A Bird's Eye View
Willy Worm, who was rather long and thin most of the time and at least
hopefully a bit slimy, had never been out of farmer Brown's pasture. He
had never even been out under the lawn nor had he dared venture out
across the driveway to the garden. Willy had never even seen the garden.
One day Willy
was wiggling along as he did quite often, when he bumped smack into his
Uncle Wilber Worm. Now if worms could travel any faster they might have
gotten hurt from their collision, but instead they looked like they
just kind of oozed together for a moment and then backed away from each
Willy said, as he pulled back and raised his head a bit "I should think
so," replied Willy's Uncle. "You should really watch where you are
going, there are many dangers out here in the big world, and if you
don't pay attention all the time, you will certainly meet with
"I really am
sorry Uncle Wilber," said Willy "but I was in a big hurry to get to the
apple tree near the driveway."
"Why were you
going there so early in the morning?” Asked his Uncle, as he rubbed the
side of his nose, where Willy had run into him.
Willy took a
deep breath and said, "I was hungry and I thought that rotten apples
sounded very good for breakfast."
snorted Uncle Wilber, as he began to crawl in the direction of the
driveway. Willy watched for a moment and then followed his Uncle. "If
you like apples Willy you should try some carrots and potatoes
sometime," his Uncle said finally.
Willy, "and potatoes, what are they?”
"You don't know
what a carrot is uh, well, well Willy, you do have a lot to learn about
this big world don't you?” Remarked Uncle Wilber.
"I guess so
Uncle, but I've just never heard of carrots or potatoes. What are they
anyway?” Willy asked.
boy," began his Uncle, "are one of the very finest foods that a worm
could ever eat, and potatoes are even better. The only thing that is
better than a potato is a big fat rotten tomato, and you can have them
all if you like."
"How can that be
Uncle?” Willy asked. "There are none of these things around here."
Willy," said his Uncle, "and I will show you where you can find many of
these wonderful things that lie on the other side of the driveway."
squealed Willy, "no one can cross the driveway. It just isn't
"You have a lot
to learn Willy," laughed Uncle Wilber. "I have been across the driveway
many times. It’s not easy, but it can be done.” With this, Wilber
wiggled on toward the edge of the pasture with Willy following close
Soon they came
to the fence that surrounded the pasture, and Wilber stopped and turned
to Willy. "This is where I leave you son," said Willy's Uncle. "You
have to find your own way from here."
protested Willy. "I don't know what to do, or how to get across the big
driveway, or even what any of those wonderful things you mentioned look
"Oh Willy, I
think you can find your own way if you really want to get there," his
Uncle told him. "You climb this fence post and look across the driveway
to farmer Brown's garden where you will see many wonderful things to
eat. Think hard and you will find a way to get there."
"But, but, but
Uncle Wilber," pleaded Willy. It was no use, Wilber had already begun
to burrow a hole in the ground near the base of the fence post, and he
was soon out of sight.
for a moment and then started to climb the post. Willy had not done
much climbing, and it was very hard and quite slow. After a long and
difficult struggle, he finally made it to the top of the fence post,
where he lay panting for sometime before even looking around.
After he had
rested, he began to look around at the beautiful view. He could see
clear to the other side of the pasture. He could see all the cows and
chickens. Willy could even see all the molehills that dotted the
pasture. As he turned around toward the garden, Willy could see the
mailbox near the end of the long driveway and he could even see the
hard rocky driveway itself. He could see all the pretty wild flowers
that lined the edge of the pasture, and he could even see farmer
Brown's cat crouching in the tall grass hunting for mice.
finally see the garden that his Uncle had told him about, and it was as
beautiful as he had imagined. The soil looked soft and moist, and easy
to squirm through, unlike the hard packed ground of the pasture. Willy
knew that he would be very happy living there if he could only find a
way to get to this new paradise. Between the pasture and the garden lay
the wide gravel driveway full of stones, with no cover to hide from
birds and other animals that might like to eat a juicy little worm like
himself. The driveway was also quite dry and dusty, and Willy was sure
that he would dry up and die before he could wiggle and squirm his way
across this vast desert of gravel.
Willy Worm sat
on top of the fence post dreaming of the soft, moist, fertile soil in
the garden. He wanted very much to go to the garden, but he was afraid
of the dry barren driveway, and he knew of no other way to get to the
other side, but across it. Willy could see that the driveway stretched
as far as he could see in both directions, and he sat sadly on the
fence post wishing his Uncle would have told him more.
As Willy sat
looking enviously at the garden, he could see many other little
critters crawling, and wiggling, and flying about, in what appeared to
be an easy search for their breakfast. Willy spotted a large worm
crawling along the stem of a big bushy green plant near the edge of the
garden. Willy raised up as high as he could and called out in his
loudest voice, "Hey Mr. Worm. Hey over there in the garden.” The large
worm turned slightly toward the pasture, and Willy called out again.
"Hello Mr. Worm. How did you get over there to the garden?"
The worm raised
up from the stem he was crawling on and yelled back at Willy. "Hello
yourself, I have always been in the garden."
"Do you know of
any way to get across this driveway?” Willy yelled. "I want to come
over to the garden."
"There is no way to cross the driveway," called the large worm from the
garden. “You must be born here to live here."
