THE CHEERFUL CRICKET AND OTHERS
by JEANNETTE MARKS
ILLUSTRATED BY EDITH BROWN
HENRY DOUGLAS BACON
AND TO OTHER CHILDREN AS GOOD AND BAD
BIG OR LITTLE
THESE STORIES AND TALES ARE INSCRIBED
THE CHEERFUL CRICKET
THE SLOTHFUL TOAD
THE SULLEN CATERPILLAR
THE GREEN INCH WORM
THE MEAN SPIDER
THE MARSH GRASS VESPER QUARTETTE
THE NOISY FLY
THE DIZZY MOTH
THE HONEST ANT
THE WALKING STICK
LADY BUG & MRS. POE TATO-BUG
THE TUNEFUL HUMMING BIRD
The Cheerful Cricket had been running around anxiously in the grass all
the morning. Mrs. Cricky carried her head down, and when she ran she
scuttled, and when she stopped she was absolutely still, except for her
eyes, which she turned about brightly in every direction. Mrs. Cricky
was looking for food for Chee, Chirk and Chirp. Usually Mr. Cricky
brought home the food, but he was a member of the Marsh Grass Vesper
Quartette—made up of himself, Miss K. T. Did, Mr. Frisky Frog and Mr.
Tree Toad Todson, first cousin to Toadie Todson—and they had all been
out very late the night before, so Mrs. Cricky didn't wish to disturb
At last Mrs. Cricky found what she wanted, and home she came. Chirp and
Chee and Chirk were fed, and then it was time to begin school. Mrs.
Cricky always taught her own children. She had rented three little
toad-stools, not any bigger than tacks, from Toadie Todson, and these
the children used for desks. She often said that she thought round-top
desks better than flat, for then the children were not so likely to lean
their elbows on them. School began promptly as the sun rose; nine
o'clock would have seemed a lazy hour to the little Cricketses. The
principal study Mrs. Cricky taught was Cheerfulness, much the same as
you are taught reading and writing. She said that the whole duty of a
cricket was to be cheerful. After this she gave them some lessons in
Fear. These lessons were something like the things your mother tells
you, such as, "Don't go near the water," "Fire burns," "Don't put beans
in your ears," "Look before you leap;" only Mrs. Cricky told Chirp and
Chee and Chirk never to go near one of old Stingy's spider-webs, and
when they saw a giant coming with a fish pole in his hand, to hop away
as fast as they could. Then, too, she said there was a four-footed
animal, called a cat, that caught little crickets to eat them up. After
this they all chirruped together as she waved a blade of grass to keep
time, then she rang a blue-bell and school was over. She put three
little clover-leaf sunbonnets on them and sent them out into the sun to
Now Chirp and Chee and Chirk were like other little boys and girls who
do not learn their lessons very well. And Chee was careless about
listening to his lessons in Fear. They went right out with their three
little clover-leaf sunbonnets on and down to the edge of the lake. Chee
climbed way up to the top end of a large blade of grass, and was
balancing there, much as you like to on a spring-board, when
accidentally he fell into the lake. Chirp and Chirk ran to and fro,
frightened to death, calling for help. But nobody heard them. In the
meantime Chee was kicking in the water and making a great fuss, when a
big oak leaf floated by, and Chee scrambled on. If, however, the leaf
had not come at just that moment Chee would have drowned. When the leaf
floated in shore they all went home and told Mother Cricky. She stopped
chirruping for quite a long time and didn't say anything at all. When
Mrs. Cricky began to chirrup again she said it served them just right,
and she hoped it had taught them all a lesson. Then they all chirruped
together, because Chee was safe, and Mrs. Cricky said: "Now let us all
sing a little song to show that we are happy." And this is the song they
Jump, jump everywhere,
How we like the summer air,
Chirp, chirp, chirp in tune,
On the grass beneath the moon.
THE SLOTHFUL TOAD
The slothful Toad (his real name was Toadie Todson) crawled out of his
hole and looked about. He saw a Bee near by buzzing busily over a rich
large clover blossom, and a sturdy Ant dragging a white parcel marked
"Food" toward a round sandy house, and a cheery little Cricket marching
rapidly up a green stalk in search of a dinner for three hungry little
Cricketses. It was a busy time for all except Toadie Todson.
