There once was a beautiful butterfly. She had wings of stunning blue, with thin stripes of green. Newly emerged from their long slumber, her and her friends set off to explore the world of colour, which surrounded them. They travelled together to see the flowers and to feel the breeze lift their wings. Everywhere they went, it was the blue butterfly that would catch the eyes of children while they were playing in the lush green of their gardens. She played in and around the outstretched hands of children trying to catch her. She tickled their fingers with the very tips of her wings. She would land on their noses admiring her own reflection in their bland brown eyes. She brought beauty to these children, she thought.
One day while she was fluttering around a particularly rich and colourful garden, she noticed a little boy of about 10 picking the heads off of some Pansies in the flowerbed. Blind and deaf with her pride, she didn’t hear the warning cries of the flowers telling her to fly away, and did glide straight to the boy to show off her colour. The little boy had eyes of bright blue. A blue so intense that it could make the ocean jealous. The butterfly landed on his nose to inspect these deep eyes of his. She wanted to make sure that they were no competition for the blue of her wings.
Just as she came to the conclusion that his eyes, even though beautiful, were no match for her wings, the boy cupped her in both of his hands, pulling her away from his nose. She was trapped in a fleshy cage of fingers and palms. She tried to flap her wings but the little boy was holding her too tight. She could not move without fear of snapping her delicate wings. Slowly the boy opened his fingers, un-cupping his hands. She could breathe. She could move. She could see. The butterfly was about to fly away when she saw that the blue-eyed boy was looking at her. Her wings were glowing in the reflection of his eyes. Both of their blues combined would have the power to put both the sky and the sea to shame. The butterfly was stunned, kept still by his gaze. He was looking at her, distant with thought but with an intense concentration. It was like the whole world had stopped. Suddenly, as if he had made a decision about something his gaze focused and his pupils sharpened. One of the hands in which he was holding the butterfly started to move. The flowers below started to shout up to her, warning her to get away. She was not worried. She did not have time for ugly flowers, jealous of her attention from the boy. She stayed put and saw love in the blue of his eyes.
His hand came down from the sky. His finger and thumb on either side of one of her wings. A caress?
Her wing was pulled clean off. “What is happening?” thought the butterfly. “I thought you loved me?” she cried up to the boy. “Do you not think I’m beautiful?”
The pain was unbearable. She could not fly away.
Snap! The boy pulled off her other wing.
She was stood in the palm of his hand, crying. Her beautiful wings were lead in his other hand. She could see them glistening in the afternoon sun.
“Thank you very much,” the boy whispered to the butterfly. “Your wings are perfect”.
The little boy set the butterfly down in the flowerbed. Flowers who had also had their beauty ripped from them by this cruel boy surrounded her. They had bruises, ripped petals and some of them had their heads pulled clean off. Just like her wings.
The butterfly with no wings lay down next to the head of one of the Pansies. The flower opened its petals and said, “Without your wings, you are nothing but a common caterpillar, ugly and bland, no-one will want to look at you now.”
“So I will no longer be loved?” Asked the butterfly.
“No,” said the Pansy. She was quiet for a while, and then continued. “When all you have is a pretty face, pretty wings, pretty petals or pretty eyes, then that is all anyone will ever see.”
“So I am nothing.” The butterfly stated. And she died there, without wings, next to the head of a once beautiful pansy. A common caterpillar.
The blue-eyed boy had collected a small box of pretty things for her. Inside it, there was heads of flowers from the garden, shiny rocks and creamy shells from the beach, along with leaves with discoloured ends picked up from the path on the way home. Best of all, he had found a beautiful butterfly who had lent him her wings. They were the most beautiful wings that he had ever seen. He swore to himself that they must have been magical, for he had fallen in love with the butterfly, just as he had the little girl from the next garden. The little girl had red hair and brown eyes. She had a love for the colour blue. She always stared at the little boys eyes, lost in them.
The little boy went around the gated wall to find the little girl in her garden. She looked over when he came in, and a smile appeared on her face. She was always happy to see him.
“I have something for you,” the little boy told her, “but you have to close your eyes.”
So she did. He moved up close to her, his face so close to hers that he could count her freckles.
“I met someone beautiful today,” he said quietly, “She was blue and very light, and she kissed me so lightly that I thought my heart could lift in a breeze.”
The little girl stood listening, with her heart breaking. She had always thought herself plain, who could this beautiful person be? This boy could never love me against such beauty, she thought.
“She let me have her wings to give to you. She kissed me with them. It felt like this…”
He moved so close to the little girl’s face that she could feel the tiny hairs on his cheek against hers. She felt a soft tickle on her cheek, so soft that if she’d not been concentrating she would have missed it. The girl recognised this feeling. She remembered when a large while butterfly had landed on her nose and fluttered against her cheek. The butterfly was as pale and plain as she was.
The little girl opened her eyes. The little boy was brushing his long eyelashes ever so softly against her cheek, over and over again.
She smiled and he smiled, they both knew the feeling of a butterfly’s kiss.
The little boy gave the little girl the wings of the blue butterfly so that she would always have a small kiss from him should she wish it, and so that she would always have something to make her feel beautiful. To his bright blue eyes, she was more beautiful than any butterfly that he had ever seen.