Betsy Butterfly in "A Terrible Blunder"
A Terrible Blunder
When the beautiful Betsy Butterfly turned her gaze on him, Daddy Longlegs couldn't help wishing that he had worn his new coat that day. However, he straightened his necktie carefully and tried to look as well as he could.
"So you've seen me eating butter, have you?" Betsy Butterfly asked him.
"Not eating it!" he corrected her. "I've seen you standing on it. And your face was hidden in it, too."
Mrs. Ladybug shot a triumphant glance at the crowd, of which she and Betsy Butterfly and Daddy Longlegs were the center.
"What have you to say now, my fine lady?" she demanded of Betsy with a sneer.And still Betsy Butterfly was quite unruffled.
"Where did you see me doing that?" she asked Daddy Longlegs pleasantly enough.
"I object!" Mrs. Ladybug interrupted hastily. "You needn't answer her question," she advised Daddy Longlegs.
"I know her tricks! She'll keep us talking here until we forget what our errand was!"But Daddy Longlegs paid no attention to Mrs. Ladybug's advice.
"I saw you in this meadow," he explained.
And Mrs. Ladybug began to look somewhat worried."Come!" she cried. "Let's all go home now. We've warned her; and we'll leave her to think over what she's done.... I hope—" Mrs. Ladybug added, turning to Betsy Butterfly—"I hope you'll decide to turn over a new leaf."
"Why, that's exactly what she did, that time when I saw her!" Daddy Longlegs shouted. "While I was watching her I saw her turn over a leaf. So what's the use of her turning over another."And now it was Mrs. Ladybug's turn to look amazed and bewildered.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she snapped, glaring at Daddy Longlegs. "And I don't believe you know, yourself."
"Oh! yes, I do!" he retorted shrilly."Butter has no leaves," said Mrs. Ladybug with a knowing air. "I saw heaps and heaps of it in Farmer Green's buttery yesterday. And there wasn't a leaf on it."
"How about eggs, then?" shouted somebody in the crowd. It was stupid Buster Bumblebee! And of course nobody paid any heed to his silly question.
As he stared at Mrs. Ladybug dully Daddy Longlegs let his mouth fall wide open."Why, what do you mean?" he demanded at last. "You and I aren't talking about the same sort of butter at all! You're describing the kind of butter that Mrs. Green makes at the farmhouse."
"And what, pray tell, have you been talking about all this time?" Mrs. Ladybug gasped.
"The butter-and-eggs in the meadow!" Daddy Longlegs informed her. "I suppose you know the plant, don't you?"
"I've heard of it," Mrs. Ladybug replied. "But I doubt if there is such a thing."
"And I say there is!" Buster Bumblebee clamored. "We Bumblebees are very fond of butter-and-eggs. And we're about the only field people that know how to open a blossom and reach its nectar."Little Mrs. Ladybug waited to hear no more.
"You've made a terrible blunder!" she told Daddy Longlegs hurriedly. And before he could answer her she had hastened away. Like many another jealous body, Mrs. Ladybug had behaved very foolishly. And it was no wonder that she wanted to get away from the crowd.
She didn't even beg Betsy Butterfly's pardon for calling her a thief. But all the rest of the field people realized at last that Betsy was no thief.The butter-and-eggs plant, they were well aware, was as free as the clover, or the milk-weed blossoms, or any other of the wild flowers. Everybody knew that Farmer Green laid no claim to them, though they did grow in his meadow.And when Betsy Butterfly thanked Daddy Longlegs for his explanation he wished more than ever that he had worn his new coat that day—and his new hat, too.