Short Stories for Teachers
by Jan Jones
Wilma, Wendy and Wally shared a hole in the ground. They enjoyed warm sun
and soft, moist mud. They giggled and wiggled. They rolled and slid. They took care of
each other like all good worms do, and they were happy.
Happy, that is, until they met Cody Caterpillar. Cody loved to tease the worms.
“Worms are ugly! Worms are fat! Worms hide inside the ground. I would too, if I was
plain and brown like you.” Wally, Wilma and Wendy pretended not to hear Cody’s mean
One day, Wilma slid up to Wendy and Wally. “I have a plan,” she said. “The big
house on the other side of the ditch is empty.”
“So?” Wally asked.
“The garage door is open. I know a way we can slide around in the garage and
be colorful when we come out. We can be as good looking as Cody Caterpillar.”
“How?” Wally asked.
“The owners left three cans of open paint,” Wilma said.
“Wait a minute,” said Wally. “I can’t swim! We could drown inside paint cans.
That’s too dangerous. I’m not jumping into paint.”
“I’d really like to be pretty,” Wendy said. “What are the colors?”
“Red, blue, and orange,” Wilma said. “The paint lids are on the floor. We could
slide around on them without getting hurt at all.”
Wally said, “In that case, I’d like to be blue.”
“Can I be orange?” Wendy asked. “Pretty please?”
“Sure,” Wilma said. “Follow me.”
She wormed her way to the garage. Wendy and Wally followed. Wilma inched
toward the paint. When they found their colors, the worms splished and splashed and
transformed into beautiful creatures. The paint lids were exactly the right size, and
held just the right amount of paint.
Wendy looked beautiful in orange. Wally looked dashing in blue. Wilma was
beaming in red, and felt proud, too.
“Let’s go find Cody and show off,” Wally said. “I know where his favorite
While the three of them scooted across the ditch, a robin swooped down and
caught Wendy in its beak. Wendy screamed, “Ouch!”
“Squirm!” yelled Wally.
“Wiggle!” yelled Wilma.
Wendy twisted as hard as she could. The bird dropped her. She landed in a
“Oh no, I hope my orange skin didn’t get bruised,” said Wendy. “I don’t want
any spots on my pretty orange skin.”
SWOOSH! A bluebird soared down, just missing Wilma. She rolled behind a
rock. Wendy rolled right next to her.
SWISH! A black-capped chickadee swooped down and grabbed Wally. As the
chickadee soared into the sky, Wally thought of a plan. He stretched as far as he could
and whispered into the bird’s ear, “Look at those juicy blackberries on the side of
As the bird turned its head to check out the berries, Wally jerked. He fell down,
down, down, down and landed on a tuft of grass. Wendy and Wilma wormed over to
“Are you alright?” they asked.
“Yes, but our colors are attracting the birds. We have to get the paint off. Rub
against leaves! Scrape on grass! We must erase these colors fast!”
The worms rubbed themselves clean and then inched home. They were careful to
stay in the shadows in case the birds came back. When they got home, they were sore
“Whew! We made it,” Wally said. “It sure is cool and comfortable in this hole.”
“And,” said Wilma, “birds can’t see us in our tunnel.”
“What a scary adventure.” Wendy yawned. “I’m sure glad to be away from those
birds. You know what my favorite color is now?”
“What?” asked Wilma.
“Brown,” said Wendy. “Beautiful brown.”
The three worms giggled and then fell asleep.
The next morning was bright and beautiful. Cody the Caterpillar wriggled over to
“Come out, you plain brown worms,” he called.
Wilma, Wally and Wendy wiggled out.
“Why are you all smiling?” Cody asked.
“Because we love brown! Birds can’t see brown. Brown matches the ground.”
Wendy danced around Cody.
“Cody,” said Wally. “You should watch out for birds. They can see your bright
colors and they might try to eat you just like they tried to eat us.”
Cody crawled up on a rock. “What are you talking about?”
Wally told Cody what happened and Cody hung his head.
“I’m sorry you were almost eaten by birds,” Cody said. “I promise to never
make fun of you again.”
“You better be careful crawling around,” Wendy said.
“I won’t be crawling much longer,” said Cody. “I’m big now and I’m going to
spin a cocoon. I’ll change my shape, and when I break my shell and come out, I’ll be
“Oh,” Wendy said. “Will you come and see us when you’re beautiful? Please,
please, please? I love pretty things.”
“Of course I will,” Cody said.
And he did.