One Little Katydid

Once upon a time, there was a family of katydids who lived on a huge, green lawn. Theirs wasn’t the only family of katydids who lived on the lawn. In fact, there were thousands of other katydid families who shared the same lawn for eating, sleeping, sunning, and generally having a good time.

Life was indeed good for the katydids. They had plenty of grass to eat and very few enemies that tried to eat them. The lawn sprinklers came on once a day and gave them plenty to drink, along with a nice bath. On the whole, every day was a good day.

Except Wednesdays. Wednesday was mowing day. On Wednesday, gardeners came to cut the grass with their big, fast, powerful mowers. Nothing terrified the katydids more than a power mower coughing to life. Vrooom! Vroooooom! VROOOMMMM!!!!

The mowers especially scared the youngest daughter in the katydid family. Her name was Katie. (Katie was a most popular name for baby girl katydids.) What terrified Katie most were the whirling blades of the mower that sliced every insect in their path into microscopic bug clippings. The katydids had to hop for their lives every time the lawn mowers appeared.

The mowers so terrified Katie that her parents called a meeting of all the katydid families to discuss what could be done. The meeting was held between the double rows of boxwoods enclosing their lawn. There the katydids argued what to do. Many wanted to sabotage the mowers. Some suggested they chew holes into the mower’s gas lines. But others argued that katydids were too little and weak to tamper with mower engines.

Little Katie despaired of hearing what the katydids couldn’t do. “You’re right,” she said to the leaders of the katydid council. “Each of us alone is too small and weak to do anything about the mowers . . .”

A katydid elder interrupted. “That’s just what we were saying.”

“Please let me finish,” Katie pleaded. “While each of us is too small and weak on her own, if we all worked together, we could get rid of those nasty lawn mowers.”

“How are we going to do that?” said another katydid. “Lawn mowers are machines. We’re just frail little insects.”

Katie smiled. “Lawn mowers may be machines, but we have strength in numbers. Listen to me. I have a plan.” She told everyone about her plan. To Katie’s surprise, the other katydids liked it. Everyone decided that the following Wednesday would be the day when the katydids fought back.

The next Wednesday began just like every other Wednesday. Early in the morning, the gardeners started their power mowers. They drove them onto the katydids’ lawn. But instead of panicking, not one katydid could be seen hopping about the lawn. Everyone was unusually calm.

Calm, that is, until Katie gave the order. Just as the gardeners set to work, tens of thousands of katydids swarmed out of the hedges surrounding the lawn. They fell upon the gardeners and their mowers. Every katydid on the lawn took part. But not just the katydids living on the lawn. Katie had sent out word to all the neighboring lawns, fields, and forests. She asked all katydids living nearby to come and help.

And help they did. The katydids swarmed the gardeners. The gardeners swatted at them with their caps. The katydids tormented them so much that the gardeners jumped off their mowers and ran away. The katydids didn’t relent. They chased the gardeners for nearly a mile down the road. So terrifying was the experience that the gardeners never returned to work.

The lawn mowers themselves fared worse. The katydids chewed up all their wires and fuel lines. None worked again.

Katie was a hero. She alone recognized what could be accomplished when everyone worked together. And the lawn never even needed mowing again. The katydids (munch, munch!) made sure the grass was trimmed neatly every day.