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A DILL PICKLE Powered By Docstoc
Title explanation
The man recounts how when he was in Russia, a coachman went up to the people on his carriage
having lunch outside, and offered them a dill pickle each, thus demonstrating how class-free the
society is.
Plot summary

       After a six-year hiatus, a man and a woman who used to be lovers or close friends meet
        in a café.

       They reminisce about days gone by - the day they spent at the Kew Gardens together;

       He tells her about Russia and how class-free the society is; about how he liked to talk to

        Despite being poor and she being better-off (as when she would eat caviare), they both
        of them regret not being friends anymore.

       She then leaves abruptly and he asks the waiter not to charge him for the cream she did
        not eat.

Characters in a Dill Pickle

       Vera, a woman.

       a man, who remains unnamed.

Major themes

       lost love

       class consciousness

References to other works

       The lover mentions The Volga Boatmen's Song.

Literary significance
The text is written in the modernist mode, without a set structure, and with many shifts in the

    ^ Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories, Oxford World's Classics, explanatory notes
A Dill Pickle
And then, after six years, she saw him again. He was seated at one of those little bamboo tables
decorated with a Japanese vase of paper daffodils. There was a tall plate of fruit in front of him,
and very carefully, in a way she recognized immediately as his "special" way, he was peeling an
He must have felt that shock of recognition in her for he looked up and met her eyes. Incredible!
He didn't know her! She smiled; he frowned. She came towards him. He closed his eyes an
instant, but opening them his face lit up as though he had struck a match in a dark room. He laid
down the orange and pushed back his chair, and she took her little warm hand out of her muff
and gave it to him.
"Vera!" he exclaimed. "How strange. Really, for a moment I didn't know you. Won't you sit
down? You've had lunch? Won't you have some coffee?"
She hesitated, but of course she meant to.
"Yes, I'd like some coffee." And she sat down opposite him.
"You've changed. You've changed very much," he said, staring at her with that eager, lighted
look. "You look so well. I've never seen you look so well before."
"Really?" She raised her veil and unbuttoned her high fur collar. "I don't feel very well. I can't
bear this weather, you know."
"Ah, no. You hate the cold...."
"Loathe it." She shuddered. "And the worst of it is that the older one grows..."
He interrupted her. "Excuse me," and tapped on the table for the waitress. "Please bring some
coffee and cream." To her: "You are sure you won't eat anything? Some fruit, perhaps. The fruit
here is very good."
"No, thanks. Nothing."
"Then that's settled." And smiling just a hint too broadly he took up the orange again. "You were
saying—the older one grows—"
"The colder," she laughed. But she was thinking how well she remembered that trick of his—the
trick of interrupting her—and of how it used to exasperate her six years ago. She used to feel
then as though he, quite suddenly, in the middle of what she was saying, put his hand over her
lips, turned from her, attended to something different, and then took his hand away, and with just
the same slightly too broad smile, gave her his attention again.... Now we are ready. That is
"The colder!" He echoed her words, laughing too. "Ah, ah. You still say the same things. And
there is another thing about you that is not changed at all—your beautiful voice—your beautiful
way of speaking." Now he was very grave; he leaned towards her, and she smelled the warm,
stinging scent of the orange peel. "You have only to say one word and I would know your voice
among all other voices. I don't know what it is—I've often wondered—that makes your voice
such a—haunting memory.... Do you remember that first afternoon we spent together at Kew
Gardens? You were so surprised because I did not know the names of any flowers. I am still just
as ignorant for all your telling me. But whenever it is very fine and warm, and I see some bright
colors—it's awfully strange—I hear your voice saying: 'Geranium, marigold, and verbena.' And I
feel those three words are all I recall of some forgotten, heavenly language.... You remember that
"Oh, yes, very well." She drew a long, soft breath, as though the paper daffodils between them
were almost too sweet to bear. Yet, what had remained in her mind of that particular afternoon
was an absurd scene over the tea table. A great many people taking tea in a Chinese pagoda, and
he behaving like a maniac about the wasps—waving them away, flapping at them with his straw
hat, serious and infuriated out of all proportion to the occasion. How delighted the sniggering tea
drinkers had been. And how she had suffered.
But now, as he spoke, that memory faded. His was the truer. Yes, it had been a wonderful
afternoon, full of geranium and marigold and verbena, and—warm sunshine. Her thoughts
