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1

THE BIRD-NEST
BOARDING HOUSE

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
BY

VERBENA REED
ILLUSTRATED BY

OLIVER HERFORD

E. P.

BUTTON
681

NEW YORK & COMPANY

FIFTH AVENUE

COPYRIGHT, 1922,

BY

E. P.

BUTTON & COMPANY

All Rights Reserved

.*,.<
.

.

'tt

e e
c

f,rt

In the

United

f?tat?s of

AmHca

To
THE MEMORY OF

D. C. M. WHO WAS THE FIRST TO LOVE MRS. WORM AND HER BIRDNEST BOARDING HOUSE

CONTENTS
CHAPTER
PAGB

PROLOGUE
I.

xiii
.

AT THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE

.

i

II.

....
.

44 63

III.

THE LlGHTNING-BuG AND HlS AGENT
BOBBY BUMBLEBEE

IV.

86 CIRCUS

V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.

THE WOODPECKER
CRICKET

....

102

120
131

LALLY LADYBUG

DADDY LONG-LEG'S PICNIC

....
.

147

IX.

ANDY
WINNIE WASP

163 176
.

X.
XI.
XII.

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING

191

210

ILLUSTRATIONS
The Bird-Nest Boarding House
After Breakfast in Bed, Mr.
. .

.

Frontispiece
PAGE

Worm

Shaved Himself

2

Among Her Paying Guests, Was Colonel George Grub-Worm He Was Gripped Firmly in Iron Jaws and Borne
/Yloit

3
o
7
10
ll

............
.

Mr.

Very Grand in His High Silk Hat Winnie Wasp Shampooed Her Auburn Hair "Mr. Worm is Lost!"
.

Worm Was

Cricket Cricket

Found

the Snake-Doctor Fishing as

Usual
.

13 15

Gave Winnie Wasp

the Smelling Salts

The Widow Grasshopper and Daddy Long-Legs
Played Checkers
16

Mr. Flea Had Skipped His Board Bill Mr. Flea Copied the Initials on Mr. Worm's GoldHeaded Cane
Rev. Bettle
Bessie

....
.

17

19

Came by

every

Day

to See

Mrs.

Worm

22 25 28

Did

a Juggling Act with Colored Balls

He Disliked to Bathe Willie He Crept to the Door It Was a Long, Long, Long Way Home He Saw a Great Big Bee

.......

...

30
31

33

ILLUSTRATIONS
He Bade Bobby Bumblebee Good-Bye Mr. Worm Made His Way to the Window and
Looked In
"I

....
in

PAGE

36
37

Will Have

Two

Soft-Boiled

Eggs

the

Morning" Benny and Betty Were Twins
Betty and Benny Seat at Church

42

44
to Sit

Were Made

on the Front

After Supper Her Father Sent for
"I

Her

...
Them

47 53

May Be Gone

Several

Days"

56
to
in

Standing in Line Waiting for

Him

Help

64
67
72

She Told

Them Never

to

Put a Foot

Her House

There Stood Three Beggar-Lice She Fetched Food from the Kitchen
"I'll

....
Children"

74
77
81

Go Along Home

with
so

You Dear

Mrs. Wiggletail
all the

Was

Happy

that She

Sang
83

Time

Everyone

Was

Invited

Up and Rubbed His Eyes Miss Lilly Was Making a Peach Pie She Was so Dear and Sweet
Bobby Sat

.... ....
.

90
92 97
100
103
107

They Were Married by

the Justice of the Peace

They Packed Their Trunks and Left

....
Looking for
as

He Told
a

the Policeman that

He Was
the

House
to

His Head Was as Close Could Get It

Canvas

He
109
112,

Birds from Everywhere Flocked to the Circus

113

ILLUSTRATIONS
The Baby Clown Was Very Scared but Hurt
not a Bit

xi
PAGE

116
.
.

The Gayest and Chirpiest Cook Ever Born Mr. Flea Mumbled Something about Cold
Behind
ing
Lallie

120
122

Coffee

Them Came

the

Widow

Grasshopper Ring127

Her Dinner-Bell
Ladybug and Winnie Wasp Jumped Out of

a

Window

128

Cricket Gathered

Up

the

Poor

Little

Heap on the
129
as

Floor

"Why,

You

Cousin George Are !"

!

At Your Age and Fat

133 139

Mr. Flea Delivered

the Invitations

A

Handsome Purse
to

Filled with Real

Money

.

.

144

"I'm Going

Give a Picnic"

150
155

They Found
Mrs.

a Nice, Soft Seat on an Oyster Shell

Worm and the Widow Grasshopper Got Mr. Worm and the Baby Safely under a Rock-Pebble
Took
Shelter in the

157

Cricket

Toe of an Old Shoe

.

162 167

They Rode Off Throwing Kisses
She

Was

"No

Screaming for Help Broken Bones Here," He Said

....
to

169
172

She Looked under the Brick Where They Kept the Front Door Key
"I

177
181

Hate Raisins," She Said
Sheet"

The Widow Introduced "Miss
Sheet"

"Mr.
186

Winnie Threw Her Arms Around Her Father's Neck

188

xii

ILLUSTRATIONS
PAGE

He Awoke Feeling Fine He Bought a Cane Basket for His Wife He Struck at the Bat Gamely Just Then He Heard a Faint "Hello!" The Nurse Was just Taking the Thermometer
.

193

.

.

196
197

...

202

from His Mouth
"I Don't Want to Catch More of Patients"

205

You Train-Nussing any
.

My

207
X A

"Dear,
JJC
*

Do You Know what Next Thursday Will
.ri

Mr.

Mr.

Worm Worm

Stayed in Bed All

Day
.

219
.

Cleared His Throat and Began

221

"S-sh," Said Mrs.

Worm,

"He's Dropped

off to

Sleep"

225

PROLOGUE
There's a green path that leads to the country where the little creatures of this
story live.

You must

tip-toe

soft-ly

and knock
For
it is

gent-ly at the gate of their city.
stationed on

walled about with caution, and sentinels
watch-towers to give warning at the first far-off approach of a mortal enemy.
are

The

coun-ter-sign that

may win you

ad-

mit-tance to their joys and sorrows, their
feast-days

and

festivals

and funerals

is

Love.

And, of
as for

course, Un-der-stand-ing.

But

You who
you
xili

are not True-Beto dis-prove the

lievers, I challenge

xiv

PROLOGUE

truth of any of the adventures recorded
herein.

do you know that Daddy Longlegs hasn't a fiddle, and that he isn't the

How

Widow
If

Grasshopper's next-door-neighbor
1

as well as her table-boarder ?

Mamie Wiggletail

doesn't keep house

for the Lightning-bug

then

you know the Wasp left home and
If

real
it's

who does? reason Winnie

not the one given

here, suppose

you

tell

what you heard?

Because you didn't go to school to Lailie

Ladybug, does that give you any right

to say that Lallie didn't teach before she

became the blushing bride of Colonel George W. Grub- Worm, who had great
wealth as well as a dashing span of horseflies?

Because you never happened to meet

Andy, the little measuring-worm tailor, on his velocipede is no sign that he hasn't

PROLOGUE
a velocipede.
the

xv
it

He

just doesn't ride

on

Macadam
is

roads that you

know

best,

because he

cautious and he's afraid of

your automobile. If you are not romantic,
scoff at the

I

expect you to

idea of

Bobby Bumblebee,

country squire that he was, falling in love at first sight with a little bedraggled

White
you

Butterfly of the city.

I

don't ask

to take

these two.

my word You can
if

for the happiness of

ask

Honey Bumbleisn't a

bee or Lily either,

Bobby

goose

about his wife.
There's never a

summer day

that fades

into the shadows of night that

Mr. Light-

ning-bug with his lantern isn't out for everybody to see. Don't you believe a
Firefly

even?
I

The Widow Grasshopper,
was a great old
pretty button-holes.

grant you,

gossip, but she did

make

xvi

PROLOGUE
can write a letter and direct
or
it

You
the

to

Reverend Beetle

send souvenir

post-cards to
at

Benny or
not

Betty, mailing

them

any regular
it's

post-office.

If they don't

get 'em,
the mail.

my

fault.

/ don't carry

If you've never

Circus, I

been to the Woodpecker want to tell you you've missed a

good show, for Baby Willie Woodpecker is a funnier clown than either his Mama
or his Papa.

And if you don't believe

that the Snaketrout,

Doctor went fishing for speckled

because, you say, a speckled trout would be so many million times bigger than the

Snake-Doctor,
to ask

I'll

just stop long

enough

you

if

in the scale of created things

you can't concede that there are creatures any creek, brook or pool that are to a Snake-Doctor what a speckled trout was to, say, Mr. Isaac Walton.
in

PROLOGUE

xvii

Don't you believe that Louisa SnakeDoctor sent a wireless to her husband off

woods fishing? Then you need to be told that wireless was used in the counin the

and years and years before Mr. Marconi was even thinktry of

which

I write years

ing about being born.

you don't believe the Snake-Doctor got the telegram calling him home to operate on Fred Flea for ap-pen-di-ci-tis,
If
call

up

either

Angus Ant

or his brother

Augustus, and ask them. And when it comes to the Bird-Nest

Boarding House, with

its

gentle,

hard

working
heart
is

little mistress,

Mrs.

Worm, my

a freshet

and

my

eyes spill over

when
her

I

think of her, and her de-vo-tion to

worthless

husband,

Enoch Arden
all things,

Worm.
Well, she couldn't have
but
in being blessed with such a cook as little

xviii

PROLOGUE
who was
also her business

black cricket,

manager, dining-room servant, housemaid, nurse and laundress, I'll agree with Mrs.

Worm; Heaven has been
Little Girls
ter I love

very good to her.

Ladies and gentlemen, Little Boys and
(the littler
)

you are the
is

bet-

you
curtain

the orchestra
is

tuning

up.

The

ready to

rise.
!

Please applaud them a

little

VERBENA REED.

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
CHAPTER
i

I

AT THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
having breakfast in bed

and AFTERMr. Worm
pers,

looking over the morning pagot up, shaved

himself and dressed carefully for the day.

He called to his wife, who
ing her

was now

eat-

own

breakfast

after all of the

boarders had finished theirs and the chil-

dren had been

started
I

off

for
to

school:

"Bring walk."

me my

cane

want

go for a

2

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Don't be gone long," said Mrs. Worm,

as she kissed

him good-bye.

''Dinner will

soon be ready.
chief?'

Have you a clean handkerlived in a last year's bird-

The Worms

AFTER BREAKFAST IN BED, MR.

WORM
poor.

SHAVED HIMSELF

nest.

They were very

Mrs.

Worm

supported the family by taking boarders. Among her paying guests were Colonel

George Grub- Worm

(Mr. Worm's

AMONG HER PAYING GUESTS WAS COLONEL GEORGE GRUB-WORM

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
brother)

5

and Andy, the little measuringworm who was a tailor, and his first cousin.

Mr. Flea had boarded with the Worms, but he had suddenly disappeared. No
one knew where he had gone.
Lallie

Ladybug was a

school-teacher.

Winnie Wasp had been left money by her aunt, and as she did not have to work,
devoted most of her time to her
toilet.

She was always shampooing her hair and

manicuring her

nails.

Andy, the poor little tailor, had very hard. His one ambition was
his cousin,

to to

work
have

a diamond ring like the one the Colonel,

wore on

his little finger.

Andy

had no jewelry but always wore a large
fob tucked in the pocket of his white waistcoat.

Because

of

this,

many

people

thought he owned a fine gold watch, and would often ask him the time. Andy al-

6

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

ways replied to such questions by saying his watch was being repaired.

Mr.
silk

Worm

was very grand

in his high

hat with his gold-headed cane as he

walked down the beach.

HE WAS GRIPPED FIRMLY

IN IRON

JAWS AND BORNE

ALOFT

He
great

heard a noise that sounded like a

Zeppelin in the sky.
reader of the
lately he

Mr.

Worm

was a

newspapers.

And

had been interested

in the war.

MR.

WORM WAS

VERY GRAND IN HIS HIGH SILK HAT

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
What

9

he thought was a Zeppelin bomb was a large woodpecker flying over his
place in the sun.

The Zeppelin made a personal attack on Mr. Worm, and to his surprise he discovered
it

had a

bill,

for he

was gripped
aloft,

firmly in iron jaws

and borne

a

prisoner of war!

In the struggle to free himself from the enemy he dropped both his high silk hat and gold-headed cane on the beach now
far

below him.
\

"
Cricket-on-the-Hearth

was

the

little

black cook and maid of all work in the

Worm's household, as Worm's chief adviser.
If

well

as

Mrs.

Mr.

Cricket's

had only had little bright mind and energy, what a

Worm

10

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

help he might have been to his poor wife
trying so hard to support the family.
Lallie

Ladybug

sat in her

room trying

Winnie Wasp shampooed her auburn hair. The door opened
shoes, while

on new

WINNIE WASP SHAMPOOED HER AUBURN HAIR

and Cricket burst

in without

even knock-

ing as she had been taught to do by her
mistress.

"Mr.

Worm

is

lost!"
ears.

Winnie Wasp

could not believe her

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Who
bug,
tions.

1 1

lost

him?" asked Lallie Ladyto asking foolish ques-

who was given
is

"It
his

the only thing he ever done in
life.

whole

He

3

lost his self/

said

"

MR.

WORM

IS

LOST!"

Cricket.

This was the

first

time she had

ever told the plain truth about her master.

Now

she

was

so upset, she didn't

know what she said. The two young lady boarders took it

for

granted that Cricket had come in her ex-

12

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

citement only to break to them the sad news that her master was lost.

When

they began to ask her questions

about Mr.

Worm

she stopped

saying it was not Mr. Worm ing of but Mrs. Worm who had walked
so far

them by she was think-

so

up and down the beach and cried hard that she was now threatened with

a heart attack.

