'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Winter Butterfly Story

Once upon a time there was a butterfly.  She had emerged from her chrysalis at the very end of autumn and had instinctively hidden in the heart of a hedge for two months as the increasingly cold weather slowly sapped her strength and the winter winds battered her wings.  
One frosty morning turned into a extra sunny day and with the last of her vigor she was lured out to seek some warmth.

I found her on the grass, on the dark, dank side of the garden.  
Her wings were closed, her antennae askew, and she was on her knees with her legs buckled beneath the weight of her body.  When I picked her up she hardly protested at all.

I took her inside the house and mixed up a teaspoon of sugar with two teaspoons of warm water, and placed her in the bowl, legs touching the liquid.

Immediately her tongue unrolled and extended, and she began to drink.

Her wings slowly began to open.

After fifteen minutes her legs could now hold her up.  She removed her tongue from the sugar water and began to systematically suck her legs dry.

Then she furled up her tongue and thought for a minute.

She felt the warmth of the sun and gauged the direction.  Calculating the minimum strength she would need, she economically walked over to the edge of the dish, fluttered twice and landed on the net curtain.

Shuffling around to the other side, she carefully spread her wings out at a right angle to the sun's rays coming through the window.

She hung there for ten minutes or so, then began a vigorous fluttering.

I picked her up gently and opened the door, opening my hand in the sun.  She immediately flew up, hovered for a few seconds, oriented herself, and flew away due west.

I think I saw her again today.  She's looking good.


  1. I tried to think of a "clever" comment - but your story doesn't need one. It's simply beautiful and has warmed my heart today. Thank you. I've just discovered your blog, and I love it. And just now I saw your earlier Suffolk posts - my favourite places! Glad our paths have crossed.

  2. Welcome to TLVD Antonia, and thank you. You have reminded me that I wanted to add more to our retrospective travel diary. It helps me live and enjoy the trip all over again. Suffolk was lovely!

    Jan - welcome!

  3. What a great story... and a great result. They aren't always so good with butterflies.

    PS. what is it about butterflies, everybody loves them?

  4. Thanks Helsie. I wonder if we like butterflies for the same reason we love birds; the sense of freedom we get from seeing something fly? With the added bonus of pretty, bright colours too.

  5. Glad she recovered. I spoonfed a butterfly on my balcony a year or two ago but alas it already had its life behind it and all I could give was some palliative care... Then I took it outside and buried it under a tree. How sentimental can one get?

    1. I understand how attached we can get to living creatures.... but you could get more sentimental. You could be me with a moth when I was about 15. I decapitated it when I accidently shut it in a door. I felt so terrible. The memory and remorse has stayed with me to this day. And I hadn't even got to know it.

  6. I think my cat would have eaten it before it had chance to dry out!! Cats.... love 'em AND hate 'em!! Well done - nice story and lovely pictures.

  7. The Monarch is such a truly magnificent creature in both looks and achievements - the Godwit of the butterfly world. Who could not admire it?