lingered over the last two words as though she sang them.
In the warmth, as it were, another memory unfolded. She saw herself sitting on a lawn. He lay
beside her, and suddenly, after a long silence, he rolled over and put his head in her lap.
"I wish," he said, in a low, troubled voice, "I wish that I had taken poison and were about to
die—here now!"
At that moment a little girl in a white dress, holding a long, dripping water lily, dodged from
behind a bush, stared at them, and dodged back again. But he did not see. She leaned over him.
"Ah, why do you say that? I could not say that."
But he gave a kind of soft moan, and taking her hand he held it to his cheek.
"Because I know I am going to love you too much—far too much. And I shall suffer so terribly,
Vera, because you never, never will love me."
He was certainly far better looking now than he had been then. He had lost all that dreamy
vagueness and indecision. Now he had the air of a man who has found his place in life, and fills
it with a confidence and an assurance which was, to say the least, impressive. He must have
made money, too. His clothes were admirable, and at that moment he pulled a Russian cigarette
case out of his pocket.
"Won't you smoke?"
"Yes, I will." She hovered over them. "They look very good."
"I think they are. I get them made for me by a little man in St. James's Street. I don't smoke very
much. I'm not like you—but when I do, they must be delicious, very fresh cigarettes. Smoking
isn't a habit with me; it's a luxury—like perfume. Are you still so fond of perfumes? Ah, when I
was in Russia..."
She broke in: "You've really been to Russia?"
"Oh, yes. I was there for over a year. Have you forgotten how we used to talk of going there?"
"No, I've not forgotten."
He gave a strange half laugh and leaned back in his chair. "Isn't it curious. I have really carried
out all those journeys that we planned. Yes, I have been to all those places that we talked of, and
stayed in them long enough to—as you used to say, 'air oneself' in them. In fact, I have spent the
last three years of my life traveling all the time. Spain, Corsica, Siberia, Russia, Egypt. The only
country left is China, and I mean to go there, too, when the war is over."
As he spoke, so lightly, tapping the end of his cigarette against the ash-tray, she felt the strange
beast that had slumbered so long within her bosom stir, stretch itself, yawn, prick up its ears, and
suddenly bound to its feet, and fix its longing, hungry stare upon those far away places. But all
she said was, smiling gently: "How I envy you."
He accepted that. "It has been," he said, "very wonderful—especially Russia. Russia was all that
we had imagined, and far, far more. I even spent some days on a riverboat on the Volga. Do you
remember that boatman's song that you used to play?"
"Yes." It began to play in her mind as she spoke.
"Do you ever play it now?"
"No, I've no piano."
He was amazed at that. "But what has become of your beautiful piano?"
She made a little grimace. "Sold. Ages ago."
"But you were so fond of music," he wondered.
"I've no time for it now," said she.
He let it go at that. "That river life," he went on, "is something quite special. After a day or two
you cannot realize that you have ever known another. And it is not necessary to know the
language—the life of the boat creates a bond between you and the people that's more than
sufficient. You eat with them, pass the day with them, and in the evening there is that endless
She shivered, hearing the boatman's song break out again loud and tragic, and seeing the boat
floating on the darkening river with melancholy trees on either side.... "Yes, I should like that,"
said she, stroking her muff.
"You'd like almost everything about Russian life," he said warmly. "It's so informal, so
impulsive, so free without question. And then the peasants are so splendid. They are such human
beings—yes, that is it. Even the man who drives your carriage has—has some real part in what is
happening. I remember the evening a party of us, two friends of mine and the wife of one of
them, went for a picnic by the Black Sea. We took supper and champagne and ate and drank on
the grass. And while we were eating the coachman came up. 'Have a dill pickle,' he said. He
wanted to share with us. That seemed to me so right, so—you know what I mean?"
And she seemed at that moment to be sitting on the grass beside the mysteriously Black Sea,
black as velvet, and rippling against the banks in silent, velvet waves. She saw the carriage
drawn up to one side of the road, and the little group on the grass, their faces and hands white in
the moonlight. She saw the pale dress of the woman outspread and her folded parasol, lying on
the grass like a huge pearl crochet hook. Apart from them, with his supper in a cloth on his
knees, sat the coachman. "Have a dill pickle," said he, and although she was not certain what a
dill pickle was, she saw the greenish glass jar with a red chili like a parrot's beak glimmering
through. She sucked in her cheeks; the dill pickle was terribly sour....
"Yes, I know perfectly what you mean," she said.
