About Writing this Book
Butterfly Magic Working on Butterfly Magic was an emotional experience, and one I needed. As the excerpt next door to this window says, my mom actually wrote Butterfly Magic. She and I were going to work on it together to bring it to full novel size, introduce new characters, expand the world, add in some peril to be overcome, etc. However...
She passed away before we got the chance. As the executor of her estate, there was much that made the next two years very hard, but eventually I got back to Butterfly Magic and remembered the whimsey and creativity she lived so much of her life with and that was a deep blessing. I did wind up expanding the story a little. I dind't want to change too much because Butterfly Magic is hers. However, if I ever get the chance to write full time, I may just have to write a sequel that builds on what she created. I loved this story when I was little, and I love it even more now. It's a gift to anyone who likes sweet and whimsical tales. It's a gift to from my mom (and me).
Written By Colleen Allen
Edited, Expanded, and Published in Honor of Mom
SAMPLE from the book...
Note from the Author
My mom wrote Butterfly Magic when I was about eight years old. She was a story-teller at heart and had this tendency of coming up with whimsical tales to tell us kids on days when she kept us home from school, or when one of us was sick, or when she just felt like being creative. Butterfly Magic is one of the only flights of my mother’s fancy that ever made it to paper, but—due to an unkind letter from a publishing house editor—she never really tried to get it published. Toward the end of 2011, while I was preparing to publish my first novel, Mom asked how we could get her old manuscripts onto the computer and editable. We found a scanning service, and voilà. We were ready.
We had several conversations planning to edit and expand Butterfly Magic together, making it into a longer novel. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity. In May of 2012, she passed away, bequeathing me her unpublished writing. She hoped to make this book something her children, grandchildren, and their continued generations could have to always remember her… especially her whimsy and creativity.
So, in honor of my amazing, creative mother, I present her story, Butterfly Magic, in all its whimsy—edited and lightly expanded by me. Within these pages you’ll find nothing dark or scary, nothing mean or unkind, nothing to upset the gentle balance of a little child’s fears and joys. If I dare use the word again, all you’ll find inside is whimsy, pure and simple.
I hope you enjoy this flight of my mother’s fancy as much as I do.
- Geno Allen
A Momentous Morning
Dilly opened her eyes and smiled, remembering what day it was. She quickly slid out of bed and did a little hop, skip, dance over to the open window. A gentle breeze ruffled her hair as she leaned against the sill, breathing in the sweet summer smells.
“Mmm….” she sighed. “What a beautiful day for a birthday! I wonder what my present will be.”
Downstairs, Dilly rushed through breakfast and hurried outside to get her chores done. She fed the chickens; gathered the eggs; milked Bess, their lazy old cow, then raced back to the house with the milk and the eggs.
“All done, Mom,” she said with a big smile and looked around the kitchen, expecting to see her present.
Her mother just nodded and said, “Thank you, dear. Would you mind getting the churn down for me while I separate the cream? It's in the white cupboard.”
This is it! She's got my present in there.
She opened the cupboard, but all she saw were the usual mixing bowls, canning jars, and the churn. No present. Disappointed, she brought the churn to the table, poured in the cream, and began turning the crank. Maybe they forgot it was my birthday. She glanced around for possible hiding places while trying to look unconcerned.
Her mother looked up and said with a twinkle in her eye, “Lose something, dear? You seem to be searching for something.”
“Um… no, Mom. Nothing special,” Dilly shrugged. “Just looking around.”
Her mother smiled. “Okay. Then as long as you're not looking for anything special, don't look for it in the dining room. That's off limits 'til lunch.”
“Why?” she asked hopefully. “What's the reason?”
Her mother answered, “Oh, no special reason.” But her face had that I've got a secret look, and she chuckled to herself. Dilly was about to peer around the corner into the dining room when her mother took her gently by the shoulders and said with mock-sternness, “Dilana Anne Daniels.” Dilly just smiled up at her. Her mother shook her head and shooed Dilly out the back door with a smile. “Go find yourself something to do until lunch. I've got things to get done.”
Dilly popped right back in. “What kinds of things?”
“Never you mind.” Her mother gave a playful little swat to get her out the door.
“Birthday girls shouldn't be so nosey!”
They didn't forget! Dilly sighed with relief. “All right, Mom.” She jumped off the back porch. “I'll be down at the creek if you want me.”
The creek flowed past a little apple grove, and it was Dilly's favorite place on the whole farm. By a big rock, the water formed a pool deep enough to swim in, and farther up it was just right for wading. She loved to go there and watch the animals interacting with each other, imagining what it would be like to follow them on their travels. She reached the big rock, took off her shoes, and dangled her feet in the water. She knew if she kept still long enough, the curious minnows would soon come and examine her toes. And sure enough, after a little patience, there was a quick flash of silver. In came one, then another and another. She felt their tiny, tickly nibbles, and giggled.
“Hey down there. What do you think I am? I'm much too big to be your lunch!”