Willy was beside
himself, and he began standing on his head then his tail and then his
head again, and then his tail again, over and over he switched from his
head to his tail until he didn't know which he was standing on, his
head or his tail. This is a very easy thing for a worm to become
confused about, and Willy was certainly confused.
could hear the worm from the garden calling to him. "Look out! Look
out!" He was saying. Just then, Willy saw something out of the corner
of his eye. It was a big bird swooping down toward him from a nearby
locust tree. In his confusion, it was all Willy could do to fall over
and roll off the top of the fence post. He fell end over end, and
finally landed on a blade of grass growing up from the bottom of the
fence post. As he slid down the blade of grass, he began to see things
more clearly. He wasn't confused anymore. He was about to be eaten by a
large fat robin.
hit the ground with a plop. He could hear the sound of the robin's
wings whipping the air right above him. Thump! The robin landed right
on top of Willy Worm. Everything was dark. He was sure that he was in
the robin's stomach, but he still felt the same as before. He could
still feel the ground beneath him, and he didn't have any sharp pains,
only a slight head ache from where he had landed on his head. Willy was
quite confused again. He wasn't sure where he was now, but it was very
dark and scary and he didn't like it at all.
Then suddenly it
was light again, and he could see the robin flying away. He could also
see that he had fallen into a small hole. Willy just sat there for a
few minutes rubbing his head, and thinking about what would have
happened to him if the hole had not been there. Willy was a very lucky
little worm and he knew it
around the hole and discovered that it was actually a tunnel, made by a
mole, and leading in the direction of the garden. He was very happy
about this good fortune, and he wiggled and squirmed with excitement
Finally he pulled himself together and began to crawl down the tunnel
toward the garden. It was very dark in the tunnel, but Willy didn't
mind because he knew that soon he would be squirming in the soft soil
of farmer Brown's garden.
The tunnel was long and dark and damp. Willy was happy to be back
underground and even happier to be headed for the garden. He knew that
it would be a long journey, but he didn't mind. He had never eaten a
potato or a tomato, nor had he ever crawled around the long slender
root of a carrot, but he felt that soon he would experience all the
wonders that his Uncle had told him lay across the wide gravel
driveway. Willy thought how nice it was to have this tunnel to crawl
through instead of having to dig his own like he usually had to do back
in the pasture.
“Yes this is
sure easy traveling," said Willy to himself as he squirmed along in the
open tunnel, "and maybe a bit too easy."
He had a bad
feeling gnawing at him from somewhere in the back of his mind. It was
one of those feelings that you can't quite put your finger on, but you
know that it is very important. Suddenly it dawned on him what the
trouble was. He was squirming through a mole hole, and moles eat worms
for lunch! It was nearly lunchtime, and Willy began to feel cold and
nervous. He stopped for a moment and thought, but he decided that he
couldn't just stay there, and he began crawling on toward the garden.
seemed chilly and damp to Willy as he squirmed on, trying to think of
what to do if he met a mole. He felt certain that the tunnel had been
used very recently, and that he was bound to meet up with the mole that
made it. Willy had wiggled and worried his way along the tunnel for
some time when he heard a strange sound coming from somewhere ahead of
him. The sound was different from anything he had ever heard before. He
had heard the sound of mole's feet scampering along the ground once
before, and this didn't sound like that. At first, this made him feel a
bit better, but then he thought that it might be something even worse
than a mole. It was kind of a scratchy sort of sound, that would
scratch, scratch, scratch for a little while and then there would be
some scuffling noises, and then go back to scratching. Willy could tell
that what ever was making the sound was in a hurry, and that he was
getting quite close to it. As Willy came around a slight bend in the
tunnel, he could hear something muttering in a squeaky little voice
that sounded quite frightened
"Oh dear, oh
dear, I must get out of the way. Hurry! Hurry!” The little voice was
Willy forgot his
own fear, and spoke out to the little voice in the darkness. "What are
you in such a hurry about?” Asked Willy as he came up to whatever it
was, scratching away in the dark tunnel.
"Oh no!" Cried
the little creature, 'who’s that? What do you want of me?"
afraid.” Willy said in a soft voice. "I am Willy Worm, and I mean you
no harm.” Willy crawled a little closer, and asked, "Who are you, and
how did you get here?"
"My name is
Jimmy, Jimmy Cricket." squeaked the little voice out of the blackness.
"I shouldn't be here, no, no I never should have come here at all."
"Well, why did
you come here?” Willy asked.
"I just had to
see the tunnel,” said the cricket. "But I'll never come back again,
that is if I don't get eaten by that big mole. Oh the mole, I have to
get out of here before the mole comes by, but I can't dig fast enough
to get away."
"Well if digging
is what you need let me help you, I'm very good at digging,” said
Willy, and he began to burrow a neat little hole into the side of the
"Do you really
think that the mole will come by here soon?” Willy asked, as he
"Oh yes, I'm
sure that it will, very soon." squeaked Jimmy Cricket. "My mother told
me never to go into the tunnel, because the mole would surely eat me.
digging for a moment, and pulled back out of the hole. "What is that?
Do you hear something coming?” He asked.
"Yes I hear it
to, it must be the mole. Hurry! Hurry! Dig faster,” cried the little
Willy went back
to work digging as fast as he could. He could hear footsteps coming
closer and closer. He dug faster and faster. He knew that if the mole
found him, it would surely eat him for lunch, and the thought
frightened him very much.
whispered Jimmy Cricket. "The mole will be here any minute, please
digging. He could feel the edge of the hole with the tip of his tail,
and he knew that he was safe. If he could only get the hole a little
bit deeper, there would be enough room for the little cricket too. But
would there be enough time? Willy could feel the cricket pushing on his
tail, and he pulled himself up tight inside the hole as far as he could.
into the hole behind Willy, and they both lay as still as they could.
