“It’s a train!” he cried aloud. And he began flashing his light bravely while he swayed from side to side, for Mrs. Ladybug had told him that he must swing his light—if he expected to stop the train.
And all the while the train tore on towards Freddie Firefly. To his great surprise it showed not the slightest sign of stopping. And in spite of what Mrs. Ladybug had said, Freddie Firefly began to be afraid that it wasn’t going to pause at all.
He soon saw that if he did not do something quickly the train would run over him. But by the time he had made up his mind to jump off the track, out of harm’s way, it was too late for him to escape in that fashion.
So Freddie Firefly crawled hurriedly into a chink beneath the railroad tie on which he had been sitting. And with a horrible scream the train thundered over him. To Freddie’s dismay it paid no heed to his flashing light, though he thought it must surely have seen that signal.
Those were terrible moments for Freddie Firefly, while the train was passing above him. The frightful noise, the trembling of the ground, the rush of the air—all those things made him wonder whether he could ever reach home again, alive and unharmed. He was even more scared than he had been when he found himself in the power of that dreadful creature, Jennie Junebug.
WHY FREDDIE WAS GLAD
Even after the train had rushed shrieking into the village two miles away, and the echoes had grown still, Freddie Firefly cowered in his hiding-place on the railroad track, crouched in the chink beneath one of the ties.
At last he crept out, trembling in every limb. But in spite of his terror he skipped off the track very spryly.
Safe at one side of the rails, which gleamed in the moonlight, Freddie felt himself all over, to make sure that he had broken no bones.
“I seem to be unhurt,” he mused. “But never, never again will I listen to anything that Mrs. Ladybug says.”
And having made himself that solemn promise, he hurried away toward Farmer Green’s meadow, which he reached just before dawn.
As he crossed the fields he thought that he smelled smoke. But he couldn’t see a blaze anywhere. And when he came to the meadow he was so eager to dance that he forgot to ask anybody if there had been a fire.
Luckily he arrived in time to take part in the last dance of the night. And after the dance was over he astonished all his family with the strange tale that he told them.
Before going to their homes all Freddie’s relations gathered around him to listen to his story of the night’s adventure. And there were many “Ohs” and “Ahs” when he reached the point where the train ran over him.
“You’re lucky you didn’t have a leg cut off,” his favorite cousin remarked, “though that wouldn’t have been so bad as losing a wing.”