The water bugs that lived in the bottom of the pond were a happy lot. But they were also puzzled over why a few bugs climbed up the stalks of the reeds and disappeared.

In the midst of a dense green forest was a tranquil pond inhabited by a community of water bugs. A thick layer of soft mud had collected over a period of time at the bottom of the pond. Here, water bugs scurried about unaware of the outside world and what it held. In their own way, they were a happy, contented lot.

Now and then, a water bug would cling to the stalk of a water lily and laboriously work its way up and disappear from view. One day, a lady water bug was spied moving slowly up the lily stalk.

“What is she up to?” asked a water bug.

“Why is she climbing up the stalk?” another wanted to know.

“Where is she going?” a third enquired.

There were no answers.

A change

The leader of the community, whose wisdom everyone respected, gathered her puzzled fellow bugs together and addressed them. “I would like to share my thoughts with you. The next one to go up the stalk must return to tell us where and why he or she went, and what lies beyond our world.”

The listeners cheered their leader for her great idea and swore to do as she bid.

Soon after the meeting, on a warm spring day, the leader herself clung to the slippery stalk of a water lily. Slowly but steadily, she moved up, up, up. It wasn’t easy. Several times, she slipped but determinedly climbed on, till she reached the surface of the water. Exhausted by her efforts, she dropped on the big round leaf.

After a long sleep, she realised that she felt different. She looked at herself and was amazed at the transformation. She had grown four silver rings and a long, slim body. She was a bit moist but the warm rays of the sun soon dried her newly formed body. She felt a great urge to fly. She moved her wings, a bit nervously. Then, gaining confidence, she tried again and found herself rising up in the air without much effort. She rejoiced in her new found freedom. It was a heady experience and she flitted about, almost intoxicated. The dragonfly — for that was what she had turned into tried all kinds of aerobatics, thoroughly enjoying herself. All this exercise tired her and she landed on a lily leaf to rest, idly looking around. She happened to look down. Through the clear water the pond bed was visible. From her position above, she spotted the water bug community below, hard at work as usual. Not long ago, she had been a part of that group. She recollected the words she had spoken and the oath they had all taken.

The water bug-turned-dragon fly was a creature of honour. “I can’t break my promise. I must return to my fellow water bugs and explain all that has happened.” Shirking off her lethargy, she dived into the water, or at least tried to!

Alas! She had barely touched the surface of the water when she bounced back. She made several attempts but failed each time. She was terribly distressed. It took her a while to understand that now she was a dragon fly, she could no longer go to the pond bed. “Well, my new body prevents me from going to my friends. At least I tried my best to keep my promise,” she consoled herself. “Even if I could go back, none of them would recognise me in my new guise. I guess I will have to wait until they too become dragon flies and understand why I was unable to return.”

She flew off, winging her way higher and higher into the wonderful world of warmth and light that her transformation had brought her to.

Moral: In life, there is no going back; only moving ahead.