In a green meadow filled with Milkweed and flowers there lived a colony of

caterpillars. They were a happy colony, living a quiet life in the cool

shade. For many months they were very busy,

scurrying around and munching on the soft Milkweed leaves.

They did notice that every once in a while one of the colony seemed to lose

interest in crawling around with its friends. It would go off alone and

crawl high up in the trees. It gradually moved out of sight and was seen no

more.

“Look!” said one of the caterpillars to another, “one of our colony is

climbing up to the tops of the trees. Where do you think he is going?”  Up,

up and up it slowly went…even as they watched, the caterpillar disappeared

from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return.

“That’s funny!” said one caterpillar to another. “Wasn’t he happy here?”

asked another. “Where do you suppose he went ?” wondered a third. No one

had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.

Finally one of the caterpillars gathered its friends together. “I have an

idea. The next one of us who climbs to the tops of the trees must promise

to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

“We promise…” they all said solemnly.

One spring day not long after the caterpillar who had suggested the plan

found himself climbing high up into the trees. Up up and up he went, higher

and higher into the trees. Before he knew what was happening he had broken

through the canopy of leaves into the warm sunlight and fell into a deep

sleep.

When he awoke he looked about in surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw.

A startling change had come over his old body. He now had beautiful wings!

Even as he struggled he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of

the sun soon dried the moisture from his new body. He moved his wings again

and suddenly found himself flying into the blue sky.

He had become a butterfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves he flew

through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere.

By and by the new butterfly landed on a leaf to rest. Then it was that he

chanced to look below to the bottom of the meadow. Why, he was right above

his old friends the caterpillars! There they were, crawling around and munching

on Milkweed, just as he had been doing before.

Then the butterfly remembered his promise. Without thinking the butterfly

darted down. He landed on a flower and looked into the grass. Now that he

was a butterfly he could no longer go back.

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least I tried, but I can’t keep

my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the caterpillars would know

me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become

butterflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me and where

I went.”

And the butterfly winged off happily into its new world of sun and air.

Dear God, please remember those who have left the meadow we live in…and

remember us who are still here.