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     Sometimes, Charlie's friends came to visit while he was in the bottle. As he moved about within its glass walls, he appeared to be different than he really was. Pleased with all of the attention he received, he would do silly things to make his friends laugh. Charlie loved being the center of attention and his friends' laughter made him feel important. Then, the bottle seemed to whisper, "Charlie, when you are with me, you are a very, very special caterpillar." And Charlie felt, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true.

 


      By the end of the summer, Charlie seldom left the bottle. It had become more important than the warmth of the sunlight, more important than the companionship of his friends, even more important than the Valley of Promises itself. He began to depend on the bottle for all of his needs. It had become his home.

     With the coming of fall, the world outside the bottle began to change. Cold winds swept down from the north. Green plants turned brown and died. There was a rush of activity among the caterpillars for they knew that they, too, must change with the seasons and prepare for the winter to come.

     On the final day of preparation, Charlie's friends went to the bottle and called to him, "Charlie, please come out before it is too late. We must get ready to receive The Promise."

     Surrounded by the warm glow, Charlie gazed out upon the barren valley. "I would be foolish to leave this warm, safe place and go out into the cold with you. I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here." Laden with sorrow, Charlie's friends turned away from him in hopelessness and returned to their tasks.

     One day, as Charlie gazed out upon the snow covered valley, the bottle again spoke to him, "Charlie, you have seen your friends suffer from the cold in their quest for The Promise while you have remained here, warm and safe, with me. Surely by now, you know that I am better for you than an empty promise."

     And Charlie knew, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true. On that day, Charlie deserted his belief in The Promise, and surrendered his dreams to the control of the brown bottle.

 

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