In the pause that followed they looked at each other. In the past when they had looked at each
other like that they had felt such a boundless understanding between them that their souls had, as
it were, put their arms round each other and dropped into the same sea, content to be drowned,
like mournful lovers. But now, the surprising thing was that it was he who held back. He who
"What a marvelous listener you are. When you look at me with those wild eyes I feel that I could
tell you things that I would never breathe to another human being."
Was there just a hint of mockery in his voice or was it her fancy? She could not be sure.
"Before I met you," he said, "I had never spoken of myself to anybody. How well I remember
one night, the night that I brought you the little Christmas tree, telling you all about my
childhood. And of how I was so miserable that I ran away and lived under a cart in our yard for
two days without being discovered. And you listened, and your eyes shone, and I felt that you
had even made the little Christmas tree listen too, as in a fairy story."
But of that evening she had remembered a little pot of caviar. It had cost seven and sixpence. He
could not get over it. Think of it—a tiny jar like that costing seven and sixpence. While she ate it
he watched her, delighted and shocked.
"No, really, that is eating money. You could not get seven shillings into a little pot that size.
Only think of the profit they must make...." And he had begun some immensely complicated
calculations.... But now goodbye to the caviar. The Christmas tree was on the table, and the little
boy lay under the cart with his head pillowed on the yard dog.
"The dog was called Bosun," she cried delightedly.
But he did not follow. "Which dog? Had you a dog? I don't remember a dog at all."
"No, no. I meant the yard dog when you were a little boy." He laughed and snapped the cigarette
case to.
"Was he? Do you know I had forgotten that. It seems such ages ago. I cannot believe that it is
only six years. After I had recognized you today—I had to take such a leap—I had to take a leap
over my whole life to get back to that time. I was such a kid then." He drummed on the table.
"I've often thought how I must have bored you. And now I understand so perfectly why you
wrote to me as you did—although at the time that letter nearly finished my life. I found it again
the other day, and I couldn't help laughing as I read it. It was so clever—such a true picture of
me." He glanced up. "You're not going?"
She had buttoned her collar again and drawn down her veil.
"Yes, I am afraid I must," she said, and managed a smile. Now she knew that he had been
"Ah, no, please," he pleaded. "Don't go just for a moment," and he caught up one of her gloves
from the table and clutched at it as if that would hold her. "I see so few people to talk to
nowadays, that I have turned into a sort of barbarian," he said. "Have I said something to hurt
"Not a bit," she lied. But as she watched him draw her glove through his fingers, gently, gently,
her anger really did die down, and besides, at the moment he looked more like himself of six
years ago....
"What I really wanted then," he said softly, "was to be a sort of carpet—to make myself into a
sort of carpet for you to walk on so that you need not be hurt by the sharp stones and mud that
you hated so. It was nothing more positive than that—nothing more selfish. Only I did desire,
eventually, to turn into a magic carpet and carry you away to all those lands you longed to see."
As he spoke she lifted her head as though she drank something; the strange beast in her bosom
began to purr...
"I felt that you were more lonely than anybody else in the world," he went on, "and yet, perhaps,
that you were the only person in the world who was really, truly alive. Born out of your time," he
murmured, stroking the glove, "fated."
Ah, God! What had she done! How had she dared to throw away her happiness like this. This
was the only man who had ever understood her. Was it too late? Could it be too late? She was
that glove that he held in his fingers....
"And then the fact that you had no friends and never had made friends with people. How I
understood that, for neither had I. Is it just the same now?"
"Yes," she breathed. "Just the same. I am as alone as ever."
"So am I," he laughed gently, "just the same." Suddenly with a quick gesture he handed her back
the glove and scraped his chair on the floor. "But what seemed to me so mysterious then is
perfectly plain to me now. And to you, too, of course.... It simply was that we were such egoists,
so self-engrossed, so wrapped up in ourselves that we hadn't a corner in our hearts for anybody
else. Do you know," he cried, naïve and hearty, and dreadfully like another side of that old self
again, "I began studying a Mind System when I was in Russia, and I found that we were not
peculiar at all. It's quite a well-known form of..."
She had gone. He sat there, thunder-struck, astounded beyond words.... And then he asked the
waitress for his bill.
"But the cream has not been touched," he said. "Please do not charge me for it."

