Betsy Butterfly in "The Night Watch"

 

 

The Night Watch


Little Mrs. Ladybug stopped everybody she met in the meadow and related how Betsy Butterfly was taking Farmer Green's butter—and his eggs, too—without asking his permission."She's going to get some of us into trouble," Mrs. Ladybug informed her neighbors. "Just as likely as not Farmer Green and his wife will think others are stealing from them. Why, I went to the farmhouse to-day and asked for a bit of butter. And what do you think? Mrs. Green pretended not to hear me! I thought it was queer, at the time. But now I know that she's angry with me. 

She must have missed some of her butter; and she thinks I'm the guilty party." Mrs. Ladybug shook her finger at her neighbors. "We'll have to do something to put a stop to Betsy Butterfly's thieving," she declared.Jealous Mrs. Ladybug's story amazed all the field people. They could scarcely believe that anyone so beautiful and dainty as Betsy Butterfly would bemean herself by robbing Farmer Green—or anybody else. But Mrs. Ladybug said that Daddy Longlegs had seen Betsy with her face buried in Farmer Green's butter. And no one could doubt the word of so respectable a person as Daddy Longlegs.

"What steps do you think we ought to take to prevent Betsy from eating any more butter and eggs that don't belong to her?" asked the queen of the Bumblebee family.
"I think we ought to set a careful watch on her," said Mrs. Ladybug. "I'm sure I don't see when she gets her stolen goods, because I've watched her very closely myself for some time. And I've seen her dine on nothing but flowers."
"Perhaps she goes to the farmhouse at night," Jennie Junebug suggested.
"That's a happy thought!" said Mrs. Ladybug approvingly. "We'll have to get Freddie Firefly to follow her about after dark."So Mrs. Ladybug and her neighbors made arrangements with Freddie Firefly to have Betsy Butterfly spied upon that very night."I'll watch her till sunset," Mrs. Ladybug agreed. "And then you must relieve me," she told Freddie. "Don't let her out of your sight until sunrise!" she warned him.Freddie Firefly promised that he would be faithful to his trust. And later that afternoon, when the sun began to drop behind the mountains, he relieved Mrs. Ladybug, who had been spying upon Betsy ever since their talk earlier in the day.

"She's behaved herself fairly well so far," Mrs. Ladybug whispered to Freddie, as she prepared to fly home to her children. "But there's no knowing when she may start for the farmhouse. So you mustn't take your eyes off her all night long!"
"You can trust me," Freddie assured her. And then Mrs. Ladybug said good evening.Freddie Firefly always claimed that that was the longest night he ever spent. And he said that if he had realized that he would have to stay in one place from sunset to dawn he never would have agreed to watch Betsy Butterfly.

For Betsy Butterfly went to sleep the moment the sun went down. Freddie had to remain for hours and hours where he could flash his light upon her. And all the while he knew that his whole family was having a delightful time dancing in the hollow over towards the swamp.It was especially hard for Freddie because he could see the gay lights of the Fireflies twinkling through the dark. But Betsy Butterfly knew nothing of his long vigil. She slept and slept the whole night long. And Freddie Firefly had to admit to himself, as he watched her, that she didn't act like a robber in the least.
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