? greeple the Space Caterpillar

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Greeple the Space Caterpillar


1. Tiny creatures that looked a lot like the insects on Earth lived

on a plant-covered world they called Home.

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2. These creatures, known as Homelings, not only worked

together and cooperated, like ants and bees,

3.  …they also used tools and machines and went to school.  They were much smarter

than Earth’s insects. 

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4. Life was very good on Home, until its sun began getting warmer.

5. As the temperature climbed higher, Homelings spent more of their

days inside.  The plants they used for food began dying.



6. All of the Great Families – Diggers, Flyers, Builders, Hoppers, and others –were invited to the Meeting

Rock.  They talked about the terrible conditions on Home and what could be done about them.

7. One Homeling thought they could try to block some of the heat from the sun.  Another

thought that everyone could move underground.  When a tiny Flyer wondered if they could find

someplace else to live, wise old Merlis Graybeard told the group that scientists had recently

learned some of the lights in the night sky were really planets.  They thought it might

be possible to live on one of those other worlds.The meeting ended, and different groups

went off to plan for their survival.


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9.  The next day, Merlis Graybeard and Mayor Chirrup met with a group that

volunteered to pilot the spaceship.  The mayor explained that the pilot

would have to be smart, strong, and gentle. He would also have to be able

to go a long time without eating in case the trip took longer than expected.

One by one, the volunteers dropped out or were told they were not right for the job.

8.  Scientists and builders immediately started planning a spaceship.The Flyer Families began figuring

out a way to block the sun’s heat. The Digger Families got out their maps to figure where to dig for more

water and which tunnels to make larger.  The Grower Families left to bring back as much food as they

could find and to develop plants that could grow underground.

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10.  The last volunteer, a large green caterpillar, rose up and said, “My nameis Greeple and I can do it.  I can

fly the ship.  And I’m strong,” he said as he picked up one end of the Meeting Rock.  Merlis looked at

the caterpillarcarefully.  “You’re very big,” he said. “I’ll bet you eat a lot!” Greeple said shyly, “Yes, Sir, I do, sometimes,

but I can also go a long time without eating.”Merlis thought a moment, then nodded his head firmly. 

 “All right, Greeple,  you have the job.  Your training will begin tomorrow.”

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11. The next day, Greeple began learning all the things he would have to know for this mission. 
He also began eating extra food that would be stored in his body.  The days and weeks passed.
Greeple studied and ate.  Builders worked on the space ship.
12. At the same time, Diggers tunneled into the ground making living places for all the Homelings. 
They also developed new plants that could grow underground with artificial lights.
13. At last, it was time to load the ship.  It had been decided earlier that it would be impossible
to build a ship large enough to carry all the Homelings. Even taking part of them would require
more space for food and supplies than the ship had.  The solution was to send eggs from each of the
Families.The eggs would take up less room and they would not need any food.
14. When everything was ready, Greeple strapped himself into his seat.  Then, with a blast
of flame and smoke, the ship rose into the sky.

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 15. The ship sailed through space for weeks, heading for one of the bright lights the scientists
had seen in the sky. It grew to become a reddish ball.  then a red-orange planet.  Greeple found
a place to land the ship.  He put on his spacesuit and stepped outside.  It was very dry, with nothing
visible but rocks and dirt.  There were no signs of plants or water.  Disappointed,
Greeple entered the ship and took off again. The next planet looked like a blue-white marble.  Greeple flew around it, circling lower and lower. The whole surface seemed to be ice. This was not good.
16. More weeks dragged by.  The food had run out.  Greeple was becoming sad and tired, and very hungry.  Then he saw a flash blue against the black of space. 
It was another planet.  As the ship grew closer, Greeple thought he saw some
green through the clouds.  Green meant plants and clouds meant water. 
This was good!  The ship circled closer and closer to the surface.  There
were areas of green all around the planet.
17. He chose one area and guided the ship in for a landing.  There were trees and bushes and waving stalks of
grass as far as he could see.  Greeple stepped outside the ship.  He crawled this way and that,
nibbling a leaf here and munching on a stalk there.
18. Then he climbed to the top of a tall plant and looked around carefully.  What he saw shocked
him!  There were giant flying things chasing and catching tiny creatures that looked like Homelings.
On a near-by fence was a sticky net and another Homeling was stuck in it.  Near that was an
ugly green monster that flicked its tongue out and caught a tiny Flyer.  Greeple had never
seen such horrible things on Home.

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19. The worried caterpillar needed to find out what was going on.  Greeple spoke to some Flyers that
were hiding under a leaf.  The Flyers just trembled and ignored him.  He tried to ask some Crawlers
about the things he had seen, but they passed by without even looking at him.  After several more
attempts, Greeple understood that the tiny creatures on this worldcould not talk or think.
20. He realized that he had to learn as much as possible about this world and
its dangers so he could teach the young Homelings how to stay safe.
21. Allowing the eggs to begin hatching, one group at a time, Greeple taught the youngsters
everything he had learned - how to hide from birds, how to avoid spider webs
and toads, which plants were good to eat, and many other things.
22. As each group graduated, Greeple sent the young Homelings out into the world. 
Sadly, he waved good-bye to the last of them.

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23. Greeple wondered if he had taught his students enough.  What if there were dangers he didn't
know about?  But then he remembered that the young Homelings were smart enough to
figure things out for themselves.
Was Greeple right?  Had he tsught the young Homelings enough to protect themselves
from the many enemies they would face?  Would they know enough to stay away from humans?
Is it possible that some of the creatures you thought were just insect are actually intelligent
beings from the Green Planet?

And this begins the adventure for Greeple, the Space Caterpillar

This story, consists of 1189 words and 23 illustrations, .  You are allowed to print out the story from this page for your own use.

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Copyright 2015 by T. M. Grafius, Sr.