Name:                   Katherine Mansfield
Variant Name:           Kathleen Mansfield Beaucham
Birth Date:             October 14, 1888
Death Date:             January 9, 1923
Place of Birth:         Wellington, New Zealand
Place of Death:         Fontainebleau, France
Nationality:            New Zealander
Gender:                 Female
Occupations:            writer, critic, poet

 At the age of thirty-four Katherine Mansfield died.She had achieved a reputation as one of the
most talented writers of the modern short story in English. From 1910 publications in periodicals
like the New Age through the five volumes of stories published before her death, Mansfield was
recognized as innovative, accessible, and psychologically acute, one of the pioneers of the avant-
garde in the creation of the short story. Her language was clear and precise; her emotion and
reaction to experience carefully distilled and resonant. Her use of image and symbol were sharp,
suggestive, and new without seeming forced or written to some preconceived formula. Her
themes were various: the difficulties and ambivalences of families and sexuality, the fragility and
vulnerability of relationships, the complexities and insensitivities of the rising middle classes, the
social consequences of war, and overwhelmingly the attempt to extract whatever beauty and
vitality one can from mundane and increasingly difficult experience.

Early works
Early popular works tended to be of the 'ripping yarn' variety, telling tales of derring-do against
the new frontier of the Australian outback. Writers such as Rolf Boldrewood, Marcus Clarke and
Joseph Furphy embodied these stirring ideals in their tales and, particularly the latter, tried to
accurately record the vernacular language of the common Australian. These novelists also gave
valuable insights into the penal colonies which helped form the country and also the early rural
Australia‟s first novel, Quintus Servinton: A Tale founded upon Incidents of Real Occurrence
was written and published in Tasmania in 1831. It was written by the convicted English forger
Henry Savery and published anonymously though the authorship became a public secret. It is
regarded as a thinly disguised autobiography designed to demonstrate how his fictional
equivalent was different from the general convict population.[1]
In 1838 The Guardian: a tale by Anna Maria Bunn was published in Sydney. It was the first
Australian novel printed and published in mainland Australia and the first Australian novel
written by a woman. It is a Gothic romance.[1]

Poetry played an important part in the founding of Australian literature. Henry Lawson, son of a
Norwegian sailor born in 1867, was widely recognised as Australia‟s poet of the people and, in
1922, became the first Australian writer to be honoured with a state funeral. Two poets who are
amongst the great Australian poets are Christopher Brennan and Adam Lindsay Gordon; Gordon
was once referred to as the "national poet of Australia" and is the only Australian with a
monument in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in England.
Both Gordon‟s and Brennan's (but particularly Brennan‟s) works conformed to traditional styles
of poetry, with many classical allusions, and therefore fell within the domain of high culture.
However, at the same time Australia was blessed with a competing, vibrant tradition of folk
songs and ballads. Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson were two of the chief exponents of these
popular ballads, and „Banjo‟ himself was responsible for creating what is probably the most
famous Australian verse, Waltzing Matilda. Romanticised views of the outback and the rugged
characters that inhabited it played an important part in shaping the Australian nation‟s psyche,
just as the cowboys of the American Old West and the gauchos of the Argentine pampa became
part of the self-image of those nations.
Prominent Australian poets of the twentieth century include A. D. Hope, Judith Wright, Gwen
Harwood, Kenneth Slessor, Les Murray and more recently John Forbes and John Tranter. More
recent and emerging Australian poets include Judith Beveridge.
Contemporary Australian poetry is mostly published by small, independent book publishers.
However, other kinds of publication, including new media and online journals, spoken word and
live events, and public poetry projects are gaining an increasingly vibrant and popular presence.
Red Room Company is a major exponent of innovative projects.
/wiki/File:BBaynton.jpg Poetry played an important part in the founding of Australian
literature. Henry Lawson, son of a Norwegian sailor born in 1867, was widely recognised as
Australia‟s poet of the people and, in 1922, became the first Australian writer to be honoured
with a state funeral. Two poets who are amongst the great Australian poets are Christopher
Brennan and Adam Lindsay Gordon; Gordon was once referred to as the "national poet of
Australia" and is the only Australian with a monument in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in

Both Gordon‟s and Brennan's (but particularly Brennan‟s) works conformed to traditional styles
of poetry, with many classical allusions, and therefore fell within the domain of high culture.
However, at the same time Australia was blessed with a competing, vibrant tradition of folk
songs and ballads. Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson were two of the chief exponents of these
popular ballads, and „Banjo‟ himself was responsible for creating what is probably the most
famous Australian verse, Waltzing Matilda. Romanticised views of the outback and the rugged
characters that inhabited it played an important part in shaping the Australian nation‟s psyche,
just as the cowboys of the American Old West and the gauchos of the Argentine pampa became
part of the self-image of those nations.
Prominent Australian poets of the twentieth century include A. D. Hope, Judith Wright, Gwen
Harwood, Kenneth Slessor, Les Murray and more recently John Forbes and John Tranter. More
recent and emerging Australian poets include Judith Beveridge.
Contemporary Australian poetry is mostly published by small, independent book publishers.
However, other kinds of publication, including new media and online journals, spoken word and
live events, and public poetry projects are gaining an increasingly vibrant and popular presence.
Red Room Company is a major exponent of innovative projects.

