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God's little creatures

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Ladybugs make me smile, but for an odd reason.   

A ladybug is called 'lieveheersbeestje' in Dutch. 'Lieve heer' means 'dear lord', and 'beestje' means 'little creature'. God's little creature, basically. Quite a name for such a small insect. However, in the area where I grew up, it is known as a 'kukeluusje'. I don't know what that means, but that doesn't matter for now. The people there think that no animal is worthy of carrying the Lord's name; especially something as insignificant as a bug. I'm not a religious person, so I always laugh at this quirky thing that can be found in the local dialect. My mother does not.  

'Don't call it that!' she often snapped at my sister, when both of us were still little and cute.  

That made my sis cry: 'but I like "kukeluusje"!' Then she would go on a ramble, shouting that all her friends called it 'kukeluusje' too and that therefore, so should she. Lovely children's logic.

Mum is an atheist, like me, but living in the Dutch Bible Belt has made her much more petulant towards religious habits than I am. 'A ridiculous name for a ridiculous reason,' she snorted in reply, crossing her arms to give her disapproval even more 'oomph'. An atheist insisting on using the word ‘God’ – is it okay to find that funny? 

One day, many years later, one of the high schools burned down - not mine, luckily. It happened during New Year's Eve, probably done by some kids who were fed up by this regime called 'education' that kept them under the thumb. The fire had reduced the building to nothing more than an empty skeleton. Ashes were swept up by the wind, making it look like the sky was filled with dark butterflies if you didn't know any better.   

Within these shades of grey - not fifty, but it was close to that - there were some dots of red. Ladybugs coloured the grim scene, no longer wanting to hibernate since their simple logic told them that the heat that had awakened them was caused by the arrival of spring. Man, they must have been so disappointed.  

One night – that was all that was needed to burn down a place of knowledge. If we can lose something so important so easily, what does that say about us? The ladybugs, on the other hand, weren't affected by the event at all. Well, except for having the morning blues, if they can feel such things. So since then, every time I see a 'kukeluusje', I have to think about that night. It makes me smile.  

Mum was right. 'God's little creatures' sounds like a perfect name for them.  

 

OfOneSoul came up with a challenge to write a short story which must contain the words: ladybug, fire, hibernate. And hey, look what I did, rather quick and dirty! And it's not even fantasy, holy shizzle... Still don't know if it's a good idea to put this in my gallery, since I don't think it's very good, but I don't want to throw it in the trash bin either. Oh well, at least I had fun writing it.

Anyway, this thing is not very creative, since most of it is based on childhood memories. The part about kukeluusje (and not being allowed to use that word) is true, just like the high school that burned down. But ladybugs waking up thanks to a fire? Nah.

Also; I'm still an atheist and I'm very happy about that. Please don't try to make me change my mind. It will not work anyway ;)
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© 2015 - 2020 queenofeagles
Comments31
anonymous's avatar
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ElvinGearMaster's avatar
ElvinGearMasterHobbyist General Artist
So that's where the Afrikaans name comes from. We also call them that, but spelt in a different way. Liewenheersbesie.
A lovely story. It would have been funny if the Lady bugs did wake up. (Do they even hibernate? O_o )
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Oh, I like your version of the word! Screw 'kukeluus', I'm going to use Afrikaans from now on! :D
Thank you! and to be honest: I have no idea... I had to use 'hibernate' though, and this was the easiest option.
ElvinGearMaster's avatar
ElvinGearMasterHobbyist General Artist
:D Well, it's pronounced much the same way.
Well, I'll be, they do hibernate!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
true, but the little differences does the trick for me ;)
Makes sense: now I know why I never see them in winter!
ElvinGearMaster's avatar
ElvinGearMasterHobbyist General Artist
It does. Makes me wonder how many other insects hibernate.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Good question! *flies to google*
ElvinGearMaster's avatar
ElvinGearMasterHobbyist General Artist
And? 
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
a lot. some butterflies, flies, beetles, more bugs, bumblebees (only the queen though)...
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K-naille's avatar
K-nailleHobbyist General Artist
Lovely story. It feels so sincere and true. It's a touching memory.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
:hug: thank you very much! I miss that place a bit - it was so... quirky XD Gave me lots of fun memories ;)
K-naille's avatar
K-nailleHobbyist General Artist
I can imagine that ;-)

You're welcome!
Lady-Abbington's avatar
Lady-AbbingtonStudent Filmographer
Interesting story. I love foreign words. I think my favorite is that the German for bat literally translates to "flutter mouse" xD

And by the way, C. S. Lewis was an atheist too.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
It means the same in Dutch ;) 'vleermuis'.  though I think it's less obvious, because 'vleer' is a bit old fashioned...
but Lewis was an atheist that turned to Christianity, right?
Lady-Abbington's avatar
Lady-AbbingtonStudent Filmographer
I love languages. :giggle:

Yup. :) Just throwing it out there. I don't know how many people knew that about him. I think it's interesting. Have you read his science fiction trilogy?
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
I had to double check it - I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that he wasn't always christian, but I wasn't sure... nope, I only read two Narnia books :')
Lady-Abbington's avatar
Lady-AbbingtonStudent Filmographer
Which two? :D Silver Chair was my favorite. X)

I read his science fiction trilogy when I was like eleven and it horrified me XD XD XD I should read it again.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
the lion, the witch and the wardrobe and the horse and his boy... can't remember the ending of the last one, so I'm not sure if I finished it XD

wow, and you kept on reading? don't think I would have done that...
Lady-Abbington's avatar
Lady-AbbingtonStudent Filmographer
Ooooh. Read the Silver Chair! *big puppy eyes*

Well, I couldn't finish the third one. XD XD
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
yes ma'am! *puts it on her 'to read' list* but do you need to read the narnia books in a certain order? or doesn't that really matter for the silver chair?
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LE2's avatar
There's an English nursery rhyme that's very similar to this story.

Ladybug ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one and that's Little Ann
For she crept under the frying pan

Also, the English name "Ladybug" (or Ladybird) is drawn from the Catholic term "Our Lady" referring to the Virgin Mary. So, religious leftovers there too.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
ahh, that's a rather sad little rhyme... I don't think little children will notice it when you sing it to them, but still; aawwhh :(

I didn't know that! Thanks for telling me; I already found 'ladybug' such a funny name, now I know why :nod:
LE2's avatar
Nursery rhymes tend to be sad when you think about them. "Rock-A-Bye Baby" is about a baby falling out of a tree. Humpty Dumpty falls off a wall. Jack and Jill fall down the hill. "Ring Around The Rosey" is about the Black Plague and "London Bridge" is about human sacrifice. 

I found some more info about the ladybug rhyme. Apparently, it was a warning for Catholics back in Elizabethian times when holding Catholic Mass was illegal. (Don't you hate it when family squabbles get out of hand and suddenly people are getting burned at the stake?)
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
The Dutch ones I know tend to be quite happy, or they made of some sort of gibberish no one understands... I could think of only one that was rather sad, about two rabbits of which one got shut by a huntsman.

oh my, such a sweet song and with such an evil message! There is something interesting about subtle threats, but that's really dark... But at least it ends with a nice fire :)
OfOneSoul's avatar
OfOneSoulHobbyist Writer
Thanks for sharing, love! It was a great piece. :heart:
anonymous's avatar
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