Dana and the Butterfly – Kazi Falguni Eshita
“Dana, good morning! Rise and shine!”
“Oh, Amma, it’s Friday. Can’t I sleep a little late?”
“Nope. It’s good to get up at the same time every day.”
Dana never had school on Fridays, and it had rained the day before. She always enjoyed sleeping a little late on rainy days; but her mother hardly allowed her.
With a yawn, Dana got down from bed. She changed into her favorite outfit, a full sleeved dress dyed in various shades of blue. The curtains swished with the aromatic, spring air. Sunlight peeked through the open windows. The little girl picked up the new book she got from the library: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Her fascination towards animals and insects always led her to all sorts of books related to animals.
“Nope, you got to wait. I’ll have to help Amma with breakfast first.” Dana said to herself, putting the book back in the shelf. She skipped towards the dining table, where her mother was busy mixing chocolate powder with warm milk. Sometimes, hot chocolate drink was a good substitute of tea or coffee.
“Breakfast is ready, dear. You can help me do the dishes once we’re done.”
“I will, no worries. “The little girl replied, fixing herself a sandwich with two slices of white bread and a poached egg.
After breakfast, Dana not only did the dishes, but fed the pet pigeons too. Every Friday and Saturday, Mrs. Afsana Haque, Dana’s mother, paid the little girl 20 taka as a reward of being nice and helpful throughout the week. Dana was just eight years old, a second grader. Moreover, she was an only child. So, though she was the little princess of the family, her parents made sure she learned to earn her allowance instead of just getting it whenever she wanted.
Mr. Alam Haque, Dana’s father, taught Mathematics at one of the well- known local colleges. Afsana looked after the house; and raised chicks from the pigeons to sell. Some people kept the birds as pets, others ate them as a good source of protein.
The little girl sat at her reading desk, immersed in Kipling’s masterpiece. Of course, she used to read the abridged, children’s versions of the classics, yet, she was an enthusiast reader, unlike many other children of her age. Her straight, black hair ran past her waist. She usually wore it in long braids, but that day, her messy hair looked more or less like a bird’s nest.
All of a sudden, Dana felt something on her shoulder. It had a tiny black head, with a pink body and pink wings. There were black designs in the wings.
“Hi there, little fella. You do look like a butterfly, but such an unusual one.” Dana murmured.
“Really? Am I so different?” A tiny, chiming voice whispered in her ear.
Startled, the little girl jumped up. “Hey girl, don’t be afraid, it’s just me.” The same voice whispered again.
“Am I going crazy? Don’t tell me I’m talking to a butterfly.” Dana mumbled, looking at her shoulder.
“I know your language, and I can talk. They call me Pinky.”
Dana got over the initial shock now. “This is the first time I’m looking at a pink butterfly.” She exclaimed. “How did you get those wings?”
“I was supposed to be a normal, citrus butterfly. When I was a cocoon, a fairy accidentally sprinkled pixie dust on me. My wings became like this, and I could talk!”
Dana looked down on the floor. Sometimes she wished she had wings, she wished she had a closet overflowing with clothes and jewelry. The butterfly almost read her thoughts:
“Hey, don’t be sad. Dana means wings in Bengali. So you already have wings, see?”
“I guess you’re right, Pinky.” Dana smiled. “Are you hungry? What do you eat?”
“I only feed on flower petals. Do you have any?”
Dana ran to the living room. She picked a few dried rose petals from the flower vase for her new friend. Pinky took all the petals in a huge bite. She sure was hungry!
“Dana, make sure you do your hair, you didn’t even brush it properly today!” Afsana’s voice broke their conversation.
“Busy, Amma. Will do it soon.” Dana replied in a soft, polite tone.
“I love your hair, Dana.” Pinky chimed again. “Why is it such a mess, though?”
“Oh, that.” Dana ran a finger through her hair. “I hate brushing it. I even don’t like school sometimes, but I still have to go. Amma-Abba always say education is important.”
Pinky slid through Dana’s hair twice, and the messy bird’s nest transformed into two thick braids with red bows tied at the bottom. A third slide made red earrings and a matching necklace appear.
“Wow! How did you do that?” Dana asked, admiring her new jewelry.
“I don’t know how. Whenever I make a wish for a loved one, it just comes true.”
Dana stared at the butterfly, her mouth open wide. She couldn’t believe her friend was filled with magic!
Pinky seemed to blink away tears. “Well, I don’t have any friend, thanks to the magic. I’m just too different for the insect world.” She replied in an even softer, hoarse tone.
Dana looked at the butterfly with an affectionate smile. “No friends? Who am I, then?”
“Well, now that I have you, I do have a friend I guess.” Pinky chimed. “Oh, that reminds me…”
A thick, red ribbon with black stripes appeared out of nowhere. “Whenever you wish to see me, just tie this around your waist and I’ll be with you. Now, I guess I should go back home. Farewell, human friend.” Dana waved goodbye as Pinky flew through the open window.