I witnessed in my own yard an incident between two unlikely creatures, a praying mantis and a hummingbird. As seen in the photo, the praying mantis is clinging upside down to the hummingbird tube feeder. Each day she would do this and the hummingbird would come to try to feed and be frightened away. As he darted towards the nectar, the mantis would actually take a swing at him. It was amusing to watch, yet the feeder was there for the bird and so each time we saw this happen, we used a yardstick, carefully lifted the mantis away and laid her gently in the yard. A quick corraling of the family kitties was necessary then, so as to also protect the mantis from them. After all, they are all God's little critters.

One day we came home from work to find the praying mantis in this same position, but in her front pinchers was the hummingbird, dead, choked to death. It was an unbelievable sight, almost too horrible to believe. In our shock and dismay, we used the same yardstick and whacked the praying mantis into the yard. Here kitty kitty!

I emailed this story to a friend and he in turn read into this a tragic love story, which he shared with me, and now I with you.

Loved to Death

Once upon a time, there was a mantis who was very serious and devout and was always praying. Now we all know that there is nothing wrong with being devout and praying, but he took himself too seriously.

It came about in the course of time, that the mantis realized that Summer was far gone, Fall was upon him and cruel Winter was soon to follow. This made the mantis even more serious, if that were possible, but it also made him want to grasp at life before it fleeted by him. It was as he was contemplating the hard winter that lay ahead that a most amazing thing occured: a beautiful, winged creature flew into his view.

With wings ablur, the irridescent beauty flitted effortlessly through the garden as though bouyed by the very joy of life as she tasted the nectar of many flowers. Soon the mantis found the hummingbird hovering very near him, pausing in her flight and examining him as though seeing such a creature for the first time.

The mantis at first went about his business as usual, praying and preying throughout the garden, but more and more he was aware of the nearness of the hummingbird. Just sharing the garden with the hummingbird seemed to make the ever shortening days even warmer and, before he knew it, his heart was lighter than it had ever been even in the Spring.

The mantis found himself wanting to see more and more of the beautiful hummingbird, and it seemed to him as though the hummingbird wished to do likewise. Less and less he lurked in the dark, shadowy recesses of the garden and more and more he came out to the light to see his (yes, he now thought of her as HIS) beautiful friend. He learned that he could crudely communicate with her despite the obvious distance between them, waving his large forelegs as she dipped and darted in reply.

The companionship of the hummingbird made the mantis so very happy, he longed to bridge the gap between them. He often pondered and wished to find a way for them to be together. More than anything, he wanted to embrace his beautiful hummingbird and hold her close to him and feel her soft warmth and share her joy of life.

He realized that the hummingbird frequently refreshed herself at a feeder hanging over the garden. He resolved to wait there and meet her to share a refreshing drink of that red stuff that she so enjoyed. Poised on the feeder, she soon flew into his view and seemed more than delighted to rush into his waiting embrace.

At the moment he found her in his grasp, he realized that at last he was the mantis he was meant to be; that this was the moment he had, without knowing it, waited for all his life. But he was just that, a mantis, and could not even at this moment deny his animal instincts. Giving way to nature, he squeezed her even tighter, until his loving embrace became a deathgrip.

Suddenly the mantis realized that the light of his own life as well as hers had been extinguished by his folly of his impetious actions of a moment. But he had not long to mourn his loss, for at that moment, the benevolent creature that had created the garden and provided the nectar smote him likewise to his death.

This story has been incorporated into another story by the same author.