'Wait a minute," cried Winnie Wasp, 'let us think and discuss what we had better

do for her."

"I've already thought," said Cricket.

stopped by to ask you to go in her room and fan her while I go for the Snake"I just

Doctor."
. . .

111

Cricket found the Snake-Doctor

fish-

ing as usual.
at
first,

He

did not want to come
it

for he thought

was Mr. Worm,

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

13

and he had been called away from his fishing before for Mr. Worm, to find there
was really nothing the matter with him. When Cricket made the Doctor understand
it

was not Mr.

Worm

but Mrs.

CRICKET FOUND THE SNAKE-DOCTOR FISHING AS USUAL

Worm, he

left everything

and hurried

back with her.

The Snake-Doctor had

a sharp tongue

but he was really very kind-hearted. He gave Mrs. Worm something to quiet her and sat by her bedside telling her her hus-

band was safe and probably

off

somewhere

where he couldn't reach her by telephone.

14

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
He
started to comfort her

by saying

maybe Mr.

Worm

had gone

off fishing as

he himself often did without telling his wife; then he remembered that fishing was
too
his

much
hand

like

work

for

Mr.

Worm

to turn

to

it.

By

this

sad news.

time Cricket had spread the Colonel George Grub- Worm
lost.

wouldn't believe his brother was

But he was fond of
sister-in-law

his

hard-working
say-

and cheered her up by
all

ing he would hitch up his horse-flies to the
carriage
find

and they'd

go for a drive and

Mr. Lazy-bones.

"He's just sitting down under a shady tree somewhere resting," he said.

The Snake-Doctor agreed with him and
would be the very thing for Mrs. Worm, then he went back to his fishsaid the drive

out he stopped by the kitchen and told Cricket not ever to
ing.

And on

his

way

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
disturb

15

him again when she saw him with a hook and line unless there was something
really the matter.

iv

The Widow Grasshopper
stay with the little

offered

to

Worms

while the older

CRICKET GAVE WINNIE WASP THE SMELLING SALTS

people went to hunt for their dear father. But she said she was afraid to stay without a
legs

man

in the house, so

Daddy Long-

came over

to sit with her.

Cricket

wrapped

Mrs.

Worm

up

16

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
her,

warmly, putting an extra sweater on

and gave Winnie

Wasp

the smelling salts

in case her mistress should

need them.

And

they were

off.

v

The

Worm

children were put to bed
asleep.

by Cricket and were soon

The

THE WIDOW GRASSHOPPER AND DADDY LONG-LEGS PLAYED
CHECKERS

Widow
legs
U

Grasshopper and
J

Daddy Longwhispered.

played checkers. the Widow S sh!

"There's some one in the hall."

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Daddy

17

Long-legs was very deaf and didn't hear the slamming of the front
door.

The Widow screamed
room door opened.

as the sittingit

She thought

was

MR. FLEA HAD SKIPPED HIS BOARD BILL

a burglar.

But instead

there stood little

Mr. Flea.

Now

the

Widow had

heard that the
bill,

Flea had skipped his board wasn't the time to ask him

but

this

why he had

gone Mrs.

without paying what he owed Worm for board and lodging.
off

i8

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
He

gave her and Daddy a pleasant good evening, and without waiting for

them

to tell

him

the sad news, he began

to ask if they
tive.

had heard he was a detechad been
off

He

said he

on a case

tracing a

man who was
find

lost.

"Did you

him?" asked the

Widow

Grasshopper.

"My
him."

picture was in all the papers,"

replied the Flea, proudly.

"Yes,

I

found

"Then do
band/' the

find dear Mrs.

Worm's

hus-

Widow

Flea got out his asked if there were any clues so far. He was told all they knew. He looked
at the gold-headed cane,

begged him, and the note-book at once and

and turned over

the high silk hat which they found on the

beach, and copied the initials that
it

marked

as

Mr. Worm's very own. "Could "E.A.W.," he said.

you,

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

19

madam, give me my client's full name?" "Enoch Arden Worm," said the Widow. "I remember it was written out

MR. FLEA COPIED THE INITIALS ON MR.

WORM

S

GOLD-

HEADED CANE

in full

on

their

wedding

invitations.

I

was one of Mrs. Worm's bride's-maids."

vi

Colonel George Grub- Worm drove up

and down the beach.

He

only stopped

20

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
let the horses rest.

one time to

And
if

he

would not have stopped then

Lallie

Ladybug hadn't

started sneezing.

He

was afraid that she was not warm enough, so he took off his coat and made her put
it

on.

All night long they asked the same
question.

No

one had seen a

tall,

rather

stoop-shouldered
silk

worm wearing
3

a high

hat and carrying a gold-headed cane.
of that cane,' sobbed

"He was so fond Mrs. Worm. "My
you glad you gave

dear boarders, aren't
to

it

him?"

"If you are glad, Mrs.
u

Ladybug
it

replied,
3

Worm," Lallie we are glad we gave
its

to him.'

"But

all

of us had our hearts set on
for

being a gold-headed parasol Christmas present." (Winnie

your
got

Wasp

mad

every time she thought of the cane.) 'Until you asked us not to give you any-

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
thing but to give Mr.
3

21

Worm the gold cane

instead.'

"I

knew you
by
I

sniffed again,

so touched

Worm "and dear Mr. Worm was your thinking of him. He
all

loved me," Mrs.

never knew

asked you to do

it."

vii

The days dragged by very
Mrs.

slowly.

Worm

did not have heart for any-

thing.

Cricket

had
the

to

attend
children

to
off

the
to

boarders,

getting

school, seeing the

man

about the rent and

tending to
sat

all the business.

Mrs.

Worm

by the window draped from morning till night.

in a black dress

Reverend Beetle, who was the minister at the Worms' church, came by every day
to see

Mrs.

Worm

and he always stayed

to dinner.

In fact he only left

when

the

22

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

Lightning-bug came in with his lantern to take Mrs. Worm to prayer meeting. 'You are all so good and kind/ Mrs.
:

Worm

said over

and over again.
or the Lightning-bug,

Cricket did not approve of either the

Reverend Beetle

REV. BEETLE

CAME BY EVERY DAY TO

SEE MRS.

WORM

had large appetites, and the cost of living was high. No more did Cricket
for they

give a pleasant

Good-morning,' to Mr. Flea who lived along from week to week
without paying a cent on his board but

c<

:

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
who kept
sure he
telling Mrs.

23

Worm

that he

was

would one day

find her husband.

vni

went by slowly to Mrs. Worm, think how they must have dragged for poor Mr. Worm.
If the days

Little did he

dream

as he

walked out

in the bright sunshine of the

May
home

morn-

ing that

it

would be weeks and months
again.

before he would see his happy

Now

he was a slave, for he had been

kidnapped by a great Woodpecker. Mr. Worm felt that even a Zeppelin wouldn't
have been much worse.
at the

Before he arrived

home

of the Woodpeckers, Mr.

Worm

thought they were rather gaudy and overdressed birds, but he thought
that they were like all other birds.

This

wasn't true at

all.

24

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
The Woodpeckers, he
learned as soon
his

as

Mr. Woodpecker reached

home, a

hole in a tree, where his wife and three
children lived, were circus people.

They

talked of nothing else.
their loud dressing.

This explained

They were
that.

all

clowns or something like

All except the baby, Willie.

Mr. and Mrs. Woodpecker sang and danced and acted foolish to make people
laugh. Harlequin, their oldest son, called

Hal

for short,

was

also
all

some

sort of a

clown.

His

suit

was

red and green
Bessie, the

and yellow and every
girl,

color.

did a juggling act with colored balls.

All of them were at the show most of
the time.
nurse.

The baby, Willie, needed a Mrs. Woodpecker told Mr. Worm
had
tried every sort of nurse for

that they

Willie, but none of them
to

had been able

amuse the

little fellow.

BESSIE DID A JUGGLING ACT

WITH COLORED BALLS

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
They had had
their eye

27

on him for a

long time, for they had decided they must get a settled person to look after their
precious baby.

Willie was badly spoiled. The Woodpeckers had really not trained their children to have any manners at
all,

but

Willie was the

human

limit.

The only

way Mr.
to tell
little

could keep him quiet was him tales, such as he had heard
tell to his

Worm

black Cricket

own

chil-

dren when she would rock them to sleep
at night.

Poor Mr.

Worm

had never listened

to

these tales very carefully

and

so he

was

often at his wit's end to remember what

happened
got

to Cinderella

and

if

Jack really

away from the Giant. Then Mr. Worm had

to

play bear,

which he hated to do.
to bathe Willie

He

also disliked
in his little

and dress him

28

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
rompers.

silly colored

very fond of his everything he heard his mother and father
say.
It

But Willie grew nurse and would tell him

was

in this

way

that

Mr.

Worm heard

HE DISLIKED TO BATHE WILLIE

Woodpeckers were thinking of making him join the circus. Willie told Mr.
the

Worm

he heard his papa tell his mama they needed another act so he thought it would be a great idea to have Mr. Worm

ride the trick mule.

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

29

Willie was delighted with the idea of He did waiting in the dressing-room.

Hal was Willie during Mr. Worm's
love the circus.

to stay with
act.

Mr.
things,

Worm

had stood

for a great

many

even to wearing an old cast-off uniform that had belonged to one of the

members of the band.

But

right here he

made up

his

mind

that he

would not wear

green tights and ride a trick mule. was a gentleman, not a clown.

He

ix

Day

after day,

week

after week,

Mr.

Worm

was planning
to

to escape.
all

The Woodpeckers were
and had gone
'This
himself,
door.
is

tired out

bed

early.
3

my

time,'

said

Mr.

Worm

to

and made a move toward the

30

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"I

wants a jink."

Mr.

Worm

got

Willie a drink of water, something he had never done for any one of his own
three children in all his life.

Things had hardly settled down when

HE CREPT TO THE DOOR

another of the
to

little

Woodpeckers began
This, of

cry because he was cold.

course,

waked

the older birds again.

Mr.

Worm

got up and filled the tiny

hot-water

bottle

from

the

bath-room

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
spigot

31

and covered Harlequin Woodpecker up, then he went back to his bed. Soon the little Woodpeckers quieted

down and
Mr.
for

the family were all asleep.
felt that this

Worm
to get

was the time

him

away.

He

slipped off the

IT

WAS A LONG, LONG, LONG WAY HOME
soldier's

hated

suit

and put

his

own

clothes on.

He

crept to the door, softly
listening for a

opened

it

and stood there

long while. He was very nervous for he never knew these days what would hap-

pen next.

32

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
x

was a long, long, long way home. And this nursing had been such a strain
It

on poor Mr. Worm, and he was not strong
to begin with.

The Woodpeckers had not

allowed him to smoke.
for

He

did not care

Woodpecker

food.

Mrs.

Worm

ful about his

had always been very carefood. He had never eaten

with the boarders, but had special tid-bits saved for him because he had a weak
digestion.
xi

Traveling at night is very dangerous for worms. They are so often stepped on

by

careless people.

Mr.

Worm

went

as far as he thought

would be

safe, then stretched himself

out

for the night.

He

was awakened by the

smell of tobacco.

When

he opened his

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

33

eyes he saw a great big bee sitting in the sunshine with his legs crossed smoking a

comfortable-looking pipe.

Mr.
eyes.

Worm could hardly He trembled with

believe his

excitement

^^0M^
HE SAW A GREAT
BIG BEE

and choked up fearing
beautiful dream.

it

might be a

"My

friend," he tried to call, but

no

words came.
tried to call
little

Three times Mr.

Worm

and

three times the weak,

whisper of his voice faded away before it reached the ears of the Bumblebee.

34

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Oh, dear !" cried Mr.

Worm to himself.
is

"I

do believe that dreadful Bee
3

getting

ready to take a nap.' Mr. Worm's knees were trembling so
that
it

took him a long time to reach the

Bee's side.
bee.
It

And

such a drowsy Bumble-

was

like getting

one of the

little

Worms up

for school in the morning.

A

great

many

things that

Mr.

Worm

had never noticed when he was at home, comfortable and well-taken-care of himself,

had a way of coming

to his

memory

lately.

He
Mrs.

thought of his poor,

dear wife,

Worm, and
and
his

of good, faithful, little eyes filled with tears;

Cricket,

instead of scolding the fat

Bumblebee

for

being such a sleepy head, he tried to

speak gently as possible to his old friend

and neighbor.

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Z-z-z-z,'

35

buzzed

the

Bumblebee,

sleepily.

"Oh, dear Mr. Bumblebee/' cried Mr.

Worm; and
face.

as he bent over the sleeper

his big tears fell

on Bobby Bumblebee's

'Wake up and help me in my trouble!' Bobby Bumblebee could not believe his
eyes.

There stood Mr.

Worm

himself,

more shabby and seedy than he had ever seen him, but alive, and in good health.

Bobby had seen Mrs.
\

Worm

the day

before in all her widow's weeds, but

Mr.

Worm
tions.

did not give him time to ask ques-

He

showed him the

blisters

on

his

feet

and told him he wanted

to get

home

as quickly as possible.

Bobby Bumblebee had

a good heart.
:

When he

heard the story he said "Get on my back and I will take you

36

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
The Bee Line
xn
Mr.
is

home.

the

quickest

anyway."

Worm
Truth

did not ask the Bee any

questions about Mrs.
dren.

Worm

and the

chil-

to tell, he

had been so taken

HE BADE BOBBY BUMBLEBEE GOOD-BYE

up with
pened

his

own

troubles that his

mind

did not dwell on what might have hapto the family in his absence.
.

He

bade Bobby Bumblebee good-bye

MR.

WORM MADE

HIS

WAY

TO THE

WINDOW AND

LOOKED IN

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
at the front gate

39

and thanked him

for his

kindness and invited him to dinner on

Sunday.
Xlll

There was a

light in the sitting-room

window.