Willy could hear the mole's foot steps right beside them in the tunnel.
He could even hear the mole breathing as it went past them hiding
silently in the darkness.
Willy and Jimmy
lay very still for a long time after the mole passed, afraid to move
for fear that it may hear them and return to eat them both. Finally,
Willy stretched out, pushing the little cricket backward out of the
hole, and then backed out himself.
"Wow, that was
close,” said Willy, very relieved.
was still so scared that he could barely speak. "I, I'm getting out of
here, right now." squeaked little Jimmy. "I knew that I should never
have come here. Oh I don't know how I could ever thank you, Willy Worm,
for digging that wonderful hole. I never could have done it myself."
"I am going to
the garden,” said Willy. "Would you like to come with me?"
"I don't know,"
said Jimmy "what's in the garden?"
"My Uncle says
that there are wonderful things to eat in the garden, and the soil is
always soft and moist," replied Willy.
"How would we
get to the garden," asked the cricket, "and how far is it?"
around nervously in the dark, and then said, "I really don't know for
sure Jimmy, but I think that if we follow this tunnel, it will take us
interested, and he asked, "How far is it?"
"I can't tell
you that either Jimmy," Willy said, a bit discouraged himself. "All I
know is that I have seen the garden from the pasture, where I used to
live, and that we must be somewhere under the driveway."
"The garden does
sound like a wonderful place," said the cricket, "but it could be a
very dangerous journey. What if we get lost, and end up in the center
of the earth."
"It will be a
very dangerous adventure," began Willy, "but I won't let us get lost.
You are welcome to join me if you like, but I do think that we should
hurry, before the mole comes back."
"If you think it
will be Ok Willy," the cricket replied, "I will join you."
"Then let us get
started,” said Willy, as he began to wiggle his way along the tunnel in
the direction of the garden with the little cricket close behind him.
Willy and Jimmy
crawled along the dark tunnel in silence for some time before they came
to a fork in the tunnel. One fork was a little bit larger and went off
to the right. The other fork went down a bit and a little to the left.
Both tunnels went pretty much in the direction of the garden, and Willy
wondered which they should take.
said Jimmy, "what do we do now?"
"We just have to
decide which way to go." replied Willy.
"But which one
goes where we want to go?” The little cricket asked.
"Both of the
forks seem to go toward the garden Jimmy," began Willy, "but I think
that the smaller tunnel on the left might be safer."
"Safer, what do
you mean safer?” Jimmy quizzed.
Willy looked at
Jimmy with his head cocked to one side, and said, "The mole! The mole
Jimmy, have you forgotten about the mole already?"
"Oh yes, the
mole," said Jimmy Cricket, "I mustn’t forget the mole. You're right
Willy, lets take the safe tunnel even if it will be a little harder to
down the left-hand tunnel with Jimmy Cricket right on his heels or at
his tail in this case.
tunnel is tight," said Jimmy, "I can barely squeeze my way through"
Willy paid no
attention to the cricket's complaining, and crawled on down the tunnel.
Down was right!
The tunnel took a sharp turn downward, becoming steeper and steeper. It
was so steep, that Willy had to squeeze himself up short and fat in
order to hang on to the walls. There were a lot of sharp roots and
pebbles sticking out of the sides of the tunnel that kept poking Willy
as he half crawled and half slid down through the darkness.
"Hey Jimmy, are
you still with me?” Willy called.
"I'm here all
right," squealed little Jimmy, "but it sure is hard to keep from
falling on top of you. This tunnel is too steep for me."
large piece of the tunnel wall broke loose and Willy began to slide
down, down, down along the tunnel. At first he could feel the sides of
the tunnel and the roots scraping his back as he slid downward through
the blackness. Willy wondered if Jimmy was falling too, but he didn't
have time to think too hard about it, because now he was falling freely
through the darkness. It was like when he had fallen from the fence
post. He was plunging downward end over end again, and he thought that
he could hear something splashing into water below him. All at once he
landed. It was water, and Willy was in it. It was wet, and cold, and
dark, and he really wished he could see where he was.
Willy could hear
a lot of splashing beside him in the water along with a considerable
amount of gasping and coughing.
"Is that you
Jimmy," asked Willy as he wiggled and squirmed to stay afloat.
"It’s me all
right," called Jimmy. "Where are we? How did we get here?"
trouble,” said Willy. "Can you swim?"
"I can swim a
little, but not for very long.” Jimmy bubbled, as he took in a mouth
full of water.
"We had better
find the shore fast then, if there is one." called Willy, and he began
to wiggle and squirm his way along through the cold water in the
and kind of swam along beside Willy for a little while, and then said,
"This water seems to be moving as fast as we are swimming. I don't
think we are getting anywhere."
"I think you're
right Jimmy," replied Willy, "we had better swim sideways to the
current and hope we come to the shore pretty soon or we're going to be
Willy and Jimmy
wiggled, and splashed, and swam for a long time in the darkness of the
underground cave. Willy was getting very tired and he felt as though he
could go no farther when his tail touched something solid. "I think I
just felt the bottom,” he said, as he held himself up a little with his
time," spluttered Jimmy. "I am so tired that I can't go much farther."
"Just a little
more Jimmy," said Willy. "The water is getting more and more shallow. I
think that the shore must be right up ahead of us now."
"Boy, it better
be, the current seems to be getting stronger.” Jimmy bubbled.
