“Trouble!” Freddie Firefly sneered, for he knew well enough—by this time—that Benjamin Bat was scared, though he couldn’t quite guess the reason for Benjamin’s fright. “You’ll be in worse trouble if I show Solomon Owl where you sleep in the daytime.”
“Stand back!” Benjamin Bat shrieked suddenly. “You’ll singe my wings if you’re not careful!”
Then Freddie Firefly knew exactly what Benjamin feared. And he was so amused that he couldn’t help taking a turn around the dooryard, to dance and laugh and shout.
And when he came back to the place where he had left Benjamin Bat, that odd gentleman had vanished.
The terrified Benjamin had floundered away toward the swamp. And never, afterward, did he have a word to say to Freddie Firefly.
But whenever Freddie Firefly caught sight of Benjamin Bat’s dark shape, flitting in a zigzag path across the moon, he always cried out in a loud voice:
“Look out, Benjamin Bat! Mr. Moon will singe your wings if you’re not careful.”
MRS. LADYBUG’S ADVICE
Finding himself face to face with Mrs. Ladybug one night in Farmer Green’s meadow, Freddie Firefly noticed, even before she spoke, that the little lady was not in a cheerful mood. In fact, she frowned at him darkly and pointed one of her knitting needles straight at him as she began to speak.
“You’re terribly careless with that light of yours,” she said. “People are always warning me that my house is on fire and telling me that I’d better hurry home. Now—” she added—“now I think I’ve discovered the reason why my friends are forever worrying about fire. No doubt when they give me such advice they have seen you prowling around my house with that light of yours; and they think that if you haven’t already set my house on fire, you’re just a-going to.”
When Freddie Firefly saw that Mrs. Ladybug was making Benjamin Bat’s mistake of thinking that his light could start a blaze, he had to smile.
“Nonsense!” he cried. “I’m always very careful, Mrs. Ladybug, when I’m near your house. You know that I wouldn’t want your charming children to burn up.”
And now Mrs. Ladybug pointed her other knitting needle at Freddie.
“Well, if you’re not careless, you’re silly, anyhow,” she snapped. “I wouldn’t object so much to your light if only you’d put it to some good use. But as long as I’ve known you—and that’s several weeks—I’ve never seen you do anything but caper about the meadow and dance.” And then Mrs. Ladybug began to knit furiously, as if to show Freddie Firefly that she was never idle, even if she did spend a good deal of time away from home. “Do you intend always to fritter your nights away as you do now?” she inquired.
“What else could I do? I should like to know—” Freddie began.
“Why not use your light in some kind of work?” Mrs. Ladybug asked him.