EARLY one wet morning, a long Earthworm came out of his
burrow. He did not really leave it, but he dragged most of
his body out, and let just the tip-end of it stay in the
earth. Not having any eyes, he could not see the heavy, gray
clouds that filled the sky, nor the milkweed stalks, so
heavy with rain-drops that they drooped their pink heads. He
could not see these things, but he could feel the soft, damp
grass, and the cool, clear air, and as for seeing, why,
Earthworms never do have eyes, and never think of wanting
them, any more than you would want six legs, or feelers on
 This Earthworm had been out of his burrow only a little
while, when there was a flutter and a rush, and Something
flew down from the sky and bit his poor body in two. Oh, how
it hurt! Both halves of him wriggled and twisted with pain,
and there is no telling what might have become of them if
another and bigger Something had not come rushing down to
drive the first Something away. So there the poor Earthworm
lay, in two aching, wriggling pieces, and although it had
been easy enough to bite him in two, nothing in the world
could ever bite him into one.
After a while the aching stopped, and he had time to think.
It was very hard to decide what he ought to do. You can see
just how puzzling it must have been, for, if you should
suddenly find yourself two people instead of one, you would
not know which one was which. At this very minute, who
should come along but the
 Cicada, and one of the Earthworm
pieces asked his advice. The Cicada thought that he was the
very person to advise in such a case, because he had had
such a puzzling time himself. So he said in a very knowing
way: "Pooh! That is a simple matter. I thought I was two
Cicadas once, but I wasn't. The thinking, moving part is the
real one, whatever happens, so that part of the Worm which
thinks and moves is the real Worm."
"I am the thinking part," cried each of the pieces.
The Cicada rubbed his head with his front legs, he was so
"And I am the moving part," cried each of the pieces, giving
a little wriggle to prove it.
"Well, well, well, well!" exclaimed the Cicada, "I believe I
don't know how to settle this. I will call the Garter
Snake," and he flew off to get him.
A very queer couple they made, the
 Garter Snake and the
Cicada, as they came hurrying back from the Snake's home.
The Garter Snake was quite excited. "Such a thing has not
happened in our meadow for a long time," he said, "and it is
a good thing there is somebody here to explain it to you, or
you would be dreadfully frightened. My family is related to
the Worms, and I know. Both of you pieces are Worms now. The
bitten ends will soon be well, and you can keep house side
by side, if you don't want to live together."
"Well," said the Earthworms, "if we are no longer the same
Worm, but two Worms, are we related to each other? Are we
brothers, or what?"
"Why," answered the Garter Snake, with a funny little smile,
"I think you might call yourselves half-brothers." And to
this day they are known as "the Earthworm half-brothers."
They are very fond of each other and are always seen
 A jolly young Grasshopper, who is a great eater and thinks
rather too much about food,
said he wouldn't mind being
bitten into two Grasshoppers, if it would give him two
stomachs and let him eat twice as much.
The Cicada told the Garter Snake this one day, and the
Garter Snake said: "Tell him not to try it. The Earthworms
are the only meadow people who can live after being bitten
in two that way. The rest of us have to be one, or nothing.
And as for having two stomachs, he is just as well off with
one, for if he had two, he would get twice as hungry."