Betsy Butterfly in "Johnnie Green's Net"

 

 

Johnnie Green's Net


Johnnie Green was never quite happy unless he was collecting something. One year he went about with a hammer, chipping a piece off almost every rock in Pleasant Valley. And of course he gathered birds' eggs.After he tired of that he began collecting postage stamps. Next he turned his attention to tobacco tags, even hailing travellers who passed the house, to ask them whether they hadn't a "hard one," meaning by that a tag that was hard to get.

When he felt quite sure that he had a sample of every kind of tobacco tag in the whole world, Johnnie Green had to think of something else to collect. And since it was summer, and a good time to find them, he decided to start a collection of butterflies.News spreads fast among the field people; and almost as soon as Johnnie Green had made up his mind about his new collection, the whole Butterfly family knew of it.Old Mr. Crow was the one that first learned of Johnnie's plan. And he was not pleased, either.
"Butterflies!" he scoffed. "I should think Johnnie Green might better spend his time doing something worth while. Butterflies, indeed! Now, if he would only collect Crows there'd be some sense in that!"But that was before old Mr. Crow and his neighbors understood exactly what a collection was. And the Butterflies felt quite proud because Johnnie Green was going to busy himself with them.Later, when the field people discovered that collecting Butterflies meant catching them and sticking pins through their heads, the Butterfly family became greatly excited and worried. And as for old Mr. Crow, he was very glad that Johnnie had not decided to collect him and his relations.
Well, if you had been in Pleasant Valley that summer, on almost any fine day you might have seen Johnnie Green running about the fields or the flower garden with a butterfly net in his hand.He had made the net from a barrel hoop and a piece of mosquito netting, to which he nailed an old broomstick for a handle. And for the first few days when he started making his new collection he didn't visit the swimming hole once. When his father asked him to do a little work for him—such as feeding the chickens, or leading the old horse Ebenezer to water—Johnnie Green was not so pleasant as he might have been. He complained that he was too busy to bother with the farm chores just then.

But Farmer Green told him to run along and do his work."You'll have plenty of time to play," said Johnnie's father.The Butterfly family was sorry that Farmer Green didn't keep his boy at work from dawn till dark. They didn't like to have to watch out for fear that horrid net might swoop down upon them and catch them. They wanted to have a good time among the flowers without being in constant terror of capture at the hands of Johnnie Green.

But, strange to say, Betsy Butterfly was not in the least uneasy. She was so gentle herself that she couldn't believe anybody would harm her.
Little did Betsy realize that she was really in great danger. Her fatal beauty was sure to catch Johnnie Green's eye. And though Betsy Butterfly did not know it, only an accident could prevent her being added to Johnnie Green's collection.
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