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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
I Hate Bugs!

The sun was nice and warm for an autumn day. Maggie was watching a fat orange caterpillar climbing up the stem of a rose bush in their flower garden. Gran was clipping dead roses from the bush. "Oh look, Gran. See this caterpillar. Itís ugly. Look at the big black spots on it," Maggie said.

Gran stepped over to see the insect. "I think itís beautiful. Look how orange it is. What a lovely shade! Maggie, soon that will be a butterfly. It wonít stay around for long though."

"Where will it go, Gran?" Maggie asked.

"Butterflies always fly south, down towards the continent. Itís too cold up here in the highlands for them at this time of year. This fellow is late," Gran said.

"I think bugs are ugly, Gran. I donít like them at all. I hate spiders," Maggie said forcefully.

Gran ignored her and continued clipping her roses down. Several yellow roses were still on the stems and filled with a glorious scent. Maggie walked over to a big stone lying in the dirt. She lifted it up. "Oh look, Gran. Rolly-polly bugs! Come and see, Gran."

Gran went over to Maggie. "Why donít you pick one up? They tickle," she said.

"No, Gran. I donít like bugs. What if it bites me?" Maggie asked.

Gran bent over and picked up a rolly-polly bug. It curled up in a ball in the palm of her hand. "See, Maggie. Itís afraid of me. It rolled up and wonít open up again until it feels safe."

Maggie watched the bug. It started to open up and began to crawl up Granís hand. Gran giggled. "It tickles. Here. Why donít you hold it for a minute? It wonít bite," Gran promised.

Hesitantly Maggie opened her hand and put it next to Grans. The bug crawled right onto her fingers. "It does tickle," Maggie chuckled. She let it crawl all over her hands. Gran went back to her pruning. Maggie played with the bug for a few minutes. She saw several others in the dirt and picked them up. Soon she had five rolly-polly bugs crawling on her hands and arms. She laughed because they tickled her so much. When she was finished playing with them, she put them back down in the dirt and put the rock back on top of them. "That was fun," she said to Gran.

"You see, Maggie? Bugs arenít all bad," Gran explained.

Just then a very big bumblebee flew past and landed in the roses next to Gran. "Gran, run fast. A bee is in the rose," Maggie cried, backing up a few steps.

"No, hen. I donít need to run. The bumblebee wonít hurt me. It is gathering pollen to make nectar and honey. It knows I wonít hurt it. Come closer. Weíll watch it together," Gran urged

Slowly Maggie moved towards her gran. They stood next to the rose and watched the bumblebee. It was black and made buzzing sounds. "Look how funny its legs are, Gran. They are covered with yellow stuff. What is that?" she asked her gran.

"Thatís the pollen," Gran explained.

They stood and watched the bee fly from one rose to another. "If you cut all the roses off, Gran, then how will it get pollen?" Maggie asked.

"Iím not cutting them all off. Iím leaving the ones that are still healthy and alive," she said.

"Good. I want the bee to have lots of pollen so it can make honey. I like honey," Maggie smiled. After thinking for a few moments, she added, "I donít think I hate bugs any more, Gran. They arenít so bad. Caterpillars turn into pretty butterflies. Bees make honey and rolly-polly bugs tickle."

"But I still hate spiders!" Maggie frowned.

Gran started to laugh and gave Maggie a big hug. They went back into the house and had honey sandwiches and a glass of milk.

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