The spring had just come, that much Toadie Todson knew, and all these
neighbors were busy putting their houses in order. Well, the Bee was
stocking his honeycomb house, the Ant was putting her summer pantry into
order and filling it with cookies, cream cheese, cake, and honey that
her Majesty, the Queen Bee, sent over every day. And the Cricket,
although his house was out of doors under a big green oak leaf that had
dropped to the ground, was busy piling up all the food he could find for
Mrs. Cricky to guard while she nursed the three little Cricketses.
Toadie Todson was tired to see so much going on. He wished they would
all be quiet and stop hurrying around. He drew a long sigh, which made
him swell up and look rounder and fatter than ever. Why couldn't his
neighbors feed as he did? He just sat there and opened his big red slit
of a mouth, gave a lazy snap, and a noisy fly, still buzzing, was
swallowed up. He moved a little further away from his hole, dragging one
fat, squashy leg after the other, then down he squatted again.
A little ball of green inch-worm dropped off the bush on to Toadie
Todson's back and began to measure its length over Toadie's big warts
and veins. It made him feel very important to have an inch-worm all to
himself to tickle his back, as important as an Egyptian Queen with a
slave to tickle the sole of her foot all the hot afternoon long. Toadie
Todson swelled with pride as the green inch-worm went measuring up and
down, up and down his back.
The Busy Bee just then flew buzzing by and buzzed to Toadie as he went:
"There's a sand-slide rolling down this way. I'm getting out's fast as I
can." When the Bee said sand-slide it sounded just like
"Sz-sz-sz—z-z-z-z—ide." Toadie Todson opened his fat eyes and dropped
his mouth in an ugly laugh. It made him sick to see any one in such a
hurry. Then the Honest Ant went scurrying past and very kindly gave him
the same message. But Toadie only sneered the more. He had been living
in this very spot for years, almost as many as you have lived, and
nothing had ever happened to him. No, he would stay right there, it was
too much trouble to move for anybody. The green inch-worm was very
green, and went on measuring Toadie Todson's back, for it didn't
understand a word the Bee and Ant had said,
Suddenly, gravel, gravel, gravel, slip, slip, slip—and Toadie Todson
was under mountains of sand with a great big rock square on his back.
The green inch-worm began to bore its way out of the sand; it could hear
Toadie Todson groaning and saying:
"O! O! I wish I'd never been so lazy. I might have lived an' been as
happy and rich as the Bee or the Ant. O, O!"
And the green inch-worm knew that Toadie Todson was dead.
Not more than six hours after this Mrs. Cricky overheard the green
inch-worm practising a tune. It pleased her so much that she tried to
sing it again to Father Cricky for the Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette. Of
course it was all about Toadie Todson, and this was it:
Mournful, mournful notes,
In our little throats we sing
Flowers, flowers dead,
For our Toadie's head we bring
THE SULLEN CATERPILLAR
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_
Flash your wings,
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.
Greenie, Toadie Todson's Green Inch-Worm, was measuring his way
carefully around a birch tree. Since Toadie Todson's death, he spent a
large part of every day looking at trees and measuring distances, so
that Stingy could spin his webs in the best manner possible.
All the rainbow qualities of web were spun on white birch trees. Greenie
was humming over mournfully to himself the song which Mr. Tree Toad
Todson had composed in memory of his cousin Toadie Todson—A Lament.
Greenie sang the words over and over again and seemed, as his voice grew
more and more mournful, to be happier and still happier. That is often
the way with melancholy people. Greenie felt he had good reason to be
unhappy. Not so long ago his first cousin, Longinus Rotundus
Caterpillar, or by his more familiar name Glummie, had been killed. Then
his master, Toadie Todson, with whom he at least had a lazy time, was
killed in a sand slide. And now he spent all his days at work for
Stingy, who was a very exacting master. If he so much as stopped to
nibble a little from a tender green birch leaf, Stingy would fly at him
and bid him go to work at once.
But one day Greenie discovered something about him which he intended to
use to good advantage. Stingy was in love. Every day at certain hours
Stingy went quietly off, and one day Greenie followed him. There down in
the meadow under a big apple tree he found Stingy together with five
other spiders. They were arranged in a row before Silken Web, more often
called Silkie, whom they were courting, and Silkie was waiting, ready to
accept the spider who did best. Out danced the first spider. The shining
hairs all over his body glistened in the sun, now he seemed silver, now
jet black, now crimson as he whirled, jumping lightly into the air.
