There was a boy who wrote stories all the time; random ones that came to him about far off adventurers, pirates, astronauts, time travelers, and ancient civilizations that descended from the stars. But he was always searching for his story — that one story his soul was aching to tell, but couldn’t find its voice.
He devised a way to listen to his soul’s incessant glossolalia: a tiny caterpillar that could crawl into the caverns of his soul. Then the caterpillar could relay the story back. Unfortunately this was easier said than done.
The caterpillar returned to his ear and whispered in its squeaky little voice the story his soul had to tell. He could only hear fragments of the caterpillar’s frail little tale, as its coherence was lost along the difficult trek.
Still, the fragments intrigued and inspired him as they were the first real insights into his soul’s story. So he would feed the caterpillar and send him back to listen to his soul. And listen the caterpillar did. More and more pieces of his soul’s story were revealed as the caterpillar grew fat with its rewards.
One day the caterpillar was crawling back into the soul’s cavern, barely managing to squeeze through the narrow spaces it once glided through with ease. Just before the final hole, it became lodged. It wiggled and squirmed until it broke free, falling into the soul’s membrane. At once the caterpillar could hear the story clearer than ever, but couldn’t imagine how it would ever escape to tell it. The caterpillar sulked in despair until drifting off to sleep, lulled by the soul’s harmonious tale.
It dreamed of a lush garden, chomping massive chunks of leaf, its favorite delicacy. It looked up and saw cream white clouds meandering through a pale warm sky. The caterpillar climbed and climbed, using all its stored up energy. Finally, it reached a sturdy branch and began spinning its cocoon as the sun descended into the earth. As the silk threads wove around its body, the soul’s story shimmered across. Darkness fell on the caterpillar for what seemed like eternity. The dream became a nightmare and all the caterpillar could hear was crying—the weeping of a child—and it felt this child’s pain throughout. It strained in the grip of the soul’s story, and even tried to yell for help—but alas the cocoon was sound proof.
The caterpillar couldn’t understand its fate. It had done as the boy had asked, and was rewarded every step of the way. But now the caterpillar felt the sting of betrayal, trapped in the very soul that it was sacrificing itself for. After the caterpillar’s anger waned, it listened to the soul’s story again. Lulled back into a dream, it found itself moving through a dark tunnel. The tunnel stretched forever, it seemed, but the caterpillar saw a pinprick of light, and even felt a subtle warmth drawing it closer. The warmth grew with the light, and the caterpillar felt an acceleration toward the brightening warmth. Before it had a chance to comprehend was was happening, the caterpillar launched out of the tunnel into broad sunlight. It felt the sun like never before. In fact, it never felt anything like this before, and became aware of feeling weightless. Such a fat caterpillar could never soar so high without plummeting, as the caterpillar knew so well, but it continued up and up with no signs of falling. It soared toward the sun until it engulfed the caterpillar’s vision and the warmth sent it into a state of bliss. All was forgotten in the dissolution of light, warmth, and purity.
Suddenly, it broke of its dream, realizing it was still within the soul’s membrane. But across a small pond was a shriveled brown cocoon. It felt the strangest sensation, as if the dream had never ended. It tried to move but had trouble. Instead of wiggling toward its goal, it struggled awkwardly toward to the pond on what seemed like twigs. In the pond, it found itself reflected as a gorgeous chromatic butterfly. The colors shimmered beneath the soul’s glow as the former caterpillar slowly stretched its new wings. The butterfly wondered how it got into this strange place, and how it might get out. It could see a hole above, the only one out of the soul’s membrane.
In a rush of instinct, it took to the air, flapping vigorously to the exit at the top. All the while, the soul’s story rang through the butterfly’s head, a beautiful story of life and transformation, and the butterfly knew exactly how to tell the boy the story of his soul.