South America


By Angela Davis, The Yarnspinner

It's a butterfly day!
Come and soar the butterfly way!
Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up,
Fly, Fly away—
On this beautiful butterfly day!


Miguel lay in his bed asleep. If he had been awake, he would have seen how beautiful the moon shone in the sky. It was so bright, it looked like the sun on brilliant day! But Miguel wasn't awake. He continued to sleep even though the air was filled with magic. The magic of the butterflies kited through the air!

At that moment, fluttering across the moon was a beautiful stream of iridescently colored butterflies all flying towards Miguel's home. They surrounded his home, covering every available space. Everywhere you looked only butterflies were seen. One of the butterflies found Miguel's opened window and alerted the others how to enter Miguel's room. They flew straight to his bed gently lighting on him and began their work.

They covered his bed, and if you didn't know Miguel was there, you would have thought the bed was one giant butterfly! Beautiful colors like the colors of a rainbow glistened and sparkled. Miguel slept on, unaware of his magical visitors who were busy completing their work. Finishing just before dawn, they quietly flew away.

A short while later, Miguel awakened. He wasn’t sure why he awakened, but he felt powerful like he could do anything. He climbed out on the roof as he often did in the morning and looked for his friends the butterflies. He saw Pedro, his neighbor, walking with his llama on his way into Cuzco. Cuzco, is a city in Peru, South America and is known as the navel of the world.

Pedro called out to him, "What! No butterflies this morning Senor?"

Miguel answered, "No they must be busy today!" Disappointed that none of his butterfly friends came to greet him this morning, he climbed back into his room to get ready for school.

He had spent more time than usual outside on the roof this morning and he heard his mother calling: "Miguel, come and get your breakfast. You're going to be late for school!"

Miguel attended a school called Lago Titicaca on the outskirts of Cuzco. He rushed into the kitchen without his shirt to eat his tortillas and huevos.

"Ay! Look at the butterfly!" his mother called. Miguel looked all around him. He didn't see a butterfly. "Where is it?" he asked. "On your back! Why have you painted a butterfly on your back?" Miguel tried to look at his back, but he couldn't see it no matter how hard he tried. "Mama, I didn't do that. I can't even see it!"

His brothers and sisters gathered excitedly around clapping their hands. "Maybe you can fly with those butterfly wings," shrieked Maria, the oldest. Juan, his two year baby brother, pointed at the wings "Bo-nit-ta (pretty)," he mouthed and began flapping his arms and pretending to fly. Theo climbed on a chair and flapping his arms flew down to the ground, while Ruben studied the drawing on Miguel's back! "We're going to be late for school," yelled Marisa!

"Alright, everyone get ready to go," Mama said. Miguel put on his shirt and he and his bothers and sisters walked to school. Miguel couldn't wait to get to school, there was a big mirror at school and he would be able to see the butterfly wings for himself and he wanted to tell his friend Carlos about the butterfly wings. He wondered how they had gotten there. Perhaps his sisters and brothers had painted it on. But no, they were just as surprised as me when Mama pointed it out, besides I would have seen the paint. They would have left a mess to clean up and besides, how could they have painted it in the dark, he wondered.

It was recess time when he finally got a chance to tell Carlos about the butterfly wings. Carlos and Miguel decided to meet after school at Carlos house. His parents would still be at work in the marketplace selling beautiful hand woven jackets. His mother followed the same weaving tradition handed down from generation to generation. She had learned from her grandmother and since Carlos had no sisters, she was teaching Miguel’s sister Marisa to weave the family's pattern so it would not be lost. In fact, Marisa had made a doll and put the pattern on her doll’s dress.

Miguel and Carlos walked home after school. Just about everyone in Miguel and Carlos' village walked where they had to go. Arriving home, Carlos examined Miguel's back. "Hey, Miguel, this is superb! Only a very fine artist with lots of paints could have drawn these wings. Do you think you will be able to fly with these wings?"

"Let's go on the roof and find out!" They hurried to the rooftop. They saw the great mountains off in the distance surrounding their city. Carlos said, "Want me to push you off?"

“No, that’s alright," Miguel said. Miguel imagined what would happen if he couldn't fly. He might fall and hurt himself.

Carlos continued to think of ways to make Miguel fly, and each time Miguel would decide it was not a good idea. He didn't want to jump off the roof. Who ever heard of a flying boy? A short while later he made his way home. Miguel wondered why he had butterfly wings and who had put them there.

That night, while Miguel lay sleeping, the moonbeams seemed to shine through his window into his room lighting his room with a brilliance that looked like sunshine. But once again, Miguel was asleep and did not see the butterflies as they magically flew into his room and surrounded him. Minutes later, as if following a larger pattern the butterflies began to lift Miguel gently into the air!

Miguel did not awaken until the butterflies had flown him over the city and into the valley near a stream. The butterflies surrounded him covering him from head to foot and quickly flew away. Miguel stood up and looked around! It looked like he was wrapped in a big paper bag with no opening. He was inside a cocoon! He started flailing his arms beating at the cocoon. "Help get me out of here," he called!

He felt something strange, like he had no feet. When he looked down he couldn't see, it all felt like liquid. His entire body seemed to be turning to honey! He wanted to get out more than ever, so he started hitting at the cocoon that surrounded him, only now he had no hands! He had wings! He felt squished. He had to get out.

With all his might he pushed and feeling a slight movement, he pushed again. Part of the cocoon had given away. He continued using his wings moving around until piece by piece the cocoon fell away. Miguel was so very tired. He rested. He must have fallen asleep for when he awakened the sun was shining though. He opened his wings to catch the sunlight!

Miguel was a butterfly! He felt he could do anything! He rose into the air and soared towards his home! Wait until everyone sees me he thought! They won’t believe their eyes. When he arrived at home, his mother was busy hanging clothes in the yard. He flew over to where she was and began fluttering in front of her face as if he was saying, "Look at me, look at me, it's me, Miguel!" But his mother, was not paying attention to the butterfly. She wondered what had happened to Miguel.

She hoped he was all right. He had never left home before without telling her. She had even looked on the roof. Miguel tried to get her attention once more. He landed on her hand and stayed there. When his mother noticed the butterfly she gasped! This butterfly had the same design on its wing as Miguel had on his back.

"Do you know where Miguel is?" She cried! The butterfly became so excited he flew around and around her head. And suddenly, his mother understood. The butterfly was Miguel!. She said, "Oh Miguel, My Miguel! Miguel go and bring your love and joy to everyone and visit me again." In the next moment Miguel flew away. So began the adventures of Miguel the magical butterfly!

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Storyteller: Spinning Tales of Light, Joy, and Love