Mr.

and looked

Worm made his way to this in. There sat Mrs. Worm

with the same darning in her lap. As she sewed from time to time a big tear-drop
rolled

down

her face, and fell on the

children's stockings.

Again Mr. Worm's voice failed him. He saw by the clock that it was ten.

The
Mrs.

children were probably in bed

and

Worm

ful little
asleep.

was growing sleepy. FaithCricket lay on the hearth already
raised his

hand and tapped on the window pane. His voice was gone Cricket was awake in a moment.
Mr.
!

Worm

"Burglars!" she cried.

40

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE Something must have told Mrs. Worm
it

that

was not burglars.

me," she said to Cricket.

A

"Come with moment later

Mr. Worm, worn out, foot sore, shabby, was in her faithful arms weeping on her
shoulder.

She carried him into the house.
built

Cricket

up a cheery little blaze, for the summer evening was damp, and hastened to
bring him food.

When

he was warmed
his blistered

and

fed,

and Cricket had put

feet into the basin of hot water to let

them

soak for half an hour before binding them up with salve and soft linen, Mrs. Worm

asked her husband
see the children.

if

he did not want to

"Not
for the

yet,

not yet," he cried, "nursing
so upset

Woodpeckers has
I

me

I

do

not even feel that

can bear to see

my

own

children until I feel stronger
3

and am

myself again.'

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"You may
"I will tell
call the boarders,"

41

he said.

my

story to all in the house at
I

one time, then

wish to forget forever

my

awful adventure."

Winnie Wasp and Lallie Ladybug, and met the SnakeDoctor in the hall. He had been sent for to see Fred Flea who was in bed with hayCricket flew to get
fever.

The good news spread

like

wild

fire.

And

in a

few minutes the Colonel and

Andy, the tailor, the Widow Grasshopper and Daddy Long-legs had joined the
\

circle

around the

fire.

The

clock struck twelve before
finished his story.

Mr.

Worm

xi

"My Worm

dear,

darling

husband,"

Mrs.

whispered when they were left

42

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
last.
is

alone at

"To

think that the chil-

dren's father

a real hero!"

"I will

have two soft-boiled eggs in the
3

morning

for

my

breakfast,'

Mr. Worm's

"l

WILL HAVE TWO SOFT-BOILED EGGS IN THE MORNING"

voice sounded as though he
in
his

was talking
you think
I

sleep

"and plenty of buttered
else that

and anything would like."
toast

"Darling," cooed Mrs.

Worm,

"Cricket

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and
I are
3

43

going to take such care of you

the rest of your life/

The Snake-Doctor was not called again till the following winter when there was
a

new

little

pink baby

Worm.

CHAPTER

II

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE

ENNY
twins.

and Betty Beetle were You would never have
so

guessed

from

seeing

them.

BENNY AND BETTY WERE TWINS

They were

as different in their looks as

in their dispositions.

Benny was very

fat.
44

His one thought

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
in life

45

was food.

If there

were cookies or

cakes within a mile, he could smell them

and would go
to

at once to that household

pay a visit. She cared It was not so with Betty. little for food. Betty was tall and very
thin.

She was always prying into some

one
the

else's business,

and

for this reason got

name

of

"Bad Betty

Beetle."

The
to
to

first

thing Betty would do every
to

morning when she got

school

was

peep into the other children's baskets see what they were going to have for
\

lunch.

Betty's father

was a

minister,

and the

people of his church were not rich. As the Beetle family kept no servants, the
children helped their mother by taking
care of the baby.

Rev. and Mrs. Beetle were very careful
the bringing

up of

their children.

46

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Rev. Beetle's favorite text was
3

:

"Chil-

Betty and obey your parents.' Benny were made to sit on the front seat
dren,
at church so their father could keep

an eye

on them from the pulpit. Betty had the bad habit of wiggling.

Benny always went
sermon.

to sleep

during the

Mrs. Beetle was busy sewing on buttons for Benny; she put the baby in his

Betty to come and watch him, telling her not to go out of
little go-cart

and called

to

sight.

Betty rolled the baby for a while.

But

when
of the

she

saw a crowd of children
and she

in front

Worm's

front gate, her curiosity got
left the baby.

the best of her

These children had been

to carry

a

birthday present to their teacher, Miss
Lallie

Ladybug, who lived at the Bird-

BETTY AND BENNY WERE MADE TO SIT ON THE FRONT SEAT AT CHURCH

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
Nest Boarding

49

House kept by Mrs.
like to be left.

Worm.
Baby did not
wanted He,
too,

to join the others.

In wriggling

around and trying to get
go-cart.

out, he upset the

His

yells brought, not only

Mrs.

Beetle, but her neighbors,

Widow

Grass-

hopper,

Daddy

Long-legs, and all the
33

boarders from Mrs. Worm's.

"My
and

precious baby!

as she said this,

Are you hurt? Mrs. Beetle reached

around and gave Betty a thump on the head with her thimble which she still had
on her
finger.
little

She also had in her hand
breeches which she was

Benny's

mending. Mrs. Beetle gathered up the baby. She turned to Betty and said: "Go home to
your father and
tell

him what you have
3

done, you naughty child.'

With

puffy

little

Benny

at her heels,

50

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
any of the baby's bones were
I

Mrs. Beetle started for the Snake-Doctor
to see if

broken.

"Oh!

am

so afraid he
as they

is

not

in,

Benny," she kept saying
the Doctor's.

drew near

The Snake-Doctor was
supper time.
the office for

in,

for

it

was

his

Mrs. Beetle had to wait in

him

to finish his supper.

Benny nosing around
there

as usual

when

was food on hand, slipped into the dining-room and accepted the SnakeDoctor's kind invitation to join
supper.

him

at

The Doctor came from

the dining-room

wiping his mouth. It was not hard to tell what he had had for supper, for the smell
of fried
fish

was through the house.

He

took the tiny Beetle baby in his

arms and began to examine him.

The

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE

51

baby did not like this. He began to cry and grabbed the Doctor's goatee and pulled it so hard that Mrs. Beetle had to
call

Benny from

the dining-room to

make
let

a

funny face before the baby would
"Goo,"
cooed
the
as

go

of the Doctor.

baby,

Benny

twisted his face like the clown in the

Woodpecker
Benny.

circus.

And

he let go to

stretch out his

arms to the much-loved

"Your baby

is all

right,

Mrs. Beetle,"

said the Snake-Doctor as he put the little

wiggling Beetle back into his mother's
arms.

Mrs.

Beetle

went

down

the

steps

smothering her baby with kisses and declaring never again should he be out of

her sight, not even for a minute.
It

was dark

outside,

and Benny was

52

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
of the
dark.

afraid

around Mrs. Beetle's

The baby clung neck and Benny
rise

hung
them!

to her skirts.

Just then,

who should

up before
with
his

The

Lightning-bug

bright little lantern.
"I heard about the accident," he said.
"I

came

to see if I couldn't light

you and

Benny and

the

baby home.

53

Betty had to be taught a lesson.

She

was sent

to her

room

for the
eat.

day and had
After sup-

only bread and water to

per her father sent for her to come to his
study.

Betty knew what this meant. She was going to be scolded for neglecting her

baby brother when he was in her care. Reverend Beetle had been working hard on his sermon for the next day. It

was neatly copied and lay on the table. As he talked to his naughty little

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
with something that in no
her.

53

daughter, she was even then meddling

way concerned

She was taking the stopper out of the ink bottle to see how much ink was left.

AFTER SUPPER HER FATHER SENT FOR HER

Before she knew
spotted.

it,

the sermon

was badly

The next day when he was
refer to his notes, then he

half through

with his sermon, Rev. Beetle wished to

saw

for the first

54

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
The

time what had happened to them.

page he turned was badly blotted. It looked as if a hen and all her chickens had
strolled over
it

with inky

feet.

His eyes fell on Betty. He stopped speaking and his poor wife thought he was
suddenly taken
pulpit.
ill.

He

leaned over the

Betty alone knew the trouble.

Winnie Wasp was the only person who knew what to do. She spoke quickly to
the organist

and when the music started
in the choir

she stood

a solo.

and began to sing The congregation was dismissed.

up

Again Betty was sent to her room and given only bread and water.

Benny smacked
for him.

his lips.

It

meant more

pink ice-cream and feathery angel-cake

Mrs. Beetle sent Benny around to the
different

members of

the congregation to

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
tell

55

them there would be no

services at

night.

Her husband was not

able

to

preach.

Indeed he was at home walking his study floor trying to decide what to do
with bad
little

Betty.

George Grub- Worm had a long talk over the
'phone early the next morning.

The

minister

and

Colonel

The Colonel
welcome
to

said

my

"Of course you are horse-flies and carriage,
:
3

and

I will

come over and drive
drew

you.'

About an hour
Grub- Worm

later Colonel

George

up

his

horse-flies

hitched to his fine carriage in front of
the Beetles' house.

Rev. Beetle came out carrying a satchel and as he kissed his wife good-bye, said:
"I

may

be gone several days.'

:

Benny was out under
little

the trees with his

baby brother amusing him.

The

56

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

baby laughed and cooed while Benny stood on his head and cut up all sorts of
monkey-shines and pretended he was the

whole Woodpecker

circus.

Betty, upstairs, peeped from behind the

"l

MAY

BE GONE SEVERAL DAYS"

window-curtain

at

her

father

driving

away. She did not for one moment dream that
she

was the cause of her father taking
or that her naughtiness

this

trip,

made
all

her

poor tired mother's eyes so red this morning.

For Mrs. Beetle had cried

night

and asked herself over and over again

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
what she could do
girl into

57
little

to change a

bad

a good

little

daughter.

Only Mrs. Beetle and Lallie Ladybug knew where the Colonel and Reverend Beetle had gone.

The Colonel was very fond
school-teacher, Lallie

of the little

Ladybug, and never

went away that he did not send her a post'This is a beauticard in which he said
:

ful place

and

I

wish you were here with

me.

3

Betty kept asking her mother, 'Where is father? Why is he away so long?" At which her mother always sighed and
said:

'You will know soon enough.'
travelers got

3

The

home about dark on

Wednesday. Reverend Beetle was very tired from the trip.

The

children were put to bed early.
the house
his

When
ister

was quiet and the min-

and

wife were alone, he told her

58
to

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

have Betty ready on Tuesday, he was going to send her to a boarding school, that it was clear to him a little girl who

had a nice home and loving parents and valued neither, should be sent away where
she

would learn

to appreciate both.

Tuesday, Mrs. Beetle was up by daylight getting an early breakfast.
Colonel George Grub-Worm was going to have breakfast with the Beetles this

On

morning

in order to get

an early
to be

start.

Betty's trunk

was packed and strapped
put into the

and on the steps ready
carriage.

Colonel Grub-Worm was one of the
trustees of a girls' boarding school,
it

and

was he who advised Rev. and Mrs.

Beetle about Betty.

The baby was

in his high-chair hitting

the table with a spoon.

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
Benny hurried
and cream.
to bring

59

him

his

oatmeal

Benny! Bless his little heart! though no one had told him, knew that his mother

and father were very sad over the behavior of his sister, and he was trying with all
his

might

to

be as good as his

sister

was

naughty.

There was not much he could do, but
he could take care of the baby while his

mother poured out his father's and Colonel

Grub- Worm's

coffee.

Benny stood by

the baby's high-chair

trying to amuse him.

The baby hadn't been eating long enough to really know the exact place on his face where his mouth was, so when he
spoon of oatmeal, unless Benny guided his hand the oatmeal would land in his nose, maybe his eye or ear.
to take a

went

Every now and then he would

fill

a

60

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and
oat-

large spoonful of sugar, cream

meal and Benny would jump at it like a hungry little bear. For as good as he was trying to be, Benny was still a little
glutton.

Mrs. Beetle was putting up the lunch,
the Colonel's

and

Betty's, in a large shoe-

box.

Benny forgot the baby just for ment as he watched his mother put
so

a

mo-

in the

hard-boiled eggs and cookies that he liked

much.

The baby

hit

him over the head with
was time

the oatmeal spoon.

Mrs. Beetle said

it

for

them

to say good-bye to Betty.

Betty saw as she turned in the carriage when it reached the top of
last thing

The

the hill
left,

was the pretty little home she had her tired mother hanging over the

BENNY AND BETTY BEETLE
front gate
his best to

61

and cheerful

little

Benny doing

All at

amuse the baby. once Betty seemed

to see

how

she

had brought sadness on her family. She wished that she had been a good little Betty Beetle instead of a bad little
Betty Beetle, and then she would not have been sent away from home.

lump rose in her throat and she wiped a tear away from her eyes on her new handkerchief that had a neatly embroidered "B" in the
first

For the

time in her

life a

corner.

The
U

kind-hearted Colonel saw the tear

in the little girl's eye.

B

stands for Betty," he said, cheer-

fully.

"B
Beetle.

stands

for

bad,"

sobbed
I

Betty
I

"Oh, dear Colonel,
33

wish

had

been good.

62

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Now
3

Betty,

my

dear/

said
If

the

Colonel,
really

'that's the

way

to talk.

you

want

to be

good you can

start this

very minute.''
"I do!
I

do!" said Bettv Beetle. m
see.

"You

watch and
girl in the

I'm going to be the best

boarding school."

CHAPTER

III

THE LIGHTNING-BUG AND

HIS

AGENT

THE
found
it

Lightning-bug was a bachelor.

His home was a lovely rainIt was very cool and he barrel.
most comfortable.

kept open house and everybody was welcome to come and stay with him as long as they liked.

He

His

housekeeper

was

Mrs.

Mamie

Wiggletail, a widow.

and very

cross.

Many

She was very poor people said she had

worried her husband to death.

There were many curious things about
the Lightning-bug.

The neighbors

said he

had been
give so

left

money.

