The Sullen Caterpillar, by Jeannette Marks

The Cheerful Cricket and Others

All the little green Inch-Worms and the energetic, thin Road-Worms called him Glummie for short, although his whole name was Longinus Rotundus Caterpillar. That's a very long, hard name, and they couldn't be bothered with a name like that for such a sulky fellow as he. And for fear I shall take too long telling my story about him, we also will call him, not Longinus Rotundus Caterpillar, but Glummie. Glummie was born into a most talented and attractive family—that means a family that could do many things very well and was pretty to look at; but from the time he went out to eat his own leaves he was sullen. Nobody knew exactly what was the matter. It is true his sisters were prettier than he, for they had long yellow hair that waved all over a silky green body, and they had dark yellow-brown eyes. But a boy should not mind having his sisters prettier than he. And he had an older brother they all called "Squirm." He was very much liked; he was browner and larger than Glummie, and he was always doing nice things for his brother, and Glummie shouldn't have been jealous.

But, however all that might be, this day Glummie was sulking away in the grass, and making himself generally disliked. Two Katydids had said a pleasant "Good-morning" to him, and almost jumped out of their green coats when he snapped out, "It ain't" Mrs. Cricky in passing by chirped pleasantly, and Glummie glowered so out of his great, fierce red-brown eyes at her that she hurried on, in terror of her life. There was only one thing snappier than he on the grass by the lake shore that morning, and that was the Snapping Turtle. Presently a Locust came along and turned on his buzzing hum right in Glummie's ear. Then Glummie was furious, raised his head and struck at the Locust. Now the Locust was a tease, and this pleased him immensely. So he cracked his wings right in the very face of Glummie and began to sing:

_The Firefly Song

Not too fast_

  Dancing, dancing,
  Fire—flies dancing,
  Flash your wings,
  Frog-gie sings,
  Dance my little wings, dance.

Glummie fairly raged, till the hairs all over his fat body stood up straight, and his long stiff whiskers—and he had whiskers on both his head and his tail—fairly bristled. He grumbled out that he didn't see why he couldn't live in peace in the grass; that all he wanted was to be let alone. Then he said he knew how he could get away from the society of worms and crickets and katydids he hated, and all the deafening noises they made to drive him crazy. Thereupon, with a sulky twist of his head, he crawled toward the road. He had just crawled into the first wheel-rut when a big, jouncing, yellow Kentucky cart came by and made an end of Longinus Rotundus Caterpillar.

Mrs. Cricky said the moral of his end was very plain to her. She told all the little Cricketses that you couldn't expect to speak sullenly to people and have them like you, and that you couldn't expect to live away from the society of other people without having something killed in you. Mrs. Cricky called it love; and then, perhaps a little inconsistently (ask your mother what that means), she added, she for one was glad Glummie was dead.