The shore was
right up ahead, and the two little adventurers crawled out on to what
seemed like a smooth firm beach. They lay there for some time panting
and saying nothing. Finally Willy raised up a bit, and said, "Wow, I
thought we were goners. I wonder what kind of place this is?"
"I think that we
have fallen into the center of the earth," replied Jimmy, as he too
began to pull himself together. "It sure is dark and cold down here,
wherever it is."
"It is too cold
to be the center of the earth, answered Willy, "but I think we have
found an underground river or something."
himself as high as he could trying to find the top of whatever they had
fallen into, but there didn't seem to be a ceiling, or even any walls.
He thought of the soft soil in the garden and the wonderful things that
were there to eat, and said, "I think we had better get going if we are
going to make it to the garden."
"But, but which
way should we go," stuttered the little cricket, "I don't know where we
are or anything."
Willy said, as he began to wiggle his way along the shore next to the
Now you may
wonder how Willy could possibly know which way the garden was by now,
but worms have an uncanny sense of direction and even though they have
been spun around and turned upside down, they still seem to know which
way they want to go.
The ground was
damp and smooth with an occasional lump of dirt or a rock sticking up
that Willy and Jimmy had to crawl over or around, but by and large they
had a pretty easy time squirming along the edge of the water. Willy
could hear what sounded like water dripping up ahead of them, and
asked, "Do you hear something up ahead, Jimmy?"
"Yes I do, it
sounds like a waterfall." said Jimmy, "and I think that the little
river is moving much faster than before."
Willy let his
tail touch the moving water, and realized that Jimmy was right. The
river was traveling quite fast now, and he thought that they had better
not let themselves fall into it or they would surely be swept away. He
could also feel the sides of the dark cave again, and it seemed that
they must be back in a tunnel of some sort. The ground was getting
steeper by now, and they were climbing some as they inched along in the
As Willy came
around a slight bend in the tunnel, he thought he could see a tiny
light far up ahead. He blinked his eyes several times to be sure that
he wasn't imagining it, but every time he opened them, the light was
still there. "Look, look Jimmy!" He shouted. "Do you see what I see?"
"It’s a light,
it really is a light," squealed the little cricket, as he nearly fell
into the water that was rushing past them with great speed by now.
"Yes it is
light, and I think that it must be the surface of the ground, and if I
am right, we should soon be in the wonderful soft soil of farmer
"Wow, I hope so.
I can hardly wait. Let’s hurry, this place gives me the creeps."
"Yes, me too,"
said Willy, as he continued to inch his way along the ever steepening
The two little
travelers crawled along happily in silence, listening to the rush of
the cold water beside them.
said, "I think we are going to make it after all. Are you still back
"Yes I'm here
all right," replied Jimmy, “but it sure is getting to be a steep climb.
I can hardly make it."
"Just a little
farther Jimmy," called Willy to his friend, "You can make it if you
keep thinking about how wonderful the garden is."
The light at the
end of the tunnel kept getting bigger and brighter, and the climb got
steeper, but they were nearly to the end, and Willy began to feel very
happy. As he inched his way, up out of the tunnel he could see many
large plants, planted in long straight rows. They were very lush and
green, and the soil was soft and damp just like he had seen from the
other side of the driveway.
"Here we are,"
yelled Willy. "We have made it to the beautiful, wonderful garden at
himself out of the tunnel, and looked around in amazement. He could
hardly believe his eyes. It was even more beautiful than he had
imagined. He grabbed Willy and gave him a big hug, and Willy wrapped
his long thin body around the little cricket squeezing him firmly as
they both rolled around on the soft ground in farmer Brown's garden.
thought of his near mishap with the robin earlier that morning, and he
quickly crawled under the safety of a large cucumber leaf, with Jimmy
following right behind him.
Checking It Out
The leaf was like a large tent. It was barely off the ground, and made
a very good hiding place for Willy and Jimmy. Willy was beginning to
learn the importance of being careful, and he thought again about what
his Uncle had told him earlier that morning.
"You have to pay
attention all the time," Willy said to no one in particular.
"What, what did
you say," asked Jimmy, "What are you talking about."
really," said Willy, "I was just thinking about something my Uncle said
to me this morning."
to what?” Jimmy asked in a confused tone of voice.
said, "it's kind of hard to explain, but my Uncle says that you have to
pay attention to everything, especially those things that can hurt you.
And you have to pay attention all the time, not just when you feel like
"You mean that
you can't ever think of anything else, but being careful," Jimmy asked.
replied Willy. "At least, I don't think so, but I think he means that
you have to keep your own safety in mind all the time. Well, it’s kind
of like this morning, when we were in the mole tunnel. Neither of us
had ever really thought of what to do in case a mole came along."
"Yes, but you
knew just what to do," Jimmy said in a squeaky sort of voice.
"I can't explain
it all to you right now," said Willy sternly, "but just be "Careful or
you will become a meal for a bird or something."
about me," laughed Jimmy, sounding a little like a 'know it all'.
really listening to him, but instead he was thinking about what to do
next, now that he was finally in the garden. He crawled over to the
edge of the leaf they were hiding under, and began burrowing a small
"What are you
doing know?” Jimmy asked.
"I am going to
look out and see where we are, without being seen," Willy said.
possibly see you?” Asked little Jimmy, still sounding like he didn't
quite understand about being careful.
the little cricket, and continued digging a place from which to look at
It was quite
sunny, and the brightness made Willy squint. He could see a whole row
of onions, looking like long, thin, green rocket ships coming up out of
large white bulbs half buried in the loose ground. He could tell that
he was at the edge of a large cucumber plant that sprawled out for
farther than he could see from where he was. The plant had many large
cucumbers just waiting around for farmer Brown to pick them, and turn
them into big fat dill pickles.