Silkie looked for a second and then turned her head away. It was plain
she would have none of him. Off dejectedly crawled the first spider.
Greenie watched, fascinated by this bright colored little spectacle
under the blossoming apple tree. Then his eyes grew dark and angry. He
had to work when he was hungry. He had not had a single holiday for over
a month, he had been spoken to crossly, his Family Tree had been scoffed
at, he—well, he had had enough of this!
The last fine cobweb Stingy spun it was Greenie's business to fold and
put away carefully in the centre of a buttercup. He would get it and be
back before it was time for Stingy to dance. He measured his way quickly
over to the buttercup, his little back fairly popped into the air every
other half second as he went furiously humping himself along. He found
the cobweb covered with the gold dust of the buttercup, and taking it up
hastily he hurried back. He knew just the spot where Stingy would dance
before Silkie, beside a tall piece of Timothy Grass.
The fifth spider was finishing his dance as Greenie reached the bottom
of the Timothy Grass stalk. Out came Stingy with a fierce and
self-confident air which plainly said, "All the other five have failed,
now I am about to succeed." He looked at Silkie, then began to dance.
First he whirled round madly, and so swift and light was he that he
seemed to have wings. His broad back and thin, tufted legs shone with
dusky, golden colors. After whirling around he hopped several times
lightly into the air.
In the meantime Greenie climbed the stalk and was waiting. Stingy was
just about to do a sideways-hop, when over him fell inches and inches of
his own gold dusted cobweb. Down he tumbled, his legs all tangled up in
the web. Fiercely he fought to get out, while off scuttled the other
spiders leaving him to his Fate. For a minute, the little green hairs on
Greenie's back stuck up straight with merriment. Then complacently he
measured his way home to his own Family Tree. Mrs. Cricky as she passed
him heard him muttering: "It's a long worm that has no turning, a
very long worm that has no turning!"
"Well," said Mrs. Cricky, "that may be true, but it is none of a
cricket's business; it is just as well not to take part in other
people's quarrels. Your Father says the Cricket Rule is the best
precept for living he has ever known, and your Father, children, is a
very wise cricket. I dare say Greenie has had a hard time, but then,
lazy worms often do. Now let us sing a little song about these flowers
we've been hopping about in; it's pleasanter. Chirp, don't sing too
loud, Chirk, not too fast, and Chee, don't mumble your words:"
"Everywhere you go
You see them dancing,
In the sunlight.
"Nodding heads are shining
Like the dew-drops,
THE MEAN SPIDER
Old Stingy sat in the midst of his spider-web, as some old Giant used to
sit in his fortress waiting to pounce upon innocent people to kill them
and eat them. Stingy's shoulders were all humped up, and his eight claws
looked very ugly. He had already tangled up one Noisy Fly, and now he
sat waiting for another. Everybody hated him; even Toadie Todson went
out of his way to give a lazy snap at Stingy.
All day long Stingy spun webs, caught noisy flies and even other
spiders, and yet nobody ever knew what he did with his webs or with the
flies he caught. Stingy had never been heard to say one word, and when
he wanted exercise, he hung by his leg to a thin cobweb and dangled up
and down. But if he saw anything coming he gave a jump, and back he went
again into his web. There he would sit with his shoulders humped and his
big mean black eyes fairly popping out of his head.
For once in his life Stingy was feeling a little sleepy the evening that
something happened to him. All day long the wind had been blowing very
hard, and Stingy had to rebuild a great many cobwebs that were blown
down. Suddenly he started up. Something was struggling in his web. What
do you suppose it was? Nothing less than a beautiful little
yellow-winged moth that was caught and was beating his wings and
fluttering to get out. Stingy rose slowly and moved his humpy shoulders
toward the moth. Quietly he stole on and in a minute more the moth would
be choked to death. On, on went Stingy, the tiny yellow moth fluttering
more and more feebly. But just at the moment Stingy was almost on the
moth, a beak ripped open the web and Stingy went tumbling to the ground
while the yellow moth fluttered away toward the waxy white flowers of
the nearest syringa bush. The moth had time to see Hummy go whirring
off, and that night she told the fireflies and glow-worms and other
moths all about it. And each one had some other good deed of Hummy's to
But perhaps you would like to know what became of Stingy? When the web
was broken and he tumbled to the ground, he fell into the open mouth of
the Frisky Frog, who gave a comfortable croak as he swallowed him.
