The Naughty Little Bug

Once upon a time there was a country where as soon as the sun came up, all the children would go out to the streets and to the parks. They would swing, ride their bikes and play with their friends joyfully. It didn’t matter if it was sunny or rainy, they still all played.

But one day, from a very faraway place, nobody knows how, or why, a naughty little bug appeared, wearing a crown and a cape to make himself invisible. This little bug enjoyed travelling so much, that he was soon here and there in quite a rush.

The naughty little bug, who appeared wearing a crown and cape to make himself invisible, enjoyed himself getting into mischief. He liked especially disturbing grandmas and grandpas, and overall, those who were ill and very sick.

When there were many people around, the naughty little bug jumped on one another, as if they were a bridge, and thus, he reached more and more people being a real nuisance.

He loved to get in between the children, he hung around groups of young people, friends, families who ate dinner in their patios, women who went out for walks, even athletes, merchants and tourists.

So soon, the authorities said, “we have to cut off the fun of this pesky little bug! So, attention, from now on, everybody must stay home and wash your hands with water and soap as this is the only solution!”

John, like the other children who lived in his neighborhood in town, had protested out loud. Very concerned he said, “How can I not get out? What shall I do now? This is boring!” But then he saw that protesting didn’t change anything at all. Therefore, he began to see what could be done in his small home. Nevertheless, at home he had places to discover on his own.

He certainly couldn’t see his friends anymore, nor even go out to the park or learn in school, but he could spend more time with his mom and dad who were also staying at home and out in the yard. Of course, they had a lot of things to do, but the days were so long that now there was time for everything and more.

As days went by, his dad spent more time at night by his side, telling him stories from when he was a little boy. His mom, who did the same, spent her time teaching him new Spanish rhymes and songs for him to learn. Now, he could help his parents prepare healthy foods and many other new things that he didn’t know could be done around his home. He learned to make his favorite dishes, for example, homemade lasagna and fresh fish in olive oil, colorful salads which tasted so good, as he prepared them with his mom. He especially liked peeling and grating carrots. Ah! And for breakfast, they finally let him cut the homemade bread loaf with the big knife, all by himself. He didn’t understand why he hadn’t been allowed to do it before. He also helped clear the table and how fun it was to wash dishes and make a lot of foam. He also learned how to hang clothes and pick them up, fold them and put them away.

Consequently, the days became much more bearable for him. By now, he had discovered many fun places to play around his house. He was aware of them now.

Playing with sheets and surrounded by tables and chairs, a great palace with a tower he had built. He put on his felt crown and a stick as a sword he used.

Every day he went up to the top of his tower saying out loud:

 

My tower is resistant, resilient and strong,  

No wind and no storm will get it destroyed.

My tower is resistant, resilient and strong,  

With lightning or thunder I know it will hold on.

My tower is resistant, resilient and strong,  

Sheltered and protected my tower will go on.

 

And there he spent a long time playing, making up stories of knights, explorers, pirates, exotic animals and everything that came to his mind.

The stories didn’t just take place in his resistant tower. He had turned the hallway into an enchanted forest that was difficult to access as it was surrounded by ropes and cushions that became the only things that could be walked on. Under his bed, there were secret tunnels and passageways for him to play in.

There he could entertain himself for hours. Or rather, accompanied by all his imaginary friends, while his parents worked in a quiet corner of the house. By all means, he had to do his school homework as he used to do it before so he could play later.

Days went by helping with the household chores, doing his work, playing for a good time in his castle, listening to stories, singing and drawing.

Meanwhile, the naughty little bug that once appeared, wearing a crown and a cape to make himself invisible, began to get very bored. How boring the street was without children playing in the parks, without young people on their doorsteps, without the chattering grandmas and grandpas, without families walking around! Only just a few moms, dads and aunts, going to shop or going to work.

«Ugh», this can’t be real, said one day the naughty little bug wearing a crown and a cape to make himself invisible. This is no longer a fun place to live. I can’t jump among people anymore! So bored and tired, he decided to leave.

 

Ending 1

And little by little everyone, children and adults, from here and there, were able to go outside. John very happily grabbed his bike and he went out to the streets with his parents. What a great surprise! His parents met the neighbors, who didn’t say hello before or even knew that they lived there. Now they greeted each other warmly, smiled and talked to one another.

That same afternoon they finally went to grandma’s house. This time they were all together, even cousins ​​that he didn’t see long ago.

John didn’t understand very well what had happened, but the fact is that something had changed for good.

That night John went to his bed, tired from the hustle and bustle of the day. He took a deep breath and thought that everything had gone well. Peacefully he fell asleep.

 

Ending 2 (Reflection for adults)

Then, slowly, John, and the other children from the neighborhood, and also those from the other towns, returned to the streets. They went back to school, yes, they were missing their teachers and classmates very much.

More than ever before the parks got crowded, or rather, the parks went back to being exactly as John’s mom remembers when she was a little girl. Lately, John felt like not going to the park, he got lazy and preferred staying home to watch TV. Other times, he had so much school work that he didn’t have time to go out. At other times, he wanted and could go out and play, but his friends were not allowed to.

But now, everything was different, his teacher gave him as homework to go out to the park and play with his friends, to swing, to skate and ride his bike. She also gave him for homework to see how the trees and plants in the park had changed during his time at home. These were really fun tasks to do. Ah! During his time at home, John had also learned to jump the rope and juggle. As a matter of fact, he always carried small sandbags in his backpack to entertain himself.

Sometimes, John prefers to go out to the park and play with his friends rather than staying home to play videogames. He prefers to juggle, to make braids and knots rather than playing games on his mom’s cell phone. He prefers to run, to jump and to ride his bike rather than watching TV.

Since then, John’s neighborhood looks alive. People gather together and talk more with each other. More neighbors go out to run and walk.

John still doesn’t know what had really happened, but things have changed for the better. Now everyone talks about the old times, when from far away, the naughty little bug appeared wearing a crown and a cape to make himself invisible. He, who appeared one day has just as mysteriously disappeared.

 

© Tamara Chubarovsky 2020 (original en español con sugerencias de adaptaciones)

Traducción: Karina Cardin