The Noisy Fly, by Jeannette Marks

The Cheerful Cricket and Others

Mrs. Cricky came out of her house with an angry flounce. What in the world was all this noise about! zzz! zzz! then a thump and a bump and the strangest little noises, more like a falsetto squeak than anything else. This had been going on for the last minute, which is a whole hour for a cricket, and going on while she was trying to teach Chee and Chirk and Chirp their lessons in Running and Humming. These two things, unlike other people, they always did at the same time.

Mrs. Cricky came out with an angry little flounce, as I said, onto the piazza of Grass Cottage. She had been fearfully disturbed, but the instant she saw the Noisy Fly she broke into chirping merriment. The Noisy Fly had evidently been to last evening's concert and was trying to imitate Miss K. T. Did in the Fire-Fly Dance. He was whisking around at a great rate, his long legs looking very spindly under his fat black body. But what amused Mrs. Cricky most was the way, in trying to do the wing step, his legs got tangled up for all the world as if they were on sticky fly paper. Of course, he fell over, and that accounted for the bumping and the buzzing. But each time he got up and went at it again as if nothing had happened, singing in his high falsetto voice the tune Miss Glo-Worm had sung, which was a little Moonbeam Song,—to find out what a Moonbeam Song is you must look long at the sky.

_Moonbeam Song

Not too fast_

  Moonbeams weave,
  About this place,
  Fairies leave No Fairy trace.

  Weave him in
  And weave him out,
  Spin it thin
  And round about.

Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding

  See our spell
  Can hold him fast.
  Tinkle bell
  The hour is past.

It was not very polite for Mrs. Cricky to laugh, but really she could not help it. Never did she see such a buzzing, clumsy attempt at imitation as this. By this time the Noisy Fly had spied Mrs. Cricky, and his popping black eyes scanned her anxiously, for he was accustomed to be driven off wherever he went. Mrs. Cricky remembered the interrupted lessons and spoke severely to him:

"Well, Noisy! here again. You are always disturbing somebody. You are just like some other folks who never know when they are not wanted. Noisy people are always a nuisance. You are about, before respectable crickets have a chance to go to sleep. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! so that there is no sleeping after that. Your noisy wings are worse than Toadie Todson's heavy feet, when he used to come hopping onto the piazza after the folks were asleep. And what is more, you're not much cleaner." By this time Mrs. Cricky had worked herself into a state of "righteous indignation," and concluded all she had to say with a sharp, "Be off."

Off went Noisy in a great flurry and skurry; he fairly dropped from the roof of the piazza, where he had been hanging upside down, in his haste to let go and get away. When Mrs. Cricky went back into the school room she found that Chirp had upset his brown Grasshopper writing ink all over the floor and was wiping it up with his little wing and smearing it onto Chee. Now this ink was expensive, and could be bought only from the Grasshopper who manufactured it himself. She looked at Chirp just one second and told him to bring the Timothy Grass rod hanging in the corner. Chirp knew what that meant, but he took his punishment bravely.

When Mrs. Cricky had finished, she dropped the rod on the floor with a sigh and gathered Chirp into her wings: "O! Chirpie, Chirpie, why will you be such a naughty little cricket and make me punish you?" Then Mother Cricky gave them a little talk about Noisy, and told them there were two things they must always remember to be: Clean, and quiet when it was proper to be quiet. After this she gave them some Red Clover Honey and sent them out to play.