Nobody was sorry that Stingy was swallowed. Mrs. Cricky said it served
him right, but then, poor Mrs. Cricky's good wishes were often lost in
anxiety, lest harm should come to one of her own little Cricketses, for
Stingy, fifteen days before, had been known to smother and eat a little
cricket not more than a minute old. Mrs. Cricky herself would probably
have been the last person to hurt Stingy, only she could not help
feeling relieved; she said it wasn't in cricket-nature to feel
Father Cricky was usually too busy singing songs for the Marsh Grass
Vesper Quartette to make remarks. But this time he agreed with Mrs.
Cricky and said they would all better have their evening song and go to
sleep. And this was the song they sang:
Not too fast_
Come, see where the night winds sleep
And the dews fall on the ground,
While the trees a-rustling keep,
And the stars turn round and round.
There little frogs leap and croak,
And little eels slip and slide,
And the crabs lie still and soak,
While the marsh is singing wide.
The sand hills sleep 'neath the moon
And blink away at the sea,
While they sing a little sand tune
Which is plain as plain can be.
Say, my little one,
Bye-bye to the day.
THE MARSH GRASS VESPER QUARTETTE
It was toward evening, and the Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette was seated
at the edge of Shiner Pond. The Quartette always gathered here about
dusk upon a broad flat toad-stool which grew at the foot of a spreading
oak. Mr. Tree Toad Todson had leased this toad-stool for the summer
season from his first cousin, the unfortunate Toadie Todson. From pieces
of straw he had built up to the edge of it a short flight of steps so
that Miss K. T. Did, their first soprano, found it easy to mount to the
To-night was a special evening and the attendance was large. Out on the
pond the Snapping Turtles were moving swiftly from one log to another,
bearing upon their backs groups of Fireflies. The Fireflies were there
in numbers this night, because one of the selections on the program was
a "Firefly Dance," composed by Mr. Frisky Frog, and to be danced by Miss
K. T. Did. The other members of the Quartette were to sing the song
while Miss Katy danced. It spoiled the effect somewhat to lose her clear
high soprano, but Mr. Tree Toad Todson filled in with his penetrating
tenor, and it was rumored that the Composition would be a great success.
As nearly as I can remember it, this was the program for that evening.
_Sixth Annual In-Season Out of Door Concert
The Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette_
June the twenty-sixth,
Shiner Pond Pavilion
Miss K. T. Did…. Soprano
Mr. Tree Toad Todson…. Tenor
Mr. Cricky… Baritone
Mr. Frisky Frog, 3d… Bass
Miss Glo Worm
Mr. Fiah Fli, Jr.
I. A Warm Night Herr June Bug
Rendered by Mr. Cricky
II. The Firefly Dance Mr. Frisky Frog
Danced by Miss K. T. Did
III. The Moonbeam Song Miss Glo Worm
IV. A Lullabye Mr. T. Toad Todson
Mr. T. Toad Todson
Mrs. Frisky Frog
V. A Lament Mr. T. Toad Todson
(In memory of Toadie Todson)
Sung by T. Toad Todson
VI. Mosquito Aria Mr. Cricky
Sung by Miss K. T. Did
VII. There's Dreamland Coming
Assisted by Miss Glo Worm and Mr. Fiah Fli, Jr.
It would be impossible to give the whole program without taking you
right into the concert. The Lullabye Mrs. Frisky Frog sang together with
Mr. T. Toad Todson, and sang very beautifully. She had sung it a great
many times to her own little children while they were still polly-wogs.
Only when she sang it to them she altered the chorus Mrs. Frisky Frog
changed the chorus for her little ones because she knew well enough that
her pollywogs never slept at night. At least I never saw any asleep at
night of all those who swarm in black clumps there on the edge of
Shiner's Pond in the moonlight. But I have not told you yet how Mrs.
Frisky Frog sang the chorus.
