It was not like the usual caterpillars she would see in her backyard. Typically, they were tent caterpillars, smaller dark creatures with blue and green patterns along their back.
She had seen fuzzy ones like this before, but they were usually patterned in black and yellow stripes that lent them the appearance of a bumblebee, presumably as camouflage against inattentive predators.
This one was like a fuzzy ember left over from a forgotten fire pit. She reached out a tentative figure and touched the soft orange fuzz.
The caterpillar moved and she could see it's black, ugly little face as it squirmed along the ground.
She touched it again, a smile spreading across her face, and watched as a bright emerald of waste dangled and dropped from the creatures back end.
At first, it seemed an odd colour for excrement, but on a diet of leaves and plant life, the colour probably made sense. Why wouldn't it be green?
Still, it looked hard, almost like it could actually be an emerald, a jewel from the ember colored critter.
She imagined herself
following the creature around the garden and collecting it's droppings, then having them set in a beautiful mount of white gold.
"Where did you find such lovely jewels?" her friends would ask with envy.
It would be her little secret of course. She reached out to grab the little stone, then realized the ridiculousness of her plan. A ring of worm crap? Silk was one thing, but this was just a tiny speck of green poop.
With a hearty laugh and a shake of her head, she returned to her gardening.
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