Achilles, the Worried Caterpillar

Achilles, the Worried Caterpillar


Achilles, the worried caterpillar, was born in the spring. No one knows how he learned to worry, but he worried all the time. At first he worried about his enormous appetite. He worried that he would always be hungry. He worried his stripes were too bright and that he had to many legs. He worried about hungry birds wanting to eat him, and he worried about thunder and lightening. One day, Arac, the spider, told Achilles all about winter and how cold it gets. Achilles began to worry about his many feet. How would he find shoes for them all? How would he keep them from freezing? Achilles imagined that his feet got so cold that they completely froze and fell off and so he became a worm and had to wriggle around. One day, while eating and crying, he met Athena, a beautiful butterfly.


“Why are you crying?” asked Athena.


Achilles replied, “Because when winter comes my feet are going to freeze and fall off and I will be a worm.”


Athena tilted her head like butterflies do, and replied in a strong voice, “No you won’t. Soon you will build a little house to live in. Once in the house, you will fall into a very deep sleep. When you are fully rested, you will come out of your house and have wings just like mine.”


Achilles began to worry that he would not be able to build a house. He worried that he would not be able to fall into a deep sleep. He worried that he would emerge from his little house without wings. Achilles never stopped worrying.


Everything happened just like Athena had said, and Achilles became a beautiful butterfly. While sitting on a branch with tears in his eyes worrying that his wings might fall off, his old friend Athena appeared and sat down beside him.


“Achilles why are you crying?” she inquired.


Achilles replied, “I am afraid my wings will fall off.”


Athena smiled and said, “It was your nature to be a caterpillar. It was your nature to build a house, and to fall into a deep sleep. It was your nature to become a beautiful butterfly like me. Worrying won’t change your nature or make your wings fall off. Worry will only make your heart so heavy that you won’t want to fly. I know it’s hard to stop worrying once you get used to doing it, but I have an idea. Why don’t you decide each morning to worry all day tomorrow so that worry won’t get in the way of today.”


Well, Achilles tried it and loved it. Since tomorrow never came, Achilles never got to worry. In time, he forgot how to worry and became one of the happiest butterflies anyone has ever met.


Bob Luckin ©

17 September 2013