Her threat, however, failed to frighten Freddie Firefly. As soon as he saw that his companion was afraid of the dark, he ceased to be afraid of her. So he flashed his light impudently in her eyes.
“Come on!” he urged her with a grin which she could not see. “Let’s get to the clover field, for I like to see people work.”
“You do, eh? “snapped Peppery Polly.
“Yes! Watching others work is play for me,” he remarked cheerfully. “And I hope to have as much fun to-night as I would have had if I’d gone to the dance over near the swamp.”
“Are you fond of music?” Peppery Polly asked him suddenly.
“Am I?” he exclaimed. “I should say I was!”
“Then tell me how you like this,” she said. And she began to sing the most terrible song that Freddie Firefly had ever heard in all his life.
A TERRIBLE SONG
It was no wonder that Freddie Firefly grew uneasy again as he listened to the song of Peppery Polly Bumblebee, while they flew towards the clover field through the darkness. The chorus, especially, filled him with alarm. And he shuddered as the disagreeable honey-maker sang it:
“I’ve never learned to take a joke;
So if you try to trick me,
My sting in you I’ll quickly poke—
You’ll find that it will prick ye!
It feels like fire—though twice as hot.
And I would rather sting than not!”
“How do you like that?” Peppery Polly inquired, after she had finished her song.
“You have a beautiful voice,” Freddie Firefly hastened to tell her.
“Yes—of course!” she agreed. “But I refer to the words. What do you think of them?”
“I think they’re awful!” Freddie Firefly cried; for his companion had scared the truth out of him before he stopped to think how it would sound.
“Quite right!” said Peppery Polly. “I made up that song. And I flatter myself it’s about the worst I ever heard.” To Freddie Firefly’s relief, she seemed quite pleased.
He was able to draw a deep breath again as they reached the field of red clover, where Peppery Polly Bumblebee settled quickly upon a clover-top and began sucking up the sweet nectar with her long tongue. For some time she worked busily without saying a word. And indeed, how could she have spoken with her tongue buried deep in the heart of a clover blossom?
But when she withdrew her tongue and flitted from one clover-top to another, she never failed to fix her wicked eyes on Freddie Firefly and demand “more light—and be quick about it!”
Since no harm had yet fallen him, he began to wonder after a while if Peppery Polly’s bark was not worse than her bite—or perhaps it would be better to say that he wondered if her song was not worse than her sting. Anyhow, he knew that he was very tired of her masterful way of speaking to him. And he soon determined to play another trick on her.