“I’ll think about the matter,” said Freddie Firefly. And then he added somewhat doubtfully: “It’s a long way to the railroad.”
“Pooh!” Mrs. Ladybug exclaimed. “Old Mr. Crow often visits it. And if he can fly that far, at his age, a youngster like you ought not to mind the trip.”
“Perhaps you know best,” Freddie Firefly told Mrs. Ladybug at last. “I’ll take your advice just this once, and I’ll see how I like the work. But there’s another question I’d like to ask you: What will the trains do after they stop?”
While laughing over Freddie’s question Mrs. Ladybug shook so hard that she unravelled sixteen rows of her knitting before she could stop.
“Bless you!” she cried, as soon as she could speak. “I don’t know what the trains will do. That’s their affair—not yours nor mine. Everybody’s aware that trains are made for two purposes—to start and to stop. But I never should think of being so rude as to ask them why, or what, or when, or where.”
So Freddie Firefly thanked Mrs. Ladybug most politely. He was sure, now, that she was one of the wisest persons in the whole valley. No doubt, he thought, she knew almost as much as old Mr. Crow, or even Solomon Owl. And he wished he knew half what she did.
“I’ll start for the railroad track at once,” Freddie told Mrs. Ladybug. And waving his cap at her, while she waved her knitting at him, he set forth towards the village, the lights of which twinkled dimly in the distance.
WORK ON THE RAILROAD
Freddie Firefly did not intend to go into the village itself. He expected to travel only as far as the railroad tracks, where they curved around a bend in the river before stretching straight away towards the town.
Though he spent a much longer time in making the journey than old Mr. Crow ever took, Freddie at last reached the railroad, where he promptly sat himself down between the rails to wait for a train. And there Freddie Firefly stayed all alone, in the dark, with nothing to keep from feeling forlorn except the croaking of a band of noisy frogs in a pool near-by.
After a while Freddie began to grow so weary of his new task that he wished he had never taken Mrs. Ladybug’s advice.
“I don’t believe I like working,” he said with a sigh, as he thought of the good time his family was having at that very moment, dancing in Farmer Green’s meadow.
And then all at once he heard a faint whistle, far off down the valley. And a little later a low rumble caught his ear—a rumble which grew louder and louder until at last it turned into a roar, just as a stream of light shot around the curve in the track ahead of him, which followed the bend of the river.
Freddie Firefly was startled. He couldn’t think what made that long lane of light. And he was about to jump into the bushes and hide when he saw all at once that it was exactly what he had been waiting for.