to break through from the soon-to-be setting sun. The grassy meadow, still bright green, fronted a glowing backdrop of red, orange, and purple, highlighting a clear silhouette of the ephemeral city of Lepidoptera past the Oak tree just across the knoll. The gusty wind was tossing leaves and swaying trees as the first droplets of rain began to hit the reeds and wobble the flowers surrounding the nursery area. “Red alert! Red alert! Danger detected! Attention all guards!” shouted Buzz, the commander of the Nursery Patrol, as his squadron flew in close formation over the protected area. A band of hornets had entered the airspace above the reeds at the west end of the nursery in search of an evening snack!
Every season Buzz and all the GoodBees, including Bumble, agreed to keep watch over the flutterby nursery. This was a rare pollinator alliance from long, long ago. It ensured there would be enough pollinators for every season, which meant plenty of flowers every year. They were fast, good flyers, and well trained to do the job. Even Bumble in his clumsy, awkward way understood the importance of their job and took his responsibility very seriously.
Thump! Bumble hit the ground a moment after colliding with a branch carried by the gusty wind over the east end of the nursery. He shook himself about and signaled up to Buzz that he was okay, as the others continued their bee-line towards the west end of the nursery to engage the approaching enemy hornets. For what seemed like an eternity, the GoodBees fought a spectacular aerial battle, successfully chasing the hornets from the protected area without one casualty. It was a good victory!
Meanwhile, Bumble’s tumble also resulted in good fortune. He had landed right near a small clearing where some frogs had begun to gather to escape the increasing rain, which was now falling quite hard across the grassy meadow. Hiding behind some reeds he picked up a hollow one and began to make frantic buzzing noises as if he were a swarm. The frogs became afraid and confused. They quickly hopped away towards the stony fountain near the Oak tree and took refuge there.
“Whew!” Bumble had a good look around to assure that none of the flutterbies' eggs had been disturbed. He reunited with his squadron and they exchanged stories of their enemy encounters, laughing and shouting together. It was a very good victory!
Cozy in their perfect, snug and safe place on the low sturdy reed which Rachel had found in a cluster next to the patch of canary grass near the young bluebells, were her little ones- sleeping, waiting, and dreaming of things to come.
“Munch, munch, munch, munch. Munch, munch, munch, munch.” Two days had passed since the hatching and the new little caterpillars were eating every green thing in sight. The low level leaves of the grassy meadow, the nearby bushes and trees, and the local flowers were all dotted with holes where Lilyan and the others were grazing. They had voracious appetites and were growing larger by the hour! They had only two real responsibilities as caterpillars- eat as much as possible and survive to the next stage of their little lives. Since that was the case, they had plenty of time for philosophical debate about the future.
“I heard that we will be hung from branches and die,” said one little muncher. “Or that we will go to sleep forever and never wake again.”
“Well, a cricket I met yesterday said that we would be harvested for frog food at the local pet store!” added someone from a far off leaf.
“That’s ridiculous, I will eat until I become a giant and then my 15 foot wings will burst forth and I will fly away to paradise.”
Now Lilyan was humming a sweet little tune between bites as she munched on some tasty canary grass near her hatching place, all the while listening to the tales of her companions and becoming a little afraid.
“Don’t pay no mind to them,” Katy said. “They don’t know what they’re talkin’ about. Our parents were flutterbies, and the process has been goin’ on for generations. We will grow for a while, shed our skin a few times ‘cause it gets too small, and then hide in our own little bag while we grow wings. Then we will break out and fly away! I hope I’ll be purple,” She added wishfully.
Lilyan, considering the words of her friend, looked over at Katy; and moving her head back and forth, tried to see what color she was. “Hard to tell really,” she said.
Lilyan was not sure who to believe. She pondered deeply the meaning of things. Why are we here?
It’s all such a great mystery. Someone has to be in charge of things, making sure everything comes out the way it’s supposed to. It seems hard to believe that she, a funny, little, chubby, caterpillar will transform into some glorious winged creature that every one adores. If it’s true, she’s looking forward to seeing what’s beyond and above this little portion of the grassy meadow that seems to confine them all now. She’s not sure what color she wants to be, but can only hope to be graceful and elegant like she feels sure her mother was. She had seen her mother in a dream and heard her lovely voice.
Days and weeks passed. The caterpillars were reaching their full size and the discussions were fading to mostly silence as many of them began to sink into their own secret concerns about the future. As the delicate process of creating their own cocoons began, perfect locations were once again selected for their security and safety.