Sing my pollywog
A tune to every jig.
Once while they were practising the lullabye at rehearsal, Mrs. Frisky
Frog forgot, and through force of habit sang the chorus she had made up
for her own little polly-woggles. But, dear me! Mr. T. Toad Todson flew
into a towering rage and croaked at her till he was fairly hoarse.
"Non-sense! Non-sense! Non-sense!" he jerked out, and when finally he
could control himself he spluttered aloud that he had never in his life
written such nonsense. You remember it was he who composed the song.
Poor Mrs. Frisky Frog's eyes rolled back a little further than usual,
and her throat jumped up and down with fear. It did not do to speak
crossly to Mrs. Frisky, she was so tenderhearted and was never known to
speak a cross word to her own little ones, or for that matter to any
one. Mrs. Cricky, one day while she was talking with Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug,
said that she knew of only one model mother in the community and that
was the admirable mother of those ugly little pollywogs. Here Mrs.
Cricky heaved a proud sigh as she thought of her own little darlings,
Chee and Chirk and Chirp, decked out in their pretty little clover
But to go back to Mrs. Frisky Frog. Mr. Frisky Frog, who was a member of
the Quartette, became so angry with Mr. T. Toad Todson for the angry
croaking at his wife that his eyes fairly glowered at him. Mrs. Cricky
always called that kind of anger in Mr. Cricky "righteous indignation."
Peace was soon restored, however, as Mr. Tree Toad Todson, very much of
a gentleman at heart, was most anxious to ask pardon for this display of
But we have spent too much time in discussing the lullabye and the
trouble it brought Mrs. Frisky. The concert began. A Warm Night
was vigorously applauded, and the Fire-Fly Dance was the success
of the evening. Miss K. T. Did had bought at a most extravagant price
from Stingy one fourth of an inch of his best rainbow-hue cobweb. This
made for her a beautiful scarf, which she waved over the light of the
glow-worms that had been arranged in a wide circle on the broad, flat
toad-stool. Around, in and out, now over, now under her scarf, three
fireflies sped with burning wings. And Miss Katy never danced better,
flashing her cobweb scarf in and out the glow-worm circle as with
lightsome foot and wing she danced round and round. Mrs. Cricky said she
did wish the little ones had been allowed to come. Usually it did not
seem right for children to stay up late at night. But this night she did
believe it would have added to their education to see such skill,
especially as Chee was a little inclined to toe in and be clumsy. You
remember, Chee stumbled and fell into the lake.
All of the evening was successful, and the applause at the close of the
concert as they responded to an encore with the Mosquito Aria was
wonderful. There were no clapping hands, but rather the beating of
wings, the enthusiastic croaking from various kinds of little red
throats, and the flash-flash of lights from the Fire-Flies and
Glow-Worms. Mr. Cricky in writing it up for the June Bug Journal
pronounced it the success of the season. We will close with a few
stanzas of "There's Dreamland Coming." Probably you have heard it, for
it has a way of singing itself the moment you are off to sleep. Try
sleeping and see if it is not heard.
There's Dreamland Coming
Adaptation from EUGENE COWLES "FORGOTTEN"
There's dreamland coming, dearie,
And dreaming, coming, too,
Sweet dreamland for the weary,
To cradle such as you.
Then close your eyes, my darling,
And say your little prayer;
Dreamland is waiting for you,
And God will take you there.
There's dreamland coming, dearie,
And dreaming, coming, too,
Sweet dreamland for the weary,
To cradle such as you.
THE NOISY FLY
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.
Not too fast_
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.
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.
THE DIZZY MOTH
Dizzy batted up against the window, striking his head and wings with a
hard rattle. Mother Moth, like a good mother, had told Dizzy time and
time again never to fly toward a light. Dizzy had already had some
experience with odd lights hung up on poles among the oak-trees. These
lights had hoods over them, hard and white. Dizzy often wondered why the
white hoods were not as soft as the oak-buds, notwithstanding the fact
that his mother as often explained both to him and his little Sister
Flutter that electric lights were not oak-buds.
Poor Dizzy, there is no use in preaching! Up, up through the oak-tree he
flew, now tumbling against a branch, now untangling himself from a
sticky new bud. Up, up Dizzy sped toward a square white glare of light.
