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Short Stories for Children: From velvet worm to a hedge hogFrom velvet worm to a hedge hog
 
There was a small velvet worm... soft, pretty, attractive. Passersby would stop by, admire its beauty and go. Some children tried to keep it in their hands and feel the softness and put it back.
This scared the velvet worm. It felt very insecure about being soft and attractive. In order to protect itself, it put a layer of hard material over itself. It felt comfortable and secure under the shield of this cover.
The wind was passing by and it saw something different. It stopped by. This was not her friend—the velvet worm. It tried to talk to the velvet worm but it didn´t respond. The wind went by, meandering to farther pastures.
The wind shared this with the honey bee. The honey bee came and tried to draw the velvet worm out of the shield. Both the wind and the honey bee wanted to befriend the real velvet worm, not something covered under.
The velvet worm was upset at being drawn out of his shield and screamed at them. But the honey bee and wind refused to give up. They loved the velvet worm. They kept trying to engage with velvet worm. As a response, the velvet worm put another shield around itself.
This kept happening every time the waves, the clouds, the flowers, the rainbow and everything beautiful in nature tried to touch him.
Many passed by him, not having the inclination to go beyond the shield. But the wind and the honey bee continued.
As a final response, when the velvet worm got tired of carrying layers and layers of shields, it grew spikes on itself. From a very beautiful, soft, attractive creature, it became a thorny, scary, hedgehog.
Every time someone tried to touch it, it attacked with its spikes. Soon, it forgot that it was a beautiful, soft velvet worm. It started believing that it was a hedgehog and acted like one.
 
One day, when the velvet worm went for a walk, the children on the hillside saw it and started screaming with fear and pelting stones at him. Velvet worm didn´t understand this. He loved children and they had always been friendly to him. Soon this became normal. Whenever velvet worm tried to engage with anyone, they got scared and ran away from him. This puzzled the velvet worm who went more and more inside his shield.
 
One day, the wind and the honey bee sat by him. Velvet worm was tired of being alone and didn´t mind company. The wind asked him:
"Why do you have so many protective layers?"
Velvet worm said "That evening when the kids kept me in their palm, one leg of mine got hurt. It still hurts. I don´t want more hurt. That´s why I keep myself shielded."
"But has the shield helped you in curing the pain?" the honey bee asked.
"No, the pain hasn´t gone," the velvet worm said.
"And are you comfortable under your shield?" asked the wind.
"No. The shield is very cumbersome. The spikes hurt me. And in fact I get attacked more often now. Earlier people would play with me but now they hate me and hit me," said the velvet worm.
The honey bee discussed this with the flower and the dew drop. The flower said:
"I can cure his hurt leg but for that I need to reach beneath his shields."
And the dew drop offered to provide a protective layer for some time.
The wind and the honey bee set on to the task of removing the shields. Each layer was painful. With each layer the velvet worm was reminded of why he had put on that layer. He started feeling that it wasn´t needed at all. He just wanted to avoid the kind of pain he suffered when his leg got hurt. He was only reacting to a fear of getting hurt. Many a times during the process, he wanted to run away. Many a times the chisel used by wind actually hurt him but the flower immediately came to his rescue. Finally, the flower cured his leg. Soon, he was unshielded.
A beautiful, soft, attractive velvet worm perched on the flower, the dew drop providing a protective covering.
Soon the sun shine met the dew drop and made a rainbow.
Nupur

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