The beetle is Gbomido, born in a tiny cave by himself and destined to crawl the earth and look out for any animal that wanted to stomp or eat it.
Gbomido grew weary of this living and this all changed when a bird’s cry prompted his eyes upwards to witness a sweep of shadows as an army of doves flew over his head.
Gbomido’s tiny legs trembled and he shrunk back into the cave, wondering why he was forced to crawl forever while others roamed the skies. This is the story of how this insect gained the ability to fly.
Gbomido mulled over his anger for the days he did not see the doves. This stopped when one morning, he stumbled upon one that pecked at the leaves.
He greeted the dove.
The dove stopped, frowning at the beetle. “What do you want?”
“I simply said, good morning,” Gbomido said with a bow of his head.
The dove flew off, never to return until five days later at the same spot it left. The beetle knew that it was the same dove because the dove had a tiny scar in between its clawed feet. Again, it snubbed the beetle and went ahead at its business.
“Those wings of yours are big and mighty,” Gbomido said. “If only I had one like yours and flew just as you did.”
The dove laughed, “A dung like you? Have the same wings that grace my shoulders?”
“Why can’t a beetle have wings like yours?”
“Who would ever want to see you fly towards them?”
At this, Gbomido boiled like a dead carcass on a summer afternoon. He turned away and sought the one thing he feared most in the world: the snake. The snake did not attack at Gbomido’s appearance, and the beetle was lucky enough to be too dirty for its mouth.
The snake asked, “What do you want?”
“I want the wings of the dove,” the beetle said. “And I will give you its body.”
“Doves fly too easily.”
“Not this one, I will make certain of it.”
It did not take long for the snake to hide itself in a bed of leaves, camouflaging deceptively against its texture. The dove ate to itself. Gbomido came to the dove again.
“I do think your wings are beautiful, and I just wanted to see if I could feel as free as you do when you fly high in the skies and not care about who’s beneath.”
Just as the dove began to speak, the snake took the perfect opportunity to lash out, sinking its fangs into the dove’s neck.
The beetle took its wings and planted it on its back. The next morning after the dove’s death, it tried its wings. The beetle found it difficult to lift its body high enough. It cut the wings to its size but it still could not fully use the dove’s wings.
The other animals in the forest laughed at the beetle. The butterfly said, “Only a fool would take the wings of another!”
Gbomido eventually learned how to use the dove’s wings. But it never flew up high in the skies, only up to a certain point. And every time it flew near another, the other always wanted to get rid of it before it came too close.
Disclaimer – Image above does not belong to me. Photo by Yudy Sauw.