DOWN BELOW the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of waterbugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did not notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more….

Finally, one of the waterbugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea,” he said, “the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

One spring day, not long after, the very waterbug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and had fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above. When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail….

The dragonfly remembered the promise he had made when he had been a waterbug: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where and she went and why.”
Without thinking, the dragonfly started down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly he could no longer go into the water.

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least I tried, but I cannot keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the waterbugs would know me in my new body. I guess I will just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.