“What work, I should like to know—” Freddie said. And since Mrs. Ladybug did not at once answer him, he added: “I don’t believe you can suggest anything—can you?”
“Oh, yes, I can!” she declared quickly. “I was thinking. That’s why I didn’t reply sooner. Probably you don’t know that I have helped many youngsters to begin to work. For instance, it was I that told Daddy Longlegs to help Farmer Green with his harvesting.” Little Mrs. Ladybug felt so proud of herself that she dropped a stitch without noticing it.
“Daddy Longlegs! He’s not young!” Freddie Firefly exclaimed.
“Oh! yes, he is! He’s not so old as you think,” Mrs. Ladybug replied. “He’s just about your age. And if he can work, you certainly can.”
“But I didn’t know that Daddy Longlegs was working for Farmer Green,” Freddie Firefly said.
“He tried to, one day. But the wind blew too hard. ... It wasn’t really Daddy’s fault,” Mrs. Ladybug explained. “And you ought not to attempt to work on windy nights, either,” she went on. “For your light might go out, and then there’d be a terrible accident.”
ALL ABOUT TRAINS
“What do you mean?” Freddie Firefly asked little Mrs. Ladybug. “What accident could happen if the wind blew out my light?” And he laughed very hard, because he knew that no gale was strong enough even to dim his greenish-white gleams.
“Why,” replied Mrs. Ladybug, “the train would strike you and be wrecked. You see,” she continued, “I have everything planned for you. You’re going to spend your nights on the railroad tracks, signalling the trains.”
Well, Freddie Firefly rather liked Mrs. Ladybug’s idea. And though he knew that she was mistaken about some things, he began to think that perhaps she was quite wise, after all.
“Aren’t you afraid I might set fire to the trains?” he inquired slyly.
“No, indeed!” she answered. “You’d stop them, you know, before they ran over you.”
“But I don’t know how to make a train stop,” he objected. “I’ve never worked on a railroad in all my life.”
“Why, it’s simple enough,” said little Mrs. Ladybug. “When a train came along you would stand on the track right in front of it and wave your light.” And while she smiled at Freddie Firefly as if to say, “You see how easy it is,” she dropped six more stitches out of her knitting—and never found them, either.
Freddie Firefly, however, did not smile at all. On the contrary, he looked somewhat worried.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” he asked her. “If the train failed to stop, with me on the track in front of it—”
“Don’t worry about that!” cried little Mrs. Ladybug. “You’ll never amount to anything if you worry. And if you don’t wish to fritter away your time dancing in this meadow, you’ll take my advice and begin to work at once.”