Monday, July 12

Jeff the June Bug is in Danger

In a backyard far far away there once stood a house, a very tiny house that was round and swirled like a white and brown lollipop. In this house lived a snail. Her name was Patient. She had caramel colored skin that glistened and little antennae that dangled from her head. Patient loved her house so much, she carried it on her back all the time. Patient was a small snail. Daisies looked as big as trees to her. She often slept in the violets because their petals were like velvet pillows she couldn’t stop sniffing. And when she woke up in the mornings, she enjoyed watching the ants parading through the grass on their way to work.

The garden was full of other bugs that Patient often played with. Her best friend was a green june bug named Jeff who looked like he was wearing a fancy suit. Jeff was very good at climbing up grass blades. He would wrap his many legs around a grass blade and sometimes sit for hours at the top looking over the wonderful view of the garden. Jeff and Patient loved playing hide and seek in the enormous lawn maze. Jeff could always find Patient because her swirly house would poke out of the grass.

Jeff and Patient could have played this game their whole lives if it hadn’t been for the Smiths that moved into the house that had stood empty for many years. The family had two children who always wanted to play in the yard. From then on Patient and Jeff were always hiding even when they weren’t playing hide and seek. Oliver, one of the kids discovered Jeff while playing baseball with his brother Eric. Oliver loved squashing bugs and so he grabbed his baseball glove and tried to hit poor little Jeff. Patient popped put of her hiding place, a fallen iris, when she heard her favorite june bug call for help. Patient got her name for being so patient, but now she was not being patient at all with her slow legs. She tried to go faster to catch up with Jeff but she was slower than a snail. Patient needed to figure out a plan to save her friend from the baseball glove. Fast. “HELP!!! Patient, please help me!” Jeff yelled as he ran back and forth to escape the angry children's sneakers.

Then Patient noticed something sparkly in the cherry tree top. Glister the magpie was sitting in the tree admiring the golden watch she stole from a neighbor. “Glister, come down, Jeff is danger! The new kids are going to squash him!” So Glister dropped the watch she had stolen and swooped down to the rescue. Patient climbed on the magpie’s back and told her to fly towards the boys and grab Jeff before it was too late. Glister shot through the air, cawed at Eric just as he was about to step on Jeff and picked up the panting june bug with her beak. The two brothers ran away screaming. Jeff couldn’t see what was happening because he sat in the magpie’s mouth. It was dark in her mouth and smelled like soil and rust from all the shiny things Glister had snatched up over the years.

Finally, the magpie’s mouth opened like a door and Jeff walked out safely onto a lawn that looked different and wilder than his. Glister had taken Patient and Jeff to the neighbor’s backyard where an old lady named Agatha lived. Agatha never mowed her lawn and she never hurt bugs or snails. Glister recommended that they live there from now on. Jeff and Patient thought it was safer to stay in Agatha’s backyard. The grass was so tall in this yard that Patient could finally hide the big house on her back when she played hide and seek with Jeff.

One day many summers after Jeff and Patient had moved to the old lady’s yard, Jeff asked: “Patient, don’t you ever miss our old home, our old yard?” Then Patient, wiggled her soft antennae and said: “No matter where we go, I always have my home with me.”

When Agatha, the old lady moved, a big family moved into her house with three hungry cats. Jeff and Patient had to move again. No one knows where they live these days. Maybe the two friends are playing hide and seek in your backyard right now.

 story by Claire Akebrand Lavers

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