A day in the secret garden

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 19/03/2023

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It was a beautiful spring morning. In the secret garden, the rosebush, Rosy, who had the crimson, velvety, fragrant roses, woke up and shook her leaves from the dewdrops that were made them shine. Everything was so beautiful! Another glamorous day!

-Good morning, she said to the beautiful ladybug, Cleo, who was sitting on one of her twigs.

-Good morning Rosy. What a wonderful day!

They both looked around. Cyclamens grew on the edges of the flower beds and at the root of the wall. The grass was green and shiny, the lilies smelled and everything, was receiving with pleasure the rays of the sun that caressed them tenderly. Another spring, another morning.

-Good morning to both of you! Mrs. Penelope, the spider greeted them.

-Good morning, they both answered in unison. How are you today Mrs. Penelope?

Penelope, the spider, was sitting on her web which she had woven in the evening to trap small insects, that were her food. This also helped Rosy, the rosebush, because these small insects were hiding in her foliage and roses and hurting them. So, the presence of Mrs. Penelope was very welcome by Rosy.

The delicate spider’s web was damp by the dewdrops of the morning and shone as the sun’s rays bathed it. Lying there, Mrs. Penelope, like a queen, replied:

-I am very well neighbors. I especially like this time of the year. Nature is full of small insects and so I have plenty of food.

Cleo, the ladybug shuddered a bit.

-Good thing she has the small insects, she thought. She can devour me too if I get involved in her networks. For better or for worse, I’ll stay away from her web. It is so strong that it can capture me and then who is going to save me?

Rosy the rosebush wanted to get along well with both. Penelope devoured the bugs that bothered her, but Cleo also freed her from the scabies mites that sucked the fluids that circulated in her veins and pierced her roses.

-They are both useful. I’m not discussing it, she thought. But Cleo is much prettier. With her red wings and black bulls, it is arguably the most beautiful insect that exists, after the butterfly. Penelope, I’m not saying, is beneficial, but she’s not beautiful at all. She has eight hairy legs, larger than her body, she ejects from her mouth that liquid that as it comes into contact with the air becomes thread, and she knits it so masterfully to make her web. It is so thin and so transparent, but it can trap any insect, no matter how big it is. Then Penelope will swallow it in peace. Despite her small size she is one of the most skillful hunters of nature. Cleo is right to avoid her.

At that moment another “good morning” was heard from the root of the rosebush. All three leaned down and saw Mr. Menelaus, the snail, greeting them:

-Good morning my ladies! How are you today?

-Very well thank you, Mr. Menelaus, they all three answered in unison. Did you start grazing on the grass?

-What to do? Mr. Menelaus replied. When there is moisture and rain, we snails feed on the green grass. We don’t like too much the sun and the heat. When summer comes we hide down in the earth until the rain comes again and we wake up. The circle of life, you see.

The sun had already risen high, and the secret garden was filled with life. The birds chirped, the butterflies flew joyfully, the bees came from the next beehive and sucked the nectar from the flowers. The spider waited for her victims, and the ladybug enjoyed her meal devouring the scabies mites that drank the liquids from the veins of her friend, the rose bush, who happily let in the atmosphere the wonderful aroma of her roses.

But suddenly clouds began to appear on the horizon. The sun vanished and the sky darkened. All birds and insects hid in their nests. Only the snail was cheerful and happy. It didn’t take long for the rain to start. But what a rain that was! Thick drops fell forcefully on the rose bush and wrinkled its magnificent roses. Soon the ground was filled with puddles with muddy water, which became small streams that covered all the garden. The grass was coated with mud.

When the rain stopped, the garden no longer looked like a fairy tale. All the flowers were crumpled, many had bent their heads and it was certain that they would not be able to straighten them again.

-My God, what a rain that was! exclaimed Rosy, the rosebush. I won’t be able to recover my roses! They have leafed out.

Penelope the spider examined her web if it had been damaged. Luckily it was fine.

-The thread I make is harder than steel, she said proudly to the rosebush. It is of pure silk, of better quality than that made by the silkworm caterpillar. People envy me, but they can’t copy me.

But the rosebush was a bit worried. She couldn’t see her friend Cleo anywhere.

-Cleo, Cleo she called. Where are you? Mrs. Penelope, did you see Cleo?

But no one had seen her. Rosy, despite her concern for her roses, had the same if not even greater anxiety for her friend Cleo. She looked everywhere but couldn’t see her. Suddenly she heard Mr. Menelaus’ voice saying:

-There she is! Here, in a puddle.

They both, Rosy and Penelope, bent down and saw Cleo, crumpled, with both her wings so muddy that they lost their beauty struggling not to sink into the dirty water. It seems that from the weight that her wings took from the mud, she could not fly.

-Run, run, Mr. Menelaus, to help her! They both shouted in unison.

But Mr. Menelaus could not run. He is among the sluggish creatures on the planet. He also carries his house on his back, like a turtle and this makes it very difficult for him to move. But the poor creature was trying. Rosy and Penelope looked anxiously.

-Hold on to Cleo, they encouraged her. Mr. Menelaus is coming to help you.

At some point, Mr. Menelaus arrived where Cleo was. She was trying to climb on his back, but she slipped and fell back into the muddy water. Rosy and Penelope watched in horror and with their words tried to encourage their friend. But time was passing, and Cleo was beginning to get exhausted without succeeding in climbing onto Mr. Menelaus’ back. On one of the many occasions, she slipped back into the muddy water it looked like she was going to give up. She lay still, and her two friends thought she had fainted.

Suddenly, Rosy was surprised to see Penelope ejecting from her mouth a liquid, which was converted into a thread and began to descend with its help into the puddle where Cleo was half-dead. She grabbed her with her feet and lifted her up. In a few seconds she gently deposited it on the leaves of the rosebush.

-I ‘ve brought her to you, she told her, and she returned to her web.

Rosy the rosebush did not know how to thank her. She was still surprised that Penelope didn’t make Cleo a bite. It was very brave and magnanimous what she did. But Penelope did not seem to understand how important her act was. She concentrated on the bugs caught in her web and began to feed on them..

Cleo slowly began to recover. She rinsed her wings in the water that had been gathered in the rose leaves and then shook them. She ate some mites and regained her strength. Rosy was very happy that her friend recovered.

-Come on, she said to her, I have prepared you a bed with the petals of this rose that was defoliated by the rain.

-Thank you so much! Cleo replied. Thank you too, Mrs. Penelope, for saving me. I will never forget it! You’re a brave acrobat.

-You are welcome, Penelope answered, continuing her meal. It was nothing.

But Cleo knew that what Penelope had done was very important. She knew very well that Penelope could have eaten her and yet she didn’t. Of course, she would still not approach her because you never know what might happen.

Rosy the rosebush thought that this ugly spider, with an extremely heroic act, saved the beautiful ladybug. It was also a lesson for her that we should not judge by appearance, but by the actions of the creatures that surround us.

That night Cleo slept happily among the velvety petals, that smelled beautifully, feeling grateful for her friends in the secret garden she lived in. Tomorrow would be a new day and the sun would shine, drying the rainwater and giving back the beauty to the world.

-Everything is perfect, she thought. I am very lucky to have these friends!







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