Franz Kafka’s Very Hungry Beetle
By Peter Thompson (with apologies to Eric Carle)
For my sister Greta
In the light of the moon a little man lay in his bed
On Monday morning the warm sun came up and – pop!- instead of a man there was a very hungry beetle.
He wondered what was wrong with him and started to look for some food.
On Tuesday his little sister was very upset and she brought him some milk with little pieces of bread, but he was still hungry
On Wednesday his sister brought him a selection of things: half-rotten vegetables and bones from the evening meal, but he was still hungry.
On Thursday, after her work, his sister brought him some mouldy old cheese that he had rejected before but that he now liked very much. He ate through it happily, but he was still hungry.
On Friday his sister brought him some old bread with butter and salt on it, but he was still hungry.
On Saturday his sister brought him some raisins, some almonds, some more cheese, another piece of dry bread, a bowl of water, some old white sauce, but he was still hungry.
The next day was Sunday again and he tried to eat through a nice, fresh, green leaf but it made him feel sick.
Now he wasn’t hungry any more and rather than being a very hungry beetle he felt as though he was wasting away. His sister didn’t come with any more food.
He withdrew into himself, into a small house or a cocoon and there he died. The cleaning lady threw him in the bin.
But now at last his sister was free and before anyone noticed she pushed her way out of the flat into the sunshine and fresh air where she became a beautiful butterfly!