7.2.15 | The Wood Louse

Pottering around making supper this evening, I perceived a small smudge moving across the carpet and smiled. A wood louse. The first i'd seen in months. I bent and gently picked it up and for a few seconds we examined each other cautiously. I've never picked up one of these creatures before Stella. Often i'd see one and just flatten it, a little fearfully. I am not overly fond of things with more than four legs at the best of times. I didn't even know they were crustaceans and lived in family groups before she showed me, with a look of delight and love on her face, one day, and a wood louse running over her fingers.

"Hello" I said. "I'm Paul. Pleased to meet you".

"Hello. I'm Onis" It replied, waving it's little tentacles timorously. (Yet I like to think, with a hope of friendship, also)

"What are you doing inside? Don't you need a nice damp place to go to?"

"I got lost, looking for food for my village". It sounded so forlorn! "I've been wandering around your caves for hours! Can you help me get home, please?"

"But of course. Come with me". And I carried my new friend outside and found the dampest bit of ground I could, and placed the little creature carefully down in the centre.

"Thank you very much!" It said, quivering happily. "I thought you were going to squish or eat me! Everyone says it's a dangerous lot of caves to enter. No-one from my village has ever come out of there alive before".

"Well, I can't promise your safe passage every time, but I will keep a look out for you and your people if they ever get into trouble in my caves again."

"Thank you!" it uttered and made to set off back to it's little crustacean village, presumably somewhere in the nearby rotting pile of logs, the paused and looked back.

"So you don't hate my people any more?"


"But why is that?"

"Because someone showed me a different way of seeing the world".

"Oh! They must be a very great leader in your giant caves. Give them the gratitude of crustacean everywhere, If you be so kind".

"I will. If I ever see them again. And they are great. Probably a Tzaddikim, even. Godspeed you home, little Onis".

And with that, I came in out of the cold and sat in the warmth, watching the fire and eating a biscuit or 3 for a while.


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