One brother

Frances Margaret Fox, Mother Nature’s little ones, Boston, L. C. Page & company, 1903, p. 69-70

The Caddis Worm had never seen his mother. Where she was or what she looked like, he didn’t know. No that he ever asked any questions. Little folks who live in ponds and streams learn to keep out of the way and say nothing. It wouldn’t be safe for them to talk too much or they might be eaten up by some hungry creature, fond of children. It frghtened the Caddis Worm to even see a fish go swimming by, because he knew that fishes swalloned babies like him.

He and a great many brothers and sisters were hatched at the same time from eggs that had been left on the floating-leaf of a water-plant. They knew without being told that they must make mittle house for themselves to live in.

One brother was a slow-poke, though, and while he was wasting his time, along came a pollywog, and down went the little brother right into the pollywog’s stomach. Another little brother was making fun of one of the sisters because the house she was trying to make of sticks didn’t look pretty, when along came a minnow and down went that little brother : never was seen again. Another little brother was silly enough to listen to a tadpole who said, «  Why do you make a house for yourself to live in ? You are such a handsome fellow- so slender and wriggling ! You ought not to hide youself away where folks like me cannot see you ! Do come closer and see how clumsy I am ! » That silly little brother went closer, and then he never was seen again, because the tadpole swallowed him as quickly as any old toad ever swallowed a fly.

Another little brother said he guesses he wouldn’t make a house because it was so much pleasanter to swim around the pond without one. It wasn’t any time at all before a giant water-bug saw him and ate him up.

It is hard to tell what might have become of the Caddis Worm if he had not been wiser than the little brothers. He built his house before he ate breakfast. This house, or case, was long and round as the Caddis Worm’s body. It was made of tiny stones and grains of sand fastened together with stickly silk, which the strange baby knew how to spin, though no one had ever taught him.

He might have made the house of sticks or leaves, or even of water-snail shells as many of the brothers and sisters did, but he liked stones and sand better.

Inside the house he was safe and happy. He could crawl about the bottom of the pond or go swimming house and all. When he was hungry he fed on water-plants. There wasn’t much danger of anything happening to his head, because it was so tough and horny ; and the wisest fish would never dream that inside that long, round house of stones and sand was anything good to eat.