The sun had long gone down over the grassy meadow and the flowers had folded themselves for a good night’s rest. Lilyan’s cocoon was ready, and she lay in it like a partially zipped sleeping bag staring up through the break in the reeds at the twinkling lights in the night sky. The constellation Orion was poised directly above her that evening; and along with the glow of the nearby full moon, it made it all the more difficult to 'zip up'. She was gazing up in amazement and wonder with so many questions in her heart, and yet a sense of hope. “Hello out there? Is anyone out there? You must be amazing, how you keep all the things of your great universe functioning and flowing even to the smallest detail as a tiny caterpillar like me.” In the vast silence Lilyan hummed a tune to comfort herself and began to seal up the last opening of her cocoon. As she closed her eyes and began to drift off to sleep; the faint voice of her mother singing the flutterby lullaby reassured her, and carried her off to dreamland.
Her mother’s lovely voice faded as another melody began to fill the space of Lilyan’s sleep and she found herself in an exquisite dream of a beautiful city beaming with fountains, flowers, shiny lights and elegant exotic flutterbies everywhere. The colors were more extraordinary than anything she had ever seen; and the sensation of freedom and joy was almost overwhelming. The city’s architecture appeared ancient but at the same time seemed brand new and clean. As she made her way to the castle in the center of the city, she began to sing along with the beautiful melody that she had been hearing. How did she know the words? Was she making them up?
Lilyan had entered the castle gardens from the side near the stables where she was met by the startling whinny of a magnificent stallion, his fancy saddle in place, and the groomsmen all shuffling about preparing him for something. “Afternoon, Miss.” A voice startled her even more. “Are you lost?”
“Uh no, I mean yes, I mean, I don’t know”. “Where am I?” Lilyan stuttered.
“You are at the castle of Prince Daneus and this here is his horse. You’re at the stables of his castle anyway. Are you okay?” asked the gentleman.
“Fine, I guess. I, I think I’m dreaming, and I’m a bit thirsty. Do you know where I can get a drink of water?” Lilyan replied.
“Oh…, the well is just up ahead. Follow that little stone fence and turn left at the large Hibiscus bushes next to the Rose garden. You’ll see a pond and then……”
“Great, uh, thanks. Gotta run,” Lilyan shouted as she headed off in the direction the groomsman had pointed.
As Lilyan came to the end of the stone fence she heard voices near the pond and quickly hid behind the hibiscus bushes.
“I had this incredible dream Parnasius. She was… she was so pure hearted and kind and her laughter was like music. I saw her here, here in the castle garden. I’ve been waiting so long and wondering when she would be ready. It has to be soon. Don’t you think?” asked the Prince as he and his companion moved further toward the well.
Now Lilyan hadn’t noticed until that very moment but in her dream she was already transformed into a flutterby. She leaned over and saw her image in the pond. Gasping almost out loud, she realized she was beautiful! She covered her mouth with her hand and quickly pulled back behind the bush just in case she was heard. Her heart was racing and she was growing even more thirsty, but she wanted to hear more about the Prince’s dream.
“Was she beautiful?” Parnasius asked.
“Are you kidding? Her face glowed, and her wings were like stained glass in all my favorite colors. Her coat was whiter than marshmallow cream, and her eyes were clear and bright like blue crystal. She was singing the most beautiful song I had ever heard. It had to be her,” said Prince Daneus.
“Intriguing,” responded Parnasius.
“Intriguing? How about intoxicating?” proclaimed the Prince.
“Well, yes, that too, I suppose,” Parnasius gently agreed.
Lilyan desperately listened as the Prince carried on in great detail with his description of the maiden in his dream . As he and Parnasius began to move away towards the castle door, Lilyan leaned out one more time to catch another glimpse of her “new self” in the pond reflection. She studied her wings and her coat, and looked into her own eyes. “Oh my,” she whispered, “it’s me, he’s describing me!”
At that moment things began to get a little fuzzy and Lilyan found herself lifting out of the garden. At first she was afraid she might be seen, but then she realized the dream was fading away! She wanted to shout to the Prince, “It’s me, I’m here, Look! It’s me.” But she couldn’t make a sound no matter how hard she tried. She faintly heard the Prince’s companion offering wisdom and encouragement. Parnasius had agreed to do a little research and have a look around for someone who fit the description of the maiden in the Prince’s dream.
The familiar melody continued in Lilyan’s cocoon, and in her half -sleeping state she cried out again, “It’s me, I’m here, look, it’s me, I’m here, I’m here my Prince…… wait….”
“Prince who? What? Hey, time to wake up; I’m half way out myself. See I told you it was true! In just a few minutes we will be flying! Yay, Yippee, ugh, ugh, push, squirm, grunt. That is if we make it out of these ridiculous bags!”