What sadness could be so great that it could wring tears from a stone?
Erec Stebbins has written a “love storybook for not-quite grown-ups” that delves into love, separation, and change. Yes, even deep love sometimes goes through devastating changes. And this applies not only to stones and caterpillars but to people as well.
The stone in question here was deeply in love with a caterpillar. She returned his love. The stone and the caterpillar lived a harmonious life in a beautiful garden. “. . . the stone loved the times when she (the caterpillar) rested on his back, because he liked to hold her high, and thought sometimes that she was the Queen of all the Garden.” The relationship was frowned on by the other stones and caterpillars; it just did not seem right to them. But it felt right to the caterpillar and the stone.
Then trouble came into their paradise.
The stone had to go to work, filling a hole in the fence which the dog next door was digging bigger so he could come into the garden. When the stone was at work, the caterpillar visited with other caterpillars.
Gradually the caterpillar grew cold toward the stone. When she built a cocoon in a pine tree he asked to come with her. But she refused to allow him to go with her on her mysterious journey. She knew what she was doing was right for her. Even so, the stone was sad and promised to wait for her. But when she returned, she had changed. She was a butterfly and no longer desired the ways of before.
The butterfly flew with the others butterflies and for many years the stone mourned. Despair wrung tears from the stone.
He went to the Old Stone with questions. His old friend had no answers. He said, “On some, a great burden is placed, that they may grow wise, if they bear the weight.”
“For how long? Can I bear the weight, and not crack into lesser stones?”
“Who can tell? Have courage, young Stone, and seek to carry it to the end.”
There is a lot of truth in this “fairy tale for not-quite adults” and even, we must add, adults .
About the author/illustrator:
Erec Stebbins was born in the Midwest, spent his adolescence in the Deep South, and was educated in the Northeast. He received a degree in physics from Oberlin College in 1992, and a Ph. D in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1999. Presently, he lives and works in New York City as a scientist and professor in biomedical research at the Rockefeller University.
The beautiful illustrations in this book give the appearance of out-of-focus watery water colors. They do not follow the story line as in a picture book for young children, but give impressions of the garden that even the other gardens agreed was “the most beautiful of them all.”
THE CATERPILLAR AND THE STONE is Available:
Kindle or paperback: Amazon.com
Twice Pi Press
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New York, NY 10065
Narrated iBook from Apple