Farmer Jack Tells The Story
from The Sad Nettle and The Beautiful Butterfly
A children’s fable by Jan Luthman
“Long ago,” He began, “There was a nettle growing in a meadow.”
“Just one?” Robbit was picking at a piece of potato leaf that had got stuck between his big front teeth, “There are lots in our meadow: specially in the shady bit.”
“Maybe there were lots in this meadow as well,” Said Farmer Jack, “The story didn’t say.”
Jonathan slid across and began to climb up the stump, a great big leaf hanging from the back of his shell.
“I’m bringing it with me,” He explained, “Just in case it’s a long story and I get hungry while you’re talking.”
“The story, ” Robbit tugged at Farmer Jack’s trouser leg, “Tell us the story.”
“Well, ” Farmer Jack began again, “This nettle was really sad.”
“Why?” Demanded Robbit.
“Probably because he was lonely,” Puffed Jonathan, half way up the side of the stump, “I hate being lonely.”
Farmer Jack could see it was going to take some time to tell the story.
“He was sad,” He sighed, “Because nobody liked him.”
“That’s ‘cos he stung them, ” Muttered Robbit.
“M’mm,” Agreed farmer Jack, “But he couldn’t help it: that’s the way he was made.”
“Then,” Farmer Jack continued, “One day, a beautiful butterfly settled on one of the nettle’s leaves and, instead of saying ‘ow!’ and flying away again, the butterfly just sat there and unfolded her lovely coloured wings and rested there in the sunshine.”
Jonathans’ eyes were big as saucers behind his spectacles.
“Well,” Farmer Jack went on, “The nettle was just bursting with excitement and hardly dared move, in case he frightened the butterfly away.”
Eventually the butterfly spoke.
“Why are you so quiet?” She asked the nettle.
” I don’t know what to say,” He replied, ” Nobody’s ever sat on one of my leaves before.”
“I wonder why?” Asked the butterfly.
“Because I sting them,” Said the nettle, then added sadly, “I can’t help it.”
“Well,” Declared the butterfly, “I think your leaves are very comfortable.”
She paused for a moment, deep in thought.
“I was wondering,” The butterfly said eventually, “If I could ask you a special favour.”
The nettle blushed: nobody had ever asked him a favour before.
“Of course you can,” He whispered.
“I need somewhere safe for my eggs during the winter.”
“Would you like me to look after them?”
“Yes, please,” The butterfly answered, “It would mean taking care of them for the whole winter. Could you do that?”
The nettle quivered with pleasure.
“I’d be honoured,” He said.
And so, that winter, the nettle guarded the butterfly’s eggs. All through the rain and the snow and storms, the nettle kept the eggs safe and dry under its leaves, where no animal would dare try to eat them.
In the spring, as the weather grew warmer, the eggs hatched out into caterpillars and, later, each of these caterpillars turned into a chrysallis. Finally, at long last, in the middle of the summer, each chrysallis hatched into a beautiful new butterfly. It looked so pretty, the nettle could hardly believe his eyes.
“Oh,” The beautiful new butterfly stretched its fresh new wings out to dry in the sunshine, “I do feel hungry.”
“Where will you eat?” Asked the nettle.
The beautiful new butterfly flicked its glorious wings lightly. They were a deep red colour, with beautiful patterns along the edges, and had four great big eyes eyes painted on them, blue and white and yellow and black.
“My favourite place,” She said, her wings shimmering in the sunlight, “is the flower of a Buddleia bush.”
There were lots of Buddleia bushes in the meadow, their enormous lilac-coloured flower-cones waving gently in the breeze. The butterfly flitted gracefully over to the nearest of them.
The nettle watched, then looked down at his own plain green leaves. They seemed so dull and boring next to the butterfly, he felt very humble.
As if reading his thoughts, the butterfly looked up and spoke.
“Thank you,” She said, “For looking after me all winter. I think your leaves are the strongest and safest leaves in the whole wide world.”
The nettle blushed with pride. Suddenly, he didn’t feel sad at all.
The Peacock Butterfly”What’s your name?” He asked her.
“Why,” She said, settling down to feed, “I’m called a Peacock butterfly.”
Farmer Jack turned to Jonathan and Robbit.
“And, do you know,” He said, “From that day on, every winter the nettle has looked after the eggs of the beautiful Peacock butterfly.”
We hope your enjoyed this chapter called Farmer Jack Tells The Story from the fable entitled
The Sad Nettle and The Beautiful Butterfly.
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The Sad Nettle and The Beautiful Butterfly
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