By Elaine Tutterrow
(Personalized by Bernie Rosage)
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little family of water bugs. They were a happy family, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in a while one of their family seemed to lose interest in its friends' activities. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it would gradually move out of sight and be seen no more.
"Look!" said Tory-bug to Emily-bug, "one of our family, Joyce-bug is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up she slowly went.... Even as they watched, Joyce-bug disappeared from sight. Her friends waited and waited but she didn't return. "That's funny!" said Lyndsey-bug to Whitney-bug. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked Dylan-bug. "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered Fonda-bug. No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.
Finally Kristi-bug, a loved one in the family, gathered her friends together. "I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why." "We promise," they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, Kristi-bug, who had suggested the plan, found herself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, she went. Before she knew what was happening, she had broken through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above. When she awoke, she looked about with surprise. She couldn't believe what she saw. A startling change had come to her old body. Her movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as she struggled, she felt an impulse to move her wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. She moved her wings again and suddenly found herself up above the water. She had become a dragonfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves, she flew through the air. She felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest.
Then it was that she chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, she was right above her old friends; Tory-bug, Emily-bug, Lyndsey-bug, Whitney-bug, Dylan-bug, Fonda-bug, Mikey-bug, Tami-bug, Bernie-bug, Granny-bug, Pappy-bug, and Christopher-bug! There they were scurrying around, just as she had been doing some time before. Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why."
Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly she hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that she was a dragonfly, she could no longer go into the water. "I can't return!" she said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went." And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.