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Boris the Caterpillar

I’ve learned many delightful pieces of information during my conversations with Sheliah, the fairy I reunite with in Book One, Path of Sweetness. The most exciting news for me was when she told me in Book Two, Blossoming of Love, “As things are destroyed in your world, we take them into ours.”

Sheliah was not referring to people. She meant that the fairies take into their gardens all trees, plants, cows, chickens, turkeys, squirrels, ducks and every other living thing that is killed before the time it would have died naturally. Sheliah explained that since we kill so many cows, there are special fairy gardens where the cows can graze. (They don’t need to do this, but since they like to eat, Sheliah said, “We let ‘em.”) When it is time for a cow to die, it simply lies down and turns into “sparkles.”

In Book Six, Spaceship Earth, Charlie, my number one Swizzler son, introduced me to Boris, a caterpillar existing in Sheliah’s garden. Boris was in residence there because somebody decided to use him for bait for fishing.

In Sheliah’s garden, Boris has advanced far beyond mere caterpillardom. Charlie explained to me that he has long conversations with Boris and that Boris loves to wear clothes; these include a hat and a waistcoat. Charlie thinks that Boris is funny because he doesn’t want to close his shirt; he thinks it is macho to let his hair show.

Boris was going to be a butterfly but Charlie told me, “He’s waiting now because he is enjoying being what he is. He prefers to be a Boris (Charlie helped him select this name.) instead of being called a caterpillar.”

Charlie had been planning to have Boris go back to Earth and teach all the worms to wear hats and spectacles; that way people wouldn’t fish with them.

My first reply to that proposal was that the worms would end up in a circus display. Charlie said that if all the worms were dressed that way it wouldn’t be extraordinary. If Boris helped him, Charlie thought he could run that scenario by all of the worms. I replied that people would be really frightened or perhaps even think they were hallucinating if they saw worms wearing clothing. Charlie protested that nobody is afraid of Jiminy Cricket and he got his idea for worm clothes from the costume that Jiminy wears. I explained that people are used to seeing fanciful things in movies, but not in real life.

“There would be mass panic if you did something like that. I think people would try to kill all the worms.”

“Oh my goodness, I’d better tell Boris to stop the plan.”

I agree that it is best to just let worms alone until everyone decides they don’t need to kill worms or even to fish, for that matter. Charlie says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to kill worms; they are very friendly.

This caterpillar sounded so interesting that I decide to speak with him myself.

“Hello, Boris. I’m delighted to speak with you.”

Boris chuckles and graciously says, “Thank you, I am quite studious appearing.”

I’ve been trying to picture what kind of hat Boris would prefer to wear and have been vacillating among a fedora, a sombrero, a baseball cap or a beret. Charlie shows Boris a picture of a top hat and tells him it will make him dance. “Fred Astaire likes to wear that and here is a sombrero. Oh, that makes his eyes twinkle, Mommy.”

“Which hat do you like, Boris?”

“Hmm, I think I would like to dance.”

Charlie offers to get him some dancing lessons because, “It’s not just about moving to the music, Boris. You’ve got lots of feet and you could trip and fall. I will get Fred Astaire to help you.”

I have my hands over my mouth to keep them from hearing my guffaws at the thought of poor Fred trying to teach a caterpillar to dance. I’m able to control myself long enough to ask Charlie if Fred would want to take the time to teach Boris.

“He’s dead, Mommy. He’s got nothin’ but time on his hands.”

I suppose that’s true; watch out, Fred. Now my matchmaking gene kicks in and I find myself asking Boris if he would like a dancing partner. He only says hmm and so I hastily add that it’s OK if he prefers to dance solo. Charlie adds that dancing to his own set of drums is important, too.

“Oh, I think Arthur Murray is dead. Let’s get Arthur Murray, too. He has schools for dance, Boris, and I think he could teach you.”

“Charlie, it’s really up to Boris. Maybe he just wants to dance on his own.”

Boris sounds very serious when he says, “I must admit to you that I am agreeing to something but I do not know what the dance is.”

I ask Charlie to demonstrate some dances. He does the twist and says that you can also dance with a hula hoop. Then he yells for Papa Tonas to come; I second that request. As soon as we hear Tonas’s voice, Charlie asks him to dance with me and confides to Boris that this is why he would want a partner.

“Look at what he’s doin’. He’s putting her all around; it’s beautiful. Thank you, Papa Tonas.” Now Charlie whispers to Boris that we can get him a girl and adds, “My mommy does that.” I correct him by saying that Gaia does that.

Boris definitely sounds interested when he admits that he would like to dance like that, but adds that it will be difficult with all the legs he has. Charlie pipes up that we can make shoes for all of Boris’s feet. I call on Gaia for help with Boris and she says she has a surprise for him.

“Let me put before you a beautiful, beautiful gift.”

I hear Charlie gasp and say that she is a pretty orange caterpillar. “Gaia, you are so nice! Boris, she’s pretty, and she’s got big lips. Wow!”

Big lips? Boris seems to find her attractive, though, because he chuckles.

Charlie and I let Boris and his new partner get acquainted and come back much later to find out how the dancing lessons are going. Boris informs us he is now a great dancer! I mention that I thought Mr. Murray might have difficulties teaching Boris how to dance and I learn that I also underestimated his teaching abilities. Charlie explains that Mr. Murray already taught Boris how to dance and said it was his honor and extreme pleasure to do so.

Charlie tells me that they made two little shoes for Boris which are like ballerina shoes except not the ones that you use to stand on your toes. “Boris is very good at balancing himself and I helped him make a splint that he wears to hold himself upright. I help strap him in it so that he can stand up straight and dance. He says it is a little rigid but it makes him very capable of dancing the tango.”

I ask Boris what is the name of his lady friend and he says they are trying out names. Currently, she is using the name Tulip and she dances with him!



I am so happy I get to know you. I love you, Boris.

This love is a part of what I give also back to you.

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