A complicated, multi-faceted relationship to Australia is displayed in much Australian writing,
often through writing about landscape. Barbara Baynton's short stories from the late 1800s/early
1900s convey people living in the bush, a landscape that is alive but also threatening and
alienating. Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright (1961) portrayed the outback as a nightmare with a
blazing sun, from which there is no escape. Colin Thiele's novels reflected the life and times of
rural and regional Australians in the 20th century, showing aspects of Australian life unknown to
many city dwellers.
What it means to be Australian is another issue that Australian literature explores. Miles Franklin
struggled to find a place for herself as a female writer in Australia, fictionalising this experience
in My Brilliant Career (1901). Marie Bjelke Petersen's popular romance novels, published
between 1917 and 1937, offered a fresh upbeat interpretation of the Australian bush. The central
character in Patrick White's The Twyborn Affair tries to conform to expectations of pre-WWII
Australian masculinity but cannot, and instead, post-war, tries out another identity - and gender -
overseas. Peter Carey has toyed with the idea of a national Australian identity as a series of
'beautiful lies', and this is a recurrent theme in his novels. Andrew McGahan's Praise (1992) and
Christos Tsiolkas's Loaded (1995) introduced a 'gritty realism' take on questions of Australian
identity in the 1990s, though an important precursor to such work was Helen Garner's Monkey
Grip (1977).
Australian literature has had several scandals surrounding the identity of writers. The 1944 Ern
Malley affair led to an obscenity trial and is often blamed for the lack of modernist poetry in
Australia. To mark the 60th anniversary of the Ern Malley affair another Australian writer, Leon
Carmen, set out to make a point about the prejudice of Australian publishers against white
Australians. Unable to find publication as a white Australian he was an instant success using the
false Aboriginal identity of Wanda Koolmatrie with My Own Sweet Time. In the 1980s Streten
Bozik also managed to become published by assuming the Aboriginal identity of B Wongar.In
the 1990s, Helen Darville used the pen-name “Helen Demidenko” and won major literary prizes
for her Hand that Signed the Paper before being discovered, sparking a controversy over the
content of her novel, a fictionalised and highly tendentious account of the Nazi occupation of the
Ukraine. Mudrooroo - previously known as Colin Johnson - was acclaimed as an Aboriginal
writer until his Aboriginality came under question (his mother was Irish/English and his father
was Irish/African-American, however he has strong connections with Aboriginal tribes); he now
avoids adopting a specific ethnic identity and his works deconstruct such notions.
Other writers have felt that, whatever Australia was, it needed to be escaped. Clive James,
Robert Hughes, Barry Humphries and Germaine Greer are all Australian writers who left
Australia in the 1960s for England and America. Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, has spent
much of her career in England and has been a fierce critic of her native land, and she does not
return there often.

Australian literature can be thought of as coming of age in 1973 when Patrick White became the
first (and so far only) Australian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. (2003 laureate
John M. Coetzee lives in Adelaide, South Australia, but was born in South Africa and is not
widely regarded as Australian.) Other notable writers to have emerged since the 1970s include
Peter Carey, Kate Grenville, David Malouf, Janette Turner Hospital, Marion Halligan,
Christopher Koch, Alex Miller, Shirley Hazzard, Richard Flanagan and Tim Winton.
James Clavell in The Asian Saga discusses an important feature of Australian literature: its
portrayal of far eastern culture, from the admittedly even further east, but nevertheless western
cultural viewpoint, as Nevil Shute did. Clavell was also a successful screenwriter and along with
such writers as Thomas Keneally, who won the Booker Prize for Schindler's Ark (the book
Schindler's List is based on), has expanded the topics of Australian literature far beyond that one
country. Other novelists to use international themes are Gerald Murnane and Brenda Walker.


O    nce upon a time, a tiny striped caterpillar burst out from the egg that had been his home.
"Hello world," he said. "It sure is bright out here in the sun, and I'm hungry." Straight-away, he
began to eat the leaf he was born on. Then another leaf… and another. And he got bigger... and
bigger... until one day he stopped eating and thought: "There must be more to life than just eating
and getting bigger."
So, Stripe crawled down from the tree that had shaded and fed him, and started searching for
more. He found many new things—grass, dirt, holes and tiny bugs. Everything fascinated him,
but nothing satisfied him. When he came across others like himself, he was excited. But these
crawlers were so busy eating that they had no time to talk. "They don't know any more than I
do," sighed Stripe.
One day, Stripe saw some crawlers really crawling to reach somewhere. He looked around and
saw a great column rising into the air, made solely of squirming and pushing caterpillars—a
caterpillar pillar. It appeared that all the caterpillars were trying to reach the top. Stripe felt new
excitement—like sap rising in the spring—as he thought: "Maybe now I'll find what I'm looking
Intrigued, he asked a crawler: "What's happening?"
"Nobody has time to explain," said the other. "They're busy trying to get up there."
"But what's at the top?" "No one knows that either. But it must be good. Because everybody's
rushing there. Good-bye." The crawler plunged back into the pile. Stripe's head was bursting
with excitement. Every second, a new crawler passed him and disappeared into the pillar.
"There's only one way to find out," decided Stripe and pushed himself in.
The first moments on the pile were a shock. Stripe was pushed and kicked. Then he began
climbing. No more fellow caterpillars-all were now obstacles. As he pushed on, Stripe felt he
was getting higher. But some days, he could barely manage to keep his place. It was then that an
anxious shadow nagged inside him: "What's at the top? Where are we going?"
A little yellow caterpillar he was crawling over gasped: "What did you say?"
"I was just wondering where we're going."
"You know," Yellow said, "even I was wondering. But as there's no way of finding out, I decided
it wasn't important." She blushed and hastily asked: "How far are we from the top?"
Stripe answered gravely: "Since we're neither at the bottom nor at the top, we must be in the
But now Stripe felt bad. "How can I step on someone I've just talked to?" he thought. He avoided
Yellow as much as possible. But one day there she was, blocking the only way up. "Well, I guess
it's you or me," he said, and stepped squarely on her head.
Something in the way Yellow looked at him made him feel awful. Crawling off Yellow, he
whispered: "I'm sorry."
Yellow began to cry: "I could stand this life until I met you. Now when you look at me so kindly,
I know that I don't like this life. I just want to crawl with you and nibble grass." Stripe's heart
leapt inside. Everything looked different. The pillar made no sense at all.
"I would like that too," he whispered. But this meant giving up the climb—a hard decision.
"Yellow dear, maybe we're close to the top. Maybe if we help each other we can get there
"Maybe," she reluctantly agreed, knowing this wasn't what they wanted most. But then, she
suddenly said: "Let's go down." As if he was waiting for this cue, Stripe immediately agreed and
they stopped climbing.

