Betsy Butterfly in "A Mishap"
Except for the work that his father made him do now and then, there was only one thing that bothered Johnnie Green in making his collection of butterflies. The weather was not so good as it might have been. He soon found that there was no use hunting for butterflies except in the sunshine. So when a three days' rain came, Johnnie began to wish he had started a different sort of collection.But the weather cleared at last. And the sun came out so bright that Johnnie fairly pulled old Ebenezer away from the watering-trough and hustled him back to his stall; for he was in a hurry to get to the flower garden with his butterfly net. As for the chickens, they had very little food that day.
Once in the garden, Johnnie Green found more butterflies than he had ever noticed before. But as soon as he began chasing them, they flew away to the meadow. That is, all but Betsy Butterfly. She said she was sure Johnnie Green wouldn't annoy her.And that was where she was wrong. The moment he caught sight of her, with her mottled red-and-brown wings with the violet tips, Johnnie cried: "There's a beauty!"
But Betsy Butterfly was so used to such remarks that she paid little heed to him. Even when he crept nearer and nearer to her, with old dog Spot at his heels, she did not take fright.With her tongue deep in a fragrant blossom she was enjoying its delicious sweetness when Johnnie Green, bearing his net aloft, sprang at her.When Johnnie jumped, Betsy Butterfly started up in alarm. She had really waited until it was too late. And if something unexpected hadn't happened to Johnnie Green, Betsy would surely have had a place in his collection.
But luckily for her, Johnnie met with a fall. He may have tripped on a vine. Or his foot may have slipped on the wet ground. Anyhow, he fell sprawling among the flowers, dropping his precious net as he stretched out his hands to save himself.Johnnie's fall gave Betsy Butterfly her only chance. Coiling her long tongue out of her way, she quickly made her escape.So Johnnie Green lost her. But she was not all that he lost. A strange accident happened just as he fell, for old dog Spot leaped forward at the same time. And, much to his surprise, Spot found his head inside the butterfly net. The long broomstick handle thumped him sharply on his back. And the silly fellow took fright at once.
With yelps of terror he scurried out of the flower garden. And Johnnie picked himself up just in time to see Spot tearing across the meadow toward the woods."Spot! Spot! Come back!" Johnnie Green shouted. But old Spot paid no attention to his young master. Perhaps he was too scared to hear him.Spot wanted to get rid of that net that covered his head. And he knew of no better place to go than the woods where he hoped to be able to free himself from his odd muzzle by rubbing against a tree or nosing among some bushes.
Johnnie ran a little way after him. But when he saw Spot duck into the woods he turned back sadly towards the house. For all he knew, old Spot might run a mile further before he stopped. Johnnie would have to make a new net if he wanted to catch any more butterflies for his collection.And the trouble was, he had no more mosquito netting. A good many of the field people saw old Spot as he dashed off with the butterfly net over his head. And they enjoyed a hearty laugh at the strange sight.
As for Betsy Butterfly, she had learned to watch out for Johnnie Green. And she knew that another time he would have to be twice as spry as he had shown himself, if he expected to capture her.Old Spot didn't come home till afternoon. When he appeared at last he looked very sheepish. He hoped no one had noticed his fright. And he wouldn't go near the flower garden again for a whole week.