Like most people I welcome butterflies to my garden and enjoy watching them go from flower to flower. Many stories have been written about butterflies and fairies. Fairies are drawn with wings like butterflies and fairies are also said to catch a ride on a butterfly. However, I think they ride on dragon flies most often.
I thought I knew a lot about monarchs, but I didn’t know they only live two to six weeks until recently. The most amazing thing for me has always been the metamorphosis process from caterpillar to a beautiful winged creature. My grandmother said that butterflies carry prayers to heaven and that is why God gave them such beautiful wings. Maybe she was right.
I remember seeing dead butterflies displayed on boards when I was a little girl and hated it. I know some people did it as a teaching aid, but I thought it was cruel. Seeing dead butterflies didn’t make me want to learn about them. It just made me sad.
The butterfly in the picture is dining on my butterfly bush. I’ve only seen a handful of visitors to the bush, but I’m hoping for more. It’s almost August so the time will go quickly before they are gone. My hummingbirds will also head south and I will miss them. The good news is they will both return next summer!
Hope you are enjoying the summer visitors and these long days!
Looking for a new home? Newly grown fungus homes are available for rent. Their shining white domes reflect the sun during the day and the moonlight at night. Picture the fun you and your fellow fairies can have frolicking in the lush green grass! The homes are close to flowers, herbs and fountains. It’s a perfect setting for any fairy family!
I think it would be fun to have fairies in my yard, so why not advertise! When I was in Ireland, I was told we should always inform the fairies before we mow if there are toadstools in the lawn. Of course it would be better to mow around the toadstools. Some people do believe in fairies and tell stories of people who have seen them. Of course telling fairy stories is a great draw for tourists.
I think of Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell when I think of fairies. She was Peter’s friend and helped him. I have learned that people in the middle ages did not see fairies that way. In fact, they were afraid to say the word fairies and instead called them little people or the hidden people. Not all fairies were believed to be good, have wings, or were small.
Fairy rings were either thought to be good or evil. In some countries the devil was responsible for them and should be avoided or they were good luck. Since fungus does not die, fairy rings can continue to live and increase in size. France has a fairy ring that is believed to be 700 years old. Some people believe fairies dance inside fairy rings, and I like that theory.
Many children and some adults have fairy gardens. I made one with a granddaughter a few years ago with things we found in the yard. We collected leaves, twigs, flowers and created a little pond for the fairies. I remember it as a fun summer activity. I heard a woman comment that she believed in angels and had never seen one, so maybe fairies do exist. She did have a point. Has anyone seen a fairy? Please let me know.
The Grimm Brothers’ story was about Little Red Cap.
Most people are familiar with Little Red Riding Hood. In fact there are 25 adaptations of the story that I read about and probably more. Children in Spain to China have enjoyed this story. One version is written with a Cajun twist, another is written from the wolf’s point of few, and another is written from a kind little wolf who only pretends to be bad for the sake of the story.
The Grimm Brothers ended their story with an alternate ending. They begin by saying, ” Some folks say the last story is not true…,” and then explained what really happened. Red Cap was not fooled by the wolf and she and her grandmother tricked the wolf and he died when he fell off their roof. I liked that ending better than having the wolf eat the grandmother and Red Cap.
The book that I have was published in 1944 and the copyright date is 1920. In reading these stories, I found they were different from the ones I remember. For example, Snow White was not awakened with a kiss. She was awakened when her glass encasement was shaken and the piece of poisoned apple fell from her mouth.
I never read that the witch’s cottage in Hansel and Grethel had “caskets of pearls and precious stones” which the children took with them when they escaped. I think that made the story better.
Grimms’ Cinderella was a very different story. There is no fairy godmother, and there isn’t a ball the three sisters attend. Instead of a ball, there is a festival that lasts for three nights and birds bring dresses for Cinderella at her mother’s grave. The prince pours pitch so Cinderella will lose a slipper on the third night and a golden slipper gets stuck in it. The slipper is not glass.
Parents tell the children in both Cinderella and Hansel and Grethel that God will watch over them. I know that isn’t found in later versions. The first edition of Grimm Brothers stories was published in 1812 and had 86 stories. I wonder how different those stories are than the ones I read published in 1944. (Grethel was spelled this way in my book)
I love Dr. Seuss books and used them in teaching. Every year I taught a unit on discrimination, and I read The Sneetches to my students. It’s a story about the Star Belly Sneetches and the Plain Belly Sneetches. Each thought they were the best ones on the beaches. In the end, they learned a Sneetch is a Sneetch and stars on bellies don’t matter.
Ted Geisel was born in 1904 and died in 1991. He went to Dartmouth College and is said to have written racist books. A man who wrote the Sneetches could not have been a racist. Knowing the time period he lived in, racism was common and if he did write racists books while in college, he changed. Education and life experiences can correct one’s faulty thinking of his youth.
He also wrote The Lorax which is an environmental book. I loaned my copy to the science teacher who read it to her students. The Sneetches and The Lorax both added to our students’ education in a fun way that they remembered.
I was privileged to sit on my local school board years ago, and I remember parents wanting certain books banned. As a teacher, I had a parent that wanted not only his child not to read a book, but to prevent all the students from reading it. I am against banning books. People should be free to decide for themselves if a book is appropriate for themselves or their family. By the way, my student was allowed to read something else. No problem, that was standard policy.
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his I Have A Dream speech that he dreamed of people being judged by the content of their character. I think The Sneetches clearly show Ted Geisel’s character.
A familiar story idea is about following paths. I always liked how Gretel tried to mark the path to her and Hansel’s home with bread crumbs. As they continued their way through the woods they found a house made of gingerbread and covered with candy. As they discovered, looks can be deceiving.
