Ladybug Monster

There once was a very dangerous monster.  He would eat ladybugs all day long – chomp, slurp, gulp, chomp, slurp, gulp.  The more he ate, the more his slimy skin would deepen to red and the darker the black dots would become over every lump and scale on his body.  He did this because he desired to be beautiful and from the land of monsters from which he came, all the monsters fought and preened and bragged to be best among their kind.  There were monsters of hazy blue and grey like the Blue Jay birds upon which they feasted.  Other monsters of shocking yellow crunched the heads of sunflowers all day long.  Yet a third kind had the strongly contrasted orange and white stripes like the Clownfish they hunted among the coral reefs.  Despite their beautiful markings they were a nasty bunch for vanity had rotted their hearts.  They lay waste to the flowers, birds, insects, trees, reptiles, fishes and animals in pursuit of their beautiful colors but nothing could distract from their hideous heads and fearsome bodies.  Two fleshy tentacles dangled on either side of a gap of sharp teeth.  Their eyes were like pools of black oil.  Their fingers were long and pointed and a large hump protruded from their backs.  A lizard like tail dragged behind them and yet they walked on two legs like a man.  The only thing that made each one distinct were their colored patterns.

The Ladybug monster was perhaps the most dangerous because children are very fond of ladybugs.  They are the first and the best of all things that children discover in their backyards and forest.  They are harmless, very pretty and children make a great game of finding them.  They embody the joy of innocents and for that reason, the evil monster gained strength in destroying them.

Now what happens when a little girl loves wearing her ladybug dress?  For there was such a girl.  She was three and a half years old and every day she wore a lovely dress of red with large black dots all over.  The two antennae made up the two straps that curled over her shoulders and the eyes blinked out from the top of her round little tummy.  Her Mom was sure to wash it every night so it would be fresh for her daughter the next day and magically, the dress never faded or tore.

One day, during the first days of autumn when the warm sun glistens on the first yellowing leaves, the little girl was in her backyard playing.  Sure enough, she found a ladybug on the underside of a newly fallen leaf.  She picked it up and began to sweetly talk to the little bug.  She was deep in conversation with her new friend when a low growl could be heard behind the tree.  The little girl looked up to see the Ladybug monster.  At first her eyes were confused by what she saw for the pattern of red and black was so overwhelming to her eyes that she did not see his snarling teeth, long claws or the tail that swished and disturbed the fallen leaves.  The Ladybug monster, for his part, failed to see the little girl swathed inside the garb of a ladybug.  What he did see was a very large and very tasty ladybug and he cackled inside himself thinking what an amazing transformation awaited his foul body once he consumed it.

The little girl finally adjusted her eyes and was so terrified by the Ladybug monster that she was mute, unable to scream for help.  The Ladybug monster approached and opened his jaws wide.

It was at this moment, in the very same tree that had expelled the leaf from which the little girl had found her ladybug friend, that a crow rested upon a branch.  He was an unusually big crow and among his very large family he was the blackest, the shiniest, and the bravest.  He glanced down and was shocked to see a peculiar looking monster about to eat a little girl.  With only a moment to spare before the beast was about to close his teeth around her, the crow let out a tremendous “CAW, CAW, CAW.”

Have you ever heard a crow?  It is quite a startling sound.  To some ears, it is a low and menacing sound.   Which is probably why in all scary movies, just before something really bad happens, you hear a crow cawing.  This time, however,  it stopped the Ladybug monster right in his tracks.  In fact, it did something very remarkable.  The monster started to shrink.  The change was very small at first but the crow kept on cawing.  With every burst of sound from the crow, the monster shrank even more and soon the monster was only as high as the girl’s shoulders. The thing about the CAW of this particular crow was that it came from the growly depths of a very brave bird.   He was known among all the flying creatures to peck at hungry cats that threatened to catch and eat the sparrows, robins or baby birds newly hatched.  He once snatched a baby squirrel away from an eagle just as it was about to be carried away for dinner.  He gently laid it down on a branch and it scurried home.   Monsters thrive on others’ fear and so bravery is the surest way to weaken them.  Bravery can take many forms: telling the truth under threat of harm or embarrassment, protecting the weak, or simply making enough noise so the monsters know they cannot scare you.  Because monsters are only dangerous if we let them scare us.

The loud cawing from the crow managed to wake the girl from her fright and she realized the crow was helping her with his mighty voice.  Here’s a handy fact: besides being friends with ladybugs, the girl happened to be fantastic at bird calls.  In addition to learning how to sound like a chickadee or a prairie grouse, her mother had taught her how to sound like a crow.  Every time they would see a group of crows cawing to each other, they would join in, cawing and calling out to the others.  The crows would caw back and this would go on for several minutes until they flew off.  The other handy thing about the little girl was besides being good and kind, she was also terrifically brave.  No tree was too high to climb, no slide too fast to go down and no swing too tall that she wouldn’t sweep upwards as high as she could.  Her parents feared for broken bones or a fractured skull, but magically like the dress, she was never harmed or even suffered a tiny scratch.

The little girl added her own cawing to that of the big black crow in the tree and soon the noise shrank the Ladybug monster to no bigger than a tiny bug.  In fact, if you squinted your eyes, the red and black dotted monster looked like a ladybug.  The girl picked up the monster and the crow flew down from his branch to land at her feet.  The girl bent down and with an outstretched hand offered the Ladybug monster to the crow.  The crow gave a happy sound, picked up the little red and black morsel and swallowed him in one gulp.

Since that day, ladybugs have been free to roam without fear.  The little girl grew up to be a world famous bird photographer and so it was quite useful she was talented at mimicking bird calls and also an expert tree climber.  She could often be found perched on the highest limbs of trees calling to rare birds that would happily flit over to her for their photo op.  The crow became a great warrior; he flew around the world, cawing and shrinking and eating all those nasty monsters.   It turned out despite their slimy skin and ugly features they were very tasty, so the crow lived a long, contented life on a diet of monsters until no more existed.  From that time forward the plants, insects, birds and animals lived happily in peace.

Postscript:  My sister asked me to write about the Trump win to formulate into words what my family and friends were feeling.  I came up with this story.  I suppose in times that evoke fear or apprehension or just unknowing, we must amalgamate our thoughts into stories if not to protect us from reprisal but to also simplify our understanding of events.  I have no idea how Trump will perform as president, all I know is that “history doesn’t forget, people do.”  So we wait to see if the people of the United States have repeated the mistakes of the past.

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