For no one could

have as

much away as he gave and still much as he seemed to have left.
63

64

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
The Lightning-bug
just laughed

when

people said these things.

He

said

it

was very simple

that the

more a person gave away the more that person was sure to have left, whether it
was
oil for a

lantern or

money

to

meet

STANDING IN LINE WAITING FOR HIM TO HELP

THEM

some
good

friend's need, or simply love
will.

and

The Lightning-bug never got to the end of his row when it came to the people who
were standing in line waiting for him to
help them.

He

said,

"All most people need

is

a

little light

on the subject."

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT

65

This was another curious thing about
him.

He

was

full of all sorts of light.

For instance, many a beggar who met him on a dark night knew that the Lightningbug's purse was in itself a light.

could press a spring and it would flash bright as the sun on a June morning.

He

Once a Beggar-louse said to him 'You had better be careful how you flash that
:

purse; people will see
3

how much money

you have and rob you.' Mr. Lightning-bug laughed because he

knew

better.
\

"People who have the true giving spirit are never robbed," he said, "and if I could
only find people enough to give to, I would be the richest person in the world.'
5

He
mine.

said that giving

was a

fairy gold-

The minute he

took anything out of his

purse to give to a needy person, that min-

66

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
much
away.
as
it

ute the purse swelled

twice as

and the gold became was before he gave

any of

it

Mrs. Wiggle tail was just as can-tanker-ous as the Lightning-bug was contented

and happy.

A great many people wondered why the
Lightning-bug put up with her, for she was no housekeeper at all to begin with,

and made everybody

as

unhappy

as

it

was

possible for her to do,

with her sharp

tongue and mean disposition. She thought people just as bad as Mr.
Lightning-bug thought they were good. She did not have a kind word for Mrs.

Worm, who was
Boarding House. She didn't even

struggling so hard to
at the Bird-Nest

make both ends meet

like the

Rev. Beetle
his

and Mrs. Beetle, the minister and

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
wife;

67

Benny, Betty and the baby, she simply told them never to put

and

as for

a foot in her house.

Now

the Lightning-bug

was very fond

of these children.

SHE TOLD

THEM NEVER TO PUT

A FOOT IN HER HOUSE

He
He

particularly loved fat little

Benny

and the baby.
very sorry for the poor minister because he knew how little he had to live
felt

on.

Brother Beetle often told his wife that
the Lightning-bug

was the true home mis-

68

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
because he was always doing

sionary;

something kind for the people nearest
him.

Even

the gruff old Snake-Doctor

was

very fond of the Lightning-bug.

He
was

told

in

him very frankly though, if he his place he would throw Mrs.

Wiggletail out.

He would

not have a

woman
u
3

like that in his house.

She doesn't even look after your comforts/ said the Snake-Doctor. "Night
after night I

come by here and there
1

is

not

even a light unless you happen to be at home with your lantern/
"I feel sorry for Mrs. Wiggletail," re-

plied the kind Lightning-bug.
"I

know,"

said

the

Snake-Doctor.

"Give her enough
away.

to live

on and send her
is

What

I

am

trying to tell you
I

she doesn't treat you right.
to death of her myself/
3

am

scared

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
The Lightning-bug laughed.
Mrs.
Wiggletail,"

69

"As for

he
I

could give her money.
ple

"anybody believe most peosaid,

would
I

when

knew how poor she was found her. But I keep her as a
if

they

housekeeper because
I

can prove to

hope that some day her that this is a kind world.
I

And most

people want to be good and to

do good. "Poor Mrs. Wiggletail, like
people, she
is

all cross

more unhappy than she
else!'

makes any one
on a canoe

The Snake-Doctor was planning
off

to

go

trip fishing.

The Lightning-bug stopped by
if

to ask

he minded
"I'll

if

he went with him.

be glad to have you," said the

Snake-Doctor, "but what about the robbers, Beggar-lice

and

all the

poor who are
will starve if

dependent on you?

They

70

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
I

you stay away too long. gone three weeks/
3

am

going to be

"I like to think that I

am
:<

needed,"
I

re-

plied the Lightning-bug,

but

have an

agent
away.'

who
3

will take

my

place while I

am

So the Snake-Doctor said for him to

come along and welcome. ing in a few hours.

He

was leav-

The Lightning-bug had

a talk with

Mrs. Wiggletail. She was in a very, very bad humor. She said even sharper things
to

him than usual

how he wasted

his

money and how people took advantage
him.

of

He

listened to all she

had

to say.

The

Lightning-bug always had a soft answer, for he was sorry for her as he had told the
Snake-Doctor.

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
"Mrs. Wiggletail,
I

71

am

going away on
3

a little vacation for about three weeks/

he said, when she stopped talking. going to leave an agent to do
things that
I

"I
all
3

am
the

would do

if I

were here/
fell

Mrs.

Wiggletail's
are

mouth

open.

'Whom

you going
'to

to leave for

an

agent," she said,

He

waste your money? will be another robber, I'll be bound.

You
"I

ought to have a guardian.

33

am

going to leave you as

my

3

agent,'

the Lightning-bug told her.
to
I

"I

do everything you know I were here, to help the people

want you would do if
I

would
do to

help; to listen to their stories and cheer

them up with the kind of things make them happier."

I

Before Mrs. Wiggletail could get her breath to reply to these astonishing directions,

the

Lightning-bug

disappeared

72

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

through the door, and she knew he had gone to join the Snake-Doctor at his
canoe.
It

was a great care the Lightning-bug

THERE STOOD THREE BEGGAR-LICE

had

left

on the shoulders of

his house-

keeper.

All the next day Mrs. Wiggletail was crosser than ever.

After supper she sat alone in the dark,

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT

73

thinking what a goose the Lightning-bug
was.

There was a knock at the door.
opened
it.

She

There stood three Beggar-lice. They were very much frightened when they saw her and could not speak.

Her

first

impulse was to

tell

them

to

"Be gone," for the beggars they were. But she stopped and remembered she was the Lightning-bug's agent, and he told
her to act as
if

she were he.

"Come

in," she said,

"and

tell

me what

you want."
light if he
"I'll

She lighted the lamp, for she knew the Lightning-bug would have a
were there.
bring you some supper," she said,

and fetched food from the kitchen. was very strange: before the food was set on the table, Mrs. Wiggletail had
It

the curious feeling that these Beggar-lice
really

were deserving.

74

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
She
felt

kinder than she had ever felt

in all of her life before.

"You need some clothes, For she knew this was what the
bug would have given them

53

she

said.

Lightning-

next.

SHE FETCHED FOOD FROM THE KITCHEN

"Have you any place to stay tonight? The three strangers shook their heads. "Then you are to stay right here," she said. T want to talk things over with
'

3

C

you in the morning, and see what we can do to help each other."
This was the way the Lightning-bug

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
put things.
feel as if he

75

He

always made a beggar

were doing him a service in

accepting his kindness and hospitality.

The next morning Mrs. Wiggletail
so friendly

felt

toward the Beggar-lice that
One,

she suggested that they stay there. she said, could

garden with the water plants, the other could help her in the kitchen, and the third could mend
in the

work

the fences around the place

and be the

handy man.
She really did not know how she had needed them before.

Benny Beetle knocked
timidly.
its

at the door very
in

He

had rolled the baby over

go-cart to tell the Lightning-bug that

his father,

Rev. Beetle, would

like to see

him

if

he could stop by on his

way

to the

post-office.

Benny was very much

afraid of Mrs.

76

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
who had always been
so cross

Wiggletail,
to children.

Maybe Mrs. Wiggletail would have
spoken to him as usual, but she remembered again that she was the Lightningbug's agent, and she

knew what he would

do

if

he were there.

She asked Benny if he would not come in the house and let her make him some
lemonade, and get a cookie. She went into the Lightning-bug's room

and found some toys which she gave
the baby.

to

When

she

saw

for the first time

what a

good little boy Bennie was, and how kind he was to his baby brother, she actually asked them if they would not like her
to tell

them a

tale.

So the afternoon slipped away. Benny said he must be going home with the baby,

and asked her again

if

she

would please

"I'LL GO

ALONG HOME WITH YOU DEAR CHILDREN"

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
tell

79

Mr. Lightning-bug

to

come

at once to

see his father.

"Mr. Lightning-bug

is

away on

a trip,"

Mrs. Wiggletail said, reaching for her bonnet and shawl, "but I'll go along home with you dear children and see what your
father wants to see
3

him about,

for I

am his

agent/

Rev. Beetle wanted to see the Lightning-bug about a poor family.

The

minister had no

money

of his

own
felt

to give these people.

But he knew Mr.

Lightning-bug had a kind heart and sure that he would help them.

he hesitated about telling Mrs. Wiggletail for he knew her of old.
first

At

But somehow, he too, felt that as great a change had come over Mrs. Wiggletail
as

Mrs. Wiggletail

felt

had come over the

rest of the

people she had met since the

night before.

8o

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
So he told
her.

and she

said: "Let us

go

at once
I

and

see

what we can do

for them.

am Mr.

Lightning-bug's agent.
to

He

would want them
needed."

have whatever they

So the poor family were made happy, and Mrs. Wiggletail told the Rev. Beetle

would take charge of them. She asked Benny and the baby to come to see her the next morning and spend the
that she

day.

The news
everybody
else

spread.

Everybody told how good and kind Mrs.

Wiggletail was.

'We never
"She

really

knew her/ they
3

said.

isn't cross at all,

but as loving and
to

kind as Mr. Lightning-bug himself."

And

so they all

began

go to see

her.

Everybody told her what everybody

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
else

81

was saying about her being

so kind

and sweet.
Mrs. Wiggletail was so happy that she
sang
all the

time and tears would come in

MRS. WIGGLETAIL WAS SO HAPPY THAT SHE SANG ALL

THE TIME

her eyes

when

she

remembered how she

used to feel toward these people
so

who were

good

to her

now.

The

three weeks were almost up.

A

message came over the grape-vine

82

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
saying

telephone,

Lightning-bug would be home on the next night.

Mr.

Mrs. Wiggletail could not sleep for

planning a party to surprise him.

Everybody was of them helped.

in the secret.

And

all

Early the next morning Mrs. Wiggletail began to bake cakes.

Benny Beetle and
cart

the

baby

in his goher.

were there to run errands for

Mrs.

Worm

sent little black Cricket, her

cook, over to turn the ice-cream freezer.

Every one was
boarders

Mr. Flea,
legs,

Worm's Lallie Ladybug, Winnie Wasp, Andy, the tailor, Daddy Longinvited, Mrs.

Grasshopper and the Worm children were all there in their best bib

Widow

and

tucker.

The house was

so bright with lights,

the Snake-Doctor could not believe his

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
eyes

83

when he and

the Lightning-bug

came

to the latter's front gate.

Mr. Lightning-bug was too happy to say anything. It looked to him as if his
plan had really worked.
It

was a great party.

Mr. Lightning-

EVERY ONE WAS INVITED

bug hid
herself,

his real feelings

and pretended
off

to

Mrs. Wiggletail, when he got her
taken advantage of in letting

by he was afraid that she had been
all

the

Beggar-lice and poor people she did not

know
party.

anything

about,

come

to

this

84

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Mrs. Wiggletail shook her head. "I have found," she said, "that there

are no real thieves or robbers, or beggars.

All any of them need

is

a friend."

"Mrs. Wiggletail," replied the Lightning-bug, "I remember all the things you

used to say to me."

"But that was before
there
is

I

knew

the fun

in helping other people.

"There's no
little

game

for big people or for

people that's like doing good to
that?"

others."

"Who
"The

told

you

asked

Mr.
to

Lightning-bug.
three Beggar-lice started

me

playing the game of being kind," Mrs. Wiggletail said, "and little Benny Beetle
taught

me how
is

to

keep

it

up.

Fat

little

Benny Beetle
played
good."

says the best

game he ever

teaching his baby brother to be

LIGHTNING-BUG AND HIS AGENT
"God
bless little

85

Benny

Beetle," said

Mr. Lightning-bug.

The

three Beggar-lice, neat, clean

and

happy, were coming in to pass the ice cream and cake, so Mr. Lightning-bug and Mrs. Wiggletail came back to the
parlor to join their guests.

CHAPTER

IV

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE

BUMBLEBEE was a bach-

BOBBY He maid
elor.

lived with his two old-

sisters,

bee and

little

Miss Lilly BumbleMiss Honey Bumblebee.

They had
road to
It
it

a sweet place that

had been

in the family for a long, long time.

The
field.

lay over a delicious clover

was

in the country, of course.

The Bumblebees
daily paper.

didn't even
Lilly,

take a

Miss

who managed
happen

the family, said the things that
in a city

were too awful to read about.

The Bumblebees enjoyed life. The as Bobby called Miss Lilly and "girls,
J:

Miss Honey, spent most of
looking after their brother.
86

their time

He

might

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE
have been an only
child, he

87

was

so coddled

and petted. him eat!

The good

things they

made

Bobby

said

he didn't

know how he
had a
little

could live without the

girls.

The
a pet.

gruff old Snake-Doctor

joke about

Bobby Bumblebee being

raised

This was true in a way. Bobby didn't even know where Miss Lilly and Miss

Honey

kept his gaily embroidered

slip-

pers or his pipe.

They always

got out

and put away
his bright

his black velvet suits

and
Miss

yellow waist-coats.
Lilly said
to
I
little

Once Miss

Honey:

"Dear me! but
:

wish Bobby

didn't dress so loud.'

"But, sister,"
'Brother
self in

returned Miss Honey,

Bobby wouldn't look like himanything else. You know all the
family have been dressy.'
:

men

in our

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Just give Bobby Bumblebee a pipe or a pillow and he was in Bumblebee heaven.

He

could go to sleep anywhere.

But

his

favorite napping place
field, for

was

in a clover

he was a fresh-air fiend.

