The Why Worm

In the early days of the world, when only light and shadow defined shape, one little worm dared to ask “why.” At first, no one understood his question.

“What do you mean by that, exactly?” asked Beetle.

“Why is this all there is?” Worm repeated.

Beetle tutted disapprovingly. “Because that’s the way it is,” he called as he scuttled away.

“But, why must it be this way?” Worm asked.

“Because I’m hungry,” answered Bird, trying to pluck Worm from his tunnel in the shadowy soil.

“That’s not what I mean,” Worm said, wriggling free. “What do you see up there in the sky, bird?”

“Hop in my beak and I’ll show you,” Bird offered.

Worm knew better than to agree to that.

“Describe it,” he said.

“There is light and light and more light,” said Bird. “As far as you can see. None of the shadows of your little dirt life. I’d be happy to let you see for yourself…”

“No thank you,” Word said. “Is there anything other than light up there?”

“Why should there be anything more than that?” asked Bird. “If you’re not going to come out I’m leaving.” And Bird flew away.

“It just feels like this world holds more magic and wonder in it than we see,” said Worm, to no one in particular.

“If you feel that way, why don’t you do something about it?” asked Centipede.

Worm thought about that.

“Why, indeed,” he said at last. “How do you get around so fast, centipede?”

“I have lots of legs,” Centipede answered.

Worm concentrated hard, and suddenly many legs propelled him forward. With those legs he climbed up and up, until he could barely take the brightness of the light world above.

“It would be nice to have a little rest after so much work,” he said to himself, and he began weaving a blanket like he’d seen a spider do for her children. “Now I can have a nap and dream up other ways to do something about it,” he decided.

Worm curled up in his sleeping bag and he dreamed. He dreamed and dreamed, and the more he dreamed, the more became possible. When he woke, it seemed that he’d slept for quite a while. He felt different. He felt like more. Slowly he stretched, and discovered something new attached to his back. Limbs that wanted to fly. Ideas that begged to spring free.

He cut a hole in his sleeping bag and, starting with a small stream at first, and then a gush arcing across the sky, color spilled out into the world. The heavens flooded with blue. The plants below soaked up green. And Worm, unfurling thin patterned wings, shimmered every color he’d dreamed.