“Oh, no!” wheezed the fat lady. “I’m all right. It’s no matter, I assure you. I’m quite used to running into things after dark.”
Freddie Firefly didn’t quite like being referred to as a thing. But he was too polite to say so.
“You ought to be careful,” he told the strange fat lady. “It’s dangerous for one of your weight—”
“Oh, don’t!” she exclaimed quickly. “Please don’t tell me I’m fat! I’ve tried every remedy I know and I can’t lose a single pound!”
“Don’t you think that flying makes you thinner?” Freddie Firefly asked her.
But the stout person shook her head dolefully.
“It only seems to make me bigger,” she groaned.
“Then why do you do it?”
“Oh, I just adore flying!” she cried. “Don’t you?”
Freddie Firefly admitted that he did like to fly. And he was sorry, the next moment, that he had made such a statement. For the fat lady blinked happily at him. And clasping her hands together, she said:
“Oh, do let’s fly together, then!”
Freddie Firefly was so taken aback that at first he couldn’t think what to say. But at last he managed to stammer a reply.
“Why—why—I—I’ll be glad to, but I don’t even know your name!” he told her.
“It’s Jennie Junebug,” she explained, as she fanned herself with a fan made from a white clover leaf.
“You’re a newcomer in these parts, aren’t you?” Freddie Firefly inquired.
“I just arrived here this month,” she informed him. “This is the month of June, you know. And I’m one of the well-known Junebug family. ... I already know who you are,” she continued. “You’ve been pointed out to me. You are Freddie Firefly; and you can’t deny it.”
THE FAT LADY’S SECRET
Somehow, the longer Freddie Firefly talked with Jennie Junebug, the more he wished that he might fly off and leave her there in the meadow. But he had just the same as told her that he would be glad to fly with her. And he really didn’t see how he could escape that unpleasant duty.
“Well, we may as well move on,” he said at last. “Where were you going when we ran into each other?”
“Oh, nowhere in particular!” she answered. “Where were you going?”
Freddie Firefly had to bite his lip to keep from telling her that he had been on his way to a family party in the hollow beyond the hill. He certainly didn’t want to go there in the company of that strange fat lady.
“I was going over the hill,” he faltered at last. “But I’d rather stay here in the meadow with you.”
“How nice of you to say that!” Jennie Junebug murmured. “And now let’s begin flying at once!” she said.
So they rose into the air. But they hadn’t flown more than a few feet when Jennie once more banged squarely into her companion.