XVIII. Pleasing Farmer Green

Now, when Benjamin Bat spoke of his doing Farmer Green a good turn, Freddie Firefly looked puzzled.

"What has Farmer Green ever done for me?" he inquired.

"What has he done?" Benjamin cried. "Hasn't he furnished you a fine meadow in which to dance at night? And doesn't he let you come here in his dooryard whenever you please? I should think that was something to be thankful for!"

"Now that you speak of it, I don't know but that you're right," Freddie Firefly admitted, "though I never thought of such a thing before." And not wishing to be ungrateful to Farmer Green, he promptly put out his light.

Of course, that was just what Benjamin was waiting for. And since he could see perfectly in the dark, without a moment's warning he rushed straight at Freddie Firefly, with his mouth wide open.

If Freddie hadn't happened to flash his light just at that moment he would never have flashed it again.

As soon as Benjamin Bat saw the greenish-white gleam he was so afraid of getting burned--not knowing that Freddie's light could not harm him--he was so afraid that he swerved sharply to one side and zigzagged about the yard for a few seconds.

But he soon returned to speak to Freddie Firefly once more.

"You made a good beginning," he told Freddie. "But you turned your light on again too quickly. Just keep dark until I tell you to shine, and with a little practice you'll be able to do the trick very well. And Farmer Green will certainly be pleased. Now, just try it again!"

But Freddie Firefly could not forget how terrible Benjamin had looked a few moments before. And he began to suspect that Benjamin Bat was playing a trick of his own.

"It seems to me," said Freddie, "that you are a little too anxious about Farmer Green."

"Oh! no, indeed!" Benjamin Bat declared. "Farmer Green is a fine man. He's a great friend of mine. He furnishes me a whole tree near the swamp, in which I sleep every day. If you passed that way any time between dawn and sunset you could see me hanging by my heels from one of the branches."

"Just where is your tree?" Freddie Firefly inquired.

Having no idea that Freddie could do him the slightest harm, Benjamin Bat explained that his special, favorite tree was a great cedar, which stood close to the old bridge that crossed Black Creek, at the lower end of the swamp.

"I know where that is; and I'll go over there to-morrow and take a look at you," Freddie Firefly remarked.

"Do!" said Benjamin Bat.

"And I'll bring Solomon Owl with me," Freddie added. "For I know he'd like to see you, too."

"Don't!" cried Benjamin Bat. "Oh, don't do that!"

"What's the matter?" Freddie Firefly asked Benjamin Bat. "Why don't you want me to fetch Solomon Owl to your tree, to see you hanging by your heels when you're fast asleep?"

"Solomon Owl is no friend of mine," Benjamin Bat explained with a shudder. "He'd eat me in a minute, if he could catch me."