They clung to each other as caterpillars crawled over them. The air was terrible but they were
happy and rolled into a big ball so nobody could step on their eyes and stomachs. They did
nothing at all for a long time. Suddenly they didn't feel anything crawling over them. They were
at the side of the caterpillar pillar.
"Hi Stripe," said Yellow.
"Hi Yellow," said Stripe. And they crawled off into some fresh green grass to eat and take a nap.
Before falling asleep, Stripe hugged Yellow. "Being together like this is sure different from
being crushed!" She smiled and closed her eyes. So Yellow and Stripe romped in the grass, ate,
grew fat and loved each other. It was heaven not to be fighting everybody every moment. But,
with time, even hugging seemed boring. Each knew every hair of the other. Stripe couldn't help
wondering: "There must be still more to life."
Yellow noticed Stripe's restlessness and tried to make him comfortable. "Just think how much
better this is than that awful mess," she said.
"But we don't know what's at the top," he answered. "Maybe now that we've rested, we could
make it to the top."
"Dear Stripe, please," she begged. "We have a nice home and we love each other. It's much more
than all those lonely climbers have."

Stripe felt convinced, but only for a while. His hankering for the climbing worsened. The pillar
haunted him. He crawled there regularly, looking up and wondering. But the top remained
clouded. One day at the pillar, three thuds startled Stripe. Three big caterpillars had fallen from
someplace and smashed. Two seemed dead but one still wiggled. Stripe whispered: "What
happened? Can I help?" He made out just a few words. "The top… they'll see... butterflies
alone…" The caterpillar died. Stripe crawled home and told Yellow. Both were quiet.
What did the mysterious message mean? Finally Stripe announced: "I've got to find out the secret
of the top." Gently, he asked Yellow: "Will you come and help me?"
Yellow struggled inside. She loved Stripe and wanted his success. But she couldn't believe that
the top was worth it. She wanted to get 'up' too; the crawling life wasn't enough for her either.
Stripe seemed so sure that Yellow felt ashamed to disagree. She also felt stupid, since she could
never articulate her reasons. Yet, somehow, waiting and not being sure was better than doing
something she couldn't believe. For all her love, she couldn't go with Stripe. Climbing was a
wrong way to get high.
"No," she said, heartsick. Stripe left her for his climb. Yellow was desolate without Stripe. She
crawled daily to the pile looking for him and returned home at night, sad but half-relieved that
she never saw him. If she had, she feared she might plunge after him. She felt like doing
something, anything, other than waiting.
"What in the world do I really want?" she sighed. "It seems different every few minutes. But I
know that there must be more."
One day, a gray-haired caterpillar hanging upside down on a branch surprised her. He seemed
caught in some hairy stuff. "You seem to be in trouble," she said. "Can I help?"
"No, my dear, I have to do this to become a butterfly." Her whole insides leapt on hearing the
word 'butterfly'.
"Tell me, sir," Yellow asked, "what is a butterfly?"
"It's what you are meant to become. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It
drinks only nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of love from one flower to another.
Without butterflies, the world would have fewer flowers."
Yellow gasped: "It can't be true! How can I believe there's a butterfly inside you or me? Do you
need to die to become a butterfly?"
"Yes and no," the gray caterpillar said. "This may look like dying but actually you will still live.
Life is changed, not taken away. Isn't that different from those who die without ever becoming
"And if I decide to become a butterfly," said Yellow hesitantly, "what do I do?"
"Watch me. I'm making a cocoon. It's a halfway house where the change takes place. It's a big
step, since you can never return to caterpillar life. And the change is so slow that anyone who
might peek in may feel that nothing is happening. But the butterfly is already becoming. And
once you are a butterfly, you can really love: the kind of love that makes new life."
"Oh, let me go and get Stripe," Yellow said. But she knew he was too far away.
"Don't be sad," said her new friend. "If you change, you can fly and show him how beautiful
butterflies are. Maybe he will want to become one too!"
Yellow was torn in anguish: "What if Stripe comes back and I'm not there? What if he doesn't
recognize my new self? Suppose he decides to stay a caterpillar? At least we can do something
as caterpillars." How could she risk the only life she knew? What did she have to go on? Just
another caterpillar who believed enough to make his own cocoon. And a peculiar hope that had
kept her away from the pillar and leapt within her when she heard about butterflies. The gray-
haired caterpillar continued to cover himself with silky threads. As he wove the last bit around
his head he called: "We're all waiting for you!"
Suddenly, Yellow wanted to become a butterfly. She desired to sprout wings. So, she began
spinning her own cocoon. "I didn't even know I could do it," she exclaimed in surprise. "But if I
can make cocoons, maybe I can become a butterfly as well."
Meanwhile, Stripe was progressing. He was bigger and stronger now, and determined to reach
the top. He avoided eye contact with others, tried not to think of Yellow. He disciplined himself
not to be distracted. He didn't think he was against anybody. He was just doing what he had to
get to the top. "Don't blame me if you don't succeed. It's a tough life," he would have said had
any caterpillar complained.
One day, he was near his goal. When light finally filtered down from the top, he was close to
exhaustion. At this height there was almost no movement. All held their positions with the skill
taught by a lifetime of climbing. There was no communication. Stripe heard a crawler above him
saying: "None of us can get any higher without getting rid of them."
Soon after, he felt tremendous pressure and shaking. Then came screams and falling bodies.
Then silence, more light and less weight from above. Stripe felt awful. The mystery of the pillar
was clearing. He now knew what had happened to the three caterpillars—and what must always
happen on the pillar.
Frustrated, Stripe was still trying to justify his climb to himself when he heard a whisper from
the top: "There's nothing here at all!"
It was answered by another whisper: "Quiet, fool! They'll hear you down. We're where they want
to get. That's what's here!"
Stripe froze. To be so high and not high at all! It only looked good from the bottom.
The whisper came again: "Look! Over there! Another pillar. And... and another! Pillars
"My pillar," Stripe moaned, "is only one of thousands! Something is wrong, but what else is

