I was out in the garden picking strawberries and the little boys had come along.  I think it really had been their original intention to help pick, but the job was boring and the insects much more enticing.  Junior had a tent caterpillar and a gypsy moth caterpillar, which he was keeping for the purpose of racing.  In the meantime he was playing make-believe.

“Pretend this caterpillar is an alien.” (I had never thought of that. I guess if there were aliens they might look very much like ordinary caterpillars.)

“It comes from Alienland, which is like a different country except that it’s not in this world.”

That was a few weeks ago.  Two days ago I was picking gooseberries and once again accompanied by Junior, who had come along to help but quit after a few scratches from the thorn bush.  I discovered a tiny snail on a berry and gave it to him.  A few minutes (and questions) later I found a big one, with all its parts tucked in.  I gave it to him, and was rewarded with a detailed report of its emergence.  And then…

“Pretend this snail is an alien.”

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