He said

he did not like even a porch roof between him and the blue sky.

"But sleeping-porches are very fashionable, Brother," said little Miss Honey,

who

did like to keep up with the times.
clover fields were very fragrant,

The
for the

hay was being cut and heaped up in great wagons to be hauled away. Miss
Lilly told her brother she felt
it

in her

bones that

was a dangerous thing to buzz around new people. They had
it

never seen these
the clover hay.

men who were

cutting

"You had
said.

better sleep at home," she

"I tell

you

it is

not safe to take

up

with strangers.''

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE

89

But Bobby Bumblebee only laughed and said she was so silly.
'Til just slip over

on the hay
up,

that's

and spend the night just been cut and piled

and

men

be up and gone before those come in the morning and be back
I'll

home before you and Honey think about
getting up."

But Bobby did not come
nor for lunch either.

for breakfast

The only

early risers in that clover field

were the drivers who came long before it was daybreak to haul the first load of hay

happened that that load of hay was the one Bobby Bumblebee, drowsy-head that he was, had chosen for
it

to the city.

And

his sleeping-porch
!

without a roof between

him and the sky Now Bobby had pulled the clovers up
over his face to keep the light out of his eyes, for he did love to steal forty more

go

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
He
never
got
to
finish

winks.

his

dreams.

The wagon jolted along the country road, rocking Bobby deeper to sleep, then crossed over a great bridge. The clang of
\

BOBBY SAT UP AND RUBBED HIS EYES

heavy trucks, the whistle of a factory and a squeaky
little

the street cars, the noise of

boat dripped
sat

down through
any

the hay,

and Bobby

up and rubbed
recognize

his eyes.

He

couldn't
all.

of

the

sounds at

"Where am
Honey!"

IT

he

said.

"Lilly!

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE
Bobby Bumblebee never used
if his sisters

91
his

mind

were there to think for him.
quick!'

"Girls,

come here

Nobody

came, and no one answered. So out he crawled and to the top of the
hay.

'What an

ex-tra-or-di-na-ry

dream

I

am having/

1

he said.
didn't

show up for breakfast, Miss Lilly and Miss Honey thought, of course, he was having breakfast at the
Bird-Nest

When Bobby

Worm.
a meal.

Boarding House with Mr. Mr. Worm often invited him for

After breakfast

little

Miss Honey put

on her bonnet and went out into the garden to gather rose leaves for her potpourri.

Miss Lilly was busy making a peach
pie,

Bobby's favorite dessert, when Lallie

92

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

Ladybug came by on her way to the store. Miss Honey asked if Bobby had been
there for breakfast.

"Why

no," said Lallie Ladybug.
I didn't

"It's

Saturday and

have to teach today,

MISS LILLY WAS MAKING A PEACH PIE

so I did not get

up

until after Cricket took

Mr.
"I

Worm

his breakfast.

know he was not at the first table because Winnie Wasp would have told
me.

She got up early and had her break-

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE
fast,

93

and she and Colonel George GrubWorm took the Worm children off on a
:

picnic.'

Honey. "Do you think anything could have happened to Bobby?
"Sister," said

He never stayed off this
out sending us word.'
3

long before with-

The wagon rolled on and on, winding its way through many streets till it came
to a very large building.

This building

was a livery stable. The men got their forks and began pitching the clover into
the great loft.

Scared!

Well Bobby Bumblebee was
all his life before.

never so scared in
slipped

He

down

the side of the

wagon and

out of the stable.
street

He

walked along the

wondering how he could get home

and when?

He

walked

till

his feet

began to swell,

94

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

although he had on comfortable shoes. But he was not accustomed to city pavements. He began to feel a twinge of his
old trouble, the gout.

Bobby was dazed, the heat was very great and the noise bewildered him so he
could not think.
the

He

did not even

name

of the city in

know which he was now

lost.

He
cars
first

saw everybody getting on the street so he joined the crowd. This was the
time he had ever ridden on a street
All of this seemed like a noisy dream

car.

to

Bobby.

At

first

when some one

called his name,

he did not look around, for he did not
think that he could possibly meet any one

he

knew

in this hub-bub.

It

was

little

Mr.

Flea, the detective.

The Bumblebees had always looked down on the whole Flea family as upstarts

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE

95

and smart-alecks, but now Bobby was glad to see some one he knew, and he invited

Mr. Flea

to join him.

Mr. Flea suggested that they get off car at the next stop, as he had a man to
on business.

the
see

He

asked Bobby to wait on

the corner for a

few moments.
or less

Bobby waited two hours more
and
in great disgust said,

"It serves

me
1

right for trying to treat a Flea politely.'

So Bobby started to
self.

stroll off

by him-

He

to eat,

he could only get a bite a bath and a nap, he would be
felt if

freshened up, so he could lay some plans
to get
It

home.
late.

was

It

must have been near

eight o'clock.

Bobby stood on
all his
sister's

the corner wishing with

heart that he had taken his dear

advice and remained at

home

the

night before.

96

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Everybody seems
so

busy

in

this

town," said he.

"I don't believe they
to reply to a civil ques-

would have time
tion if
it."

any one were bold enough
in spite of this, he

to ask

But

made up

his

mind
son

that he

would address the next
by.

per-

who came

The next person who came by was a Her little fluttering White Butterfly.
wings needed powdering sadly.

Bobby

Bumblebee saw there was a
blue eye.

tear in her
if

She didn't look as

she

knew

very much.

You would
so dear

never take her for a school

teacher, like Lallie

Ladybug. But she was
first

and sweet, that Bobby for the time since he had been in this awful

city

forgot his

misery, wondering what a young lady was doing out so late at night all alone. Maybe she had lost her purse.

own

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE
Bobby
she said.
"I haven't far to go,

97

offered to call a carriage for her.
sir,

thank you,"

Then

seeing that he was a stranger and

SHE WAS SO DEAR AND SWEET

bewildered, she asked him politely

if

by
his

any chance he might be lost himself. Then Bobby Bumblebee teld her
story.
It

was pleasant

to

have some one

to listen to him.

"I

am

a stupid fellow," he said, "and

98

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
I

not used to city ways.

wish

I

could find

the livery stable where they are hauling
that hay.

The wagon

goes back to the

clover fields tonight; I heard the driver

say

so.

I

could go home on

it."

know that White Butterfly.
"I
self.
I,

livery stable," said the
"I

too,

room near there mycome from the country and I

am
it."

home-sick for

new mown

hay.

It's

the only place in the city where they keep

"What
bee.

a shame," said

Bobby Bumble-

"Alone in the world.

How
.

do you

live in this dreadful city?

.

.

Why

I

haven't seen a wild rose today or smelled a breath of fresh clover. I haven't seen

even one brook or stream of fresh water.
It is a

poor place to

live.

The
wind

air isn't
is

even fresh here.
country."

The

real

in the

T used

to be so

fond of the apple-bios-

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE

99

soms in the spring time," sighed the White "It is sweet to go out among Butterfly. the flowers early in the morning. I do so
love dew."
* .

It

was love

at first sight,

and

I

am

not

one of those vain persons who think a love story can be written.
.

"Now

I shall

know why

I

made
3

this fa-

tiguing journey to the

city,'

said

Bobby

Bumblebee with a hand on
you will go home with me.
"Oh,
isn't this
J:

his heart, "if

a beautiful world!" said
Butterfly, "to think

the little

White
I

two

hours ago

was

so

unhappy."
this minute''?" said

"Will you marry me Bobby Bumblebee.
"This
is

so sudden," fluttered the little

White

Butterfly; "are

you sure you love

me

4

?"

ioo

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
knew
that I should

"I always

know you

the minute I clapped eyes on you," said

Bobby Bumblebee.

They were married by
JOHN MOTH
Ti/smce

the Justice of the

PE^'OG

THEY WERE MARRIED BY THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE

Peace, a large

moth who had

his office in

the arc light on the corner, so they caught
the

Hay-wagon Express and got

to the

clover fields early the next morning.

Bobby Bumblebee had made up

his

BOBBY BUMBLEBEE
mind not
happened
to say anything about
to

101

go to the city. white bride said it was just as well not

how he The little
to.

There was great excitement among the neighbors. At least a dozen people said
at different times to the

Bumblebee

girls

as they waited for the bride to

come down,

'You might have told me, my dear, where Bobby was when he went away/'

'We

didn't

know

ourselves," said little

Miss Honey.
that Brother

"Sister

and

I

did not

know

Bobby was even engaged."

CHAPTER V
THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
is

the

way

it

happened that
first

THIS
the

Woodpeckers

started

their circus.

They were

not always the gay and good-

natured clowns that they now are. There was a time when they were very unhappy because they did not look like

The Woodpeckers hated being stared at and the Woodpecker children, Bessie and Hal and baby Willie, felt
other birds.

even worse than

their

mother and father

did about their gay colors, red, white and black all mixed up like a patch-work quilt.

Mr. Woodpecker when he was a young man just married had his feelings hurt by
102

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
his

103

rich

relatives,

so he

and

his

bride

packed their trunks and left that part of the country where he was respected and
loved.

He

and

his bride

went

far

away and

THEY PACKED THEIR TRUNKS AND LEFT

built

them a home

in a part of the country to

where there seemed
at all.

be no woodpeckers

Things went very well for a while. But as soon as the Woodpeckers had spent

what money they had on hand they
about trying to make a living.

set

Then hard

104

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
first

times began even before their
Bessie,

baby,

was born.

Mr. Woodpecker very often came home without anything to show for his day's
work.

Things instead of getting better seemed
to

grow worse. Harlequin came

next.

Mrs. Wood-

pecker said she did not know going to feed two babies.

how

she

was

Then
laughing.

before Harlequin could crawl,
there.

baby Willie was

Willie was born

He

took life as a joke from the

very

first.

Willie

didn't

know anything about

Woodpeckers were struggling to pay the rent and get food. He heard his
the

how

put pride in our pockets and go home even if our rich relatives have treated us badly."
Willie gurgled out loud and asked

mother beg

his father:

"Please

let's

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
his
sister

105

and brother what

his

father

meant.

him and Willie laughed louder than ever. "I betcher, said Wil-

They
:c

told

5

'

lie,

the Rich Relation don't even

know
Their

Papa is mad with him/' The Woodpeckers had

to

move.

landlord said he could not wait on Mr.

Woodpecker a day longer

for the rent.

They did not know where they were going. This was the trouble. They hadn't
any money, and they could not take the
furniture for the
rent.

man

held that for the
their

They had only

gay mottled

clothes on their backs.
It

was baby Willie who found them a

place to go.

Willie was a great friend of the JayBird policeman on the corner. He just
loved this old blue-coated watchman,
protected everybody.

who

106

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
it

Willie made

a point to get lost at

least once a day.

He
*

told the policeman

that he

was looking for a house. "What do you want with a house

4

?'

'You don't need asked the policeman. anything but a go-cart."
"Don't you know," Willie asked, "that

we

are going to be put out of our house
4

today
Bessie

?

My
and

mama, my papa, my
brother Hal.
I

sister

my

got to find
3

a house.

My papa says he can't find one.'
is

This

how

it

came

to pass that the old

Jay-Bird policeman told Mr. Woodpecker about a house he knew was empty in a fine sycamore tree on the other side of
town.
"It doesn't belong to
I

know,' he said.

3

"It

anyone so far as is in a nice hollow

way up in the top of the tree. I started to move there myself, but my family and
I

use

sleeping-porches.

You'll

have

HE TOLD THE POLICEMAN THAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR A HOUSE

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
3

109

good water and good schools so I've heard, and it is near the creek/

The Woodpeckers started out for their new home. They were flying across the
town
as the Jay-Bird

policeman had

di-

rected them.

Mrs. Woodpecker was very nervous about the children. She thought Bessie had her little brother in her arms when
Bessie called, "Let Willie

come back with

me,

have something to show him!' "Haven't you your little brother with
I
:

you?' cried Mrs. Woodpecker.

'Why, no," said
been with

Bessie,

'Willie hasn't

me
3

since just a little while after

we

started.'

"I

saw baby Willie looking

at that big
53

white thing spread out

down

yonder,

said Hal, pointing to a great tent far below

on the green.

no THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
"Oh,

my poor, poor baby!"

sobbed Mrs.

Woodpecker, "I know the gypsies have stolen him!"
"Just our luck," said Mr. Woodpecker. "Ain't that Willie down there on top of

HIS

HEAD WAS AS CLOSE TO THE CANVAS AS HE COULD
GET IT

that pole?" asked Hal, pointing to the

top of the great peaked white tent.

They

circled nearer to see.

And

there

Willie was, his gay red head as close to the canvas as he could get it, his eyes

glued to what he saw within. His father and mother started to scold

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
excited and so glad to share

in

him, but Willie did not hear, he was so

what he was

seeing and hearing with them.

"Oh, come here!'
the

he called, "and see

funny Woodpecker men and hear the people clap and laugh, and see how the
children love them!'

Mr. and Mrs. Woodpecker and Hal and Bessie found peep holes close by Willie on
the top of the tent.

Oh, the beautiful brass band music!

And

the

gay tumbling clowns!

Was

there ever so

much happiness

in all the

world as they saw in that saw-dust ring? The clowns were so funny. There was
a stream of water

coming out of one's
in a soap-box

head.

Another one rode
a

funny little mule that kicked every time he was touched with the whip. Another walked on his hands and

wagon and drove

made

faces.

112

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
had not been going
so loud
at the

If the music

no doubt the Woodpeckers up there
to death
it

tip-top of the tent laughing themselves

would have been heard.

But

as

was nobody saw them. Bessie had eyes only
name-sake, the

for the juggler,

who threw up
his

colored balls.

Hal watched Harlequin, how he

leaped in his gay patched suit and clicked his heels together, like a brilliant switch
or riding whip.