There was a wide
path between Willy and the long row of onions, with water running in it
like a small stream. The water ran down into the hole that Willy and
Jimmy had just crawled out of, and Willy wondered where all that water
was coming from. He looked up at the sky to check for birds and robins
especially. There were no birds, and in fact, there were no other
critters at all, except he and Jimmy and a ladybug on one of the
cucumbers, and a little white moth over by the onions. Willy decided to
explore a little, and he pulled back out of the hole near the edge of
the large leaf. As he turned toward where the little cricket had been,
he could see Jimmy crawling out from under the safety of the leaf to
the open garden.
"Where are you
going Jimmy?” Willy asked, as he wiggled his way toward him.
"You spend too
much time being careful," Jimmy said. "I'm going to see the garden, and
have some fun.” Jimmy was off, hopping in big leaps down the path
toward the center of the garden. "Careful little buddy," Willy called
what, vegetables?” Jimmy called back laughing.
Just then a
pretty little blue bird came out of nowhere, snatched up the little
cricket and was gone again. It all happened so fast that if Willy had
blinked, he wouldn't even have seen it. Willy just sat there for a
moment in a daze, thinking about how, one minute Jimmy was there being
a smart aleck, and the next minute he was lunch for the blue bird.
said out loud, "my Uncle is sure right, you really do have to pay
attention all the time."
and wiggled off toward the middle of the cucumber plant crawling along
the stems at times, and even over the cucumbers themselves. These large
green fruit felt smooth and cool to his belly as he slid over and
around them. As he came to an open spot near the center of the cucumber
plant, he looked up again to check for birds or other dangers in the
sky, and he was very pleased to see none. The only thing in the sky was
a couple of puffy little white clouds to break up the lovely blue that
seemed to stretch forever.
out into the opening, and then stopped, thinking again about little
Jimmy and how fast he had disappeared into the mouth of the pretty blue
bird. The open spot in front of Willy was only about a foot or so
across, but he decided to go around the edge where he would always be
under the safety of the large sprawling cucumber leaves. Willy was very
happy to be in the garden where the soil was soft, and there were so
many interesting plants around for him to hide under and play on. As he
wiggled and squirmed along, he wondered again where the little stream
was coming from that ran in the garden path. He could hear the flowing
water as he crawled along, sometimes on the ground and other times
along the stems and branches of the cucumber plant.
squirmed along a large twisted stem several inches off the ground, he
came across a very different looking leaf from those of the cucumber.
This leaf was very much smaller than the cucumber leaves, and it had a
cautiously out onto this new leaf and up along the small stem that held
it firmly to the main plant. He looked up into the center of the plant
where he could see many large shiny red balls hanging heavily from
strong stems. He inched his way up a main branch of the plant to where
one of the red balls hung silently, looking fat, and firm, and full of
something delicious. "This must be a tomato," Willy said, as he wiggled
his way out onto the tomato, leaving a small trail of worm slime on it
as he did so.
From his perch
on the tomato, Willy could see a long ways. He could see the row of
onions back in the direction he had come from, and looking the other
way he could see what seemed to be water squirting up out of the ground
and coming down all around some funny looking plants on the other side
of what looked like carrots. As Willy sat on the tomato in the shade of
a small leaf, he thought of his Uncle and what he had said about paying
attention. "I've been very lucky," thought Willy, "I could have quite
easily ended up like little Jimmy Cricket several times already today.”
Willy gazed out at the garden for sometime and finally decided to go
see what was making the water squirt up into the air.
He began to
climb down from his perch on the shiny red tomato when all at once he
lost his grip and fell. He bounced several times on leaves and stems
before finally coming to rest. Or at least he thought he had come to
rest, when he began to move slowly. Looking down he could see that he
had fallen on a large, shiny, black, ground beetle.
The beetle was
trying desperately to crawl out from under Willy, and it looked quite
put out from having this extra burden to carry. Willy was very worried
that he may have injured the poor beetle, and he apologized profusely.
"Oh excuse me," said Willy. "I am very sorry. I do hope that I didn't
struggled to get out from under Willy. "Would you get off my back?”
said the large beetle, in an angry voice.
Willy squirmed as hard as he could, and managed to get himself off the
beetle. "Are you all right," said Willy, "I do hope you aren't broken."
As Willy pulled
himself together from his fall and strange landing, he could see that
the shiny beetle was much more mad than it was hurt. In fact, it wasn't
hurt at all, but it was very mad indeed. It turned toward Willy, and
came right at him swishing it's antennae back and forth, and making a
scary licking sound with it's wings. "You'll be sorry, you skinny
little worm." shrieked the beetle. "You should have been more careful
where you fell, but now it’s too late."
know what to do. He knew 'hat he could out run the beetle if he was
underground, but he was on top of the ground with no chance to get
away. The big beetle was only a inch from his nose, and Willy could see
it's strong mouth opening very wide and then snapping shut, and then
opening and snapping shut again over and over. He knew that one bit
from this big beetle could be fatal. He also knew that his only chance
was to confuse the beetle. Willy quickly rolled up into a little ball,
or at least as close to a ball as he could, and just as the beetle was
about to take a bite right out of the middle of him, he unrolled as
fast as he could and began wiggling and squirming around wildly. He
managed to get right on top of the beetle's back, and while it was
trying to figure out what had happened, Willy slipped his long body
around the beetle, and squeezed as tightly as he could.
