Violet licked her lips and glanced around the garden.
“Violet, what are you doing way up there?”
“Hi, Amethyst” Violet called down from the top of a toadstool. “mmm…just smelling the air for rain. What are you planning to do this afternoon? Do you want to play?”
Amethyst looked up at her strange friend, her two huge eyes wide open. “I don’t think we’ll see any rain today. It’s a scorcher of a day–too hot to play. Besides, Lilac is coming to help me clean up Mauve’s feet.”
Violet’s wings shivered. “Has Mauve been playing on that fly trap again? You would think she would learn by now.”
They both chuckled.
Amethyst fidgeted. “You guessed it.” Her skinny legs danced to Violet’s increasing drone. “Will you stop that racket Violet? The vibration is driving my 5,000 lenses crazy. I’m out of here. Bye”
“Bye.” Violet sighed. “It always happens. My friends never hang around for long.” She spread her shiny purple wings, launched off the toadstool, and glided toward the garden gate. “I wonder if Lavender is still about. Maybe she will play with me. Butterflies are usually friendlier than flies.”
Sure enough, there was Lavender camouflaged by the wilted indigo pansies. “Good morning Lavender.”
“Ah, my sweet Violet, where have you been?”
Violet’s wings briefly turned a shade darker. “Sleeping.”
“Sleeping! It’s a beautiful day.
“But it’s been so dry, Lavender,” the beetle protested. “I want the rain. I want to smell Christmas Bush, and dance around porch lights in the cool of the evening.”
“Yes, well that’s all perfectly well for a shiny purple Aussie Christmas beetle. For us fragile butterflies rain is not our friend, and with the night comes…”
“Oh stop it, Lavender. The weather is too warm for you to di…”
Suddenly Mauve whizzed by. Amethyst and Lilac chased the naughty house fly. They were screaming like mosquitoes at the top of their lungs. “Come back, Mauve. You’re heading for the fly trap!”
Lavender chuckled at the sight.
Violet laughed so hard that she fell on her back. “Help!” Violet twisted and turn. She kicked her little legs in vain. Around and around she spun. Her wings trembled. The drone was deafening even to Violet. Dust rose from the dry ground distorting her vision. Her wings shook violently.
“Kick, Violet, kick.” Lavender shouted above the noise.
“I am. I am.” Violet coughed, then with one sudden sneeze she flipped over onto her feet.
The two insects breathed a sigh of relief. “That was close,” Lavender said, flapping nervous wings. “You should be more careful.”
Violet stood on shaky legs. Big tears ran down her bulky cheeks washing away the dirt from her eyes.
“My poor sweet Violet, your beautiful purple body is dull and dirty, and your tears have smeared your face. You really do need a bath.”
“If only it would rain,” Violet cried. “I want my purple back.”
Lavender settled on a leaf. “Please cheer up, Violet. You’re making me sad too.”
At the sound of a bee approaching the two friends moved undercover but it was too late. There, hovering a few inches away, buzzed a large honey bee.
“My goodness,” the bee declared. This is an unusual sight—a beautiful butterfly hanging around an ugly dung beetle.”
“I’m not a dung beetle,” Violet protested. “I’m a Christmas beetle.”
“Dream on,” the bee laughed and buzzed away.
Tears started afresh and Violet turned her back so Lavender couldn’t see her ugly face.
“Come now,” Lavender soothed. “Ignore her; she’s just an old crone. I’ll just tell her to “buzz off” if she returns.”
“Violet sniffed. She sniffed again.”
“Please don’t cry, sweet Violet.”
“Violet’s body shivered. Her wings vibrated. She sniffed again, and then took a deep breath. “Oh my,” she exclaimed her voice trembling.
“What is it?”
“I do believe it’s going to rain.” Violet struggled to control herself. “You should stay here where it’s dry, Lavender, but I need to fly. Violet began to rise. She hovered momentarily. “Goodbye, my friend.” With that, Violet darted back and forth before she took noisily to the air.
The sky filled with the loud murmur of dozens of Christmas beetles. Light rain fell. Violet rose higher and higher. Instantly the dirt fell away as she joined the swarm of beetles that embraced her company. Together they soared and dived. The fragrant hint of Christmas bush filled their senses—the end of the perfect day for Violet, the Aussie Christmas beetle.
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