The caterpillar and the queen

Twelve-year-old Ezara-Mai comes to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for treatment for juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare condition that affects her muscles and skin. She is also an ambassador for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, helping to increase awareness of GOSH and the charity and fundraising to help other patients like her.

Ezara-Mai and her classmates recently wrote some stories inspired by the ward names at the hospital, which are named after animals.This week, Oona celebrates Caterpillar ward, and tells of the quest of two ice cream-making caterpillars to find a sweet treat fit for a queen.

Lettice the caterpillar burped appreciatively at the watercress praline ice cream she'd just tasted. Lettice and her father, Cabbage, were famous ice cream makers.

"Oh great, the tulip is ringing," said Cabbage. He went to answer it. When he returned to the kitchen, he had a frantic expression on his wrinkled red face. "Oh no, oh no, oh .... "

"What's wrong?" asked Lettice.

"You won't believe it. We have to get some rare licorice from the other side of the world. And in just three days!"

"But why?" said Lettice.

"Because the queen dragonfly wants us to make the ice cream for her 91st birthday. Pack your bag!"

"I'm ready," said Lettice excitedly. "I've packed some socks, chocolate, and some chips."

"Well then, get the flying leaf. We're off!" said Cabbage. As they flew over trees and rooftops, their antennae waved in the howling wind.

"I'm hungry," complained Lettice. She began to chomp on their flying leaf. A few seconds later they crashed into a lush green clearing just off the coast.

"Sorry. It was so delicious," Lettice said.

"Stay still," hissed Cabbage. "There's a little girl looking at us."

"Look, Daddy. Look, Mommy. I've found some caterpillars," said the girl. She picked them up. But as she was carrying them, the sea wind blew them out of her hand and off the cliff.

Luckily Lettice had her socks to use as parachutes. They landed in a sailboat below. The wind pushed the boat off and they sailed for a night with their bodies swaying to the rhythm of the sparkling blue waves. By morning, the salad snack Cabbage had packed ran out. "We don't have anything to eat!" said Cabbage.

"Except the chocolate and the chips I brought," laughed Lettice.

"Where are we!?" Cabbage exclaimed, looking at his map.

"Land ahoy," shouted Lettice, pretending to be a pirate.

As Lettice was talking, a big gust of wind blew them onto an island. The caterpillars flew into the air and landed in a tree. "Look at that!" said Lettice.

"That's the licorice!" said Cabbage. "We found it!" They picked a few.

"What's the day?" asked Lettice.

"Oh gosh it's Tuesday," said Cabbage.

They saw a seagull bobbing in the waves just off the island. Lettice waved one of her chips in the air. He came over, they wiggled onto his back, Lettice offered him the chip, and he flew off.

By the time they landed back at home it was the night before the party, so they set to work making the ice cream. They chopped the licorice and mixed it with white ice. They worked until the next morning.

"It's the queen's birthday at 8 o'clock," said Cabbage drowsily. They grabbed the ice cream out of the freezer and set off to the queen dragonfly's birthday party. She was just telling her guests about the pudding, and the caterpillars dashed in just as the queen said "ice cream." And they all stuffed their bellies. Especially the caterpillars. 

Ezara-Mai is printing out the stories and collecting them into a book, which she will offer locally for a suggested donation to the charity. If you’re interested in raising money to help seriously ill children at GOSH, take a look at some of our fundraising ideas.