Jonathan Chases the Beetle Boys

Jonathan Chases the Beetle Boys
Chapter 5 from the story
Jonathan the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
A children’s fable by Jan Luthman

The two Beetle Boys were skulking around in the prickly bramble bushes that grew at the bottom of the meadow.

Jonathan Chases the Beetle Boys
The Beetle Boys

They looked up scornfully as they saw Jonathan slide slowly into view.
“Well, well, well,” Sneered one of them, “Look what we’ve got here.”

“Why, if it isn’t a snail,” Leered the other, “A boring, slow snail.”

“And what’s that little thing stuck on the front of his shell?”

“Looks like it’s an ant: Andrew the ever-busy Ant.”

Jonathan and Andy said nothing; they just glided quietly up to where the beetle boys stood.

“What’s that on the side of his shell?” One of the beetles pointed at Jonathan.

“It looks like writing,” Said the other, “What could it say?”

They scuttled round to peer at Jonathan’s shell.

“Ooh, look,” Tittered one, pretending to be surprised, “It says SWOT.”

“Swotty, swotty snail,” They mocked.

Jonathan spoke at last.

“I’d like you to clean the writing off, please,” He said, quietly.

The two beetle boys almost fell over with surprise.

“You’d like us to do what?” They chorused.

“Clean it off,” Replied Jonathan, “After all, you put it on.”

The two beetle boys hooted in derision.

“Hooo, listen to him,” They jeered.

Jonathan stood still calmly.

“And,” He added, “I’d like you to promise never to bully anybody in the meadow again.”

The two beetles stopped laughing.

“And if we don’t promise?” Said one of them menacingly, “What will you do then?”

The beetle boys looked very ferocious; Jonathan plucked up all his courage.

“I’ll chase you,” He said bravely, “So fast you fall over. Then you wouldn’t be able to get up.”

The two beetle boys doubled up with laughter: nasty, unfriendly laughter.

“Hooo, hooo, hoooo,” They hooted derisively.

They dashed round to one side of Jonathan.

“Yoo hoo!” They called, “Catch us if you can.”

They rushed back to the other side.

“Yoo hoo!” They called again, “We’re over here.”

The two beetles scampered off up the hill.

“Come and get us!” They jeered.

The beetles cackled gleefully to each other, delighted with themselves.

“I’ll give you one more chance,” Declared Jonathan, “I’d like you to clean my shell, then I’d like you to promise not to be bullies ever again.”

But the beetles just swaggered around and around, taunting Jonathan.

Silently and slowly, Andy lent forward

“Hey, my friend,” He whispered in Jonathan’s ear, “You all fuelled up?”

Jonathan nodded quietly: Old Mrs Spider had given him a fresh spoonful of her brew that morning.

Andy pushed forward gently on Jonathan’s feelers.

” Let’s go, my friend,” He whispered in Jonathan’s ear, ” It’s time to show them who’s boss.”

Jonathan began to cruise forward, slowly at first, Andy astride his shell.

The two beetle boys watched them, smirking.

“My, oh my,” Jeered one of them, “The snail’s chasing us.”

“Oh, help, help,” Sneered the other, “He’s going so fast.”

Suddenly, Andy pushed Jonathan’s feelers right to the front of his head

“Go get ’em,” He yelled.


Jonathan leapt forward like a rocket, his head down, straight at the two beetles. Dumbfounded, they stood rooted to the spot. Jonathan zoomed between them.

“Yikes!” Screeched one of them.

“I don’t believe it!” Gasped the other.

Andy hauled hard on one of Jonathan’s feelers.

“Turn, Jonathan!” He yelled, “Let’s go back and run ’em over.”

Jonathan veered round and screeched back towards the two beetles


“Watch out,” Yelled one, “He’s coming back!”

The two of them scrabbled desperately to get out of the way. Jonathan streaked between them, Andy bouncing up and down on his shell in excitement.

“Wheeeeee!” Yelled Andy, “Go get’em , Jonathan!”

The two beetle boys went scuttling off down the hill as fast as they could. Andy and Jonathan hurtled after them.


“Help! Help!” The beetles yelled in fright.

Panic-stricken, they looked round over their shoulders to see where Jonathan was. Not looking where they were going, they didn’t see Old Mrs Spider’s fresh new web lying right across their path.


The two beetle boys tripped and fell headlong, rolling over and over down the hill, Thump! Thump!! Thump!!!

The pair landed at the bottom of the hill, upside down, their legs waving in the air. Jonathan and Andy slid to a halt beside them.

“Help,” Called out one of the beetles.

“Turn us back upright, again,” Pleaded the other.

“Not ’til you’ve said sorry and promised to clean my shell,” Said Jonathan firmly.

The two beetle boys were silent, their legs still waving helplessly in the air.

“Well?” Asked Jonathan, “I’m listening.”

“Dohhh!” Said one of the beetles angrily.

“That didn’t sound like ‘Sorry’ to me,” Said Jonathan.

The two beetles gritted their teeth angrily and said nothing.

“Oh, well,” Said Jonathan, “We’ll go home for tea, now. We might pop round tomorrow to see how you two are getting on.”

He turned and began to slide off up the hill.

“Wait!” Called the beetles. The thought of being left alone and upside down all night was more than they could bear.

“Yes?” Answered Jonathan, “Did you want to say something?”

There was a pause, then.

“Oh, all right then,” One of them called out crossly, “Sorry.”

“And how about your friend?” Asked Jonathan.

“OK,” Said the other beetle grumpily at last, “I’m sorry too.”

Jonathan and Andy slid back down the hill again and hoisted the beetles back on to their feet.

Thank you for reading this chapter entitled Jonathan Chases the Beatle Boys

Go to Chapter 6 of this story of
Jonathan, the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
Jonathan’s Shell is Cleaned and Polished