One day near the big field, three little grasshoppers were left to attend to themselves for a while.
The green grasshopper, who was the oldest, said the others, “What shall we do with ourselves for the afternoon?”
The blue grasshopper shrugged, and his antennae twitched slightly.
The green grasshopper smiled understandingly.
They sat there for a while, just feeling the cool spring breeze across their wings when the orange grasshopper grinned in a dark little way.
“I’ve got an idea” he said.
The others looked at him and fixed their legs, waiting to hear what he’d come up with.
“Why don’t we explore the fields?”
The green grasshopper crossed his eyes, and the blue grasshopper gasped with surprise.
“Oh no!” they cried. “Mother grasshopper has forbidden us from exploring the fields. She says that if we ever cross over the sandy paths, that we will never come home again.”
The orange grasshopper smiled slightly, his dark eyes darting about quickly.
“I know.” he said calmly. “But what does she know? ”
At this remark the green grasshopper announced “No one is allowed to travel beyond the sandy paths, and we will not discuss this any further.”
The blue grasshopper just twitched a little, and seemed as if he might leap away at any moment.
But the orange grasshopper began to laugh. “You’re afraid, aren’t you?”
“Yes!” blurted out the blue grasshopper.
And the orange grasshopper laughed again and made a little squeaking sound with his wings.
“It’s not about being afraid or not.” began the green grasshopper “It is about respecting the rules, and listening to our elders and…”
“Yeah, yeah…” interrupted the orange grasshopper “You can stay here and be good little bugs if you want to, but I’m going.”
The three grasshoppers sat together a moment more just looking at each other. The blue grasshopper was afraid. The green grasshopper was vexed. And the orange grasshopper was defiant.
“Suit yourself” said the green grasshopper.
So the orange grasshopper jumped into the air and began his journey across the sandy paths to the field beyond.
The trip across the field of wildflowers and shrubs was longer than he had expected, and when he came at last to the sandy paths it was hot, and he was tired tired. So he paused there at the edge of the grass, observing the sand as it sparkled in the afternoon sun.
“Suit yourself” he said mockingly. And then began to laugh.
He washed his face, and resettled his wings. and then calmly stepped out onto the sandy paths.
The sand was hot, and he leapt higher in the air, to get over to the other side quickly. When he landed on the short blue grass beyond, it was cool, and comforting on his little feet.
He hopped along for a little while, until he noticed that the grass was brown and dead in some spots. There was nothing to eat here, and no friendly bugs to play with.
Then he saw a dark shadow begin to move across the dry grass.
His eyes darted around as he nervously tried to determine where the shadow was coming from. In the distance, he could hear the ocean.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful” He thought to himself “If i could make it through this grass to the sea? I’ve never actually seen the ocean, and i would like nothing more than to spend the rest of my days in the dunes above the breaking waves.”
Calmly, he took a few more leaps toward the center of the field.
Then the shadow returned. It seemed like a cloud, moving slowly overhead, But when he looked up to the sky, all he could see was blue. It passed him once, and then appeared to turn around and slowly approach him from the south.
The orange grasshopper stood completely still. He felt the sun beating down on his back, and listened to the ocean in the distance.
Slowly the shadow moved upon him. It grew darker. He felt cool in the shade of the shadow and it was not unpleasant.
Energized, he prepared his legs to jump, but paused, and considered turning around and heading home. After all, he was going to be in trouble, but he was always getting into trouble.
“Suit yourself” he mocked again, and began to leap into the air.
But he did not.
In fact, the grass where he had been was now empty, and he found himself wondering about that as he watched the little patch of grass get further and further away.
The orange grasshopper was soaring high into the sky, quite against his wishes.
He tried moving his legs, but they would not move.
He tried to adjust his wings, and perhaps gain their assistance, but they would not move either.
He felt a cold scaly pressure all around his body and all he could do was twitch his antennae nervously, and wiggle his toes. But apart from this, he was trapped in the claws of what seemed to be quite a large bird.
For a moment he felt peaceful as he watched the field of wildflowers and shrubs disappear into the distance. He watched the tops of the trees as he softly closed his eyes, and gave in to the pressure surrounding his delicate body.
In the last moments of his very short life, the orange grasshopper imagined that perhaps his older brother, whom he did not like, and rarely listened to might have actually been right.
that perhaps it was not a wise idea to travel beyond the sandy paths, into the dry fields, and out past the safety of their home.
He vowed, as the wind rushed through his antennae, never to leave there again, and to abandon his foolish ideas of a life by the sea.