Frederick the Fearful

by Sarah D Kirchner on November 7, 2019


Lady Bug cartoon
Photo Courtesy of


by Gabriela Baron ’20


Frederick the fearful ladybug never learned how to fly. Even his younger sister, Petunia, had mastered the skill. Frederick was among the very few ladybugs that never seemed to mind staying on land.

“C’mon, you gotta learn to be brave, bud!” Frederick’s friend, Duke, exclaimed.

“Dukie, I don’t think you understand the amount of danger I could be in at such extreme heights. What if I get my antenna caught in a tree? Heck, I could forget to flap my wings together and drop straight to the ground. Not to mention the exercise! I’m not built to do that kind of strenuous activity.”

“Ok listen, Mr. Smarty,” said Duke, with a ping of annoyance in his voice. “I’m one of the toughest around here and I really can’t be seen with someone who doesn’t have the spots to take a risk. I mean it will totally RUIN my macho reputation. Besides, asking your friend who is a ladybug to fly shouldn’t be, you know, that absorb.”

“I think you mean absurd,” the frustrated Frederick corrected. “And I don’t see how my actions reflect your life. As my BFF (Bug Friend Forever) you should support me in my views.”

Seeing that the conversation was not going to get resolved today, Duke flew away, knowing that Frederick would not be able to follow him.


The next day, Frederick crawled out from his leaf hut and looked up to see his friends playing bug, bug, butterfly (their version of duck, duck, goose) in the sky. He longed to join them. But the cons outweighed the pros. He had heard stories of new fliers crashing into one another because they didn’t know how to steer and turn correctly. Sometimes crashes even occurred with experienced fliers who had drunk too much mildew and lost control of their coordination. It was all too much for him to think about.

“Hey, Freddy, I’m sorry about yesterday,” Duke said, descending back to the moist earth.

“No, you’re right, Dukie. It is absurd that I can’t fly.”

“Don’t feel bad. I understand why you are circus.”

“You mean nervous?”

“Whatever. I just want you to know that I am here for ya no matter what.”

“Thanks, I just don’t know what I should do.”

“Well, bud, you’re scared of things that haven’t happened yet. Look up: there’s a whole world your bug eyes have never seen. If you don’t take flight, you’ll be missing out. Sure, you’ll be safe in your leaf hut, but do you always want to be living that way, Freddy?”

Frederick couldn’t believe these words came out of Duke’s mouth. Maybe, for once he had a point.

“I’m not courageous like you are. You’re not scared of anything.”

“That’s not true. I’m scared of a lot of things, like losing my muscular body when I’m older.”

“Wow, how scary,” Frederick said, knowing Duke wouldn’t catch the sarcasm.

“I know it is but look at me anyways! Living each day without fear controlling me,” said Duke.

Even though Duke’s example wasn’t inspirational by any means, Frederick didn’t want to be labeled as fearful anymore. He just wanted to be Freddy. He knew today wasn’t the day he would try to fly. But he did decide that he would like to learn.