Little Flutter's yellow wings trembled with fear as she saw her brother
start upward. She told him in a faint voice that window panes were very
dangerous. Mother Moth had cautioned them both about window panes.
Dizzy stumbled onto the sill with a sickening thud, scattering the
diamond dust from his sun-colored pearl wings into a fine glittering
mist upon the green paint. Ugh! with a jar up flew the window and Dizzy,
thinking faintly about little Flutter, cuddled among the clover
blossoms, was swept into the room and its blinding light. The soft, warm
fragrance of the night air reminded him of the cozy little place on the
grass at the foot of the hill—the little birch-leaf home. Mother Moth,
Flutter, and Father Buzz were all down there now, and listening perhaps
to the Cob-web Symphony played by the Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette. And
this, too, was the evening when the June Bug was to sing the June Bug
Wing Solo, composed by himself. Dizzy had heard his father practising
the accompaniment; and the melody and words kept running through Dizzy's
head somewhat like this:
_The June Bug Wing Solo
"Crack! Crack! my brittle wing,"
Is all I ever sing,
Tho' I've almost always said,
When I've struck my little head,
That I'm angry, with a buzz, buzz, buzz.
"Crack! Crack! my brittle wing,"
Be careful how you fling
Where the dusty little Toad,
Is still sitting on the road,
Waiting for you, with a gulp, gulp, gulp.
How distinctly Dizzy could still hear Father Buzz linger over the last
line with so much feeling, and with what terror he thought of all the
dangers that might befall him.
Round and round the room Dizzy flew, scattering silver hairs from his
lacy wings, each moment his head growing heavier. For an instant there
was a tiny flash of light and the faint noise of a shrivelling wing.
Half of Dizzy's wing had been burned off. What would Flutter think now
of the blackened silver wing of her brother! Down went Dizzy, his good
wing beating helplessly upon the window sill Flutter and Mother Moth
were in his mind. The cool air blew in through the shutter, which a few
minutes before had closed upon him.
But, wonderful Providence a big white hand opened the shutter and gently
brushed out Dizzy. He had learned his lesson, and Mother Moth did not
speak one reproachful word, as with dragging wing he hobbled into the
little birch-leaf home. Father Buzz, however, was heard singing in an
undertone these words to one of the melodies in the Cob-Web Symphony.
Teach many things!"
THE HONEST ANT
Anty,—when she was Godmother to any of the little ones her full name
was given as Anty Hill—well, to go on, Anty was in a great hurry. She
often preached against hurry, but she found that there was really so
much worth while doing in life and that life was so short, she had to
hurry once in a while to get it all done. This particular morning there
was more than ever to do. First she had milked the cows, you would call
them little white bugs, but they were really cows, which she drove into
a tiny pen. There, sitting on a milking stool Sandy Ant had whittled out
of a bit of straw for her, she milked as fast as she could make her
hands go. After that she went bustling into the house, and taking the
silkie tassel from a piece of Timothy Grass she swept the house out till
it was as clean and fresh as a May morning.
She was very happy; it was her nephew Sandy Ant's birthday and he was
coming of age, for he was just twenty-one hours old. She still had his
cake to bake, and candles to make from the waxy bayberries that grew
near the shore, and last but not least his presents to arrange. Sandy
had always been a very good boy and so to-day everybody had remembered
him and wished him well.
But what excited Anty Hill more than anything else was that the King and
Queen, for the Ant State was a monarchy, had sent a special messenger to
say that they would honor them with their royal presence on this
occasion. Anty Hill had been a hard working, honest ant all her life and
she felt that this honor was a reward for all that she had done to bring
Sandy up as a good and honest citizen of the kingdom.
She bustled about busily, and every time Sandy came in the house she
shoo-ed him out and told him to go take care of the horses and cows, By
and by she called him in and bade him put on his best clothes. She
didn't tell him that the King and Queen were coming, for Sandy was a
bashful boy and she was afraid this would frighten him.
Now the King and Queen had heard reports far and wide of the honesty and
goodness of Anty Hill and her nephew Sandy. If there were any Ants sick
in the kingdom Anty Hill and Sandy did something to help them. All this
pleased the King and Queen very much, and they made up their minds to do
something for Anty and Sandy. The other guests had come, and it was time
for the King and Queen. At last their coach drew up in front of the
door. It was a beautiful, shiny green beetle shell drawn by two gnats.