Mrs. Woodpecker loved the lady who drove the chariot.
It

was Willie's voice that called them
know," he

to earth again.

"Now

I

said,

"why

the

man
it
3

put us out of the house. Can't you see, was so we could come to this show?'
"Oh, Willie!'

cried Bessie, squeezing

her baby brother, for she loved him dearly.

it

"And don't you see," said Willie, "why is we ain't never made a living, we ain't

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS

113

been doing the things that we was meant to do. We've been trying to be Jack-inthe-pulpits

when

"

The whole family

turned to the baby.

BIRDS

FROM EVERYWHERE

"

When we
:

are all born clowns.

Don't you

see!'

They

all

saw

in a minute.

This was the
cus started.
fell to

way

the

Woodpecker

cir-

Once they had the idea they work with a will and Willie was
do.

right.
It

was the thing they were born to

114

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
there

They found
in the world.

was not a bird

circus

There was not even a mov-

ing picture in this part of the country.

The Woodpecker circus was

a great suc-

FLOCKED TO THE CIRCUS

cess
it

from the day
all

it

started.

The fame

of

spread

over the country.
it.

Birds from

everywhere flocked to

"You see," said Willie, one day to Bessie, "if we looked like all the other birds, we wouldn't be clowns. I like being a
clown."
3

"Everybody

is

coming

to see us,'

said

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
Bessie.
"I never
3

115

saw

so

many

strangers

before/

One night a card was brought behind
scenes to
ushers.

the

Mr. Woodpecker by one of the

He

said a gentleman in one of
it.

the boxes
It

had sent

was the card of the Woodpecker's

Rich Relation, the Oriole.
"Oh, he has got on the grandest yellow
waistcoat," the usher said.

"He looks

like

a

show gentleman himself." Mr. Woodpecker called his wife aside
card.
3

and showed her the

"He

doesn't

know we
I

are his people,'

he said, "what shall

do about it?"

Now Mrs. Woodpecker had a quick temper.

She just started to say, 'Yes, let him come back here, and we can give him a

'

piece of our
3

mind about when
there

the

way he

has

treated

us,'

was a great cry

from out

in front.

ii6

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
who had been doing her juggling
and

There had been an accident.
Bessie,

act rushed back to tell her father

mother that baby Willie was all right. "What do you mean?" said Mrs. Woodpecker.

"Willie was doing somersaults on the cross-bar way at the top of the tent. He

had

wings tied and he fell. He would have been killed if a stranger in a bright
his

yellow waist-coat had not risked his
life

and caught him.

Here he

own comes now

with baby Willie."

And

then came the Rich Relation, the

splendid Oriole, bearing in his arms the absurd little baby clown woodpecker, very scared, but not a bit hurt.
Instead of giving the Oriole a piece of her mind, Mrs. Woodpecker wanted to
give him all of her heart for saving her
precious baby.

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
"Why, Cousin Woodie,"

117

the splendid

stranger could not believe his eyes, "I have hunted the whole country over for
you.

Why did you leave home as you did
me
6

without saying 'good-bye' to

?'

THE BABY CLOWN WAS VERY SCARED BUT NOT A

BIT

HURT
at

Mr. and Mrs. Woodpecker looked
each other before replying.

Then

each

held out a foot to shake hands with him.

"Cousin Ori," they said with tears of

shame
cause

in their eyes,

'We

left

home

be-

we were offended with

you!'

ii8

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
so sorry.

"Offended with me?' asked the Oriole.
"I

am

What

did

I

do?'

'Well," said Mrs. Woodpecker, because
her husband did not seem able to think of

anything to say. 'We called on you the day after we were married. We sent you word that we

were coming, and when we got there found you were not at home."

The gorgeous

yellow-chested

Oriole

slapped his knee and laughed.

He
3

had a

laugh exactly like Willie's.

Woodpeckers/ he said, "do you know why I was not at home that
foolish

'You

morning?' They shook their heads.

buy a handsome home as a wedding present for you, and I stopped by to get a lawyer to draw up my
"I

had gone

off to

will leaving

you everything
you know why

I I

had

in the
little

world.

Now

was a

THE WOODPECKER CIRCUS
late

119

getting

home

that

morning,
3

and

missed being there to receive you.' "And you never meant to insult

us,

Cousin Ori?'
dear Cousin Woodie," replied the Oriole, "how could you ask me such a

"My

1

question!'

always say the Rich Relation did not know?" asked Willie.
"Didn't
I

"You
his

said that

when you were

a baby,"

mother chirped. "Well, even babies ought to have that much sense, cried Willie as he walked
5
'

over and took his cousin's hand.

"That's

so,

William," said the Oriole.

was applauding so loudly that Hal ran back and said they must come out and bow.
in the front the audience

Out

Baby Willie grabbed Cousin Ori's hand and dragged him with the rest of the
family.

120

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

They stood in a straight line and bowed and bowed again, and bowed yet again,
the applause was so loud while the brass

band played. "Who's that new member of the troop?"
somebody asked pointing
to the splendid

stranger in the yellow waist-coat.

"He's a Rich Relation," said the usher,

'They have been having a family reunion back there behind the scenes.
3

CHAPTER
CRICKET

VI

had cooked for such a
long time CRICKET Bird-Nest
the little
for Mrs.

Worm

at the

Worms
came.

Boarding House that could not remember when

she

first

Little black Cricket in her white apron

THE GAYEST AND CHIRPIEST COOK EVER BORN
121

122

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

and cap was spic and span, and the gayest and chirpiest cook ever born.

The
for she

boarders were all fond of Cricket

was

so kind to every one of them,

even to Mr. Flea, the detective, who complained so about everything. Mrs. Worm thought at one time that she would have
to ask

him

for his room.

When

he had

nothing else to grumble about, he'd say that Cricket gave him a bath-towel with
a crocheted edge, so he would catch his
toe in
it

and break

his foot.
. .

Cricket was very fond of Mr.
for she

Worm,
she told

knew how

her

little

mistress doted

on him, and

as for

Mrs.

Worm,

everybody that she could not have kept the boarding-house without Cricket.
It

was Cricket who attended

to every-

thing

when Mr.
was

Worm

got

lost.

Mrs.

Worm

so troubled at that time that

CRICKET

123

she had no heart to attend to getting the

children off to school, attending to the
house, keeping the boarders in good hu-

mor, or anything else. Mrs. Worm never forgot

it

was dear

MR. FLEA MUMBLED SOMETHING ABOUT COFFEE
little

Cricket

who

first

heard Mr.

Worm

tapping on the window-pane the night Bobby Bumblebee brought him home.
*
.

Mr. Flea came

to breakfast as usual

124

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
had gone, and had the
for being late.

after every one else

same old excuse
that Cricket

He

said

would not ring the rising bell out on the ell where his room was, so he
could hear
it.

He

began eating

his

breakfast-food,
coffee

mumbling something about cold
and over-done
Mrs.
eggs.

Worm left him to go upstairs to see if Mr. Worm had everything he wanted
on
his tray

which was sent up every morn-

ing.

Cricket went to

make her beds. She was

wiping her eyes on the corner of her apron when Lallie Ladybug found her in the
hall

and asked her why she was crying

like this.

"Why are you so good to little old Fred
Flea, Cricket,

when he

is

such a bear to

you?" asked Winnie Wasp who had a real Wasp temper. "I would spill hot soup

CRICKET
down
I

125
if

that
in

stiff collar
1

of his every day,
3

was

your place.'

"I feel sorry for
as

him/ replied Cricket, the broom and started she picked up
the hall, "because he
is

down

such a smart-

aleck."

There were plenty of ways Cricket could have got even with the detective.
She could have made a knot up in his bed, or else she could have done as the
little

Worms
this

shells

begged her to do, put pecan between his sheets.

But

was not

Cricket's way.

She

tried to be as near like her little mistress
as possible,

and

to return

good for

evil.

Cricket admired

Winnie Wasp's

hair,

and Lallie Ladybug's trim little but when it came to character, Mrs.
was her
ideal.

waist,

Worm

126

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
it

Cricket had gone to bed early tonight
for

was the Fourth of July and there

had been so many visitors at the BirdNest Boarding House that she had nearly
run her poor
little feet off,

and Mrs.

Worm

said that she, too,
string.

was worn

to a shoe

The
them

children had
stories

made

Cricket tell

of

the

Fourth until her
if

tongue ached.

She promised

they would

go to sleep to make them a big dish of

candy the next day. Mrs. Worm after sending Cricket to bed, lighted the candle and went to all
the doors to see that they were securely

locked for she was very
burglars on such holidays.

much

afraid of

Mrs.

Worm

had not been asleep when
to the

Cricket came to tell her that she smelled

smoke.

They went

window and
fire.

looked out but saw no signs of

They

CRICKET
little

127

dreamed
Mrs.

their

own house was

burn-

ing.

Worm called Colonel George Grub- Worm to ask him if he was smoking
this

time of the night.

laughed and said that she and Cricket only smelled the fire-crackers on
the beach.

He

So they went back to their beds. Then the Colonel began to think that he too
smelled something burning.
Fire
Fire!
!

Fire

!

A

big bell began to ring.

Again Mrs. window.

Worm

went

to

the

There was a tramping up the walk, then the front door was burst open, and the

Hook-and-Ladder Company of Fireflies in their rubber coats and helmets came

down

the hall.

Behind them came the

Widow
ner-bell.

Grasshopper ringing her big din-

Lallie

Ladybug and Winnie Wasp had

128

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

been telling her that now nobody used big dinner-bells, but the Widow would not

throw hers away for Daddy Long-legs boarded with her and he was so deaf he
could not hear a smaller
bell.

BEHIND THEM CAME THE WIDOW GRASSHOPPER RINGING HER DINNER-BELL

"Get everybody out!
fire,

The house is on dear Mrs. Worm!" cried the Widow.

....

"Here's the other sleeve, dear," said

Mrs.

Worm
Worm
new

as she slipped

on her hus-

band's dressing-gown over his night-shirt.

Mr.
out his

went

to the wardrobe, took

suit

which Andy had just sent
to bring the children.

home and
and Mrs.

his tall silk hat, leaving Cricket

Worm

CRICKET
Lallie
in
their

129

Ladybug and Winnie Wasp both short-sleeved nighties, Winnie

with her auburn hair done up in curlpapers, jumped out of a window.

LALLIE LADYBUG AND WINNIE WASP

A

WINDOW

JUMPED OUT OF

Andy and
let

Colonel George Grub-Worm themselves down with a sheet, Andy

holding fast to his watch fob.

The

Colo-

nel, of all his fine clothes, in his excite-

ment, grabbed only an old worn-out belt. "We are all safe," said Mrs. Worm as
she

went

off to herself to

thank

God

for

130

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

saving all of her boarders, for she could not afford to lose a single one.

"Did Fred Flea go back
day?" asked Daddy
Quick

to the City to-

as a flash Cricket

remembered

CRICKET GATHERED UP THE POOR LITTLE HEAP ON THE FLOOR

that the detective was sleeping in his
in the ell,

room

stop her,
after

and before anyone had time to she was in the burning house
she cried.
is

Mr. Flea.

"Hop !"
The house

"Hop

for your life

!

burning down."

CRICKET

131

He
poor

did not move.

Cricket saw there

was no time
little

to lose, so she gathered
floor

up

the

heap on the

and made her
smoke

way back through

the strangling

with him in her arms.

The Fireflies worked very hard to save Mrs. Worm's boarding house and only the
ell

was damaged

at all.

Colonel George Grub- Worm asked as a special favor that he be allowed to build
it

back in remembrance of the happy days
little sister-in-law's

he had spent in his

boarding house.

"Oh, Cricket!" said poor little Mr. Flea, as he opened the eye with a cast in it, "how
can
I

ever thank you for saving

my

4

3

life

?'

"Don't thank
saved us
all

me,'' said Cricket,

"God

and we

are going to have a

Bird-Nest Boarding House, in place of that old one that leaked."
ell to the

new

CHAPTER

VII

LALLIE LADYBUG
taught the village school and boarded with Mrs. Worm at the Bird-Nest
finally said

LADYBUG, who

LALLIE

Boarding House,

"yes" to

Colonel George Grub-Worm's wooing. The reason she had not given her consent before was she did not

know how
marrying

her
the

family
Colonel.
was.

would

take
so

her

He

was

much

older than she

They were driving the afternoon when she said
Dude, nearly ran away. The Colonel wanted
132

horse-flies the

'yes"

and the

Colonel was so excited that the off-horse,

to tell everyone
it

just as soon as they got back, for

was no

LALLIE
secret that he
all these years.

LADYBUG

133

had loved Lallie Ladybug
in

Lallie

came

and found Mrs.

Worm

rocking the baby to sleep.

She closed the

door gently and whispered to Mrs. Worm to come to her room when she put the baby

down.
'Winnie !' Lally said, "you are going to be bridesmaid. Guess who's going to get
married!'
:

'

Winnie and

Lallie sat on the side of the

bed and held each other's hands.

Mrs.

Worm pushed

open the door and came in. The girls pulled her down to sit between

them and Winnie told her that Lallie was
going to marry Colonel George Grub-

Worm.
'Then we'll be
Mrs.
sisters-in-law, honey."

Worm

kissed Lallie, for she loved

her very much.

134

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
course, tell the children

"Of

and Mr.
to

Worm," said Lallie, "I want everyone know how happy I am."
happy he did not know what went in to see his cousin Andy,
so
to get

Colonel George Grub-Worm was just
to do.

He

the tailor,
suit.

measured for
little

his

wedding

He

measuring-worm very and he annoyed Andy by knocking busy cigar ashes on the floor of the tidy little
shop.

found the

"Andy,

my

boy," the Colonel said, "I

want the

finest suit

you can turn

out.

I

am going to get married."
The
tape dropped

from around the

Colonel's fat stomach, and fell to the floor.

Andy
his

nearly swallowed a pin he had in

mouth.

