This story begins underground. A grub called Nymph was digging for food. He’d been digging nearly seven years, eating, growing and waiting for the sound of summer. Nymph knew one day he'd hear it and leave the underground. He’d climb a tree, shed his skin and become Cicada. Then, together with a chorus of others, he’d fly around and sing for a mate. It was very lonely underground and this prospect excited Nymph very much. He longed to have some company.
Meanwhile, also underground, another insect was waiting for the sound of summer. He was called Wasp and he had been digging a deep burrow, flanked by rows of catacombs. Each of the catacombs was the perfect size to store a cicada. Wasp was a hunter and cicada his prey. He usually hunted by following a cicada’s song. When he found the singer he’d jump on its back and sting it with a poison that turned it to stone. It would fall to the ground and Wasp would fly down and drag the body to his burrow. It was hard work dragging cicada bodies to the burrow, for Wasp was much smaller than his prey. He was thinking about this when suddenly he was struck by a cunning idea. What if he learned to sing like a cicada? Instead of following the song he could sing it himself and cicadas would fly to him! So Wasp began practicing. At first he was very bad. But with practice he learned to sing just like a cicada.
Soon it was time. The sound of summer reached the ears of Nymph and he eagerly climbed to the surface. He crawled up a nearby tree and rested while his skin hardened into a shell. From the shell he emerged bright green with a stunning pair of glassy wings. Now he was Cicada. For a while he fanned his wings to dry in the sun, then he set off to find a mate. Very soon Cicada heard a beautiful song. It stirred his heart. Oh! He thought, this is it! And he followed the song with much enthusiasm. He followed the song some distance until he could see the tree from which it came. There he landed and looked around in anticipation. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain strike the back of his neck. By the time Cicada turned to see Wasp's grinning face, it was already too late. His body turned to stone and he fell to the ground. Wasp flew after him and dragged his body the short distance to his burrow. Wasp was thankful for the success of his plan. He slid Cicada into one of the underground catacombs and set off once again.
For many cicadas that was the end of the story. But this Cicada had a brave heart. For him, it was only the beginning. Though turned to stone his heart continued to beat and soon after Wasp left, he woke up.
It was very dark and Cicada could hardly see. Memories of Wasp’s face flashed before him and he realised what had happened. He had to escape. He wriggled his legs. It took much effort for they were turned to stone. But his heart beat strong and he was able to move them just enough to wriggle free of his grave and climb to top of the burrow. Once out he dragged himself to some nearby bushes and fiercely began massaging his crippled body. Eventually he was able to fly. But Cicada felt much pain in his body and fear in his mind. The fear was a greater disability than the pain. It left him unwilling to make even the slightest sound. Though he heard singing all around, though he watched cicadas find their mates, he could not bring himself to try again. He would not risk the pain of another Wasp. And in this way he drifted aimlessly from tree to tree.
Soon the afternoon sun descended toward the horizon and night approached. Cicada watched the last rays shine forth until the great ball of warmth and light disappeared altogether. At that precise moment, something peculiar occurred. As if by way of a switch, the sound of summer turned to silence. The once great roar of cicadas replaced by the odd cricket and the occasional owl. Cicada was stunned. Did his fellow insects not desire to search for a mate at night? Why should a little darkness bring an end to their singing? Cicada pondered this question for a long time. So long that he was still pondering when the first rays of sunlight peaked in the east. At that precise moment, the switch was turned and the sound of summer erupted again. Aha! Now Cicada understood! All this time he thought his task was to sing for a mate. And he was right. His task was indeed to sing for a mate. But not to a mate. Cicada understood that his fellow insects were not singing to each other, they were singing to the Sun.
So Cicada turned to the Sun. He sang with his heart and soul. He sang with his body and mind. In singing to the Sun his pain drifted, his fear followed. He sang to the Sun as it rose and he sang to the Sun as it set. He sang for many days, some more difficult than others. Then one day, while singing to the Sun, a great wind blew through the trees. Cicada turned to see a shape coming slowly towards him. The shape was singing a familiar song, indeed it sang the same song he did. It was another Cicada and it was his mate and together they sang to the Sun the rest of their days.