Rebecca Rice, Exploring God’s Out-of-Door, Boston & Chicago, The Pilgrim Press, (1933), 1935, p. 37-39.
A Little Stone House
Peter lay on his stomach on a big flat rock beside a little pond. It was a lovely place, and as Peter lay there he made believe that the pond was his big mirror. In it he could see the sky and the tall trees. He could see the big blue and black dragon flies with their gauzy wings darting over the little pool. They looked so much like little airplanes thet he made believe that they were his. He owned a whole fleet of them. Them he looked down into the water. There were some pudgy polliwogs just below him, but they were not afraid because Peter kept so still that not even his shadow on the water stirred.
Suddenly Peter saw a bit of the bottom of the pool move. He could scarcely believe his eyes. Perhaps it was only a shadow. He looked more closely, and this time he could see that it was no shadaw. It looked like a little group of pebbles. Very quietly Peter put his hand into the water. Away went the polliwogs very much afraid, but the pebbles did not move. Peter picked them up between this thumb and forefinger and looked at them. They made a tiny case that looked as if made of pebbles glued together, and inside it there was something alive. Peter had never seen anything of this kind before, and he wanted to find out all about it. He dropped it into the tin can he always brought to the pond with him, and ran off as fast as his legs would carry him. He ran home so fast that he lost more than half the water in the can, but he didn’t lose the curious little case made of pebbles, all glued together.
« Mother ! Mother ! » he cried as he ran upstairs dripping water behind him, « I have found something funny. Look ! What is it ? »
« It is a caddis worm, » she told him. Isn’t he an interesting little fellow ? »
« Tell me about it, » he begged, sttling himself comfortably at her feet. Please. » Peter had discovered that the world « Please » often acted like magic in bringing him the things he wanted.
« Once upon a time, » began his mother, « not many days ago , a tiny egg was put into the pool, and out of that egg hatched a curious little creature called a caddis worm. He was little and soft, and would have made a nice breakfast for a baby frog or a baby dragon fly had ome of them happened to see him. He must have fely very unsafe, for right away he began tuo make for himself a house.
« He had never heard the story of the three pigs that made their homes of cabbage, straw, and brick, and he had never heard that men build houses by cementing stones together, but he must have felt that stone was good material, for that was what he used. The bits of stone came from the bottom of the pool, but the cement came rom his own body. Like men, he built a front door and a back door. When there seemed no danger he stuc khis head and six legs out the front door, but unlike men, wherever he went he carried his house with him. Look, that is what he is doing now. »
« Does he ever go out the back door ? » asked Peter, touching him gently with a twig.
Instantly the worm drew his head and six legs into his house. Peter’s mother picked the little stone case from the water and turne dit so the little boy could see the back door.
‘There are two little hooks there, » said Peter.
« They hold him in his house so that enemies cannot pull him out easily, » explained his mother. « Sometimes they cannot see him at all. Can you telle me why ? »
« I couldn’t see him that is, at first, » said Peter. « It was not till he started on a walk. He looked just like the bottom of the pond. I should never have seen him if he hadh’t walked. »
« That is why he is so safe, » replied his mother with a smile, for she was glad that peter had such good eyes, « but suppose he did move, and a hungry little creature saw his head and feet sticking out. « Here is something delicious for my afternoon tea ! it might think, but as soon as iot opened its mouth to gobble him up all it would find would be-«
« A little stone house », chuckled Peter. « Oh, wouldn’t it be surprised ? »
« And no one wants a stone in place of bread, » laughed his mother. For several days the caddis worm lived in Peter’s pail and ate the water plants the little boy gave him. One day when Peter came to look for him he thought the caddis worm was dead for it did not move.
« Mother, » he cried, « my caddis worm is dead. It won’t walk. It won’t even wriggle. »
His mother took the worm between her thumb and forefinger and looked ai it. Then she smiled.
« Look, » she said, « he is not dead ; he is resting. He has shut his doors with like silk curtains. When he wakes up he will surprise you. »
She tied a piece of moquito netting over the top of the jar, but shed id not tell Peter why. He could hardly wait to see what surprise his caddis worm had for him.
One morning when Peter came to look, the little stone house was empty. The silk door was torn away. Clinging to the mosquito netting at the top of the jar was a curious fly with long gray wings folded over its back.
« Where is my caddis worm ? » asked Peter. « His stone house is empty. »
« He will no longer need a little stone house to live in, » replied his mother, « and never again will he live in the pool. There is your caddis worm. » She pointed to the gray insect that was clinging to the mosquito netting. « Now we call him a caddis fly. »
« But who taught him to make the little stone house ? » asked Peter.
« Can’t you tell me ? » asked his mother.
« It must have been God, » replied Peter, his eyes round with wonder.
« Does God like such tiny things as caddis worms, and does he take care of them ? »
« God has many curious ways of taking care of his creatures, » replied his mother. « There are many he protects by making them look like the things about them. Perhaps you can find other ways God has of taking care of his little living things. »
« I am going to find out, » promise Peter. « I am going to find out. »