"Why, Cousin George," gasped Andy,
"at your age

and

fat as

you are !"

AT YOUR AGE AND FAT AS "WHY, COUSIN GEORGE YOU ARE!"
!

LALLIE LADYBUG
Mr. Flea said that he had known
a long time.
it

137

for

Winnie Wasp said once and go with the
see the
clothes.
C

she

would

dress at

little

bride-to-be to

Widow Grasshopper
to

about Lallie's

'I

want you

make my wedding

clothes, dear
lie.

Mrs. Grasshopper," said Lai'You do work such beau ti ful

button-holes.''

Then

the three put their heads together
to turn the leaves of the

and began

new

fashion book.
\

On

the

way home

they stopped by to

She was delighted that Betty would be home in time for the wedding. Benny who was sitting on the steps
see Mrs. Beetle.

putting on his
to

new

roller skates

wanted

know

would be anything to eat. "Yes, Benny," Lallie replied, "we are
if

there

going to have a great deal of food.'

3

138

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and the Colonel went
for a drive

Lallie

along their favorite road which ran

down

by the beach. It was a very pleasant drive and they
planned a great surprise for
friends.
all

their

After supper was over, Lallie asked Mrs. Worm if she could speak to her in
the parlor a minute.

"Mrs.

Worm,"
all of

Lallie said, "I

am

so

happy

I feel that I will

have to give a

party to
"But,

my

dear friends.''

Lallie,"

Mrs.

Worm

replied,

'you don't

mean

before your wedding-

day?"
"Yes," said Lallie, "the Colonel and
I

have decided we will give a big party tomorrow night if you can get the refresh-

ments ready.'
u

:

Oh!" gasped Mrs. Worm.

"I will help you, dear Mrs.

Worm,"

said

LALLIE
Lallie, putting her

LADYBUG
mother

139

arms around the one
to her for so

who had been

like a

many

"Everybody will help in the kitchen and we can get ready for the
years.
'
:

party in just a

little while.

you planning to have to eat?" asked Mrs. Worm jangling the panare
try keys.

'What

"Well," said Lallie, "George and I thought it would be nice to have things
that people really like.

Creamed
salads

oysters

and hot beaten

biscuits
.

(Cricket's bis-

cuits are so good)

Then

and hot

chocolate with whipped cream.

We want

some

fruit

course,
I

punch and ambrosia, and of we want a real wedding-cake, and
for little

want pink ice-cream

Benny

Beetle."

"Oh!" gasped Mrs. Worm, "what a
splendid supper, Lallie!'

What

a busy day followed

!

HO THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Mr. Flea hopped around and delivered the invitations which Lallie and Winnie
had
sat

up

the night before to write.

In the kitchen Winnie and Lallie had
their sleeves rolled

up above

their

elbows

MR. FLEA DELIVERED THE INVITATIONS

beating eggs and creaming butter and
sugar for the wedding-cake.
Little black Cricket flew

around with

her white cap on, pleased as

Punch

be-

cause Miss Lallie wanted her to
biscuits for the party.

make

LALLIE

LADYBUG
all

141

Oh, the good smells that were the Bird-Nest Boarding House!
wasn't very
that day.

over

There

much dinner
Mrs.

for the boarders

Worm

gave them what

she could pick up, all except

Mr. Worm.

She made Cricket stop and poach him an

egg and make him some tea and toast. Now Colonel George Grub-Worm was
not at home today.

and Lallie had made out a long list, and he had started out early driving the
horse-flies to the city.

He

He

said he

had

some errands

to do.

The Bird-Nest Boarding House looked
beautiful.
cellar.
It

was lighted from garret

to

Lallie stood at the door

and told

all

of her friends she never could have had
this

party

if

Mrs.

Worm

had not put

142

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
it.

everything aside to help her get ready
for

The Colonel was

dressed in his wed-

ding suit and Andy, the little tailor, strutted around proud to the bursting point, because it fitted so well.

The Widow Grasshopper's eyes nearly popped out of her head when she arrived and saw how Lallie was dressed.
"Oh,

my

dear!'

she said,
!

'you've got

on your wedding-dress Don't you know that it is bad luck to wear it before the
3

wedding-day?' "There's no such thing as bad luck,"
Lallie laughed

and kissed the old lady.

Just then Colonel George

Grub-Worm

stepped up and offered Lallie Ladybug his arm.

Rev. Beetle cleared

his

throat

and

walked

to the

mantel which was banked

beautifully with flowers.

LALLIE

LADYBUG

143

Winnie Wasp struck up
march on the organ.

the wedding-

And

before anybody

knew what was
was
Mrs.

happening, Lallie Ladybug Colonel George Grub-Worm.

"Well,
life,"

I

was never

so surprised in

my

said

Andy

as he kissed the bride.

"None

of us have even selected your

presents yet," said the
per.

"We

Grasshopwere trying to find out what
1

Widow

you wanted.' "You have already given us

all

we want
is,

or care for," said the little bride, "that

your dear love and friendship."

"Come

in

the other room,"
I

said the

Colonel, "Lallie and

have wedding pres-

ents for each one of you."

presents they were! The thing that each one had dreamed of owning for years, was waiting for that
oh!
one.

And

What

144

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

Lallie gave Mrs.
It

Worm her present first.

was a large silver soup-ladle from the Colonel, and a handsome black silk dress
from herself with a
real lace collar

and

cuffs
lets,

and a

little

bonnet trimmed with vio-

that tied under her chin.

Lallie

knew

that Mrs.

Worm could have

no pleasure in her own gifts unless Mr. Worm and the children were well provided for with even
finer presents, so

Mr.

Worm

was handed a fur-lined overcoat, a handsome dressing-gown and a pair of

new gold

eyeglasses, a large

box of very
because

fine cigars, also a breakfast set,

he always had his breakfast in bed.

The Widow Grasshopper was given
the green silk dress she
life.

had wanted

all

her

The
because

Beetles got an ice-cream freezer

Benny

(bless
so.

his

little

heart)

loved ice-cream

LALLIE LADYBUG
Rev. Beetle and Mrs. Beetle found
gift in a

145
their

handsome purse
little

filled to the

brim

with real money, such as the poor minister

had seen

of in his

life.

A

HANDSOME PURSE FILLED WITH REAL MONEY

Andy

nearly died

of joy

when
so

the

Colonel handed him the handsome watch
for which he

had bought the fob
line.

many

years before.

And

so

on down the

Each friend
after his or

received a

wedding present

146

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
own
heart.

her

Even

little

black Cricket
a pair of half-

got what she wanted most

moon gold

earrings,

though Mrs.

Worm
more
3

said Cricket needed a pair of shoes

than she did jewelry.

"Here

is

a pair of shoes for Cricket,'

said Lallie,

who knew how

Cricket's little

black toes ate up shoes.

had forgotten no one. Even the baby Beetle had the candy duck which he cried for every time he went by the shop.
Lallie

Mrs. Beetle had spanked Benny twice for
rolling

him past that window.
. . . .

What a feast that supper was
person that the

Not one Colonel and Lallie knew
!

had been forgotten. And the bride and the bride-groom had more fun than anybody else.
everybody kissed Lallie and shook hands with the
good-night,

As they

said

LALLIE LADYBUG

147

Colonel, and wished them joy and happiness with all their hearts

and said

:

'We'll

give you a wedding present yet."

"We
odd,

don't like to get wedding pres:

ents," said the Colonel.

'Lallie

and

I are

we
3

like to give 'em.

All of you come

to see us

when we

are settled in our

new

home.'

.....
all sorts of

Benny Beetle trudged home with Betty
and the baby, behind his mama and his papa. His little pockets stuck out, full of
nuts and
goodies that dear Mrs.

Worm, knowing

the little fellow's fond-

ness for food, had slipped to him.

"The Colonel and Miss

Lallie sho'

had

a nice birthday party," Bennie said.

"That wasn't a birthday party, goosie," said Betty. "It was a wedding."

"Goo!" said the baby
stick of

as she licked a

peppermint candy.

CHAPTER

VIII

DADDY LONG-LEGS' PICNIC

LONG-LEGS

lived next

DADDY and
own, he took

door to the
as he

Widow

Grasshopper,
his

had no family of

his

meals with her.

Every child in town loved Daddy Longlegs, and he in return loved all of them.

He kept his pockets filled with chewinggum and
chocolate candy.

Long before
babies could
to

the Beetle

and the

Worm

talk or walk, they

would point

Daddy

Long-legs' pockets.

The

three little

Worms

were always

hanging on the front gate waiting for the old man to come by. They would cry
for

him

to

come

in

and take supper with
148

them.

DADDY
Georgie
play
his fiddle

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC
loved to hear

149

Worm

Daddy

and Benny Beetle said that
the "bestest" stories in the

Daddy knew
to be just like

world and when he got grown he wanted

Daddy Long-legs.
sat

The Widow Grasshopper
front porch.

on her

She had just washed the breakfast dishes. Now she was busy working button-holes in a

new

dress for

Winnie

Wasp. The gate
paper
after

clicked.

The Widow saw
morning
\

Daddy coming up

the walk, the

bulging in his pocket.
the perspiration from his

He pulled his chair close beside her and
mopping
face with a red handkerchief, he took his

pipe from his pocket and in the funny little bowl.

rammed

tobacco

The Widow hummed

a little tune
"

:

"Frog went a courtin'

and

150

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
off a finger's

measured

length for the next

button-hole.

Daddy

squinted his eyes

down

the long

cane stem of his pipe and pretended to be
reading the paper.

The Widow knew

that he

was not
tell

thinking about that paper.

She could

from the very twinkle in his eye that he had something up his sleeve.

A big

drop of perspiration rolled down

on Daddy's long neck. "I was just thinking that I would give the Sunday School a
picnic," he said.

The Widow
the spool,

bit a strand of thread

from

and started darting

to find the

eye of the needle.
c

"A

pic

nic?'

Yes," he replied,
nic if

'Tm

going to give a

pic
ner.

you

ladies will get

I will furnish the ice

up the dinand lemonade
3

and

the music."

"Is it

going to be any time soon?'

DADDY

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC
3

151

'Tomorrow/ Daddy said and rose to go to the postoffice where he would find Mr. Worm. He sent word by him to Mrs.

Worm

and the boarders.

He

sent

word

"I'M GOING TO GIVE A PICNIC"

to

Mrs. Beetle by Benny, who had come

to get his father's paper.

The

favorite picnic

distance away.

ground was some Colonel George Grubhis horse-flies

Worm

said he

would send

152

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
so the ladies

and carriage
could
ride.

and the babies

Mrs. Bobby Bumblebee called up over
the grape-vine telephone to say that she

was never much of a cook but she would

make

all

the

salad-dressing,

and Miss

Honey asked

her to say that she would

send a basket of sweet cakes.

Miss Honey's sweet cakes simply melted in your mouth.

The Widow was too busy with her sewing to do much toward her basket until the
next morning.

When

she

went

into the kitchen, she

found Daddy Long-legs with one of her
aprons on, stirring around.
little

The

cheery

stove winked

its

one eye at her for

being lazy and letting

Daddy make

his

own

coffee.

DADDY
her apron on
!

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC
funny
to see

153

It did look too

him with

Some one kept knocking at the door. First it was Winnie Wasp wanting to know if her dress would be ready for her to wear to the picnic. Then the Colonel
sent little Charlie Chigger to say that

Andy would come by
"This
said the
is

for the basket.
3

a get-ready-quick pic
as she

nic,'

Widow

blew the finger she
5

had burnt taking

biscuit out of the stove.

"I'm a hurry-up person, Widow,' said

Daddy
sleeve

Long-legs.

He
it

laughed in

his

and thought them scurry around

a good joke to see

like this.

They

ate breakfast in a great hurry

standing over the stove.

The Widow pulled

off

her long-sleeved

apron, brushed her hair back and put another dab of powder (she was great on

powder) on her nose.

Daddy

waited for

154

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and
for

his coffee to cool

Andy

to

come

for

the lunch.

Mr.

Worm

walked back and forth from

the gate to the house twirling his cane

and

twisting his mustache, waiting for the car-

had no idea of walking when any one else was to ride. Daddy gathered up the children and
riage.

He

walked along the beach. Cricket was just pinning

on

Mrs.

Worm's

veil,

when

the Colonel

and Lallie
on Mr.

drove up.

As soon
the ladies

as the Colonel laid eyes

Worm he knew what he was up to.
and
Colonel said.

"Only

the babies are to ride," the

"Enoch
Mrs.

isn't feeling

Worm
him

said.

very well today," "I know you can
Brother

squeeze

in

somewhere,

DADDY
George.

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC

155

He
:

has his heart set on going to

the picnic.'

"Of course,"
sit in

said dear little Lallie, "I'll

the Colonel's lap

and

3

drive.'

Mr.

Worm

felt it

because his brother

was not very

polite to him.

But Mrs.
and

Worm made
Daddy
reached

a fuss over

him

as usual

he said the drive

made him

feel better.

Long-legs and the children had
the

Bumblebees.
there

ground, also the Little Mr. Flea had heard
picnic
in the air
city to
it.

was a picnic straight from the

and he came

Maybe

he

smelled Miss Honey's sweet cakes. But he said he just happened to be passing and stopped by to shake hands and say "how:

dy-do" to the crowd.

Everybody was having such a good time. The men brought their hooks and
had gone fishing, all except little Andy. He had taken Winnie Wasp for a stroll

156

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
the beach.

down
seat

They found
shell.

a nice soft

on an oyster
Mrs.

The

ladies all got out their crochet

and

fancy work.

Worm

had brought an

THEY FOUND A NICE SOFT SEAT ON AN OYSTER SHELL

old quilt along to
grass for

make
.

a pallet on the

Mr.

Worm
.

and the baby.
fire

Cricket broiled the fish over a
the beach,

on

while Mrs.

