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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)

TITLE: Butterfly Girl
By Amy Michelle Wiley


I found her crying in my garden. Golden curls hung in a tangled mass about her face as she knelt among the peas.

“Are you hurt?” I touched her lightly, but her tiny shoulders heaved in sobs so great they stole her breath. I checked her knees for blood, scanned her palms and face. But I found no sign of injury. Who was she? And why was she in my garden?

“It’s okay, honey.” I pushed back her hair. “Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

She looked up. Her little face was oddly different, innocent and vulnerable, even for one of her age. “I heahd it die,” she finally managed, her young tongue unable to form an R.

For a moment I thought I’d heard wrong. My heart twinged. “What died? What did you hear?” Please, Lord, not something serious.

She pointed a slender finger downward, to something caught in the grassy weeds that insisted on sprouting beneath my peas. I looked closer. It was a butterfly. And sure enough, it was quite dead.

We looked at it for a moment, the pure white wings against the green of the grass, the brown of the soil below. The slender grey body so still. I looked back at the girl, and watched a round tear slide down her cheek, a breath shudder through her body.

“I heahd it. It was the fuhst one of spwing.” She looked up at me, her pale eyes so full of emotion.

I wanted to fix it for her, make everything be all right. I opened my mouth to say something. Something about it being just a bug, how other butterflies would come, how death was part of life. But the gravity of her face gave me pause. It was life. That tiny butterfly was part of God’s creation. And most of all, it mattered to the little girl.

“We can bury it,” I offered. “Would you like that?”

She nodded slowly.

We picked a place together, and dug a hole with the spade I kept in the corner of the garden, meant to coax me to do some occasional weeding. Once as I was digging she stopped me, a pale hand on my arm. “There’s a wohm.” Sure enough, the worm’s moist body wriggled, half of it dangling from the wall of our small hole, the other half struggling to tunnel back to safety. I tugged it out, gently, and let the little girl carry it to a new home.

When the butterfly had been given a proper burial, leaving a dark mound of dirt outlined by silver stones, the child looked up at me. A hint of a smile crossed her face.

“I’ll come again, okay? Today they aw’ sad, but they sing a lot here.” She waved a delicate hand in an arch that encompassed the whole garden, turned her body in an almost dance. “They like yah gahden.”

I looked, and I saw a grasshopper jump, swaying with the wind on the wispy strands of carrot leafs, a ladybug land on the bud of a tomato, a bright spot of red against the green, and the flash of a robin’s breast among the pale sprouts of lettuce.

Her smile was full this time, making her eyes glow and her teeth sparkle. “We love spwing!”

And then she was gone, running across the yard and disappearing into the neighborhood beyond, yet leaving a bit of something behind. A bit of something here, in my garden. Something that filled me, and nestled in my heart.

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This article has been read 1643 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/30/09
I very much enjoyed this beautiful picture of a nature-loving little girl and a wise, caring narrator in springtime.
Lynda Schultz 07/30/09
This child is so "other-worldly" that I wondered if she were part of a dream or a vision. Really nice.
Mona Purvis07/30/09
So gentle that I had to shut out all sound as I read. Very special. Gave me a tear and a smile.
Connie Dixon08/01/09
You really captured the heart and emotion of Butterfly Girl. Loved this!
Laury Hubrich 08/03/09
O, how sweet. Was she real? Awesome story:) Wow!
Ada Nett08/04/09
A sweet and tender rendering of a child's heart.
Eliza Evans 08/04/09
Just lovely. A delicate, gentle telling. Very fitting. :)
I really enjoyed this.
Eliza Evans 08/04/09
Can I say again that this is just lovely lovely lovely! Written with such grace and tenderness. Very sweet and touching.
Loren T. Lowery08/05/09
I loved it all, but especially the last line, because I've found in life, that there are those that do just that. And, you've expressed oh so well!
Sara Harricharan 08/05/09
Oooh, beautiful!! I almost wonder if she was a fairy-child. There's just that "thing" about her! Love this kind of story and so wonderfully done. I'm glad that they did bury the butterfly. loved all the details in this!
Sharon Kane08/06/09
Congratulations on your EC. I loved this. Bitter-sweet and shot through with the purity and innocence of childhood. I'm so glad the MC chose not to teach about life and death, but to learn about them instead.
Kaylee Blake 08/06/09
Congrats on your EC! Very lighthearted with great imagery.
Eliza Evans 08/06/09
Yay, Amy and Butterfly Girl! :)
Carol Wiley08/06/09
Excellent word picture. The little girl was so real and God's creation so evident. You can feel the tender spirit in this story.
Coleene VanTilburg 08/23/09
An "End" -summer's night dream. My son thinks I am a little wierd because I always notice the interesting bugs in my garden and want to take their pictures. I especially love butterflys and the spiritual meaning I have, (maybe other too) behing them. Thanks for your sweet story.