The Tale of Freddie Firefly by Arthur Scott Bailey
III. Freddie Agrees to Help
Never in all his life had Freddie Firefly heard of a torchlight procession--nor of any other sort of procession, either. So when Chirpy Cricket first mentioned his plan it was no wonder that Freddie looked somewhat blank.
But when Chirpy explained that a procession was a parade, which meant that you followed a leader--and a good many others--in a long line, Freddie Firefly began to understand.
"I need you and a few hundred of your nearest relations to furnish the lights," Chirpy Cricket continued. "And I wish you'd ask your whole family to take part in the procession, for we really can't have too many of you."
"When will the procession take place?" Freddie Firefly wanted to know.
"To-night, as soon as it's dark enough!" Chirpy told him.
"And where are we going to march?"
"Oh, all around the meadow!" said Chirpy Cricket. "The line will form along the stone wall by the roadside. ... Do you think you'll be there?" he inquired somewhat anxiously.
"You certainly can count on me," Freddie Firefly promised. "Of course, I can't very well accept your invitation for more than about fifty-five of my brothers--and maybe six dozen of my cousins. But I hope there'll be more of us than that."
"Well, I hope so, too," Chirpy Cricket said. "But even if there were no more than you can promise, we ought to have enough. Fifty-five and six dozen make one hundred and twenty-seven; and you make one hundred and twenty-eight."
"Yes," replied Freddie Firefly, though he thought it would have been more polite had Chirpy Cricket counted him first instead of last, since he was the first of his family to be invited. But he really couldn't be angry with anyone so cheerful as Chirpy Cricket.
"I'll have to leave you now," Chirpy announced, "for I must be on my way. I shall have to make a great many calls before sunset, because I want to invite all my friends to join the procession. ... I'll see you later," he said, as he turned away.
He had not gone far before he stopped and called to Freddie Firefly.
"Don't forget to bring your light with you to-night!" he cautioned him.
"I'll try not to!" Freddie shouted. But if the truth was known, he couldn't have forgotten his light, even if he had wanted to! It was just as much a part of him as his eyes or his six legs. But Chirpy Cricket didn't seem to know that. And Freddie Firefly didn't choose to enlighten him.
Then Chirpy Cricket hurried away. He went straight to the clover field, because he wanted to ask Buster Bumblebee to take part in the torchlight procession. And Chirpy knew that the clover field was the best place to look for him, on account of Buster's being so fond of clover juice.
Reaching the field where the red clover grew, Chirpy began to hunt for the biggest blossom of them all. And when he found it, there was Buster Bumblebee, sitting on top of it and enjoying a hearty meal.
He listened, between sucks at the sweet juice, to Chirpy Cricket's invitation. He seemed interested, too.
"What music are you going to have at your parade?" he inquired, for Buster was very fond of music.
Chirpy Cricket replied that he hadn't thought much about that, but he said he expected to sing.
Buster Bumblebee grunted when he heard that. To tell the truth, he didn't care much for Chirpy's voice, which he considered altogether too shrill.
"Are you going to take part in the procession?" Chirpy asked him.
"I'll let you know to-morrow," said Buster Bumblebee. "Ah, but that will be too late!" Chirpy cried. "We're going to have the procession to- night."
"To-night!" Buster exclaimed. "Then I can't come. For I shall be sound asleep right after sunset."