Lines in the Sand

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'Mira's Butterflies' is a short story in 'Lines in the Sand'


This is a story with two different endings. Which one do you prefer?

Once upon a time there was a woman called Mira who had beautiful thoughts. They hovered round her head like rainbow coloured butterflies and filled her house with light and warmth. Every day she fed them and each day there were more of them.
Nearby, there lived a man named Hovik. He had greedy, ugly thoughts that squatted like toads in the corner of the room, making his house dark and cold. Every day he fed them, and every day they became stronger and more powerful, and his house grew darker than ever. But Hovik didn't like having a dark house. When he saw that Mira's house was bright and warm, he wanted his house to be warm too. So he went to Mira and said, "Give me some of your butterflies so that my house will be as bright and warm as yours!"
"Yes, of course you can have some of my butterflies," Mira replied. "But it won't do you any good unless you get rid of your toads. It's your toads that are making your house dark and cold!"
"My toads?" said Hovik in amazement.
"Yes! Turn your toads out of your house and I'll give you some butterflies."
Hovik pretended to agree, but he couldn't bear to lose his toads. He shut them up in his cellar, and he told Mira that he had got rid of them.
Mira believed Hovik, and she gave him some butterflies. "Don't forget to feed them!" she said. Hovik took the butterflies back home. At first his house was bright and warm with the light that came from the butterflies, but he forgot to feed them any food. The dainty little butterflies grew weak and pale, and they fluttered against the windows, longing to be free. Then the toads crept out of the cellar. They gobbled up the poor, weak butterflies with their long slimy tongues, and Hovik's house was as dull and dark as ever.
Hovik sat looking a Mira's warm, bright house and his heart was filled with envy. He went to Mira and said, "Those butterflies you gave me were weak, pitiful creatures. They've all died, and my house is as cold and dark as ever. Let me come and live with you and your butterflies!" Mira felt sorry for Hovik, and she let him move into her house. But the toads followed him. They hid under the furniture and waited until Mira had gone to bed. When she woke up, there were toads crawling all over her bedroom. All her butterflies had been eaten up, and her house was cold and damp.

"Get up, woman!" Hovik shouted at her. "The house is freezing! Hurry up and make some more butterflies!"
"I can't!" she cried. "The house is too cold!"
"Can't?" yelled Hovik. "You're useless aren't you?"
"It's your fault!" Mira cried. "I told you to get rid of those toads!"
"My fault? Oh no, it isn't! If your butterflies had been a bit tougher, my toads would never have got them!"
"I'm not talking to you!" said Mira.
She sat in her corner, and Hovik sat in his. From time to time, Mira tried to make butterflies, but she was so full of angry, sulky thoughts that all she could make was toads. They each sat in their corners sulking, and the more they sulked, the more their house filled up with toads. And because Mira couldn't forgive Hovik, she never made butterflies again.

"Get up, woman!" Hovik shouted at her. "The house is freezing! Hurry up and make some more butterflies!"
"I can't!" she cried. "The house is too cold!"
"Can't?" snapped Haik. "You're useless, aren't you!"
"It's not my fault if it's cold!" cried Mira. "It's yours! You shouldn't have brought your toads with you! Go back home and take them with you!"
"I'm going this minute!" cried Hovik. "What's the point of staying here when there's no heat in the house?"
As soon as Hovik and the toads had gone, Mira calmed down. Once again her thoughts were beautiful; once again butterflies hovered round her head, and her house was warm and bright. But Hovik was always cold because he couldn't get rid of his toads.