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What Are You Scared Of? - a children's story
by Peter Stone
9/10/2008 / Family
Ginger the cat was having the time of her life exploring the large paddock behind her house. With its duck pond, shrubs and long grass there were so many things to see and smell - lizards, insects, ducks, and even the occasional possum. She loved being a cat it meant that boundaries such as the back fence were no obstacle.
As she padded through the grass she noticed a wild flower shivering as though cold. This was strange; she had never seen a flower do that before. She stepped closer and saw an oval shaped Whirligig beetle hiding behind the flower's stem. The poor little thing was shaking quite badly. "What's wrong, little Whirligig? What are you doing here? You should be swimming on the duck pond."
"I'm too scared to go back there," squeaked the Whirligig.
"Why?" asked Ginger, "what are you scared of?"
"I'm scared of that happening to me!" exclaimed the beetle as she pointed a hooked claw towards the pond.
Ginger looked up and saw another Whirligig beetle scuttling towards them. But something was wrong. The right side of his carapace was scorched black and an extremely unpleasant aroma (like that terrible liquid Ginger's human servants put in their car) wafted from him.
"What happened to you? And what is that terrible smell!" Ginger asked as the beetle limped past them.
"Some bum shot me, that's what happened!"
Ginger cocked her head, "Really? A bum?"
"It's those blasted Bombardier beetles. They're out of control! They have claimed the duck pond as their own and they're driving everyone else away," said the Whirligig.
Ginger turned back to the Whirligig behind the flower; "I had better check this out."
Without making a single sound Ginger crept to the edge of a patch of tall grass only a meter from the edge of the duck pond. She watched a brown Whirligig swimming happily on the water, searching for food. Then suddenly five black beetles with red heads jumped out from behind a rock. They span around and aimed their bottoms at the Whirligig.
One of the red and black beetles shouted, 'Bums away!" and then there were several loud popping sounds and a very bad smelling liquid shot out at high speed from the tips of their abdomens. Small puffs of steam erupted where the liquid hit the water. Some of the liquid also hit the Whirligig, scorching his carapace black. The poor little thing shrieked in pain and dived beneath the water leaving only a bubble in his wake.
Ginger sighed at this shameful display of bullying and stepped out from behind the tall grass. "You know, little Bombardier beetles, God did not give you this special ability so that you can hog this pond all to yourselves."
Five black and red beetles span around fearfully and then answered almost all at once.
"No? Then why did He give it to us?"
"We've got it so we use it!"
"It's a beetle eat beetle world out there so we've got to be strong!"
"It's our pond now. We've staked our claim on it."
"And we're strong so we don't need to share it!"
Ginger shook her head, "Sorry, beetles, you've got it all wrong. God gave you your special strength to defend yourselves when an enemy tries to eat you. Not for you to drive the weaker bugs away from their homes."
"Only use it against our enemies? Why that's no fun at all!"
"Hey, do cats eat Bombardiers?"
"They probably do. Cat, are you our enemy?"
"Yes, I think she is. What happens when cat hair burns?"
"Let's find out! Bottoms up! Take aim..."
Jumping up in alarm Ginger spoke quickly, "No! Don't shoot me - I am your friend, not your enemy."
"Look out, she's having a hissy fit!"
"I am not!" said Ginger a little too firmly. These bombardier beetles were just so annoying. How ever was she going to get her message through to them?
"Warning, warning, fellow bumbardiers - cat spat in progress!"
"About face - oops - I mean about bottom!"
"Aim for her head!"
"She's making me mad - my temperature's reaching boiling point."
"No, that's your bottom reaching boiling point, you dummy!"
Five small black bottoms were suddenly aimed at Ginger's head. She could smell the horrible chemical brewing inside them as they prepared to shoot.
Seeing that irritation was not going to achieve anything, Ginger decided to try a different approach. So she yawned gracefully and then slowly lay down and popped her chin on her paws. "I'm not your enemy, Bombardiers. I'm your friend. And I've come to ask you to stop hurting the Whirligigs. This duck pond is their home too so you have to share it with them. It is not right for you to bully them and cause them to live in fear. Can you all please do one little thing for me?"
"Again with the 'I'm your friend' line."
"Yes, what is that all about?"
"Are you sure cats don't eat Bombardiers?"
"This could all be one big trick!"
Ginger looked sternly at the Bombardier she considered to be the leader.
"Okay already, what is this little thing you want us to do for you, cat?" the little beetle snapped back after a moment.
"Well," began Ginger, "just pretend for a moment that you five are Whirligig beetles and that this duck pond is your home. Then pretend five Bombardiers come and hurt you and drive you away. Now, how do you all feel?"
"Ah, well, not too happy maybe?"
"Oh, and a bit sore perhaps?"
"We see you have a point."
"Okay, okay, we'll stop shooting the Whirligigs."
"They can all come back to the pond."
"Thank you. Everything works so much better when we can share things with each other and be kind to each other," Ginger said as she turned and padded back towards home. And as she walked away she overheard the Bombardiers chattering to each other.
"Now we have to share this pond."
"And with those Whirligigs!"
"Not to mention we can only shoot those things that try to eat us from now on."
"Anyone see a spider?"
"What about a wasp?"
Luke 6:31 (NIV) Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Peter Stone, a Bible College Graduate, has an international marriage and two children. Suffers from epilepsy and otosclerosis. He teaches Sunday school and plays the piano in church.
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