The Butterfly, the Whale and the Pineapple

By Ed Wallace

The soft light of the cool autumn sun fades as it bathes the feast, the last of the winds give gentle caresses to leaves all the colours of flame. All the fallen fruit has been gathered and the mighty storms recede for another season. A time for food and feast, tale and tradition.

‘Gather little ones, and I shall tell you the tale of how the great fruit storms came to be.

Many great long years ago, when the world and the sea and the sky were young, before the trees had learnt to shed their fruit, there lived a clever Butterfly. This Butterfly was a vain creature and he greatly desired to eat the biggest fruit of all: the pineapple. Yet he could not, for he was just a butterfly and could not pluck even the tiniest of berries. However the Butterfly was not disheartened that he could not lift the pineapple from its seat, for the Butterfly was cunning and formed a cunning plan.

Out the Butterfly flew, over the wide blue sea and back for many days until he found a whale. “oh mister whale, with tail so broad and mighty to beat the ocean blue. Can you lend me some of your prodigious strength?” asked the Butterfly. The whale was greatly flattered by the Butterfly’s words, which of course was the purpose of them in his plan so shrewd and cunning. “Whatever do you need it for, little Butterfly that soars the wind and sky?” The great whale asked.

“I wish to pluck a pineapple, for me to eat.” The whale chuckled at this and sent a spray high from his blowhole. “Alas little Butterfly,” the whale replied “I cannot spare my mighty strength for I have needs of it to swim the ocean blue.”

Still the clever Butterfly was not disheartened. For another plan had formed inside his clever head. Down he flew, when next the whale surfaced and scritched and scratched and danced about the whale’s blowhole until it gave a tremendous sneeze. The nimble Butterfly swooped around and flapped his tiny wings, causing a mighty wind to blow.

The wind and water from the whale’s sneeze mingled in the air, and caught up together to form the first storm. Which rushed ashore and broke upon the jungle, scattering all the fruits of the jungle to the leafy floor for all creatures, even the tiny butterflies, to eat alike. And ever since the storms have formed and swept to the shore and knocked the fruits of tree and bush, on to the jungle floor.’

The elaborate dance of painted actors and leafy costumes whirls as the story ends. Crowds of dancers part to reveal the ceremonial pineapple, hoisted on a thin cord. A dancer daubed in every hue of blue whirls forwards with a curving knife shaped like a butterfly’s wing. A pineapple, neatly severed from its stalk, drops to the table top below.


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