Way up in the North there’s a big forest, and in the big forest lives a whole crowd
of beautiful butterflies. Every year the butterflies look forward to summer, and
when summer comes they can’t wait to open up their wings, and warm them in
the sun that comes filtering through the trees. One summer, not very long ago,
the butterflies hatched out of their cocoons, they shook themselves off and they
uncurled their wings and they waited for the sun to come and heat them up.
They waited. And waited. And they waited.
There was no sun.
So one day, there was a woodsman who came and moved into the little cabin in
the woods. When night fell he lit a candle in the window.
The butterflies had never seen a flame before! They hadn’t seen the sun for
months. They looked at the flame: it looked so warm and bright, they just wanted
to touch it. They waited a few hours looking at the flame; they were a little bit
scared, they didn’t want to get to close.
Eventually one butterfly said: “I can’t stand it any longer! I’m going to have to go
and look at the flame!”
So he cautiously flapped his wings and went up to the cabin to have a look. He
realised that he’d have to fly through the windows to get to the candle. Oh no, he
though, I’m not ready to do that; he flew back to his friends.
He told them “Yes, indeed, it is very beautiful when you get close to it. But it is
inside the cabin.”
So they waited another day. They held out their wings for the sun but there was
no sun. And then night fell again and they looked at the candle, and another
butterfly said, “I can’t stand this anymore! I have to go and warm myself by that
She flew a bit faster, up to the cabin, where she looked into the window. She
looked around and it all seemed fine, so she flew in the window, up to the bright
flame. It was so beautiful, she couldn’t see anything else. She flew a little closer;
it was getting a bit warm. She wasn’t sure why it was so hot but she suddenly felt
her wings get hot and she thought, Oh dear, this is too hot, I’m going home. She
flew straight back home again. She told her friends: “Yes, it’s very beautiful and
it’s worth getting very close but not too close.”
They resigned themselves to waiting for the sun.
On the third night, no sun had come yet.
One butterfly, a little butterfly called Red, because of his bright red antennas,
asked his mother: “Please, please will you let me go and see the flame? I really
want to see the flame!”
Little Red was a very naughty butterfly, normally he wasn’t allowed out and
especially not at night. But everyone was so curious about the flame that finally
his mother gave in. He was so excited. He flew so fast and felt so free, he flew
straight into the window of the cabin. All he could see was the flame, getting
bigger and bigger in his eyes. He hardly felt the heat.
All the other butterflies were watching, waiting for him to come back. They
couldn’t see where he had got to, but he didn’t come back.
He didn’t come back.
He still didn’t come back.
The turned to the Wise Butterfly for help. He said “Only Red will ever know
where he’s been.”