The Tuneful Humming Bird, by Jeannette Marks

The Cheerful Cricket and Others

The clover blossoms grew heavier every day with honey, and their great red heads bobbed about clumsily in the little breezes that visited the grass by the lake shore. Squirm, Glummie's caterpillar brother, had been heard to say that it was so sweet about those clover blossoms that he could scarcely crawl by them; it made him faint. But every morning, just as the sun got up, Hummy came whirring along, singing so busily and sweetly, that even Toadie Todson stuck his head out of his mudhole to listen, and the Frisky Frog on the water's edge stopped croaking.

Hummy came for a very simple reason, and that was to get his breakfast; his luncheon and dinner he always took from the honeysuckle vines and the rose bushes that grew on the side of the Giant's house. He preferred his breakfast, however, from the clover, for he said that the dew on them was fresher than on the blossoms up by the big house. It made Hummy's beak feel cool and fresh, for all the world like a morning bath in the clear, fresh dew. All the time Hummy sang away and made everybody within hearing distance happy because of his tunefulness. And he waved his wings about so prettily that it made you feel good to see them, they were such little rainbows of color.

Every morning when Hummy came round just as the sun got up, Mrs. Cricky called all her children to the door and told them that it was as good as going to school for them to watch the manners of such a perfect gentleman as Master Hummy. She said she wished them always to remember that to be so beautifully clean and so very cheerful as Master Hummy would make up for a multitude of other sins. Then as Hummy flew past their door all the little Cricketses, and Mrs. Cricky, too, gave a hop and a cheerful chirrup, as a good morning to him.

And at every place that Hummy went that day he made a sweet sound and everybody felt happier because he had been there. Hummy did a great many things besides making others happier with his tunefulness. He pulled a young hopper out of a mud puddle into which he had hopped by accident. He turned over a beetle that got stranded on its back. And everything he did was so pleasant and full of song that it was a pleasure to have him do things for you. Anty Hill said she did wish Sandy could learn to sing that way, it did make one feel so much happier when there was somebody around who was always merry and in such a good temper about helping people. She said she didn't see how Ma 'Squiter's family had lived, they were so nagged with her ugly buzz and her bad temper.

Late that same night Anty Hill overheard Sandy trying to sing a song the Frisky Frog had taught him. Sandy's voice was very poor, and this is the song he sang in a most mournful way:

_The Frog Song

Rather slowly_

  Come, Froggie sing
  Your evening song,
  The summers short
  And winters long
  Come, sing away
  Now that the day
  Has faded quite
  Into the night