The Butterfly and the Beetle

The bold bright butterfly dreamt of soaring to the stars, but that would never be possible about the quiet little beetle.

The Butterfly and the Beetle

by Jules de Jongh

Season 3 Episode 12

 [opening theme music and strapline]

Nanny Bea: Hello listening friends, the tea is ready and my neighbour Jules will be bringing us a story any…

[knock sfx]

Nanny Bea:  minute now.

Nanny Bea:  Was that you? No? Oh it must be my door. Hello door, is it you?

JulesHi Nanny Bea, it’s your neighbour Jules with a story.

Nanny Bea: And so timely, come in dear, please do.

Jules:  We have our second to last tale today and it’s a very special one. Are you ready for a story?

Nanny Bea: Oh,  yes please.

Jules:  Okay then, The Butterfly and the Beetle, adapted for radio

Before a butterfly can sprout wings and fly, it morphs inside a delicate chrysalises, vulnerable and seemingly defenceless. They rely on camouflage, blending in with the dead grass stalks that surround them.

But this doesn’t always help. One day in the middle of the forest a single soon to be butterfly lay defenceless, dangling from a twing. She was a bold and bright soon to be butterfly with so much to say and even more to do. She was making plans in her cocooned chrysalis to spread her wings and fly out of the forest and up towards the stars in the sky. She was hanging out all alone, with no one to play with or even speak to, totally unaware of the danger around her.

One day a beetle arrived, quiet on the outside but noisy on the in. He thought a lot about everything. He saw this soon to be butterfly dangling, hopeful of a future she did not yet know. He could see her wings develop their colours, so vibrant and varied. He whispered to her, ‘Do not be so colourful or you will be spotted.’ But the soon to be butterfly was too busy dreaming. She carried on growing brighter and brighter. The beetle knew the forest was full of danger so he gathered long stalks of dry grass and held them up all around her.

It was exhausting for the beetle. Lizards and toads and snakes were forever surrounding them, trying to eat them for lunch but he carried on holding up those long stalks of dry grass, ducking and diving from the predators that surrounded them.

One day the beetle heard off in the distance, a rumble and the sound of creatures scurrying in all directions. Something was coming, something large and strong and fast was heading their way.

The beetle dropped the long stalks of dry grass and scurried to the stem where the soon to be butterfly was connected. He cut her loose from her twig and carried her on his back. She was bigger than him, older than him but the quiet little beetle put his own safety to one side to save the soon to be butterfly. It was an exhausting journey and along the way the beetle damaged his limbs but even then he did not give up.

The rumbling grew closer and was now more of a pummelling. You could hear a slow menacing thunder just out of view. The beetle, weary and wounded, climbed up onto a fallen tree, hoping he and the soon to be butterfly were safe off the path of destruction. Once at the top the beetle stopped. The soon to be butterfly was trying to burst out of her chrysalis, but it was too soon for her to leave this cocoon of home, she was not fully formed. The beetle covered her with his wing cases, protecting her as best he could.

The sound of danger was now thumping and the cause was in sight, a herd of wild elephants stampeding through the jungle crushing everything in their path. They ran right over the twig that had been their home. It was devastated, nothing left to go back to. But then the heard seemed to divert and start heading directly towards the beetle on the fallen tree. He wanted to run but didn’t have the strength to carry the soon to be butterfly who was still emerging from her chrysalis. Right before the thundering herd reached them, ‘boof’ the butterfly was born but not quite ready to fly. The beetle then flapped his wing cases under her paper thin wings and she took off safely into the air.

But it was too late for the beetle, he couldn’t fly, he couldn’t even run. He just rolled up hoping the storm would pass. When he opened his eyes he saw how the stampede had trampled everything around him but he was still intact. 

The totally a butterfly fluttered back down to find the beetle. She knew his quiet voice and constant presence. They had been on this journey together. The beetle never told the butterfly all the danger he protected her from, all the damage he endured, instead he continued to flap his wing cases to help her take flight.

The End

Nanny Bea: Oh thank you Jules. What a brave little beetle. He reminds me of my brother. He’s an artist you know and an entrepreneur, a musician oh a political advisor, yes oh and a medical professional and a, a…I’m sure I’m missing something?

Jules: You’ve told me before that he’s the wind beneath your wings?

Nanny Bea: Oh, yes, yes that’s it. He has given me more than I can ever repay.

Jules: Well what a lovely coincidence that he is one of our last stories on Tales and Tea.

Nanny Bea: We do have one more.

Jules: You can find it on our website.

Thomas:  Go to

Jules:  Go there to find out about all our episodes. Then join us next week for one last Tales and Tea with Nanny Bea.

[Be on the Show jingle]

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