Two little liveried green midges tumbled off the coach-box, opened the
coach-door, and the King and Queen stepped out, while the guests bowed
low to the ground as they passed up the entrance to the house where Anty
and Sandy were waiting. Anty Hill bowed low to the King and kissed the
Queen's hand, while Sandy bowed very low to both.
Then the King called all the guests about him and made a little speech.
He said he always liked to reward kindness and honesty, and that Anty
Hill and her nephew Sandy had been as kind and honest as any two people
in his kingdom. After this the King drew out his sword which was a fine
blade of sharp grass, and telling Sandy to kneel down, he said: "I dub
thee Knight of the Red Hill." This was a great honor and ever afterward
Sandy served the King; and Anty Hill, who became Lady Hill, lived with
him at the court.
That night Mrs. Cricky told all the little Cricketses she hoped they
would remember Sandy's honor, and that if they helped other people they,
too, might be honored some day. Chee and Chirk and Chirp looked much
awed, and waved their little pink clover sunbonnets helplessly in the
air till Father Cricky said he did wish they would stop, it kept him
from seeing the music he was studying for the Marsh Grass Vesper
"What is it, Father?" called Chee, who was always curious.
"It's a Cantata," said Mr. Cricky. Chee nudged Chirk and whispered:
"Say, what's that?"
"O, I don't know," said Chirk, "let's ask him to sing it, then we'll
"All right, you do," said Chee.
Father Cricky was very glad to sing it, and this was the song he sang:
Swing tree top, swing,
This morning bright
Swing gold and green
In gay sunlight
Swing, tree-top, swing.
Swing tree top, swing
In night time too,
There's shining stars,
And falling dew,
Swing, tree-top, swing.
THE WALKING STICK
The Walking Stick was soberly walking down the path looking spindly in
every way: long, thin legs and a long thin body that were for all the
world like a stick. Probably you have seen the Walking Stick many times
and thought him just a twig. If you hadn't been in such a hurry you
might have seen something interesting. Each time he picked up a leg, he
seemed to wave it in the air before he put it down again. That was, I
suppose, because he had to, each leg was so very long. The Walking Stick
had been given the name of the "Parson" by some naughty little crickets,
for no other reason, I am sure, than that he was so exceedingly grave.
Chee and Chirk and Chirp were the naughty crickets who gave him the
name, and although Mrs. Cricky said it was unkind, yet other people took
it up. Now Chee and Chirk were waiting for the "Parson" when they saw
him come out of Grass Cottage, where he had been visiting Mrs. Cricky.
"Ssh!" said Chee, "don't make so much noise, he'll hear us. There!
Chirk, take that blade of grass and stretch it across the path. He'll
never see it. They say he's always thinking about things that folks
don't think about at all."
"Say," said Chirk, tugging at the blade of grass, "if I wind it around
this buttercup stalk, will that do?"
"Yes," replied Chee, "here he comes. Oh! I wish Chirp was here!"
Along came the "Parson," gravely swinging one leg after the other in the
air and thinking with much pleasure of the kindliness of Mrs. Cricky who
was always a very cordial hostess.
"Ssh!" whispered Chirk, "he's thinking of Miss K. T. Did. They say—"
But the sentence was never finished, for with a sprawl, the "Parson"
stumbled over the blade of grass and came down on the other side with a
"Tee-hee! Tee-hee! Tee-hee!" chirruped both Chee and Chirk, so amused at
the funny tangle of legs in which the Walking Stick was, that they
forgot to run away.
Now the "Parson's" long legs made great strides, and before they knew
what had happened Chee was being soundly beaten. "Whack! Whack! Whack!"
went the Walking Stick on his little shiny black back.
"O! O! O!" cried Chee, "I'll never do it again!"
"No," said the "Parson," in a high thin voice, "I think you won't, you
By this time Mrs. Cricky had come out to see what all the noise was
about. When she heard the explanation, she said in a sorrowful tone:
"Chee and Chirk, is this the way I've brought you up? When your father
hears of this he will be very angry. Come into the house with me at
once." And into Grass Cottage they were marched.