Teachers and parents also like to use paths in discussing which path children should follow when it comes to career, behavior or group of friends to follow. In short, the subject of paths has a lot of material for people to write and talk about.
In my mind, the path is leading to a barn that holds an old sleigh that has been lovingly painted and repaired. A sweet old man, who looks like Santa, lets me pet his horse that pulls the sleigh. I offer to help with chores if he will show me how to drive the sleigh. Mucking out the barn is worth the lesson. My fantasy ends with driving the beautiful red sleigh through the woods.
Christmastime is a magical season of lights and dreams. For me, the snow adds to the feeling that anything is possible. I would love to hear where your paths would lead. Happy imagining!
One my favorite books is a Berenstain Bear book called The Spooky Old Tree. The bears have an adventure through the tree and encounter the Great Sleeping Bear. I asked myself what adventure I’d create if I went inside a tree. I’d choose having a conversation with the tree. Hearing about what the tree had experienced would be quite an adventure!
I’d have to select the tree’s location before I asked my questions. There are endless ones to choose from. Trees saw battles, weddings, funerals and religious figures. Remember Zacchaeus from the Bible who climbed a tree to see Jesus?
We all appreciate the beauty of trees and what they provide. Food and shade are easily thought of, but they also provide inspiration for writers. I’m sure all of you can think of a poem that honored a tree. I know several of you are thinking of Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree.
A walk through the woods for many is a spiritual experience. It surrounds us with silent beauty and offers stories waiting to be written. Trees are one of God’s most precious gifts, and I am grateful. Just a note of interest. California is the home to Methuselah a bristlecone pine tree that is believed to be 5,000 years old. Now, that tree would have stories to tell!
These little mosquito eaters are welcome to my yard!
Every night at dusk two brown bats come to my back yard for dinner. Bats can eat 1200 insects an hour. My neighbor has a small pond, so I think that is why Bart and Bertha come to dine. Sometimes Sylvester joins them for dinner. Yes, I named the bats. Since they come every night, they deserved to be named.
I’ve learned a lot about bats. Their excrement is called guano and is a great fertilizer. Since it is high in potassium nitrate (salt peter) it was used for gun powder during the Civil War and was used up to WWI. One hundred pounds of guano was needed to make four pounds of salt peter.
Bats are important to over 500 plant species. They pollinate plants and bananas, mangoes, guava and agave depend on them. The tube-lipped bat that bananas rely on have extremely long tongues in order to reach the nectar. Their tongues are one and half times the length of the bat’s body. Amazing!
When Halloween arrives, I will hang my black bats with a lot more appreciation for them. I learned a lot about these furry, flying mammals. Perhaps Bertha and Bart should star in an educational story for children.
Rudolph had a bad case of fleas in our Christmas show last year and his agent Saulie was frantic trying to find a cure. She had lined up several appearances for him. Rudolph was very tall as you can see, and every time he scratched people laughed. He and Saulie brought the house down as the expression goes! I wish people had this to watch again and again.
I’ve written the Christmas show the last four years at my church and my goal has been to write a lot of humor for the show. I want the laughs for many reasons. It relieves stress and Christmas is a stressful time. Laughter boosts our immune system, decreases pain and adds joy to our lives. We need all of that all year round.
I’m working on the show for this year and I keep looking back to what I’ve done in the past. Frosty didn’t want to dance and play with the children because the Buckeyes were on TV. Rudolph’s nose turned brown as a result of a nose spray product he was promoting in a commercial. And then there was Helga the witch who complained to Santa about Rudolph stealing apples from her tree. Just remembering makes me smile!
Laugh, smile, and chuckle are all good words that express happiness. I hope reading this might bring a smile or a happy memory from Christmas. I know remembering has put a smile on my face.
The egg delivering Easter bunny has been active in the United States since the 1700s. It is believed that German immigrants brought the tradition with them. They called the bunny Osterhase. Children made little nests for the rabbit to lay colored eggs in. It sounds a little crazy, but we have carried on the tradition for centuries. Of course the tradition evolved to Easter baskets and of course egg hunts. My personal favorite is the egg hunt.
I found it interesting that there are other animals that bring eggs besides the bunny. In Switzerland it is the cuckoo. That makes more sense than a rabbit. I also read about an Easter witch in Switzerland who brought chocolate to the children. Witches are scary, but if they bring chocolate they must be okay!
Easter is the most important religious holiday for Christians. Without Jesus’s resurrection, the religion most likely would not have formed. The Easter lily represents that Jesus has risen. It is one of the fragrant spring flowers that bring us reassurance that the winter has ended. Jesus assured us that another kind of darkness had ended. May all of you find joy in Easter wherever you are today, because Jesus is always with us!
When I was a child, I thought the praying mantis was the pastor for insects. I actually pictured one holding a service. So many insects buzz, they would have created beautiful songs. As an adult, I think it looks like Ichabod Crane! Notice the skinny neck and bulging eyes, see what I mean?
I read that the praying mantis represents calm and meditation. Why? It’s a vicious little insect. It has a voracious appetite and eats just about anything. I made the mistake of watching one catch a hummingbird on youtube. I saw the catch, and then I stopped watching.
The female praying mantis eat the male’s heads after mating and one scientist observed this during mating. Talk about a crazed lover! They are said to be related to cockroaches and termites which are both insects that cause trouble, so I guess it’s in the gene pool!
In some cultures seeing a praying mantis is good luck. This one was on my hosta plant last summer, and I thought it was cool. Now, I’m a little disgusted by it knowing that they actually kill hummingbirds!