Isaac hadn’t been walking long, when he met a little red ladybug walking slowly through the forest. “Hello,” he said. “Where are you going?”
“Hello,” the ladybug said. “I’m taking a basket of treats to share with my grandmother.”
And indeed, Isaac saw that the ladybug was carrying a large basket. He suddenly realized that he was rather hungry. “What kinds of treats?” he asked.
The ladybug clutched the basket a little closer. “They’re not for you,” she said. “They’re for my grandmother. She lives at the end of the path deep in the woods and doesn’t get treats often. Don’t be greedy.”
“I wasn’t going to take any,” Isaac said. And as the ladybug was walking really slowly, Isaac left her behind and kept walking.
Before long, he found a house made of dried grass and leaves. “That looks like a ladybug house,” he said to himself. He knocked gently on the door. It looked rather brittle. The dry grass rustled as an old ladybug answered the door.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Isaac. I’m lost. Can you give me directions?”
“Where do you want to go?” the old ladybug asked.
“Home. If you could just tell me how to get out of the cave, I can get home from there,” Isaac said.
“This is a house,” the ladybug said. “It’s not a cave. It may be small, but there is no need to be insulting.”
“It’s a very nice house,” Isaac said. “But it’s inside a cave.”
“No, it’s inside a forest,” the ladybug said. She looked nervous.
“But the forest is inside a cave,” Isaac said. “It’s not really a forest either. It’s a potted plant.”
The ladybug looked even more nervous. “I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” she said in a shaky voice. She started to close the door.
“Wait,” Isaac said. He caught the edge of the door. The dried grass ripped and crumbled. The door folded in on itself.
“Help!” the old ladybug shrieked. “Help me!” She dashed into the house and darted under a bed in the corner.
“I’m sorry about the door,” Isaac said. “I could help you fix it.” He stepped just inside the door and looked around. The house was all one room, with a bed in one corner and a table next to it with two chairs. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he said.
The old ladybug didn’t reply. Isaac sighed and turned to leave. The little ladybug was standing just outside the door. She dropped her basket of treats. “You ate my grandmother,” she said. And then she started to scream. “Help! Help!”
“She’s just under the bed,” Isaac said. “I didn’t eat her.” But the little ladybug kept screaming.
Suddenly, there were crashing sounds coming from all around. A few moments later, an army of ants surrounded the little house. “He broke into my grandmother’s house and ate her,” the little ladybug wailed. The ants looked at the broken door, and then they looked at Isaac. They surrounded him and carried him away.
“Wait,” Isaac said. “I didn’t do it. She’s hiding under the bed.” The ants didn’t stop.
They carried him deeper into the forest, and stopped in front of a house built of twigs. They threw him inside and slammed the door. Isaac sat up and groaned. That hurt. He looked around. The house was just an empty room with a dirt floor. He could see out through the cracks between the twigs.
The twigs looked like someone had just stacked them together. If he pulled on the wrong one, the whole thing would come crashing down. Isaac smiled. He’d played a game like this at a friend’s house once, and he’d won.
If he found the right twig, he could pull it out of the wall and sneak away before the ants decided to punish him or eat him or whatever it was that they were planning. Isaac stood up and started pushing on the twigs one by one, just a tiny bit. If anything else moved, he stopped pushing.
Finally he found a twig low on the back wall that he could push out without disturbing anything else. He shoved it quickly out of place and crawled out of the little twig prison. And then, walking as quietly as he could, he slipped away into the forest.