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The Boy, the Butterfly, and the Broken Wing

Updated on December 29, 2017
This is actually a photo of one of Mary's offspring named Ollie.  Ollie never left:  she stayed in our garden throughout her life...
This is actually a photo of one of Mary's offspring named Ollie. Ollie never left: she stayed in our garden throughout her life... | Source


This is a true story, a story to which I find myself returning, time and again. Through this experience, I watched my young son develop a tender, nurturing side that, being a particularly boyish-boy, he had never really shown before. Finding this fragile, beautiful creature set us both, my son and I, on a journey through which we learned timeless lessons about life. Of course we learned about Swallowtail butterflies and their life cycles, but more importantly, we learned about the cycles of life and death, seasons and renewing, and even the cyclical waxing and waning of happiness and pain that goes along with loving something...or someone. Also, we learned how to say goodbye, a difficult lesson at any age.

My son is a very beautiful person; he teaches me something new every day.

The Boy, the Butterfly, and the Broken Wing

One fine day, in early spring,

when flowers bloom and the birds all sing,

a little boy found,

lying sadly on the ground,

a beautiful,



Page 2-3

The boy crept close, on hand and knee,

crouching down, now he could see

the pretty bug had one lame wing,

she couldn't fly: a sorry thing.

The boy

named her


Page 4-5

The boy loved his little bug;

he kept her in a roomy jug.

He gave her dandelions to eat,

and sugar-water, sticky sweet.

He gave her a branch from the cherry tree,

and the boy



Page 6-7

One morning, when he had a chance,

to look at Mary's leafy branch,

the little boy saw something new.

One per leaf and greenish-blue,

were seven,


butterfly eggs.

Page 8-9

Day after day, the two would wait,

boy and bug, for the big birth-date.

The eggs turned brown, from greenish hue,

'till, finally, the date was due.

Out came seven,



Page 10-11

Each little worm was brown and spotted.

To cherry leaves, each baby trotted.

They ate the leaves, they couldn't stop;

they ate until they almost popped.

They grew into big,



Page 12-13

While her children bloomed in health,

Mary became weak, herself.

Butterflies don't live long, you see,

the boy still loved his sweet Mary.

But one summer day,

she lay,

so still.

Page 14-15

The little boy vowed then and there,

to always keep and always care,

for Mary's little ones, each child,

until he saw them free and wild.

The boy


the caterpillars.

Page 16-17

The leaves turned brownish in the fall,

as did the seven, one-and-all.

Then each youngster, male and miss,

transformed into a chrysalis!

The boy watched,

and waited,

while they slept.

Page 18-19

All through the winter,

all through the cold,

the boy watched over

his sevenfold.

The caterpillars


and slept.

Page 20-21

One fine day, in the early spring,

when the flowers bloom and the birds all sing,

the little boy found,

flying all around,




Page 22-23

Each butterfly had yellow wings,

with bold, black stripes and bright-blue rings.

Each one was a joy to behold,

They glittered in the sun, like gold.

And the boy

was so


Page 24-25

Now came the part that would be hard;

he took them out into the yard.

He knew he had to let them go,

he'd made a promise, long ago.

So the boy,

set them


Page 26-27

The boy felt strange;

had the journey ended?

He missed his flock that

for a year, he'd tended...

Page 28-29

...then the boy saw something he did not expect.

Page 30-32

Still there, he was not sure why,

was one last, little butterfly.

She'd chosen to stay with her friend.

On her, he could always depend.

And throughout all their happy days,

they remained,

just a boy

and a butterfly.


The End



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