When they were inside Grass Cottage Mrs. Cricky said in a sad way, that
the worst thing anybody could do in his own house was to be inhospitable
to strangers; that they had been rude to Mr. Walking Stick upon their
own grounds. Then Mrs. Cricky went on to say that she feared they would
never grow up to be gentle crickets if this was the way they intended to
Both Chee and Chirk were too unhappy for words, and said they would
never do it again, and that really they did not want to hurt anybody's
"Well," said Mrs. Cricky, "I don't see how you could forget so soon
after that song your father taught you. We will sing it together again,
and perhaps you will remember next time." And this was the song they
_The Cricket Rule
Chirp, for chirp is all our song
Will help a long.
Do not say
What will not cheer
Try to soothe
Each tiny fear
Chirp, for chirp is all our song
Will help a long.
LADY BUG AND MRS. POE TATO-BUG
"Well," said Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, "it's a pity such things have to go on.
What those horrid black Road-worms mean by eating up all the apple
leaves is more than I can see."
Lady Bug listened to this outburst quietly, as if she had been
accustomed to such words from her kinswoman. Finally she said:
"Really, I can't see that they do any more harm than—"
"Crack! Crack! Crack!" spluttered Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, forgetting entirely
the dignity of a hyphenated name; "hum! why, there won't be a single
leaf on a single apple tree left to shade me and my family by time July
comes. Hum, indeed!"
"Yes, my dear," said Lady Bug, who was always reasonable as well as
gentle, "I understand all you say, but you know yourself that we
"Huh!" sniffed Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, "I can't see that it's the same thing
at all. What good's a leaf to a Potato, now, just tell me that!"
"I only know this," replied Lady Bug, "last year Mrs. Cricket overheard
Farmer Hayseed say that if he could get rid of the Poe Tato-Bug family
he'd live twenty years longer. He said we ate up the leaves and made the
roots good for nothing. I presume he meant our family"
"For a quiet body you can say the meanest things," exclaimed Mrs. Poe
Tato-Bug. Just then Mrs. Cricket, head down, went hurrying by and said
as she passed,
"You'd better go home. Farmer Hayseed is pouring white stuff all over
your houses. Most of your folks have left, but I saw little Poe and Tato
"Dear me! O! O!" they both cried, "those children will be choked to
death!" No two mothers could have hurried home faster. Lady Bug tried to
give a little comfort on the way.
"I think," said she, "that Rose Bug will help the children, for all she
lives in such a beautiful new home. Rose is so fond of Poe and Tato; and
then, too, Bush Manor is not so far away."
Not one word did Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug say, but flying and jumping she
hurried home. Her red speckled wings kept cracking louder and louder as
she hurried along faster and faster.
"I wish you would not hurry so fast," said Lady Bug, gently, "really I
am quite out of breath; and see! there is Farmer Hayseed way up at the
other end of the patch. He hasn't reached our home yet."
Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug looked eagerly, and sure enough, there was Farmer
Hayseed with a big box marked "Paris Green" in one hand, and in the
other a sieve through which he was sifting fine white powder.
"Dear me!" sighed Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, "this is such a relief. Here we
are." At once she began scurrying around over every leaf of her home,
but not a sign of little Poe and Tato could she find.
"Gracious!" said Lady Bug, "how very unfortunate. Where do you suppose
"I don't suppose, but I guess I know," replied Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, as off
she scurried toward the Rose Bush in the old fashioned garden near by.
And as they hurried toward the bush they could see Rose Bug with her
wings around little Poe and Tato. She was singing a lullabye, trying to
keep them quiet or put them to sleep, and this was the lullabye she
Is a place I know
Where the tree tops sing,
And the breezes blow,
Where the treetops sing
And the breezes blow.
The moon shines dim
With a silver light
And the ripples dance
And the stars are bright,
And the ripples dance
And the stars are bright.
The glow worm burns
On the misted green
And scatters his lights
For the Faery Queen,
And scatters his lights
For the Faery Queen.
Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug listened carefully to the song. At last she exclaimed:
"That Rose Bug always did sing strange songs. I hope my children will
not remember any such unpractical nonsense. The Poe-Tato family never
was given to notions. What in the world can she mean by the Faery Queen?
I dare say some romantic tale!"
THE TUNEFUL HUMMING-BIRD
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
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