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(c) 2002 by Rosemary Lake, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, in Once Upon a Time When the Princess Rescued the Prince (13 Fairy Tales) available in paperback and ebook from http://www.rosemarylake.com

Free sample excerpt from

The False Dragonfly Queen

    Once upon a time a Caterpillar and a Dragonfly shared a home in a big white calla lily by the river. The Caterpillar stayed home and did all the cleaning and mending and cooking, while the pretty Dragonfly spent her time hovering over the water admiring her own reflection.

    In fact, she was a rather commonplace Blue Dragonfly, but she was also quite vain; and any Dragonfly looks more colorful than a little gray Caterpillar. “It is only fair that I should do the work,” said the Caterpillar, who was of a sweet and humble nature, “since you are so beautiful with your shimmery blue-green wings, and I am so plain and gray.”

    One day the King of the Dragonflies happened by, and smelled a dish of bay-laurel pollen in chamomile sauce which the Caterpillar was busily preparing.

    “You are very industrious, Mistress Caterpillar,” he said. “For whom are you taking so much trouble to prepare this excellent meal?”

    The Caterpillar smiled. “It is worth taking some trouble for my friend the Dragonfly, who is so beautiful with her big shimmery wings.”

    Now, the King was rather proud of his own big shimmery wings, so he was a bit surprised by this remark, and took care to let his own wings show for a moment, alongside his chair, apparently by accident. And very fine wings they were, green and polished and quite well manicured.

    But the Caterpillar's fondness for her friend was so great, that to her, the blue Dragonfly's wings would always appear more beautiful than any other wings, however royal. So she hesitated and said, “Well, saving your presence, sir, I'm still a bit partial to hers. Er, the color, you see.…”

    “Ah,” said the King, “Your friend must be a great beauty indeed. A member of the Dragonfly nobility herself, doubtless. Living in seclusion for some romantic reason, waiting for just the right Dragonfly to come along.…”

    “Oh, well, I wouldn't say that,” said the Caterpillar, truthfully.

    But the King would not listen to her. “I can see it all,” he said, “She must be the ideal Dragonfly Lady whom I have dreamed of marrying, with royal purple wings, a mutation to cultivate for future generations. You must allow me to court her.”

    The Caterpillar was puzzled. “But–”

    “Ah, she is very modest, I'm sure. Well, let me just come back at twilight and have a glimpse of her.” So, wrapped in his daydreams, the Dragonfly King took his leave.

    When her friend the blue Dragonfly came home, the Caterpillar told her the whole story.

    “Purple wings?” the blue Dragonfly laughed. Then a cold, calculating look came over her shiny blue face. “This may be my chance to become Queen of the Dragonflies,” she said. “If I can just deceive the King till after the wedding–”





Tales such as Lang’s “The King Who Would Have a Beautiful Wife” are about humans and end less happily. The pretty insect characters and the happy ending here are all mine!