She watched the minnows dart in and out, frightened by the slightest move, but too curious to stay away long. “I wonder what it's like to be a minnow. What do you think about as you swim through the water?”
She heard a blue jay in the apple tree behind her, hopping from branch to branch, scolding her with a tch... tch... tch... in outrage for trespassing on his private domain.
“Tch... tch... tch... yourself!” she scolded back. “I don't think I'd like to see the world through your eyes, Mr. Fussbudget. You're too cranky!” A brilliant, shimmering spot of blue caught her attention as she turned back. What's that? She watched the dazzling blue something rise up from a cluster of wild flowers and drift slowly toward her. It settled on a nearby stump. Dilly hugged her knees to her chest and peered over them. “Oooh...” she whispered, “a butterfly—more beautiful than any ever.”
It sparkles and shines like a jewel!
She watched in awe while the butterfly gently fanned its magnificent wings. “I wish I could see the world through your eyes, pretty butterfly. When you're that lovely yourself, it must make everything seem beautiful!”
A tiny voice said, “Thank you very much!”
Startled, Dilly looked around to see who'd spoken. She didn't see anyone but called out, “Who's there?”
The tiny voice answered, “I am. Down here.”
Dilly looked in the direction of the voice, but all she saw was the butterfly. “I can't see you. Where are you?”
The sweet little voice said, “You're looking right at me.” And the shimmery blue butterfly fluttered up and alighted on Dilly's knee. “Here I am.”
Dilly almost fell over backwards, but tried to hold very still so she wouldn't harm the butterfly. “Butterflies can't… t…talk!” she stammered.
A tinkly peal of laughter filled the air, “Then why were you talking to me?”
Dilly blinked a few times and shook her head, confused. “I… I didn't expect you to answer!”
The butterfly said, “That's pretty silly, Dilly!” and the laughter came again like tiny wind chimes in the breeze.
Dilly gasped with astonishment, “You know my name?!”
“Oh, I'm sorry.” The shimmery wings dipped in a tiny curtsy. “I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Flutter.”
Dilly remembered her manners and said, “How do you do?” and followed with, “But… that's not what I meant. I meant you already knew my name and I didn't tell it to you.”
“Of course I do, Silly Dilly. It's your birthday isn't it?”
Dilly asked, “What's that got to do with it?” and grew more confused by the moment. “I mean, you can talk, and you knew it was my birthday, and that my name is Dilly and well... well.” Her smile suddenly beamed from ear to ear, “My goodness, you're a butterfly!”
Flutter curtsied again. “Yes, to all of that. But, I'm a special kind of butterfly.”
“You are? What kind are you?”
“I'm your birthday butterfly!” The tinkly laughter came again as she rose up in a small series of loop-de-loops then fluttered back to Dilly's knee with a graceful twirl.
Wide eyed, Dilly asked, “What’s a birthday butterfly?”
“Well, once in a very great while, the queen of the butterflies chooses a special human to receive a birthday treat. It's always someone who has demonstrated great love for woodland creatures and respect for their domain.”
“It’s been a long time since anyone’s been chosen, but this summer the queen has chosen someone. Dilly, she's chosen you!”
“Oh… Oh!” Dilly squealed with delight. “She did?! Me? What kind of special treat?” She was hardly able to contain her excitement.
“You get the great honor of seeing our world the way we do.” Dilly put her hand to her mouth, not daring to speak for fear she'd wake up and find this was all a dream. Flutter continued, “By the queen's decree, you get a tour of our world with me as your guide.”
Dilly sat there imagining what that could mean.
“Well?” asked Flutter. “Don't you have anything to say?”
Dilly nodded slowly, mustering the courage to ask, before she finally whispered,
“Is this real? I mean… do you mean it?”
Flutter laughed, “I surely do! You would like to see our world, wouldn't you?”
“Oh yes! More than anything!” She suddenly frowned, “But my mother wants me home for lunch. Will we be back by then?”
Flutter's answer was matter-of-fact, “Certainly. We don't want to worry your sweet mother. I'll be sure to have you back in time. All right?”
Dilly nodded eagerly. “Yes, but… how can I go with you? I can't fly, and I'm so big that–”
Flutter flew right up to her face. “Stand up and I'll show you how.”
Dilly quickly stood up, and Flutter darted above her head. Suddenly Flutter’s wings shimmered and trembled, and the air glittered with tiny blue sparks that drifted down toward Dilly. She felt a cool swirling sensation, like a sprinkle of snowflakes fluttering around her. She shut her eyes, and when she opened them the world was huge.
“Look! Look!” She squealed. “I'm small! I'm just the same size as you!”
A Lesson in Flying
Dilly looked down at herself and discovered she was now wearing a pale, rosy pink dress. Flutter flew to the ground, and on her way she called, “Look over your shoulder.”
Dilly turned her head and gasped, “Oh oh, I can't believe it! I have wings—beautiful, sparkling, pink wings!”
Flutter smiled as she landed softly next to Dilly. “Of course. How else could you fly? You would like to fly, wouldn't you?”....