The beetle was
very surprised by this, and it began to struggle violently. Willy could
hear the snapping of the beetle's strong mouth, ready to take a bite
out of him if he lost his grip.
"Let go of me
you silly worm,” yelled the beetle, as it wiggled all six of its sturdy
little legs at once.
"I would be very
happy to let go of you, "said Willy, "if you promise not to bite me."
"Bite you," said
the beetle. "I'm going to eat you as soon as I get loose."
By this time,
Willy had several wraps of his strong tube like body around the beetle,
and they were both squirming on the ground under the tomato that Willy
had fallen from. The beetle was also quite strong, and it kicked and
scratched violently in Willy's grip. Willy was getting very tired, and
he really didn't like fighting over something that had been an accident
in the first place.
"What are you so
. . .” Willy managed to say just as the beetle got the vary tip of his
tail into it's mouth.
Snap! The beetle
closed its mouth on Willy's tail.
screamed in pain, as he straightened out rapidly allowing the beetle to
get free. Both Willy and the beetle were very tired from their
struggles, and they sat facing each other just a few inches apart on
the ground. Willy's tail was quite sore, and he wished the beetle would
go away and leave him alone.
“Why are you so
mad?” Willy asked. "I didn't mean to fall on you."
"Falling on me
was your mistake, little worm," growled the beetle, as it raised up on
its hind legs getting ready to charge Willy again. "I haven't had my
lunch yet, and you . . ."
Just then, the
ground shook and the beetle disappeared completely, and in its place
was a large, red, fat tomato.
hardly believe his eyes. He just stared at the tomato in front of him
and wondered what had happened. Finally he crawled around to the other
side of the tomato, and sure enough, he could see just the tips of the
beetle's toes sticking out from under it. Still Willy looked in
disbelief at the beetle's toes and the tomato before him, and hoped
that his battle was really over.
Willy's tail was
quite sore, and he looked around for the little stream that ran in the
garden path. He crawled down to the edge of the water and put his sore
tail into it. As the cool water flowed over his throbbing tail, he
thought again about the bird, and the mole, and the strange tunnel that
had led him to the garden. He also thought about Jimmy Cricket and his
being eaten by the blue bird. Willy had never had so many adventures in
all his life, much less in a single day. He was tired and hungry, and
now he had a very sore tail where the beetle had tried to make a meal
of him. "Meal," he said out loud, as he looked around for something to
Very near the
little stream was a large very ripe tomato that had fallen off and
gotten quite soft from lying on the ground. Willy quickly squirmed his
way over to it, and began munching away with great delight. As he ate
his way into the tomato, he thought of how his Uncle had said that
nothing was better than rotten tomatoes. And as he disappeared
completely into this over ripe fruit, he knew that his Uncle was right.
Willy ate and
ate until he couldn't take another bite. He turned and looked back his
long body. It didn't look so long now, he'd eaten so much that he had
swelled up to nearly twice as big around. He began squirm his way out
from the inside of the tomato, that by now was almost hollow from his
having eaten most of it. He found that was very hard to squirm, or even
move for that matter, because of his extra size. Willy felt more like a
slug than he did a worm, as he kind of oozed his way along the ground
under the tomato plants near the garden path. He was rather leery of
other critters by now, and he kept a sharp eye out order to help avoid
and oozed along for awhile, keeping beneath the shelter of the tomatoes
in farmer Brown's garden. Under the canopy of leaves, the ground was
cool and moist on Willy's belly as he struggled to move. He couldn't
travel very fast, but he didn't mind, because he had finally tasted the
pleasures of the garden that Uncle Wilber had told him of earlier that
vary day. Willy felt that he had learned a good deal about being
careful since he left his uncle this morning in the pasture, but he
also knew that he still had a lot to learn.
"Poor Jimmy," he
said to himself as he came to what appeared to be the intersection of
two garden paths. He could see that the little stream, which ran in the
main path, had backed up into the path he wanted to cross, making a
small lake between himself and a long row of carrots.
At first Willy
thought that he would like to hop on a stick and go for a sail, but he
didn't much care for the idea of being exposed to attack from the sky.
He also thought that he might be able to go around the path to get to
the carrots, but he didn't want to crawl any farther than he had to.
Suddenly it dawned on him that he could go under the little lake. After
all, he was a worm, and worms are supposed to travel underground.
Making his own tunnel under the path would certainly be the slowest,
but it would also be the safest way across to the row of carrots.
said Willy to himself. "How shall I get across this water? It’s too far
to go around, it’s too slow to go under, and it is surely too dangerous
to go across. What is a little worm to do?"
"You do have a
problem there, little worm," said a voice from somewhere above him in a
Willy was very
much surprised, and he turned as quickly as he could to see who was
talking to him. "Who's that," said Willy, where are you?"
"I'm up here in
the tomato plant,” said the little voice. "If you want to cross the
lake, I can help you."
Willy looked up
into the many green leaves above him, but he could see nothing that
might be talking to him. "Where are you?” Willy called again looking as
hard as he could.
Just then, a
leaf came loose and floated to the ground very near Willy. Then another
leaf floated down, landing right on him. As he squirmed his way out
from under the leaf, he noticed a green caterpillar with what seemed
like a million very short little legs and quite long antennae.
said the caterpillar. "I can help you get to the other side of the
lake, if you like."