His life with Yellow seemed far away. Yellow! She knew something. "I wish I were with her. I
could go down," he thought. "I'd look ridiculous but maybe it's better than this."
Stripe's thoughts were interrupted by bursts of movement above him. Everyone seemed to be
making a last effort to find some entry to the top. With every push the top layer tightened.
Finally, one caterpillar gasped: "Unless we try together, nobody will reach the top. Maybe if we
give one big push..."
But before they could act, there were cries and commotion. Stripe struggled to the edge to see the
cause. A brilliant yellow winged creature was circling the pillar, moving freely. A wonderful
sight! How did it get so high without climbing? When Stripe poked out his head the creature
seemed to recognize him. It tried to grab him. Stripe caught himself just before being pulled out
of the pile. The brilliant creature let go and looked sadly into his eyes. The look thrilled Stripe.
Words from the past returned to his mind: "…butterflies alone." Is this a butterfly? And what did
it mean? "The top… they'll see…" It was all so strange. Yet it was supposed to be. Could it
be…? Impossible! But the excitement wouldn't stop. He felt happy. Somehow he could escape.
As this possibility became real, he felt he shouldn't escape like this. Looking into the creature's
eyes he could hardly bear the love he saw. He wanted to make up for all the times he had refused
to look at the other.
He stopped struggling. The others stared at him as though he were mad. Stripe turned around and
began to go down the pillar. This time he didn't curl up. He stretched out full length and looked
straight into the eyes of each caterpillar. He marveled at their beauty, amazed that he had never
noticed it before. He whispered to each caterpillar: "I've been up. There's nothing there."
Most paid no attention. They were too intent on climbing. One said: "It's sour grapes." But some
were shocked and even stopped climbing to hear him better. One of these whispered in anguish:
"Don't say it, even if it's true. What else can we do?" Stripe's answer shocked them all, including
himself: "We can fly! We can become butterflies! There's nothing at the top and it doesn't
As he heard his own message he realized how he had misread the instinct to get high. To get to
the 'top' he must fly, not climb. Stripe looked at each caterpillar inebriated with joy that there
could be a butterfly inside. But the reaction was worse than before. He saw fear in their eyes.
This news was too good to be true. And if it wasn't? The hope that lit up the pillar dimmed. The
way down was so long. Doubt flooded Stripe. The pile took on horrible dimensions. He struggled
on. It seemed wrong to give up believing. Yet believing seemed impossible. A crawler sneered:
"How could you swallow such a story? Our life is earth and climbing. Look at us worms! We
couldn't be butterflies inside. Just enjoy caterpillar living!"
"Perhaps he's right," sighed Stripe. "I haven't any proof. Did I make it up because I needed it?"
He continued down, searching for those eyes, which would let him whisper: "I saw a butterfly—
there can be more to life." Finally, he was down.
Tired and sad, Stripe crawled off to the old place where Yellow and he had romped. She was not
there. He was too exhausted to go further. He fell asleep. When he finally awoke he found the
yellow creature fanning him with wings of light.
"Is this a dream?" he wondered. But the dream creature acted awfully real. She stroked him with
her feelers and looked at him so lovingly that he began to trust what he had said about becoming
a butterfly. The butterfly walked a little distance, then flew back. She repeated it as if indicating
that he should follow her. Stripe complied, and they came to a branch from which hung two torn
sacks. The creature kept on inserting her head, then her tail, into one of them. Then she would fly
to him and touch him. Her feelers quivered and Stripe knew she was speaking. Slowly he seemed
