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.
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.