“You can help
me?” Willy said. "You can help me to get across this lake?" The
caterpillar let itself down from high in the tomato plant on a thin
little thread of silk that seemed to materialize magically out of it's
tail. "Yes, you can sail across the lake in safety if you like," said
the strange little caterpillar. "And I will show you how to do it with
nothing more than you see before you."
carefully at this green little caterpillar. It was all wrinkled and
covered with what looked like cobwebs, but as probably some of the
silky stuff that had oozed out of it's tail. It also had very long
antennae that curved up over its head and had tiny orange balls on the
ends of them.
"How do you know
that I want to sail across the lake?” Willy asked.
young friend, everyone likes to sail the open seas with a breeze at
their back," replied the caterpillar with a smile.
"Oh excuse me,"
said Willy. "My name is Willy Worm, and you are right, I do want to
sail across the lake."
“Of coarse you
do Willy Worm. It’s the only way across that makes any sense," laughed
the caterpillar. "My name is Curly, and I am here to help you. Let's
get to work."
"I don't understand," said Willy. "How can I sail across the lake
without a bird eating me before I reach the other side?"
said Curly, "but first help me get these leaves over to the edge of the
Willy and Curly
pushed and pulled on the first leaf until they had it sitting in the
water at the edge of the lake.
"But, but I'll
be seen. A bird will surely see me, and eat me," Willy sniveled, as he
crawled back under the shade of the tomatoes.
"Willy, Willy my
young friend," began the caterpillar. "You must have a little faith in
my fine work. Come along my boy, we still have another leaf to get to
the water before you can set sail."
The second leaf
was a bit smaller and easier to move over to the shore, but when they
got it there Curly said, "Ok, now we have to put it up on top of the
"How are we
going to do that?” Willy asked.
"You crawl under
the leaf and push up as hard as you can," explained the little
caterpillar, "and I will push it up onto the other leaf."
under the leaf and lifted up as hard as he could, just like Curly had
said to do. Curly crawled to the backside of the leaf and pushed on it.
Slowly this second leaf inched up onto the other leaf making an odd
little boat with two layers.
"I think I see
now," said Willy excitedly. I can crawl in between the two leaves, and
nothing will be able to see me when I sail across the lake."
to understand," Curly said with a smile. "You will be safe from the
birds, and you can still go for a pleasant sail."
"Well Curly, I
must thank you very much." said Willy. "Would you care to come with me
to the other side of the lake?"
'No, no my
friend," said Curly, "I must stay here, and help other little travelers
to get across the lake. You go, but do be very careful.” Willy wiggled
his way between the two leaves, and turned back toward the shore and
Curly. As he stuck his head out from under the top leaf, he could see
the little caterpillar climbing back up the tread of silk to his perch
near the top of the tomato plant. "Thank you very much and good-by."
called Willy, as he pushed himself off with his tail.
smoothly out into the open water. It was a scary feeling to think that
all that lay between him and the deadly birds was one thin leaf. A
small gust of wind caught the little boat, and sent it rocking to the
center of the lake. As the water calmed, Willy peeked out from under
his leaf to see that he was now drifting in circles in the middle of
the small lake. He looked up at the sky, and could see two birds flying
around looking for their dinner. At least Willy thought they must be
looking for their dinner, and he figured that they must be looking just
Willy felt a
shiver go through him as he watched the birds. "I've got to get out of
here, and fast," Willy said to himself, as he turned toward the rear of
the little boat, and found a place where the top leaf over hung the
bottom leaf. This allowed him to stick his long tail into the water
with out being seen, and swish it back and forth like a paddle. It
worked. His moving tail seemed to push him along quite nicely and in no
time at all he had paddled his way to the far side of the lake.
Even though he
had made it to the shore, he still had several inches to go to make it
to the cover of the carrot greens. Willy took another look at the sky.
He could still see a bird circling overhead, and he knew that if he
left the cover of the leaf boat he would certainly become a meal for
this winged creature. He looked once more at the long row of carrots
and decided that he would borrow underground to the safety of them.
down through the shallow water and into the soft mud at the edge of the
lake. He felt safe as he disappeared into the ground, and the cool soft
earth felt comforting to him as he burrowed his way toward the row of
carrots. Willy could feel many small roots and pebbles as he slid
slowly past them in the darkness. He was very tired when he finally
reached the wall of carrots standing under the ground like a tight
picket fence. They were stacked so tightly that he could not squeeze
between them. Willy turned to the right and wiggled his way along next
to this long row of vegetables. There didn't seem to be a break in them
at all, and presently he turned and squirmed his way back through the
same hole to where he had started. Willy just sat there for a few
minutes wondering how he could get to the other side. Finally, he
decided to go in the other direction for a little ways, in hopes he
could find an opening in this tight wall lying just below the surface
of the ground. He had to go only a short ways before he found a small
space between two carrots that would allow him to pass to the other
side of the row. It was a very small opening and Willy had to squeeze
hard to get through.
