IX. Freddie's Promise

Buster Bumblebee did not find Freddie Firefly very easily. It was a sunny afternoon; and if Freddie was flashing his bright light, Buster was unable to see it. But at last he spied Freddie eating a meal of pollen in the meadow.

"How would you like to work for my mother, the Queen?" Buster asked him.

"I don't believe I'd care to, thank you," Freddie Firefly answered, with a mouth so full of food that Buster heard him only with great difficulty.

"I'll wait a moment, until you have finished your lunch," said Buster.

"You'd better not!" Freddie Firefly told him. "It will be dark by that time. And Chirpy Cricket tells me your family always goes to bed at sunset."

"So we do!" Buster agreed. "But my mother, the Queen, is going to order her honey-makers to work overtime for the present. And she wants you and your family to furnish lights so they can see what they're doing." "Oh! That's different!" Freddie Firefly exclaimed. "I thought she wanted me to help make honey. And that's something I know nothing about. ... But when it comes to furnishing a light, I'm certainly a shining success." Freddie then laughed heartily. And much to his surprise, Buster Bumblebee gave him several hard slaps on the back, which hurt him not a little.

"Don't do that!" Freddie Firefly cried.

"I thought you were choking," Buster, explained.

Freddie Firefly shook his head.

"I was joking," he said.

"Well, I didn't make much of a mistake; for joking and choking sound about the same," Buster Bumblebee replied.

"I hope your mother's honey-makers can tell the difference," Freddie Firefly grumbled. "If they can't, I certainly don't care to spend a night in their company."

"Oh, you won't have any trouble with them. They'll be working so busily that they'll hardly notice you," Buster Bumblebee assured him.

So Freddie Firefly promised to be at the house of the Bumblebee family, in the meadow, at dusk. And he said he would try to bring plenty of his relations with him, so that there might be one of them to light the way for each of the honey-makers.

And then Buster Bumblebee hurried away to tell his mother the news.

The Queen praised Buster for what he had done, telling him that in her opinion he would soon be the wisest person in Pleasant Valley--not even excepting old Mr. Crow and Solomon Owl.

Buster was so pleased that he made up his mind to stay awake that evening, in order to see the workers start out for the clover field after dark with Freddie Firefly and his relations. But when sunset came, Buster simply couldn't keep from falling asleep.

Not until the next morning did he know how his plan had turned out. And since it proved to be less successful than he had expected, perhaps it was just as well that he was not present to hear the remarks that were made about him.

Even Freddie Firefly said things about Buster that night that would not have been at all pleasant to listen to.