The Little Ladybird

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(Portuguese Folk Tale – Adapted and translated by Dulce Rodrigues)The Little Ladybird

There was once a very nice and beautiful Ladybird who felt very sad though, for living alone. She had not yet met the charming husband of her dreams because Facebook had not yet been invented, and our little Ladybird could not afford having a social life.

But one day, when sweeping the kitchen, our little Ladybird found five cents. She was very happy with her treasure and went immediately to her neighbour’s and asked her:

“Tell me, my friend, what should I buy with these five cents?”

Her neighbour said: “Buy some cake.”

“No, they are too fattening”, replied the little Ladybird, who then went to the other neighbour’s and made the same question:

“Tell me, my friend, what should I buy with these five cents?”

“Buy a new dress, assorted collar and earrings, and sit by the window shouting: “Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

Ladybird looking out the windowThe little Ladybird followed the advice, and soon was she nicely dressed and sitting by the window shouting:

“Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

A Donkey passed nearby and said: “I do!”Donkey

“Let me hear your voice,” the little Ladybird said to him.

The Donkey brayed and the little Ladybird told him:

“Trot away, Donkey, you don’t make me a good husband, a better one I will choose.”

And the little Ladybird continued shouting at the window: “Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

A Dog passed then under the window and said: “I do!”

Dog“What do you eat?” the little Ladybird asked him.

The Dog barked: “I eat everything. I even feed on bones.”

“Trot away, Dog. You don’t make me a good husband, a better one I will choose,” the little Ladybird said, and she continued shouting at the window:

“Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

A Pig passed next and said: “I do!”

Pig“Where do you live?” the little Ladybird asked him.

“In a pigpen,” the Pig oinked.

“Trot way, Pig. You don’t make me a good husband, a better one I will choose.”

And our little Ladybird continued shouting at the window: “Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

A Bull passed and said: “I do!”

BullAnd the little Ladybird asked him: “What can you do?”

“I’m good at bullfighting,” the Bull mooed.

And the little Ladybird scared shouted:  “Trot away, Bull.  You don’t make me a good husband, a better one I will choose.”

Somehow disappointed for not finding a husband who could please her, our little Ladybird nevertheless shouted again: “Who wishes to marry the little Ladybird who is wealthy and beautiful?”

Then a handsome Rat passed by and said:  “I do, little Ladybird because you are wealthy and beautiful.”

Rat“Tell me, handsome Rat, what do you eat?” the little Ladybird asked.

“Because I have a sweet tooth, I eat only delicacies… Don’t you know that I’m John the Rat?” he said.

The little Ladybird then told him: “No other husband will I have. You are the one I will wed.”

And the marriage festivities soon started.

When going to the church on the wedding day, our little Ladybird suddenly remembered that she had forgotten her bridal flowers at home, and asked John the Rat to go back and get them for her.

John the Rat hurried to meet her bride’s request and ran back home. When he arrived there, an agreeable smell of food filled the air…

As he was a gluttonous eater, John the Rat could not resist the smell and went to the kitchen to taste what was inside the cooking pan.  He removed the lid and put a finger inside the pan. But with his finger he could still not taste the food, so he put his hand, then his arm… and he leaned so deeply over that he fell inside the cooking pan!

Tired of waiting for her bridegroom at the church, our little Ladybird then decided to go back home. She looked for John the Rat everywhere in the house but could not find him. Then a strange smell reached her nose and she headed to the kitchen. When she entered there, she saw the cooking pan lid lying aside… And a sad feeling struck her that something had happened to her beloved John the Rat.

She looked inside the cooking pan… In tears, our unhappy little Ladybird cried loud: “Oh my poor John the Rat! Oh my poor John the Rat, cooked alive in the cooking pot!”

Crying BrideAnd so ends the story of the little Ladybird who wanted to get married but, after too much a choice, picked up the wrong husband! As to John the Rat… Poor John, poor greedy Rat, he should know that gluttony as bad a quality is as vanity, and better an empty belly than a dead rat!

 

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Rating: 8.0/10 (67 votes cast)
The Little Ladybird, 8.0 out of 10 based on 67 ratings - Total nr. of readings: 8,808 Copyright © The author [2014] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.
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4 thoughts on “The Little Ladybird

  1. Jennie Wittenbach

    I really liked the repetition in this story, but I was not satisfied with the ending. I thought maybe the ladybug should go on to meet someone of her own kind and realize that that’s why she was not happy with the rat and his gluttony.

    Reply
    1. Dulce Rodrigues

      I understand your point of view but it is a tale of the Portuguese folk lore, and when it is the case I always hesitate to change too much, especially the “end”. Anyway, in stories for children fantasy is allowed and welcome, the same goes to a “marriage” between a ladybird and a rat. What I try to do, on the other hand, it to let some subtile moral pass thru all my stories (either those of my own imagination, or those I adapt). In this case it was the fact that she was a little vain and chose too much to find the convenient husband, and… we see the result. Though we all have our flaws… see “The cracked pot”.

      Reply

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