For little Bentley, nothing felt better than to spread his new wings and soar among the tall trees of the forest. He had only been free of his chrysalis for a few days and flying was all he cared to do.

But one day, as he was looping around an old, crooked branch, he failed to notice a spider's web and slammed right into the thick silk.

"Somebody help!" Bentley cried out as he struggled to break free. He wiggled and squirmed as hard as he could, but the web was just too thick and too sticky. Fear quickly set in. Bentley knew that a spider must be nearby and understood that this could be the end.

Luckily, an older, stronger butterfly heard his calls for help and pulled Bentley loose.

"You really must be careful where you fly, young one" the older butterfly scolded.

Bentley bowed his head in shame. "There will be nothing to worry about from this point on," he pledged. "I will never risk flying again."

Many months passed, and all the while Bentley kept to his promise, only traveling through the forest by foot. Never once did he give a second thought to opening his wings. Life was slow and boring this way, and Bentley missed out on many things.

The seasons changed, and new butterflies began taking flight for the first time. Bentley watched the young ones soar across the sky. He noticed how freely they fluttered their wings and thought back to his own first flight. The memory brought a tear to his eye. He needed to get away, so Bentley took off on another one of his long walks.

Just a few dozen strides down his favorite trail, Bentley heard a sudden cry for help. He knew at once that it was one of the young butterflies, and her little voice was trembling with terror. Bentley raced ahead, arriving at the base of a large tree in only a few seconds. Looking up, he saw the young butterfly, twisting and squirming, trying with all her strength to break free of a spider's web.

At first, Bentley thought to climb, but immediately realized that his little legs would probably not get him to the frightened young butterfly in time.

"Please hurry," she cried out to Bentley. "The spider will be back at any moment!"

There was no time to think. Bentley closed his eyes, took in a deep breath, and did the only thing that made sense. Pushing off the ground with all his might, Bentley unfurled his beautiful wings. He began thrusting them down hard against the air.

How good it felt! How wonderful to be off the ground again. Whether it was due to his own fear or newfound excitement, Bentley did not know, but something deep inside allowed him to free the young butterfly in no time at all.

He helped her to the ground where she looked up at him and cried, "That was truly awful!" Then, bowing her head in shame, she pledged, "I will never, ever fly again."

Bentley chuckled, hearing his own foolishness in her voice. He laid a wing upon the back of the other butterfly and said through a smile, "Yes, young one, you will."

He then bent low, looked her straight in the eyes and said, "For there is nothing in life that will hold you back more than giving in to your own fears."

Lexile: 800-900
Words: 576
Genre: Fable
Read time: 3:54
Printable version
Story questions
Written by: Brian King
Read by: Christina Hernandez
Illustrated by: Daniel Aires