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STORIES - The Caterpillar’s Voice

…Eugene Loh, in A Slice of Life, FM93.8LIVE, 17 May 2006

Once upon a time a caterpillar crawled inside a hare’s house when the hare was away, and set about making himself comfortable. When the hare returned home, he noticed new marks on the ground going into the cave. He called, "Who’s in my house?"

The caterpillar boomed, "It is I! Yes, I who crushes rhinos to the earth and tramples elephants into dust!"

The hare hopped about, crying, "What can a small animal like me do with a creature who crushes rhinos and tramples elephants?"

He soon met a jackal, and asked the jackal to talk to the terrible creature who had taken possession of his home and to convince him to leave. The jackal agreed, and when they reached the place, he barked loudly and said, "Who is in the house of my friend the hare?"

The caterpillar replied, "It is I! Yes, I who crushes rhinos to the earth, and tramples elephants into dust!"

On hearing this, the jackal thought, "Certainly I can do nothing against such a creature," and he quickly left.

The hare then fetched a leopard, a rhinoceros, and even an elephant. All their hearts shrank when they heard the caterpillar’s menacing claim. None of them dared to challenge this fearsome creature with the earth-shaking voice.

In despair by this point, the hare asked a frog passing by if he could possibly make the creature who had frightened all the other animals leave his house. The frog went to the cave door and asked who was inside. He received the same reply as had been given to the others. Then the frog went nearer and shouted, "I, who am the strongest of all, have come at last. I am the one who crushes those who crush the rhinos! I am the one who tramples underfoot those who trample the elephants!"

When the caterpillar inside the hare’s cave heard this, he trembled. He inched out of the hare’s den along its edge, trying not to be noticed. But the animals that had collected around the hare’s house seized the caterpillar and dragged him out.

"What, you?" they all cried in disbelief.

"I would never dream of staying in that cave!" said the caterpillar with his nose in the air. "An echo like that is far too crude for a refined creature like myself!" As he sniffed away, all the other animals laughed at the trouble he had given them.

Many of our fears and worries sound much larger and more frightening than they really are.

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