Of all the creatures Under the Big Blue Sky perhaps none was a better friend to the beautiful red roses than Ladybug.
Every morning Ladybug would put on her reddish and black-spotted coat. After smoothing out her wings in the mirror, she would
fly out her door to go to work in the rose gardens.
arrived at the gardens she would put down her lunchbox and go immediately to work. From morning until mid-day she worked very
hard looking for the harmful insect pests known as aphids that like to eat roses. "A ha!" she would exclaim when she
would spot one chewing and munching on a tender red petal or stem, "it's you again! And you've brought more of your friends,
would do a very un-ladylike thing. "Well, take this!" she would shout, and she would begin to flutter her wings with a great
flurry and "Biff!" and "Bapp!" the harmful aphids would scurry off in dismay feeling greatly ashamed.
And so Ladybug
worked from dawn until dusk to protect the beautiful, defenseless roses from the hurtful pests. The roses were very grateful
to have such a fine friend as Ladybug. They would nod and sway approvingly in a very lovely way to show their appreciation.
If a new rose arrived at the garden and needed attention, Ladybug always arose to the occasion and gave extra-special care.
the roses very happy. Murmuring among themselves as Ladybug flew by, they would let out a great big sigh and the air would
be filled with the sweetest fragrance. "Very good!" Ladybug would exclaim. Pulling out her clipboard and pencil, she would
cross off the words in big capital letters, "MAKE ROSES HAPPY TODAY from her list of things to do.
But the aphids
were still very bad. No matter how ashamed they would feel the day before when Ladybug would chase them away, they always
seemed to have short-term memory problems. If she turned her wings for a minute, they would go back to their naughty tricks
without a moment's thought. Ladybug would just sigh to herself for she knew that if a rose was but a rose, then a pest was
merely but a pest.
at the end of a hard day, Ladybug stopped in at the Mint Leaf Café to have a rest. Traffic had been especially bad and she
was tired. To make matters worse, big drops of rain had been falling on her all day. A cold wind blew outside and suddenly
Ladybug let out a big sneeze, "Achoo!".
said a waitress nearby offering a napkin.
said Ladybug, and then she realized that she was coming down with a cold! But Ladybug like most folks hates to think that
she could be getting sick and doesn't like to admit it. So she said a little bit louder, "THAG YOU!" But then she felt sheepish
because her nose was stuffy and she knew that she was getting sick.
exclaimed the waitress pretending not to notice. And she gave Ladybug some hot ginger tea to settle her stomach, and clear
her head. Feeling refreshed, Ladybug wended her way home.
her coat, she went to sit in her enclosed candle-lit porch made of cobbled stone to work on her greatest love; a 5000 piece
puzzle of Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun was a great Pharaoh, or king, who ruled the land of Egypt
many moons ago. Tutankhamun or "King Tut" as his friends called him, had been known as the Boy King because he was crowned
ruler of all Egypt and the great Nile --the mighty river that flows through
Egypt-- when he was very young.
that he must have been a very smart boy to rule an entire country. Patiently -piece by piece-Ladybug worked on putting together
the fine features of the pharaoh, but she had a headache and her nose was running. She became very sad.
pesky aphids and two hours on the road just to get to work, I'll never be able to finish this puzzle!" And as she thought
of this some more, she became sadder. The puzzle piece she was holding, and couldn't find a home for, began to feel very,
very heavy. No matter how hard she looked she just couldn't make it fit anywhere.
With a soft
sigh, and a box of tissues under her arm, Ladybug got up from the table, and crawled into bed. For a while she lay under the
covers and thought about King Tut and the beautiful land of Egypt
with its Valley of Kings
and pyramids and mysterious Sphinx.
"I bet King
Tut could have finished that puzzle by now," she said to herself, forlornly. Closing her eyes, Ladybug fell asleep.
The next morning
it was still raining, but the drops were bigger and the temperature was even colder then the day before. "Achoo!" sneezed
Ladybug waking herself up. Then she remembered that she had a cold. Try as she did, Ladybug couldn't get herself to go to
work. Every move she made would either make her sniffle, snuzzle or sneeze. Finally, she gave up and went back to bed. A few
hours later she woke up. She thought she could at least work on piecing together King Tut's royal nose, but she couldn't get
herself to get out of bed.
as it rained, the nasty aphids were very happy at the rose garden. With no Ladybug around to swat them they could be naughty
and "Munch! Munch! Munch!" on the tender leaves and stems of the red roses. Lunch time passed, and still the Defender of the
Roses was nowhere to be seen.
out one nasty aphid joyfully. "We can finally be left in peace and munch happily!"
agreed his insect friend. But the poor roses were very sad, and the blades of grass at their feet looked up at them kindly,
wishing they could help. Dinnertime came and went, but no Ladybug. And still it rained.
At last, the
very youngest aphid spoke up timidly, "I haven't been Biffed! in ten hours by that Ladybug," he said. "Somehow, things don't
seem the same around here." But all of the other aphids pretended that they hadn't heard him, and tried to munch louder.
But then as
they munched something happened to them. They began to look at the roses for the first time and notice their beautiful red
petals. Taking notice, the roses let out a big sigh and filled the noses of the aphids with the sweetest smell. And as if
in a dream, one by one, the aphids stopped munching.
"I kind of
liked being "Biffed" by that Ladybug lady," volunteered one old-timer. Slowly each aphid confessed that something was wrong.
And soon all of the aphids were in agreement that while it had been a very exciting day of eating rose stems --almost a national
holiday of sorts-- it just wasn't any fun if they weren't going to be chased or yelled at for doing it.
the insects all huzzled and buzzled together for a group meeting, and stopping by the Mint Leaf Café for directions, they
were soon all gathered inside of Ladybug's room as she lay in bed snoring. On her blankets, were crumpled-up tissues. On her
night stand was a melting bag of ice. Beside the bag of ice was the doctor's prescription for four cups of blackberry tea
then felt very, very ashamed at being so naughty and they began to creep away softly to hide from Ladybug. But the youngest
aphid spotted the puzzle of Tutankhamun, and picking up a piece with a critical eye, he completed the royal mouth. Then he
picked up two pieces and completed the royal ear lobe. The other aphids began to notice. They became very excited and industrious.
Within hours they had completed the royal cheeks and eyebrows, and the rest of the entire puzzle!
At last, the
gleaming youthful face of King Tut glimmered and sparkled from the top of Ladybug's table like a polished band of gold. All
but one piece was left. Struggling mightily, the youngest aphid flew with the last piece of the royal nose and dropped it
from the air. It landed softly on the covers beside the still-snoring Ladybug.
said, and flew back to the rose garden for a late-night snack.