VIII. Buster's Scheme

About the time summer was half gone, Buster Bumblebee's mother, the Queen, began to worry. She was afraid her workers were not going to make enough honey for her family's needs.

Then came a few days of steady rain, when the workers of the Bumblebee family couldn't venture away from home, on account of getting their wings wet. And of course the Queen was terribly upset.

"I don't know what to do!" she kept exclaiming. "The days are already growing shorter. It's a pity the honeymakers can't work in the dark."

Buster Bumblebee happened to hear his mother talking in that fashion with some of the older members of the family. And he spoke up at once and said:

"I know of a plan that might help."

Nobody paid the slightest attention to his remark, because the whole family thought that Buster was not only fat and lazy, but somewhat stupid as well.

"I know of something you could do that would help," he persisted, in a much louder voice. "The honey-makers could work after dark if you'd only get the Firefly family to furnish lights for them."

A number of Buster's relations snickered when they heard his plan. It struck them as being too silly for anything. But his mother, the Queen, looked very thoughtful.

"I'm not sure but that this boy has a good idea," she observed, much to the surprise of the others. "For a long time I've been waiting for him to say something worth listening to. And now I do believe he has had a happy thought at last." She turned to Buster. "How did you chance upon this scheme?" she asked him.

"Oh, the notion just came to me. I didn't have to work, to think of it," Buster explained. And he wondered why everybody laughed.

You know, Buster Bumblebee was so lazy that he never would lift a finger to do a stroke of work. And now the word "work" had a very funny sound, coming from his mouth.

"How could we get the Firefly family to help us? Have you thought of a way to do that?" Buster's mother said to her son.

"N-no, I haven't," he admitted. "But I'd go straight to Freddie Firefly and tell him what's wanted."

"Suppose you do that, then," said the Queen.

"You wouldn't call that working, would you?" Buster inquired anxiously. Having long since promised himself that he would never work, of course he didn't want to break his word.

His relations--that is, except his mother--couldn't help tittering when Buster said that. But to tell the truth, they were beginning to be the least bit jealous of Buster Bumblebee and his plan. When the Queen frowned at them severely, each of them tried to look as if it had been somebody else that laughed.

Then the Queen assured Buster that paying a call on a person couldn't be said to be work.

"You go and talk with Freddie Firefly," she directed him, "and if your plan proves to be a success, it will then be your turn to laugh at others."