I am a huge fan of Roald Dahl, particularly his ‘Revolting Rhymes’ book which is a ghoulish rewrite of the best known fairy tales. I rewrote this piece today with his humour in mind.
A Caterpillar’s Tale
The caterpillar in this tale
is one of a colossal scale
with scarlet spots upon moss green
the deepest red you’ve ever seen.
So big and wide he ruled the brood
with shoves and pokes that were so rude
that made the others stay away
from day to night and night to day.
All day he sat and ate, and ate
without the manners of a plate,
chewing young leaves and buds with glee
while tearing bark from every tree.
And so he grew, expanded out
so all his legs were red with gout
and each step made his body shake
that caused the tree to bend and quake.
One dusk he found himself alone
his stomach heavy as a stone
the brood was gone, vanished from sight
enclosed in pods the shade of night.
Caught out mid-chew a whisper swirled
from all around came cracks that whirled
and filled the calm and balmy air
in a cacophony with flair.
With mouth ajar he stopped and gazed
as each pod ripped and quite amazed,
then out they clambered one by one
their transformed bodies set to stun.
Without a glance they all took flight
filling the sky with hues so bright,
in a flurry of patterned wings
that belonged on a cloak of kings.
Right above the caterpillar’s head
the brood flapped hard before they fled
and threw our bully from the tree
to plummet through the canopy.
With a loud plop he hit the ground
and made a hole so large and round,
with legs akimbo his temper flared
and high into the clouds he stared.
“So long you fools,” he shouted out,
“you will regret I have no doubt
what you choose to leave behind,
Hip, Hip, Hooray; it’s finally mine!”
From forest floor he watched them go
oblivious to a large shadow
of an old and wily crow
in need of a morsel to swallow.
And so here ends our larvae’s tale
a story of colossal scale,
where just this once the greedy lose
and have to walk in another’s shoes.