It will be easier for me to write this down instead of trying to articulate it to you. For one can spend long hours to find the right words to put into a letter, in contrast to speaking where one has to think of words in a moments time. However, a conversation with you is more precious than a perfect letter. Numerous times you have inquired about my past and upbringing. Unfortunately, you have asked at times when I was not in a state to relate such. In this letter I hope I shall be able to give you a clearer image of me.
As is customary, I will start at the beginning. I am the youngest of four sons of Baron Leon Bonapart. Leon, my father, is a descendant of a great military figure from some far away place. Supposedly, this figure was ambitious and powerful. He gained control over much territory before the population exiled him. He and his household settled somewhere far beyond Bug City and he built a large estate with a wall to shut out the world while he prepared for his chance to return. His chance never came, so he left it to his descendants to accomplish what he could not do. Leon inherited many of this figure's qualities and character. Ambition, shrewdness, courage, and determination were displayed in my father. He used these qualities of an expert general to run his household. Everything was run with precision and with an iron fist.
My mother on the other hand was quite the opposite of my father. Quiet, delicate, and patient were all virtues bestowed upon her. It amazes me still that she married father, but arranged marriages happen that way. She was always gentle with me and dear to me. I was her favorite son, because I spent most of my time with her. She taught me how to be polite, sensitive, refined, and chivalrous like a true gentleman. It is what I learned from my mother that separates me from my brothers.
Speaking of my brothers let me tell you about them. First, I will speak of my eldest brother, Phillipe Jacque Bonapart, who is the spitting image of my father. Leon's pride and joy. He was a tall ant with broad shoulders. Phillipe was a strong leader, but lacked mercy and compassion. He was egotistical and brutal. Phillipe tended to push my brothers and me around to prove to us how powerful he really was. Believe me, I respected such force.
The next brother is Jean Claude, the brilliant business-ant. Jean was gifted in running projects and making sure that they were sufficient. He was all about speeding things up at a low cost. He helped father in many matters dealing with amounts of food and so forth. Jean was capable of running the estate smoothly and sufficiently, if father would have allowed him.
Then there is Louis Pierre Bonapart; he was only two and half years older than I was, but much more intelligent than any of my brothers. Louis was a brilliant strategist, able to draw up battle plans that were genius. Father was most pleased by this. Although he was not as tall or strong as my other brothers were, Louis was still accepted by them because of his military interests.
Finally we come to me, Reynard Franscois Bonapart, the youngest and most fragile of all. I am relatively tall and exceptionally stronger than a typical ant, but not quite up to the standard of my brothers. The biggest difference between us all, besides me being ruggedly better looking and more charming, is that I am a drone ant…I have wings in other words. I think it made them jealous that I could fly and was found more desirable to the ladies. Unlike my brothers, I did not admire the qualities or the "genius" of my father.
I feel my sweet that I have mentioned enough for one letter. Perhaps at some later time I shall write another and tell you more if you so wish. For now I leave you with the images of my tough exoskeleton brothers and father and my soft eyed, sweet mother. Do not forget my love to think of devilishly handsome me, if I may request such admiration from your mind's eye and you do not think it terribly egotistical of me.
Yours truly, Reynard
My dear, I am pleased that you have asked me to write more. I am compelled by your innocent requests of me, so I shall do all you wish. I will tell you more of my earlier childhood.
When I was born, my eldest brother was eight years old. My other brothers were around six and two. They had not related much with my mother; they saw her as merely a weak female. They looked down on her and were quite disrespectful. The sad thing is that father encouraged this kind of behavior. At age three, I became sick with a fever. Since I was sick, my father abandoned me to my mothers care. He believed I would not survive and that anyone who got sick was weak. My mother however had more faith that I would make it. She said that it was a sign of strength if I could overcome illness.
At this time I think if I had not fallen ill, my mother would never have the chance to raise me. My father focused his attention on my older brothers while mother nursed me back to health. I was able to become well again and I was as though I had never been sick at all. My father still refused me as much regard as he bestowed on the others. To him, I was still too small and "prone to sickness".
My mother refused to let me believe such prejudice cruelty. She took it upon herself to raise me, since father refuse to toss me a crumb of decency. Instead of the vigorous academics that my brothers were involved in, mother taught me to read, write, and do arithmetic. She emphasized my skills in refineries such as choir singing, poetry writing, fencing, and most importantly social graces. Indeed, she was strict upon how I behaved at dinner, around strangers and around friends. Watching me like a hawk, so that I would not fall into the habit of behaving rudely, like a soldier. It was her goal to make sure I never became a cold-hearted soldier.
