A Lesson in Faith
by Mrs. Alfred Gatty (Adapted)
"Let me hire you as
a nurse for my poor children,"
said a butterfly to a quiet caterpillar, who
was strolling along a cabbage-leaf in her odd,
"See these little eggs," continued
butterfly; "I do not know how long it will be before
come to life, and I feel very sick. If I should die,
who will take care of my baby butterflies when
I am gone? Will you, kind, mild, green caterpillar?
They cannot, of course, live on your
rough food. You must give them early dew, and
honey from the flowers, and you must let them
fly about only a little way at first. Dear me! it is
a sad pity that you cannot fly yourself. Dear,
dear! I cannot think what made me come and
lay my eggs on a cabbage-leaf! What a place for
young butterflies to be bore upon! Here, take
this gold-dust from my wings as a reward. Oh,
how dizzy I am! Caterpillar! you will remember
about the food."
And with these words the butterfiy drooped
her wings and died. The green caterpillar, who
had not had the opportunity of even saying
"yes" or "no" to the request, was left
alone by the side of the butterfly's eggs.
"A pretty nurse she has
chosen, indeed, poor
lady!" exclaimed she, "and a pretty business
have in hand. Why did she ever ask a poor crawling
creature like me to bring up her dainty little
ones! Much they'll mind me, truly, when they
feel the gay wings on their backs, and can fly
However, the poor butterfly was dead, and
there lay the eggs on the cabbage-leaf, and the
green caterpillar had a kind heart, so she resolved
to do her best.
"But two heads are better than
she, "I will consult some wise animal on the matter."
Then she thought and thought till at last she
thought of the lark, and she fancied that because
he went up so high, and nobody knew where he
went to, he must be very clever and know a great
Now in the neighboring cornfield there lived
a lark, and the caterpillar sent a message to him,
begging him to come and talk to her. When he
came she told him all her difficulties, and asked
him how she was to feed and rear the little butterfly
"Perhaps you will be able
to inquire and learn
something about it the next time you go up high,"
said the caterpillar timidly.
"Perhaps I can," answered
the lark; and then
he went singing upwards into the bright, blue
sky, till the green caterpillar could not hear a
sound, nor could she see him any more. So she
began to walk round the butterfly's eggs, nibbling
a bit of the cabbage-leaf now and then as she
"What a time the lark has been gone!" she
cried at last. "I wonder where he is just now. He
must have flown higher than usual this time. How
I should like to know where he goes, and what he
hears in that curious blue sky! He always sings
going up and coming down, but he never lets any
And the green caterpillar took another turn
round the butterfly's eggs.
At last the lark's voice began to be heard again.
The caterpillar almost jumped for joy, and it was
not long before she saw her friend descend with
hushed note to the cabbage bed.
"News, news, glorious
news, friend caterpillar!"
sang the lark, "but the worst of it is, you won't
"I believe anything I am told," said
"Well, then, first of
all, I will tell you what
those little creatures are to eat"--and the lark
nodded his head toward the eggs. "What do you
think it is to be? Guess!"
"Dew and honey out of
the flowers, I am
afraid!" sighed the caterpillar.
"No such thing, my good friend," cried
lark exultantly,"you are to feed them with
"Never!" said the
"It was their mother's
last request that I should
feed them on dew and honey."
"Their mother knew nothing
about the matter,"
answered the lark; "but why do you ask
me, and then disbelieve what I say? You have
neither faith nor trust."
"Oh, I believe everything I am told," said
"Nay, but you do not," replied
"Why, caterpillar, what
do you think those
little eggs will turn out to be?"
"Butterflies, to be sure," said
"CATERPILLARS!" sang the lark; "and
it out in time." And the lark flew away.
"I thought the lark was
wise and kind,"
said the mild, green caterpillar to herself, once
more beginning to walk round the eggs, "but
I find that he is foolish and saucy instead.
Perhaps he went up TOO high this time. How
I wonder what he sees, and what he does up
"I would tell you if you
would believe me,"
sang the lark, descending once more.
"I believe everything I am told," answered
"Then I'll tell you something else," cried
lark. "YOU WILL ONE DAY BE A BUTTERFLY YOURSELF!"
"Wretched bird," exclaimed
"you are making fun of me. You are now cruel
as well as foolish! Go away! I will ask your advice
"I told you you would not believe me," cried
"I believe everything I am told," persisted
caterpillar. "everything that it is REASONABLE
believe. But to tell me that butterflies' eggs are
caterpillars, and that caterpillars leave off crawling
and get wings and become butterflies!
Lark! you do not believe such nonsense yourself!
You know it is impossible!"
"I know no such thing," said the lark. "When
I hover over the cornfields, or go up into the
depths of the sky, I see so many wonderful things
that I know there must be more. O caterpillar!
it is because you CRAWL, and never get beyond
your cabbage-leaf, that you call anything IMPOSSIBLE."
"Nonsense," shouted the caterpillar, "I
what's possible and what's impossible. Look at
my long, green body, and many legs, and then
talk to me about having wings! Fool!"
"More foolish you!" cried
the indignant lark,
"to attempt to reason about what you cannot
understand. Do you not hear how my song
swells with rejoicing as I soar upwards to the
mysterious wonder-world above? Oh, caterpillar,
what comes from thence, receive as I do,--on
"What do you mean by that?" asked
"ON FAITH," answered
"How am I to learn faith?" asked
At that moment she felt something at her side.
She looked round,--eight or ten little green
caterpillars were moving about, and had already
made a hole in the cabbage-leaf. They had
broken from the butterfly's eggs!
Shame and amazement filled the green caterpillar's
heart, but joy soon followed. For as the
first wonder was possible, the second might be so
"Teach me your lesson, lark," she
And the lark sang to her of the wonders of
the earth below and of the heaven above. And the
caterpillar talked all the rest of her life of the
time when she should become a butterfly.
But no one believed her. She nevertheless
had learned the lark's lesson of faith, and when she
was going into her chrysalis, she said:
"I shall be a butterfly
But her relations thought her head was wandering,
and they said, "Poor thing!"
And when she was a butterfly, and
was going to die she said:
"I have known many wonders,
I HAVE FAITH,
I can trust even now for the wonder that shall