Betsy Butterfly in "A Sly One"

 

 

A Sly One


When Freddie Firefly reported to Mrs. Ladybug and her neighbors that Betsy Butterfly had taken neither butter nor eggs from Farmer Green during the night the field people were much puzzled.
"She's certainly a sly one!" Mrs. Ladybug exclaimed. "What do you think we ought to do now?" she asked Daddy Longlegs, who was supposed to be very old, and therefore very wise.
"I think you ought to warn her," he replied, after some thought. "You ought to tell Betsy Butterfly that she must stop pilfering."

"No doubt your advice is good," Mrs. Ladybug observed. "And I'll speak to Betsy this very morning.... You must come with me," she told Daddy. "I naturally want to have a witness."
"Oh, I'll come!" he cried in his thin, quavering voice, though what she meant by a "witness" was more than he knew.
So Mrs. Ladybug and Daddy Longlegs set forth to find Betsy Butterfly. And behind them followed a crowd of their neighbors. Even lazy Buster Bumblebee joined the procession. Though he was a drone, and never worked, he was always ready to exert himself for the sake of any new excitement.

The strange company wandered back and forth across the meadow for some time without finding Betsy Butterfly. But at last Mrs. Ladybug spied her. And soon Betsy found herself surrounded by the mob.
"Goodness!" she cried, looking about her in surprise. "How nice of you all to call on me! I'm so glad to see you!"
Betsy Butterfly was so cordial that Mrs. Ladybug couldn't help looking somewhat uncomfortable. She couldn't avoid a strange feeling of guilt. And yet she told herself that Betsy Butterfly was really the guilty one.

"She's a bold piece!" Mrs. Ladybug exclaimed, under her breath.
"Perhaps you won't be so happy to see us when you hear what we have to say to you," Mrs. Ladybug began.
"There hasn't been an accident, I hope!" Betsy cried. "Your house hasn't burned?"
"No!" replied Mrs. Ladybug. And again she said, "No!" in a very decided manner. "We've come to warn you that we've found out about your trickery," she announced. "We know that you like butter, and that you're in the habit of taking it from Farmer Green—yes! and eggs, too!"

"Why, I don't know what you're talking about!" Betsy Butterfly faltered. She was really greatly surprised.
"It won't help you to be untruthful," Mrs. Ladybug told her severely. "It's no wonder—" she added—"it's no wonder Mrs. Green wouldn't give me a bit of butter when I went to the farmhouse yesterday. She thought I was the one that's been stealing it from her, right along."And then Mrs. Ladybug was amazed by what followed. For Betsy Butterfly actually smiled at her.

"You're mistaken," she said. "I never eat butter. I don't like it. And as for eggs, how could I ever break through an egg-shell?"
"I don't know anything about that," said Mrs. Ladybug. "And besides, I didn't come here to be questioned," she added tartly. "If you have any questions to ask, just ask 'em of him, for he's seen you with your face buried in butter!" And she pointed at Daddy Longlegs.And now it was his turn to look uncomfortable. For he considered Betsy Butterfly to be very beautiful indeed.
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