Once on the
other side, Willy thought that he might look around to see where he
was. He crawled up the edge of one of the carrots to the surface of the
ground. It was like a jungle. The carrot greens were all bent over
touching the ground, making a cool damp place for little Willy to
squirm around. In fact, damp was not the word for it. It was down right
wet, soaking wet, and droplets of water were dripping from every part
of the thick carrot greens.
his way out to the edge of the cover, where he could see a fountain of
water spraying up out of the end of a long black hose. The water went
high in the air, and then came down all around, making the plants and
the ground very wet everywhere it reached. This water sprayed up from
the middle of a vast area covered with very short plants that seemed to
spread out flat along the ground. Willy lay very still in the cool
cover of the carrot greens looking at these strange plants. The leaves
were small and quite a bright green, and there were many long vine-like
stems with little white flowers and brilliant red berries growing from
them. These berries looked very sweet, and Willy thought that he would
like to taste one of them. He started to crawl out from his hiding
place near the carrots, when he thought of little Jimmy Cricket, and
his unhappy end. Willy quickly pulled back under the safety of the
dripping carrot tops, and looked very carefully for robins, both on the
ground and in the air. There were none in the garden, but he could see
one bird flying high above him, and he decided to go underground out
into the patch of berries.
burrowing his way down into the wet soil, and soon he disappeared into
the darkness of the earth. The ground was very soft and easy to squirm
through for Willy as he made his way toward the center of the berry
patch. When he felt that he had gone far enough, Willy headed up to the
surface of the garden.
As he poked his
head out into the open air, he looked carefully around to be sure that
no dangers had come along while he was underground. Hopping around,
only a few inches away, was a big fat robin. Just as Willy saw the
bird, it saw him, and rushed immediately toward him. Willy sucked
himself back down his hole as far as he could with one quick movement.
The robin was
much faster than Willy had expected, and as he slid backwards down his
hole, the light from above went dark, and Willy felt a sharp pain on
the end of his nose. He could feel himself being pulled from the safety
of the soft garden soil. The bird had a firm grip on the tip of Willy's
nose, and was pulling on him as hard as it could. Willy pressed himself
against the sides of his tunnel as tightly as he could and tried to
squirm farther down into the soft ground. Willy felt like he was being
torn in half. He was sure that any moment he might break in two. He
could feel himself losing ground. The robin was much stronger than
Willy was, and it was just a matter of time before Willy broke in half
or the bird would manage to pull him from the soft soil.
held on as tightly as he could, he felt himself slowly slipping up and
out of the cool moist earth. Suddenly the struggle was over as Willy
lost his last semblance of grip with the ground. The robin lurched
backwards and rolled over several times. When the robin quit rolling,
it fluttered wildly and flipped Willy high into the air. The blood
rushed back into Willy's head where the bird had been holding him, and
extreme pain replaced the numbness in his badly mashed nose. The robin
quickly picked Willy up again and flew up and out of the garden. "What
are you going to do with me." shrieked Willy as he was carried higher
and higher away from the garden that he had worked so hard to get to.
The robin didn't
answer Willy, but just flew higher and faster. Everything was blurry
for Willy as he squirmed wildly trying to free himself from the strong
grip the robin had on him. The more Willy struggled, the tighter the
bird held on to him. Willy finally ran out of energy and slumped
lifelessly from the robin's mouth. As Willy lay motionless in the grip
of the bird's beak, he seemed to forget about the danger he was in. He
began to relax a bit and see things around him more clearly. He had
never been so high off the ground before. The view was fantastic. He
could see the entire garden, and even to the far end of the driveway,
where it met with the main road from town. Willy could see the pasture
where he had come from with all the cows and sheep. "This robin is
taking me for quite a ride," thought Willy, as they flew over farmer
Brown's house, and headed for the pasture.
The robin was
holding Willy quite loosely since he had quit struggling, and just as
they came to the edge of the large pasture Willy gave a sudden squirm
and a wild wiggle. He must have surprised the bird, because he seemed
to squirt out of the robin's mouth, and once again, he was falling end
over end though the air. He fell and fell, and fell for a long time,
and then all at once he stopped. Willy had landed.
knocked the wind out of him, and he just lay there gasping for breath
for quite some time. Willy was confused, he was dizzy, he could barely
breathe, and his nose hurt very much. He had no idea where he was. Then
he remembered that just before he began to fall, he had been over the
edge of the pasture. "I must be back in the pasture,” he thought, as he
looked off toward the west and the setting sun. It had been a very full
and exciting day for little Willy. Suddenly a quite pleasant smell
drifted into his sore and swollen nose. It smelled unlike anything he
had ever smelled before. Willy stood up on his tail as high as he could
trying to tell where the odor was coming from. He could see a large
brown object only a few feet away, and he crawled over to it.
Sure enough, the
smell was coming from this large brown thing. It was a big soft rotten
potato, and Willy climbed up onto it eagerly. As he crawled to the far
side of the potato, he came to a soft squishy spot that he nearly slid
down into. Willy stopped and carefully tasted this soft area. It was
delicious. He had never tasted anything so good in all his life. He
stuck his head into the area, and began to eat, and eat, and eat. Willy
wiggled, and squirmed, and ate his way right into the rotten potato.
again," called a familiar voice. "How was you're adventure to the
Willy turned to
find his Uncle Wilber, eating away in the same potato. "Uncle Wilber!"
exclaimed Willy, quite surprised to see him. "What are you doing here?"
"This is where I
come for most of my dinners," Wilber said. "This is the compost pit,
where farmer Brown throws all of the food that he doesn't eat himself.
There is always something very delicious here for a worm.
Willy started to
tell Uncle Wilber about the robins, and the mole, and Jimmy Cricket,
but he could see that Wilber was busy with his dinner and wasn't
listening to him. He thought of what his Uncle had said about this
being where farmer Brown threw his left over food, and decided that
what was good enough for farmer Brown, was good enough for him.
several more bites of the rotten potato and thought of what a lucky
little worm he was to have had such a wonderful and exciting adventure,
and to now be back with his Uncle, eating the best dinner that he could