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- The Tale of Freddie Firefly - 1/10 -


TUCK-ME-IN TALES (Trademark Registered)

THE TALE OF FREDDIE FIREFLY

BY

ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY Author of "SLEEPY-TIME TALES" (Trademark Registered).

ILLUSTRATED BY HARRY L. SMITH

NEW YORK

1918

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. A MERRY DANCER II. A FINE PLAN III. FREDDIE AGREES TO HELP IV. GETTING READY V. AT THE STONE WALL VI. THE BANNERS VII. THE TORCHLIGHT PARADE VIII. BUSTER'S SCHEME IX. FREDDIE'S PROMISE X. DRAWING LOTS XI. PEPPERY POLLY XII. A TERRIBLE SONG XIII. CAUGHT BY A THISTLE XIV. JENNIE JUNEBUG XV. THE FAT LADY'S SECRET XVI. FREDDIE'S ESCAPE XVII. BAD BENJAMIN BAT XVIII. PLEASING FARMER GREEN XIX. BENJAMIN FEELS GUILTY XX. MRS. LADYBUG'S ADVICE XXI. ALL ABOUT TRAINS XXII. WORK ON THE RAILROAD XXIII. WHY FREDDIE WAS GLAD

ILLUSTRATIONS

YOU'RE TERRIBLY CARELESS WITH THAT LIGHT OF YOURS . . . Frontispiece

FREDDIE SAT ON TOP OF THE BANNER

FREDDIE PLAYS A JOKE ON PEPPERY POLLY BUMBLEBEE

FREDDIE WAS BUMPED INTO BY JENNIE JUNEBUG

THE TALE OF FREDDIE FIREFLY

I

A MERRY DANCER

Nobody in Pleasant Valley ever paid any attention to Freddie Firefly in the daytime. But on warm, and especially on dark summer nights he always appeared at his best. Then he went gaily flitting through the meadows. And sometimes he even danced right in Farmer Green's dooryard, together with a hundred or two of his nearest relations.

No one could help noticing those sprightly revelers, flashing their greenish-white lights through the gloom. And many of the field people, as well as the folk that lived in the farmhouse, thought that the dancers made a pretty sight.

But there were others who said that the Firefly family might better be spending their time in some more serious way.

Benjamin Bat, who lived in Cedar Swamp, was one of those who found fault with the merry dancers. He grumbled a good deal about them--and especially about Freddie Firefly.

"He's so proud of that light he carries!" Benjamin often exclaimed, "Now, if he could hang by his feet from the limb of a tree--and SLEEP at the same time--he'd have something to boast of!"

No doubt Benjamin Bat was jealous. Anyhow, Solomon Owl declared that there was still another reason why Benjamin did not like Freddie Firefly. Solomon claimed that Benjamin would have liked to EAT Freddie. But he didn't quite dare to grab him for fear of getting burned by Freddie's light.

If that was so, then it was no wonder that Freddie kept flashing his light in the dark. And it was lucky that he had a light, because--like Benjamin Bat himself--he was a night-prowler.

Unlike Farmer Green, Freddie believed that the night air was very healthful. And together with all his family, he thought that a damp place was much to be preferred to a dry one.

He often remarked that the pollen upon which he frequently dined tasted best when the dew was upon it. And he never could understand why Buster Bumblebee's sisters, the ill-tempered workers, always gathered nectar for their honey-making in the daytime.

"Everyone to his own taste!" Freddie sometimes said. "And I suppose that those who sleep from sunset to dawn don't know what they're missing."

Johnnie Green, who went to bed almost as early as the Bumblebee family, couldn't help envying Freddie Firefly and all his sprightly company. Johnnie thought it must be great fun to frolic the whole night long--if only Solomon Owl wouldn't scare a person half out of his wits with that unearthly hooting of which Solomon was so fond.

But you may be sure that Freddie Firefly never bothered HIS head over Solomon Owl. Perhaps he knew that Solomon was too busy hunting for mice to take notice of anybody so small as he was, even if he did carry a bright light everywhere he went.

II

A FINE PLAN

Chirpy Cricket was one of Freddie Firefly's neighbors. He was a good neighbor for anybody to have, too, because he was one of the most cheerful of all the field and forest-folk that lived in Pleasant Valley. Freddie Firefly liked him. And he often remarked that he would rather hear Chirpy Cricket sing than sing himself.

Since he was so fond of hearing Chirpy's songs, it was lucky for Freddie that his sprightly neighbor usually chose to sing at night, when Freddie could better enjoy his shrill ditty. And Freddie frequently went out of his way on a fine, dark, summer's night to find Chirpy Cricket and thank him for his kindness.

At such times Chirpy Cricket always smiled mysteriously, saying "I'm glad my voice pleases you." But it must be confessed that he was not singing for Freddie Firefly's benefit at all. He was singing for his own entertainment--and maybe to please some lady of his acquaintance as well. And he chose night time for his chirping because he didn't dare sing during the day. He knew that after sunset almost all the birds were asleep--except for Solomon Owl and Willie Whip-poor-will and a few other feathered folk who preferred the dark to the daylight. They were not so numerous that they worried Chirpy very much. But between dawn and sunset there were altogether too many birds awake to please him. Then Chirpy Cricket kept quite silent. He didn't wish to draw attention to himself by singing, because he didn't care to be gobbled up by any bird, no matter how handsome or hungry the bird might be.

Perhaps it is a wonder that Chirpy could be so cheerful as he was, living under such difficulties as he did. But on the other hand, maybe he felt so carefree at night that he couldn't help being jolly.

Anyhow, he was always ready for a good time. And if there was no good time at hand, usually Chirpy Cricket could think of some sort of frolic.

And so, at last, he hit upon the idea of a torchlight procession. Somebody had told him that Farmer Green's family had seen such a parade in the village one evening. And Chirpy Cricket saw no reason why he and his friends should not enjoy one too, right there in the shadow of Blue Mountain.

"What they can do in the village, we can do here!" he exclaimed. And though it was still broad daylight--being not later than the middle of the afternoon--Chirpy set out at once to find Freddie Firefly, because he simply had to get Freddie to help him.

He found Freddie in the swampy part of the meadow, near the place where the cat-tails grew. And though Freddie was a bit sleepy, he became wide awake the moment he heard Chirpy Cricket's voice.

"I've thought of a fine plan!" Chirpy Cricket cried. "I'm going to have a torchlight procession and I want you and all your family to take part in it."

III


The Tale of Freddie Firefly - 1/10

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