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.
â€śWorms are ugly! Worms are fat! Worms hide inside the ground. I would too, if I was
plain and brown like you.â€ť Wally, Wilma and Wendy pretended not to hear Codyâ€™s mean
One day, Wilma slid up to Wendy and Wally. â€śI have a plan,â€ť she said. â€śThe big
house on the other side of the ditch is empty.â€ť
â€śSo?â€ť Wally asked.
â€śThe 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.â€ť
â€śHow?â€ť Wally asked.
â€śThe owners left three cans of open paint,â€ť Wilma said.
â€śWait a minute,â€ť said Wally. â€śI canâ€™t swim! We could drown inside paint cans.
Thatâ€™s too dangerous. Iâ€™m not jumping into paint.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d really like to be pretty,â€ť Wendy said. â€śWhat are the colors?â€ť
â€śRed, blue, and orange,â€ť Wilma said. â€śThe paint lids are on the floor. We could
slide around on them without getting hurt at all.â€ť
Wally said, â€śIn that case, Iâ€™d like to be blue.â€ť
â€śCan I be orange?â€ť Wendy asked. â€śPretty please?â€ť
â€śSure,â€ť Wilma said. â€śFollow me.â€ť
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.
â€śLetâ€™s go find Cody and show off,â€ť Wally said. â€śI 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, â€śOuch!â€ť
â€śSquirm!â€ť yelled Wally.
â€śWiggle!â€ť yelled Wilma.
Wendy twisted as hard as she could. The bird dropped her. She landed in a
â€śOh no, I hope my orange skin didnâ€™t get bruised,â€ť said Wendy. â€śI donâ€™t want
any spots on my pretty orange skin.â€ť
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 birdâ€™s ear, â€śLook 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
â€śAre you alright?â€ť they asked.
â€śYes, 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!â€ť
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
â€śWhew! We made it,â€ť Wally said. â€śIt sure is cool and comfortable in this hole.â€ť
â€śAnd,â€ť said Wilma, â€śbirds canâ€™t see us in our tunnel.â€ť
â€śWhat a scary adventure.â€ť Wendy yawned. â€śIâ€™m sure glad to be away from those
birds. You know what my favorite color is now?â€ť
â€śWhat?â€ť asked Wilma.
â€śBrown,â€ť said Wendy. â€śBeautiful brown.â€ť
The three worms giggled and then fell asleep.
The next morning was bright and beautiful. Cody the Caterpillar wriggled over to
â€śCome out, you plain brown worms,â€ť he called.
Wilma, Wally and Wendy wiggled out.
â€śWhy are you all smiling?â€ť Cody asked.
â€śBecause we love brown! Birds canâ€™t see brown. Brown matches the ground.â€ť
Wendy danced around Cody.
â€śCody,â€ť said Wally. â€śYou 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.â€ť
Cody crawled up on a rock. â€śWhat are you talking about?â€ť
Wally told Cody what happened and Cody hung his head.
â€śIâ€™m sorry you were almost eaten by birds,â€ť Cody said. â€śI promise to never
make fun of you again.â€ť
â€śYou better be careful crawling around,â€ť Wendy said.
â€śI wonâ€™t be crawling much longer,â€ť said Cody. â€śIâ€™m big now and Iâ€™m going to
spin a cocoon. Iâ€™ll change my shape, and when I break my shell and come out, Iâ€™ll be
â€śOh,â€ť Wendy said. â€śWill you come and see us when youâ€™re beautiful? Please,
please, please? I love pretty things.â€ť
â€śOf course I will,â€ť Cody said.
And he did.