One day, when Dhruv was playing in the garden, he spotted a hairy worm-like creature on a leaf.
He quickly called out to his grandfather. “Grandpa, look this strange creature! Shall I kill it?”
“Dhruv, this is a caterpillar—the young one of an insect. Why do you want to harm it?” asked Grandpa.
“But grandpa, it looks so ugly. It must surely be bad,” replied Dhruv.
Grandfather laughed. “What looks beautiful may not necessarily be good and what looks ugly may not necessarily be bad. Do you know what this caterpillar will look like when it grows up?”
“Something big, hairy and very ugly!” said Dhruv.
“Well, wait and see,” said Grandpa with a knowing smile. “Now, go ask your mother for a big, empty glass jar; clean it and bring it here.”
Dhruv did as told and returned with a glass jar. Grandpa carefully placed the caterpillar inside it along with a few leaves for it to feed on. He then sealed the opening with a handkerchief and used a rubber band to hold it in place.
Over the next few days, Grandpa and Dhruv regularly removed the dry leaves from the jar and replaced them with fresh ones.
That weekend Dhruv had to go out of town along with his parents to visit his aunt. By then, he had come to care for the “ugly” caterpillar. So he pleaded with Grandpa to take good care of it while he was away.
As soon as he returned on Monday, he went straight to see the caterpillar. But he was shocked to not find it inside the jar. As much as he tried, he could not spot the caterpillar amid the drying leaves. He was heart-broken. Just then Grandpa came in.
“Grandpa, you forgot to feed fresh leaves to my caterpillar and now it is gone!” said Dhruv sadly.
“Your caterpillar is right here,” said Grandpa smiling. He pointed to something brownishgrey in colour stuck to a leaf.
“Your caterpillar changed into this while you were away. This is called the chrysalis—a stage when your caterpillar is undergoing a transformation. It does not need any food for now,” he explained.
Dhruv was astonished. “But how, grandpa?”
“Have patience, my boy. Wait till you see the adult insect that comes out of it,” said Grandpa smiling
From that day on, Dhruv began to keep a close watch on the chrysalis. One morning, he noticed something colourful within it.
After a few hours, a beautiful yellow and black butterfly emerged from the chrysalis. Dhruv could not believe his eyes! “So, the caterpillar was a baby butterfly!” he said surprised.
Dhruv released his butterfly in the garden. “Nature is full of surprises,” he thought as he happily watched it flutter its wings and fly among the flowers.