The Owl and Butterfly


The owl and butterfly were the best of friends, as odd as such a thing may seem. It made perfectly good sense; at least to them it did.

The giant, blue butterfly with the two long golden tails was awake during the day, and the wise red hoot owl at night. They looked out for one another, sending an alert if danger was near. Both lived in a hollow of the giant sycamore tree in the middle of the old forest.

It was home to strange yet wonderful animals both great and small all going about their daily (or nightly) lives foraging for food. Day or night there was one constant in the forest — the wind. The wind never stopped, and as it blew it sang to all creatures.

Though they did not know it, the owl, butterfly, and singing wind would soon be caught in a life and death struggle … a struggle not all would survive unscathed.

The blue butterfly with the golden tails looked after the owl while she slept during the day in the cool of the sycamore hollow, listening to the wind gently singing. If danger neared, the butterfly would flutter its wings under the closed eyes of the red hoot owl until it stirred awake and both could take flight to safety.

At night, the singing from the gentle wind helped the butterfly sleep, as it lay safely wrapped inside the warmth of the hollow. Outside, flying through the old trees of the forest, the owl kept watchful eyes on any creatures drawing near to their tree looking for a nighttime butterfly snack.

But as keen as the redheaded owl’s eyes were, there was one thing they couldn’t see. The wind. And the wind was soon to cause their peaceful world to be turned upside down.

There’s a brief time twice each day when daylight and darkness struggle for dominance of the old forest. It was at one of these times, early in the morning, when the tranquil singing from the gentle breeze was replaced by shouting.

As the building storm on the horizon drew nearer to the old forest, the once gentle wind grew stronger causing the old sycamore tree to sway violently. The swaying woke the old owl that had just fallen asleep in her hollow. Although they didn’t know, it was to be the last morning in the old forest for both the redheaded owl and the blue butterfly with the golden tails.

The owl and butterfly chose to escape their hollow and take their chances against the building winds. A sudden updraft carried the pair rocketing upwards, higher than either had been before. Suddenly another downdraft sent the two hurtling downwards. The powerful wings of the owl were unable to break free from the grasp of the storm as the pair tumbled towards the earth and certain death.

Just before impact with the ground, the wind that had brought so much comfort ripped off the right wing of the blue butterfly. The wind tossing them back and forth finally called out as they hit the ground, “Wake up, Papa. Wake up!”

I awoke aboard an airplane with our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline, on either side shaking me. They had turned the air vent above my seat to high trying to awaken me. We were about to land, and they were excited to start their vacation in Washington, D.C.

As I stood, the pictures of the odd dream faded from my mind, and I retrieved their carry-on from the overhead compartment.

The Wife and I watched as our Sweet Caroline with the red hair pulled her suitcase behind her — a giant owl decal covering its outer shell. Her older sister followed, with two long golden blonde pigtails dancing across her back. She, too, was dragging a suitcase behind — adorned with a giant blue butterfly decal. Sadly, during the turbulent landing and my pulling the case from the overhead compartment, its right wing had been torn off.

The story above is true just as written. Did my dream somehow predict future events or cause them? The turbulence, the butterfly’s wing being torn off, the redheaded owl, and the twin golden pigtails? Or is the reverse true – did the events impact/create my dream? What do you think, Dear Reader?

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]