There was a day however, when my genteel way of life would be torn to pieces and dashed upon the hardness of my father. It was the day my mother passed on. I was only eight and a half years old, not quite ready for her to leave. The memories I have of that day are dark and heart wrenching. However, I have already aroused your curiosity to know and so I shall not reproof the natural urge.
On her deathbed, my mother looked more beautiful than ever to me. She was close to death and therefore close to heaven. What I mean to say is that she was angelic. I am sure that she is in peace now. It was a family loss, so it was a family occasion to be beside her in her last hours. It was terribly unbearable for me; I wanted very much to be alone with her. That way, I could express to her how I felt with emotion and affection. It could not be that way. My father and brothers were present. My father being the head of the family commanded that no emotion be shown at any time. My brothers were quite capable of this task because they hardly knew mother. Myself on the other hand found the command absolutely impossible. While standing with my solemn faced brothers by the bedside, I could not keep my eyes dry.
I recall the moment clearly now, it is the dearest memory that my heart holds. You should be honored that I deem you worthy of possessing a piece of it too. Picture this scene. My mother in her white wedding gown stretched on a bed surrounded by faces that all seem the same…grim and solemn. Save for one face, mine, which is alive and quivering with sorrow. My hazel eyes moist, my pale, freckled cheeks soaked with salty tears. So innocent, like a lamb that knows he will be slaughtered ruthlessly. I claim this moment of my life to be the one where I was most chivalrous and the most obedient to my conscience.
I disobeyed my father for the sake of my mother. A courageous act in itself that came with a great price. Although my actions were trivial and not like taking a bullet in a physical battle, the act of leaping onto the bed and embracing my mother was the bravest deed in the world. For many minutes, I buried my face into my mother's thorax and gripped onto her tightly as though I could keep her there by holding on. I am pleased to this day to say she died in my arms and no one ever loved her more than I did. Unfortunate for you, I can never love anyone else like that for her sake, my love.
The next moments were agonizing; my furiously outraged father snatched me from mother's lifeless body. I knew that mother would not have me cling to her forever, so I let go as father tossed my out of the room like an old bag. Needless to say I was punished severely for such a "traitorous" act. I shall never forget that either! That point onward my way of life was violently transformed. This I must save for another letter. I look forward to your request as I enjoy every moment we spend.
Yours Truly, Reynard
It grieves me to hear that my last letter has upset you. Please do not think me heartless for making you cry. I knew it would touch you, because you are so sensitive. I apologize for distressing you, but it had its purpose. Now, we know each other better and therefore our love can continue to blossom. Before I continue, I require that you do not judge my father. I have forgiven him.
As mentioned in the previous letter, my life was taking a turn. Without mother to tutor me, Father had to add me to his classes. His lessons were much more demanding and advanced than what I expected. I was far behind my siblings and it frustrated Father that I was so slow.
There was not as much free time as I was use to having. The daily schedule was planned and carried out with great precision. In the time I did have to myself I spent practicing what mother taught me. Most of the time, my brothers would interrupt and suppress my efforts to remain a gentleman. Needless to say, I was the butt of all their practical jokes. What was most distressing was that Father encouraged their behavior. His excuse to me was that it would help build my character. I was sensible enough not to argue.
What vexed my Father the most about me was how I cried over trivial things. After one of my brother's pranks, I was sure to be found in tears. I quickly learned that life was not fair. Especially when the rule of thumb is survival of the fittest.
At age thirteen, I began my military training. In Father's brutal training, we all went through tests of endurance, extreme physical exercise, and mock battles. As far as training went, I did fair, to the surprise of my father. However, the taunts from my brothers proceeded with twice the fury.
When one is a victim, one learns to adapt keen senses so as to perceive the enemy before he strikes. I could hear well and discern my brothers' approach and escape before they could hurt me. It was well and good that mother named my Reynard, the fox. Which, she told me, was a large animal that was clever and was the master of escape. My adapting pleased Father somewhat.
