Ona and the Butterfly Prison
©2003 Stuart B Baum
For more advanced writers, choose either/both of the following options:
- Complete the story with four total chapters and an epilogue (including the two chapters already written.)
- Try to match the voice in which the story and the
original Ona story are written.
Chapter One: Moon Flowers and Missing Monarchs
Ona looked out her bedroom window and saw that it was a perfectly clear day, which was perfectly fine with her. After her last adventure with Michael B. and the lightning storm, Ona would be happy if she never saw another cloud again.
Ona’s mother was outside in the yard taking care of the flowers. Of all the boring things her mother did, Ona thought gardening was the least boring. Ona ran downstairs, grabbed a spill-proof cup, and went outside to help her mother.
Her mother tousled Ona’s uncombed hair and asked, “Isn’t it just a glorious day?”
Ona had no idea what ‘glorious’ meant, so she asked her Mom a question. “What kind of flower is that?” Ona was pointing to a large white flower that looked like a sundae glass.
Her Mom explained, “That’s a moon flower. It attracts bats and butterflies.”
Ona shivered. She had seen movies about bats and wanted no part of them, but she did like butterflies.
Her mother saw the look on Ona’s face and tousled Ona’s hair again. She reassured Ona, “Don’t worry, the bats only come out at night. And they are small, nice bats.”
Ona looked around and saw no butterflies. “Do the moonflowers ‘tract nice butterflies?”
Her mother yanked a dandelion from the garden and gave it to Ona. “All butterflies are nice, but moon flowers generally attract monarch butterflies. Monarch means king, so these are the kings of the butterfly world.”
“What do they look like?” asked Ona. She put her spill-proof cup on the ground since she needed two hands to pop off the top of the dandelion. “Momma had a baby and her head popped off,” she sang softly.
Her Mom continued, “Monarch butterflies are big and orange. They have black eye-shaped spots on their wings.” Then Ona’s mother frowned, “But there are almost none around this summer. I wonder where they all went.”
Ona wondered if they all went back to their castles. She hoped no one had captured them, since she knew that kings were constantly getting captured and needing to be rescued by their princes and princesses.
Her mother asked Ona, “Did you brush your teeth this morning?”
Ona nodded ‘yes’ without trying to remember if she had or not. And anyway, how could her mother worry about dirty teeth when all the monarch butterflies needed rescuing?
Ona asked, “Are there prince and princess butterflies?”
Ona’s mother said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any butterflies called prince or princess. Now run back upstairs and brush your teeth, just in case you forgot.”
Ona picked up her spill-proof cup and started walking back to the house. ‘Then I guess I’ll have to rescue the king butterflies myself,’ Ona thought.
Chapter Two: The King Leads and Ona Follows
Toothbrushing led to bedmaking which led to clothesputtingaway and by that time Ona was tired and frustrated and wondering why she had to do all the housework herself.
If course it could have been done in just ten minutes, but Ona made it take nearly an hour and, to Ona, that felt like the whole day.
Then, when her mother told her to put her spill-proof cup in the sink before she went outside, Ona had taken all she could stand. She stomped her feet on the floor and started to cry.
Her Mom sent her back to her room (the site of all the bedmaking and clothesputting away) which wasn’t a good place to make the crying stop.
Ona threw herself onto her bed and was just about to declare the entire day a waste of time when a large orange butterfly landed on the outside of her window screen.
Ona gasped softly. “A king butterfly,” she declared aloud. She carefully sat up, slid gently off the edge of her bed, and … step … step … step slowly edged over to the window.
Resting, the butterfly looked more like half a leaf than an insect. Its feet were so thin, they seemed to be halfway through the screen.
“Shhhh,” Ona said to the butterfly. “Or whoever is capturing all the other king butterflies will capture you, too.” Ona imagined a huge giant with a tiny butterfly net chasing the terrified king butterflies until they could fly no longer and then scooping them up and taking them away to a prison full of other king butterflies.
“Bad giant!” Ona yelled at the imaginary giant and must have also brushed against the screen since the monarch butterfly suddenly took off. “Don’t go!” yelled Ona. “You’ll get caught!”
Ona looked out the window and saw the butterfly round the corner of the house, towards the back, and out of view.
“I have to save him!” Ona declared. This, of course, required Ona to put on her prettiest pink leotard, her ballet slippers, a fancy yellow and purple hat, and hang two strands of plastic beads around her neck. Ona was ready!
She ran out of her room, forgetting of course that she was supposed to stay there. She ran down the stairs, past her Mother’s voice calling “Ona?!” and out the back door.
There was the butterfly, gently soaring off the side of the hill. Without thinking about the last adventure with Michael B. and the lightning storm, without even thinking about grabbing a granola bar or a spill-proof cup, and without even making sure she had chosen the very friendliest one, Ona jumped on a cloud and followed the monarch butterfly away from the hill.
Chapter Three: What Ona Saw Above The Clouds.
It was a good thing Ona learned how to make the clouds go up, since that’s where the butterfly led.
Ona drove her small fluffy cloud up through the other small fluffy clouds and soon found herself soaring upwards towards the thinner layer of clouds way, way, way above.
The butterfly continued upwards until it zipped through this thin layer and out of sight.
Ona also zoomed through the upper layer and, sitting on the top of the thin clouds, she saw a tall, square castle. (It was actually more of a keep than a castle, but Ona didn’t know there were such things as keeps, so she did the best she could by calling it a castle.)
“This castle must be where all the butterflies have been taken prisoner,” thought Ona. She landed her cloud on the edge of the thinner clouds just as you might pull a boat onto a sandy shore.
“Stay here,” she commanded to the cloud. Now remember back when I said she didn’t take the time to choose the friendliest cloud? This is where that makes a difference. No sooner had Ona stormed up to the keep and in through the slightly ajar front door, than the cloud floated away. But Ona won’t find that out for quite some time, so let’s go back and see what she found when she stormed into the keep.
With one small exception, Ona saw exactly what she expected to see when she entered. She saw a huge room like in all the picture books, complete with a fireplace and a Persian carpet and fancy furniture. However, she also saw…
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