I. A Merry Dancer
 

Nobody in Pleasant Valley ever paid any attention to Freddie Firefly in the daytime. But on warm, and especially on dark summer nights he always appeared at his best. Then he went gaily flitting through the meadows. And sometimes he even danced right in Farmer Green's dooryard, together with a hundred or two of his nearest relations.

No one could help noticing those sprightly revelers, flashing their greenish-white lights through the gloom. And many of the field people, as well as the folk that lived in the farmhouse, thought that the dancers made a pretty sight.

But there were others who said that the Firefly family might better be spending their time in some more serious way.

Benjamin Bat, who lived in Cedar Swamp, was one of those who found fault with the merry dancers. He grumbled a good deal about them--and especially about Freddie Firefly.

"He's so proud of that light he carries!" Benjamin often exclaimed, "Now, if he could hang by his feet from the limb of a tree--and sleep at the same time--he'd have something to boast of!"

No doubt Benjamin Bat was jealous. Anyhow, Solomon Owl declared that there was still another reason why Benjamin did not like Freddie Firefly. Solomon claimed that Benjamin would have liked to eat Freddie. But he didn't quite dare to grab him for fear of getting burned by Freddie's light.

If that was so, then it was no wonder that Freddie kept flashing his light in the dark. And it was lucky that he had a light, because--like Benjamin Bat himself--he was a night-prowler.

Unlike Farmer Green, Freddie believed that the night air was very healthful. And together with all his family, he thought that a damp place was much to be preferred to a dry one.

He often remarked that the pollen upon which he frequently dined tasted best when the dew was upon it. And he never could understand why Buster Bumblebee's sisters, the ill-tempered workers, always gathered nectar for their honey-making in the daytime.

"Everyone to his own taste!" Freddie sometimes said. "And I suppose that those who sleep from sunset to dawn don't know what they're missing."

Johnnie Green, who went to bed almost as early as the Bumblebee family, couldn't help envying Freddie Firefly and all his sprightly company. Johnnie thought it must be great fun to frolic the whole night long--if only Solomon Owl wouldn't scare a person half out of his wits with that unearthly hooting of which Solomon was so fond.

But you may be sure that Freddie Firefly never bothered his head over Solomon Owl. Perhaps he knew that Solomon was too busy hunting for mice to take notice of anybody so small as he was, even if he did carry a bright light everywhere he went.