Father still wanted more of me. Daily, he would take Phillipe and me to a remote part of the estate. There we would wrestle each other. My father and Phillipe had a great advantage over me, it was rather unfair. It was always me who would end up limping back to camp to nurse my injuries. (I became rather good at first aid). Day after day, we went out. Time after time, I was beaten to a pulp. Finally, I was tired of being slaughtered every day, so I devised a plan. In my uniform I hid my fencing blade to use once we went out the next day.
The fighting started as usual. I was soon pinned down while Phillipe beat the side of my head. With my free arm, I ripped my blade from my shirt and caught him off guard. When he backed off, I took to the sky. Phillipe demanded that I fight fair. I responded that I was; only I had the advantage this time.
Feeling arrogant and yearning for vindication, I did not hurt my brother further. Instead, I offered to help him up. This outraged him you see, because not only was I cocky, but I was still being a gentleman. My Father was also unhappy about this. He scolded me for not learning the lesson that he wanted to teach me with this "exercise". The point of the fighting was to teach me to take a hit, not to use mother's old fencing tricks.
For the second time, I defied him. "I will never forget what mother taught me. Never!" I shouted. Then, I rashly accused him of never loving mother. This was unfair on my part. Father refused to speak to me. I repented and begged for forgiveness. I was put through humiliations galore before Father would talk to me again. It dawned on me then, despite everything Father did to me, I still loved him.
A marvelous thing happened around this time. One of the hunting aphids had a litter of puppies. One of the pups was a runt and would have been destroyed if I had not intervened. I raised the puppy myself and he grew larger than all the rest of the litter. He became my aphid, Champ.
Champ and I had something in common, keen senses. I trained Champ to track down game (and brothers). I would ride horseflies and hunt deer ticks with Champ.
Now I have to close this letter. It is late and I need to rest. I think I will finish my tale in my next letter. I cherish you always.
Your Shining Knight, Reynard
In this letter, I conclude my tale. May you be forewarned, that this is the most romantic and recent events of my life. So please to not be jealous. Now I shall begin without any ado.
When my brothers came of age, Father arranged their marriages. (Since they are all dolts and completely incapable of choosing). Currently, all my brothers are married and live on their own private portion of the estate. There was only me. Father was eager to marry me off as soon as he could manage. When I was sixteen and a half, Father invited a girl for me to court. I must confess I was quite eager to do so.
When mother was alive, she would read to me romantic stories about knights and ladies. Therefore, with medieval style I courted with the young lady. Despite all my efforts, she never took interest in me. However, soon I likewise lost interest in her.
I informed my father that I did not want to court her anymore. He brought it to my attention that I had no choice, she was the wife chosen for me. I fell into a depression because of this and because I noticed for the first time how oppressed I had been. I longed for freedom.
The wedding day was scheduled two days after my seventeenth birthday. Desperately, I made many attempts to leave the grounds. They were all in vain. My father tired of constantly having me dragged back home. A week before the set wedding date, he locked me in a cell.
I was released on the wedding day. Every servant closely watched me. I gave up any hope of attaining freedom to chase my dreams. I was properly cleaned, groomed, and decorated for the occasion. I draped my shoulders with a cape made from tissue, my waist was girded and armed with a needle sword, I donned my acorn cap decorated with a piece of a feather. After I was ready, I demanded to see my bride before the wedding.
My request was granted. In the bridal chamber, I told the girl everything. She was surprisingly sympathetic and to my relief, already had a lover beyond the walls. By putting our heads together, we devised a plot to avoid our marriage. The service commenced as planned. There the glittering array of ants were present, even Champ hid under a flower.
The illusion was that the girl and I seemed to be submitting. It was quite a shock when my time came. After receiving the Eucharist, instead of returning to my pew like a good ant, I whistled loudly for Champ and bolted through the back door of the church. To add to the confusion, my bride charged down the aisle and locked the front doors to buy me some time.
I shall be ever grateful to that girl, for she opened the window to my freedom. I only hope she got to escape too and reunite with her lover. Champ and I ran to the far edge of the estate to the wall. Even though I was in a cape, I managed to fly Champ and myself over the wall. From there I fled in haste to Bug City.
From that point you know what happened. I found your friends looking for you and helped them in their quest. That is when I met you. How terrible we both looked then! Poor you had just escaped from grasshoppers and were injured severely. I was travel worn and had slept in garbage. I also remembered when I first really started loving you. I finish my tale now. For the rest is yet to come. Affection is something I express better in words and actions. I seal this with a kiss, my butterfly. Ma Cherie amore.