‘Hope For The Flowers’ by Trina Paulus, is a book about an ambitious caterpillar called Stripe, who decides to climb a mountainous pillar of caterpillars, all of whom are clambering over each other trying to get the top. Stripe hurls himself into the pile and as he begins his arduous ascent he asks a fellow climber ‘What is at the top anyway?’ In response he is told that no one really knows but it must be wonderful because everyone is trying to get up there.
Stripe sets to discover the truth for himself but he finds the climb a tremendous struggle as he is pushed and shoved and walked on and over from every direction. In his determined effort to succeed he steps on others and uses them to gain height and leverage. ‘It’s every one for himself,’ Stripe says, ‘and you’ve just got to make up your mind and just do it.’
Eventually, Stripe nears the top of the pile and he can see the way ahead more clearly, but what he sees dismays him. He can see there’s a tremendous pressure from the ones at the top of the pillar to hang on and this causes the pillar to shake violently, sending many of the climbers crashing to the death below. The mystery of the mountain is suddenly revealed to Stripe as he hears an incredulous voice from the one at the summit say, ‘There is nothing here at all!’ Another following closely behind answers, ‘Quiet! Everyone will hear you. We are where they want to be. That’s what’s here!’
Stripe suddenly realises that he is so high up and yet, he is not high up at all! Things only looked wonderful from the bottom, and at the top he realises that he has wasted his life climbing the wrong mountain.