VI. The Banners
 

When Chirpy Cricket mentioned "banners," Mehitable Moth, Kiddie Katydid, and Moses Mosquito stepped forward with looks of pride on their faces-- so far as one could see their faces by the glimmer of the flashing lights of the Firefly family. And at the same time Freddie Firefly shouldered his way through the crowd and plucked at Chirpy Cricket's sleeve.

"Don't you think--" he asked earnestly--"don't you think I ought to carry one of the banners myself?"

"Perhaps so!" answered Chirpy Cricket. He was so taken aback that he really didn't know what else to say. "Which one do you prefer?"

"I'd have to see them before I made a choice," Freddie Firefly told him in a more hopeful tone.

So Chirpy ordered Kiddie Katydid and Moses and Mehitable to produce their banners, which they had left leaning against the wall.

They brought them forth fearfully, each hoping that his--or hers--wasn't going to be taken away and handed over to Freddie Firefly to carry in the procession.

"Here are the banners!" Chirpy Cricket said to Freddie. "Which one do you like best?"

Freddie looked at the banners and read them slowly, for he was not a good reader.

The first that he examined was the one Moses Mosquito had brought. And this is what it said:

Why fuss about a bite, if it makes somebody else happy?

"I don't care for that one at all," Freddie Firefly announced. And he turned then to Kiddie Katydid's banner, which he spelled out with a good deal of trouble, because it was not so well printed.

This banner made the following announcement:

Honest to goodness, I didn't do it!

"Why, I don't know what that's all about!" Freddie exclaimed impatiently. "Let me see the third one!" So he looked next at the banner of Mehitable Moth, which seemed to please him better, as he read it aloud:

Don't worry, Mrs. Green! I'll call at the farmhouse before fall.

"That's better!" cried Freddie Firefly. "I'll carry this banner with a great deal of pleasure. And I can call at the farmhouse to-night--if Farmer Green's family doesn't go to bed too early."

But there was one difficulty about Freddie's plan. Mehitable Moth did not like to have her banner, which she had made with great pains, taken away from her like that. And she drew Chirpy Cricket to one side and began talking to him in an undertone.

Soon he turned again to Freddie Firefly, saying, "She thinks that if you're going to carry her banner in the procession you ought to let her take your light."

"Oh, I can't do that!" Freddie exclaimed quickly. "I wouldn't think of doing that!"

"It would be only fair, it seems to me," Chirpy Cricket observed.

"Well, I won't do it, anyhow," Freddie declared. "I'd stay out of the procession first. And so would all my relations, too."

Chirpy Cricket began to look worried. And it was no wonder. For he knew he could have no torchlight procession without the Firefly family. But pretty soon he cheered up noticeably.

"I know what you can do!" he announced. "You can ride on top of Mehitable Moth's banner and keep flashing your light on it!"