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The Bear And the Butterfly

Not based on true events

It was a most sweltering day in south-east  Asia, a day which could fry fish or stew herbs. The butterflies had all they could bear, fluttering about, nearly melting in the dismal heat. Yet, it would not do for them to miss all of their accustomed amusement simply because of the temperature. No indeed! In fact, one, an Orange Tip by name, was searching for just right opportunity for amusement. Finally, the source of the up-coming mischief was spotted. There, beneath the shade of a tree beyond and below, was a Sun Bear, a-snoring up a storm. Without further ado, the butterfly flew over to the small, long-clawed bear, and with a graceful, feather-light sweep, it alighted upon the bear’s moist nose. Then,extending its proboscis, it tickled that of the bears. What, I ask, could come of this? What else  but a sneeze bigger than the bear itself! In a twinkling, the butterfly was swept off with the power of the gust below it and carried far from its place of prank, and was forced to rest  awhile after the dizzying experience. But that did not halt the fluttering creature in its escapade, and it soon returned to its place upon the bears nose to torment the again sleeping mammal. This time it was not a sneeze, but a 10 inch long tongue that sent the butterfly again tumbling away, but unperturbed, the insect simply returned and re-alighted. Finally, the bear had borne enough, and with a shake of its head ( which rid it of the pest) it awoke and determined that the bothersome butterfly would not have another opportunity to make a seat out of its snout. So, with remarkable agility, the bear climbed high up into the tree under whose shadow it had lain, and rested in a crude nest it had previously built in its boughs. Then, it waited. One minute passed and no butterfly came, another minute passed, yet no butterfly, and a third minute passed and again no butterfly appeared. Now, perhaps it was now safe to sleep, hidden from those shiny, compound eyes and orange-juice tipped wings, and once more the bear permitted its guard to fall and its eye-lids to droop, and a snore to escape its lips. A pleasant dream ensued in which the bear believed itself to be devouring a sweet bees nest, but right in the middle of the reverie, it felt a tickle upon its leathery nose, and what else could follow but “ Achoooo!”The butterfly had conquered again!

Orange Tip
Anthocharis cardamines

This butterfly of Asia and Europe is classified in a family commonly known  as “ Whites and Sulphurs”. The males have orange-tipped forewings with a black dot on the border of each of these splashes of colour. Its underwings are dappled in pale green, perhaps for camouflage, and it is the rover of woodlands.

Sun Bear
Helarctos malayanus

This is a small bear, in fact the smallest. It has lengthy claws for climbing, and short fur to keep it cool in the sun. This bear is very arboreal, even sleeping in trees at night. Like most bears, it is an omnivore, though classified as a carnivore. It also rated as vulnerable to extinction because of the loss of habitat and the wrath of palm-tree farmers because of the occasional raids it makes on their crops.

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Wednesday September 22, 2021