by Jerry Guarino
Little Anthony, three years
old, sat in his backyard playing with a ball. An
only child, he found ways to amuse himself. In
the late 1950s, you didnt have to worry as
much about your childs safety. About the
worst that could happen is that a toddler would
eat dirt. But Anthony already had a vivid
imagination. He watched the bugs and birds,
picking up a caterpillar and laying it on a plant
There you go fuzzy.
Enjoy the leaf.
Squirrels chased each other
around the yard. Anthony wondered why.
Where are you going
squirrel? Are you looking for food?
A baby squirrel paused to
look at Anthony. He crept closer to the toddler.
Each new life wondering what the other was doing.
I dont have any
food, just my ball. Anthony rolled the ball
slowly to the squirrel, startling the rodent, who
ran away to a tree.
Anthony retrieved his ball
and decided to explore the garden. He saw bugs
and caterpillars. Then he saw a praying mantis.
You look scary. What
The praying mantis sat
silently on a leaf. Anthony was afraid to touch
Finally, a softer animal
wandered in, the neighbors black cat. He
rubbed himself against Anthony, who replied by
petting the feline.
Hi cat. What are you
up to today?
Anthony reached down to
pick up the Potyl, thinking it might be magical.
screamed. It was actually a praying mantis. Once
he realized what the scratchy legs and wriggling
body were in his hand, he threw it away and began
His mom came out to comfort
I picked up a Potyl.
Seeing the praying mantis,
his mom realized how scary it must have been.
Thats all right.
Its a praying mantis. They are good for the
garden. It cant hurt you.
That night Anthony dreamt
of being in the garden and he saw the Potyl again.
He reached to pick it up. The Potyl made a chime
sound and flew up into the room.
Anthony saw the Potyl
regularly in his dreams, but he watched out for
bugs in the garden. He grew up with a fascination
for insects and nature, often spending his free
time exploring the outdoors. He even studied
entomology in college, becoming an expert in the
field. He often thought about the Potyl, the
praying mantis that had scared him as a child. He
realized that it was not a monster, but a
beautiful and important part of the ecosystem.
Years later, Anthony became
a science teacher and used his love for insects
to inspire and educate his students. He would
tell them the story of the Potyl, and how it
taught him to appreciate and respect all living
things, no matter how small or seemingly
insignificant they may be.
One day, while on a nature
walk with his class, Anthony came across a
praying mantis and his students all crowded
around him to take a look. Anthony smiled,
knowing that he had passed on his appreciation of
the Potyl and all of nature to the next
January, 2023 All Rights Reserved