to understand. Somehow he knew what to do. Stripe began making a cocoon. And Yellow
waited. It got darker and Stripe was afraid. He felt he had to let go of everything.
Until one day…
Hope for the Flowers is an enduring fable about two caterpillars, Yellow and Stripe, and their
struggle to climb to the top of a caterpillar pillar only to discover they were meant to fly. It all
starts when Stripe, the main character, first hatched from his cocoon. He began his life by eating
the leaf he was born on. He realized that there was much more to life than just eating the leaf he
lived on. He looked for a way to get up in the sky when suddenly he found himself at the base of
a pillar made up of caterpillars struggling to get up in the sky as well. Here he meets Yellow who
also wants to get to the top but feels bad about stepping on everybody. They go down the pillar
and live together. But Stripe's curiosity grew everyday and finally he decided that he will get to
the top. Yellow however found out that to find their particular "more" or who they really are, is
to enter the cocoon and try to be a butterfly. She triumphed and could then show Stripe what
their life was really all about. Stripe then also makes a cocoon and at the end they fly off together


      Once upon a time there was a striped caterpillar that burst from an egg. His name is
       stripe, he ate all the leaves until he became bigger and bigger.

      One day he saw caterpillars crawling in one direction and he joined them. He saw pillar
       of caterpillar and he tried to reach the top.

      While he was reaching the top, he was kicked and pushed. He saw a yellow caterpillar
       named Yellow.

       Yellow and Stripe came down because they think it's not important what ever is up there
       at the caterpillar pillar.

      They ate leaves and slept together and they become lovers.

      One day Stripe want to reach the top of the pillar again but Yellow refuse to come with
       him so Stripe climbed again.

      Yellow cried and saw a grey haired caterpillar hanging upside down on a branch shocked

      The caterpillar became a butterfly and said to Yellow: ''You can be a butterfly and have
       beautiful wings and fly''. Yellow became a butterfly by imitating the grey haired
       caterpillar did.

      Yellow became a butter fly and went to Stripe, Yellow said: ''Come with me and you
       will be a butterfly'' so Stripe and Yellow became butterflies and lived happily.

        Theme of life, moving through seeming death to a new and more beautiful life, has
touched the hearts of millions of people. Hope for the Flowers is for young and old, lovers,
husbands and wives.a book to learn to read with, or to comfort those who are dying or grieving.
In the tale, the caterpillar heroes, Stripe and Yellow, want something more from life than eating
and growing bigger. They get caught up in a "caterpillar pillar," a squirming mass of bodies, each
determined to reach a top so far away it can be seen. Finally disillusioned, they discover that the
way for the caterpillars to find their particular "more," who they really are, is to enter the cocoon
and "...risk for the butterfly." Hope for the Flowers has helped people gain the courage to leave
jobs, change their lives and explore their love for another human being.
STRIPE- the main character. It‟s a caterpillar that knows there is something "more" to life than
just the caterpillar living. It starts a journey and meets Yellow.
Biography of trina paulus
Trina Paulus is the author of Hope for the Flowers, a novel "for adults and others (including
caterpillars who can read).[1] She describes herself as an "advocate of organic farming,
composting, holistic health and spiritual search." Paulus lives in Montclair, New Jersey and acts
as the vice-president of the Cornucopia Network of New Jersey[2]. Paulus' archives of 25 years of
the New Jersey environmental movement will be archived at the North Jersey Heritage Center at
Fairleigh Dickinson University

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