Worm

and the

Widow

Grasshopper laid the tablecloth.

DADDY

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC

157

Honey Bumblebee counted to see how many plates to serve. They drank the
lemonade in
little

acorn-cups for glasses.

This was Daddy's picnic and he entertained the crowd. He took out his

squeaky old fiddle and started to play the tune he knew the children loved best.
'Hey, diddle, diddle,

The
In a

cat

and the

fiddle!

little

while everybody, old and

young, even Mr. around.

Worm

was dancing
heavy
it

There was a

flash of lightning, a

clap of thunder,

a black cloud rolled

across the sky, then in less time than

takes to tell

it,

the rain poured

down by

the buckets-full.

"A storm!"

cried Colonel

George Grub-

Worm,

as he gathered Lallie in his arms.

Screams of

"We

are lost!"

and "Help"

rang out as they scattered in

all directions.

158

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
of

None
again.
It

them expected

to see the others

was a dreadful

rain,

and the wind

blew.

Worm and the Widow Grasshopper got Mr. Worm and the baby safely unMrs.
der a big rock-pebble.

The Widow was

very nervous. Mrs. Worm held the baby and comforted the Widow who kept crying how sad it was to be lost in a storm. "See what a nice rock

we

have," said

Mrs.

Worm, "We
others,

are as dry as can be."

"But the

where are they?" the

Widow
Mrs.

wailed.
3

"There's not a rock for

every one.'

Worm

was

like a little star in a

dark and stormy night.

might not notice her in the bright sun-light, but she
certainly could shed light in the gloom.

You

"Love has found a
she said.

shelter for

them

all,"

"None

of us are ever lost/

MRS.

WORM AND THE WIDOW GRASSHOPPER GOT MR. WORM AND THE BABY SAFELY UNDER A ROCK-PEBBLE

DADDY

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC

161

"How you talk, Evie Widow almost crossly.

Lou," said the
3

Tm

talking about something

I

know,'

know from keeping the Bird-Nest Boarding House that when things get beyond the place we can do
said Mrs.
"I

Worm.

anything,

God

is
5
'

close

at

hand ready

to see us through.

The Widow

sniffed.

"And

if

He could stoop to help me keep
Worm,
5:

boarders," said Mrs.

"don't you

think he can take care of His
tures,

own

crea-

both great and small ?

Mr.

Worm had dropped off to sleep, also
The Widow
felt better.

the baby.

Then
away

the rain stopped, the cloud rolled

and the sun shone.

One by one
come out of

the picnickers began to

their hiding places.

'Where were you?" each asked the
other.

162

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
I

"Andy and

were under that oyster

shell yonder/' said

Winnie Wasp.

Long-legs spoke up: "I had all the children in a fine old stump. told

Daddy

We

stories.''

Brother Beetle and his family were in a cave, and they weren't even damp.

The Widow turned
"Evie Lou," she
are right, that

to

Mrs.

Worm.
you

said.

"I believe

we
"I

are taken care of."

Mrs.

Worm stood up, a red spot burning
have known the Truth,"

on each cheek.

she said, "ever since

Worm back to
"I thought

Love brought Mr. me when he was lost.''
was Bobby Bumblebee,"

it

said

Winnie

in her thin little voice as she

fanned

herself.

"Bobby was
said Mrs.

just Love's messenger,'

3

Worm.
little

"Yes," said Bobby, glancing at his
butterfly wife, "Yes, indeed!'

DADDY
Just then

LONG-LEGS' PICNIC

163

little

black Cricket that every-

body had forgotten came up.
as if she'd

She looked
4

been asleep. "Where were you,

Cricket

?"

asked

CRICKET TOOK SHELTER IN THE TOE OF AN OLD SHOE

Betty Beetle, "we've been looking for you
everywhere/'

"Yonder

in the toe of that old shoe,"

said Cricket, pointing to an old boot that

some one had

left

on the beach.

CHAPTER IX
ANDY
the little measuring-worm,

was ANDY, Mrs.

the tailor

who boarded with
at

Worm

the

Bird-Nest

Boarding House. In fact it was Andy who persuaded Mrs. Worm to take her first boarder, himself.

long before another begged to come and then another, until
It

wasn't

she found her cottage overflowing.

was then Andy told her about a large vacant house he had seen and begged her
It

go with him to look at it. She rented it at once and soon after she opened the doors of the Bird-Nest Boarding House.
to

Andy always wore
164

a pale green suit of

ANDY
clothes with a white waist-coat.

165

He

was

such a trim
to tell

little

body that Cricket used
didn't

Mrs.

Worm that if she

know

where Mr.

Andy boarded you

couldn't

make
box.

her believe he didn't live in a band-

"He's such a

3

fine

little

gentleman.'

Cricket was standing at the kitchen win-

dow watching him
day's

as he started out for the

work

in his shop.
all the clothes that

Andy made

Colonel

George Grub-Worm, his cousin, wore. In fact he was the only one who could please
the Colonel about his clothes.

Also Mrs.

Worm

got him to do Mr. Worm's tailoring. Mr. Worm was as hard to please as the Colonel about what he wore, and

always saw that her husband had the best even if she did have to work Mrs.
pretty hard to pay for
it.

Worm

But Andy knew

how

things were, that the

Worms

were

166

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and had only what Mrs.

poor,

Worm made
much
a

in the boarding house, so he let her have
fine suits for her

dear husband very
it

reduced, and he took

out in board.
still

Colonel

George Grub-Worm,

bride-groom, sent to ask

Andy

to stop

by

and

see about

some work.

"Now what can he want?" Andy said to
himself.
clothes
"I

made him such
51

a supply of

ing a
for his

when he new suit

married, he can't be needalready.
'I

Andy

reached

Panama hat.
2

will not let Cousin
jacket.
It doesn't

George wear a Norfolk
suit his figure.'

As Andy stepped to Colonel George Grub-Worm's house, he said to himself
that the Colonel had probably seen Fred
Flea's Norfolk.

"But

I will

not let him

wear one."
It

wasn't a suit for the Colonel at
to

all.

Much

Andy's

surprise, he

was asked

if

ANDY
he could

167

make

a riding-habit for a lady.

Andy

reached in his hip pocket for his

tape and was ready to take a measure. Of course the riding-habit was for Lai-

Ladybug, the Colonel's bride. And it was finished and delivered in less than a
lie

week.

was such a success that Lallie clapped her hands, and said Winnie Wasp must
It

have one just
the Colonel.

like

it.

"Isn't Friday

Winnie's birthday," asked

"Why not let Andy make her

a habit for a birthday present?"

"Then
"until Lallie

I

won't wear mine," said Lallie,
gets hers."

Winnie
was a

The

truth

is

shy about being the first lady around there to wear a divided skirt.
little

Winnie's habit also

fitted

perfectly.

The

Dude and Dandy, were saddled and at the gate. The
Colonel's two horse-flies,

girls

were pinning on

their hats

and the

168

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
made
a step of his hands
lightly into the saddles.

Colonel gallantly

and tossed them

They rode off throwing kisses at him. Andy was also having a half holiday,
for
it

was Saturday.

He

had ridden out

THEY RODE OFF THROWING

KISSES

in the country

on

his velocipede.

Andy

could have had a bicycle. He knew they were the latest wheels, but the little tailor
did not take up with every passing fad as

Fred Flea, the detective,
"I

did.

haven't worn

my

velocipede out

ANDY
yet!"

169

asked

Andy would why he didn't

reply

when he was

get himself a bicycle.

Lallie

was on Dude, while Winnie rode

Dandy.

The Colonel

said the horse-flies
girls

were gentle as dogs, and the
not afraid.

were

They

trotted along the pretty

country road, chatting away.

Suddenly Dandy
run.

shied,

and started

to

Winnie held
Lallie.

the bridle

and closed

her

lips.

She did not want to scream to

frighten

But Dude had been

driven in double harness with

Dandy

so

long that

was second nature, when Dandy started, for him to quicken his gait
it

also.

Dandy had caught
bug sitting on the
the

a glimpse of a Red-

side of the road, picking

a splinter from his toe.

Dandy
fire.

thought

Red-bug was a ball of
soon slowed

Dude

down

to a walk, but

iyo

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
ran faster and faster.

Dandy
hair

Winnie's

came unpinned and was flowing in She had dropped the bridle the breeze.

and had her arms around Dandy's neck. She was screaming for help.

SHE WAS SCREAMING FOR HELP

Who
Andy?
away.

should

rise

before her, but
for

little

Winnie screamed

him

to get

out of the road, that

Dandy was running

But Dandy had suddenly stopped. And Andy swung to his bridle and patted him and called him a nice pony and asked
what he meant by
this behavior.

Dandy

ANDY
seemed

1

7

1

to be trying to tell the little tailor

what had happened.
patted his nose and said: Dandy, old boy! Yes, I know."

Andy
"It

"Yes,

was one of those dreadful Chigger

children," Lallie said as she rode up.

"He

was

sitting in the fence corner getting a
3

splinter out of his foot.'

"That bad
nie,

little

Red-bug!" said Win-

"Cricket always has said that the

Chigger family is the worst in the country. They'll do anything."

Andy
know

said he didn't think the little "I

Chigger meant to frighten the horse.
bruise on his heel.

Charlie Chigger has a bad stone-

he was sitting there rubbing his foot because it hurt him."

Maybe

"Oh,

Andy you always have an
Winnie.

excuse

for everybody," said
like to switch him."

"I'd just

'You wouldn't whip a hungry

little

172

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
fellow a bit of

Chigger, Winnie," said Andy, "I gave the
little

my

lunch.

He

was

almost starved."

"Now, Winnie," he said, "do you want me to ride along home with you and lead Dandy?"
the road.

Andy way off

pointed to his velocipede a

little

"Andy, you ride home as fast as you can, and lead both horses, and tell the Colonel to have
the carriage hitched

"No, indeed," said Lallie.

up and send

for us."

"I'm afraid to stay out here just with
you, Lallie," said Winnie.
"It will soon

be dark."
"I can't leave

you

girls

alone here/'
little

said

Andy.

Then up spoke

Charlre

Chigger, as he limped to them on his stone-

bruised foot.
"I'll

stay with the ladies

and take care
I

of 'em," he said.
the horse."

"I'm so sorry

scared

ANDY

173

Colonel George Grub- Worm came all excited and out of breath. He was driv-

Dude and Dandy to the carriage. Andy sat on the front seat with him. He
ing

"NO BONES BROKEN HERE," HE SAID
\

had brought the Snake-Doctor along case there was a sprained ankle.

in

Winnie

said her foot did hurt her.
to think of
it

She

had been too upset

before.

Andy unlaced

her boot, and the Snakehis hand.
:<

Doctor lifted her little foot in

"No bones broken
are just scared, child.

here," he said,
33

you

174

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
slipped the
little

Andy
and

Chigger a nickel

said something the others didn't catch

about seeing what he could do to get Charlie in

the

Boy

Scouts.

Andy
me.

said,

and Lallie

"Now, Cousin George, you must come have supper with
4
3

Can't you come, too, Doctor

?'

to the

Snake-Doctor.
said he

But
call to

the

Snake-Doctor

had a

make.
to the

So the Colonel and Lallie went

Bird-Nest Boarding House for supper with Winnie and Andy.

The boarders were very much when they heard the story.
"But
I've got one thing I

excited

want

to ask

Winnie suddenly. "How did you ever have the strength to catch and
you, Andy," said
stop a run-a-way horse?'
1

you were a great big husky ball-player, Andy. Weren't you afraid*?'
3

"Yes," added Lallie,

"it's

not as

if

ANDY
"No, certainly not," replied the
tailor.
little

'We

are always given strength to

do the right thing.
it

true anyway.

There wasn't any of The ball of fire was only

a little sore-footed Chigger
3

who wasn't

trying to hurt anybody.'

"Yes," agreed Lallie.

"He was

really

a nice child, I was surprised.''

"And, Dandy wasn't running away. He was only trying to get away from what
he thought looked like danger.
"I
53

saw

it

was

all

false,

and

I

just
3

stepped out and that was the end of

it all.'

"How
'We know

simple life is," said Mrs. Worm. I are looked after every minute
that
"

"Yas'm," spoke up little black Cricket from the floor. Nobody knew the little

maid of

all

work was anywhere
3

near.

"And

if it

hadn't been for our
ell.'

fire

we

wouldn't have got our new

176

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

"Everything happens for the best,"
said the Colonel, lighting his cigar.
3

"If

it

doesn't,'
it

"we can make

spoke up little Andy, turn out for the best."

CHAPTER X
WINNIE WASP

Wasp family had a large house

THE
Now

in a

hollow stump.
All the

It

was a

fine

old place.

Wasp

family

had been noted for quick tempers. It goes with their red hair and their energy.

Winnie Wasp had
!

a blazing red
!

top-knot and a temper

whew

Look out

Winnie would get mad about nothing at all and with anybody anytime.
As
far as that goes, the

way

she

came

to

be boarding at the Bird-Nest Boarding House was because she got mad at her

family and did not give them a chance to
explain.
177

178

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
visit to a school

Winnie was away on a
friend,

Hattie Hornet, and she didn't
letters

send any

home

at all.

No

one

knew how long

she

was going

to stay.

When

she returned home, she found

SHE LOOKED UNDER THE BRICK WHERE THEY KEPT THE FRONT DOOR KEY

the house closed

up and nobody

there.

She looked under the brick where they
kept the front door key. It was not there. Then she looked under the fern.

Then whe-ew She flew and vowed she didn't care.
!

all to pieces

She could

WINNIE WASP
board.
she'd
If they didn't

179
at

want her

home,

show them she had a place to go. Mrs. Worm didn't want to take Winnie.

She was afraid a young lady who couldn't get along with her own family, might be
a lot of trouble as a boarder.
"I just take everything off of every-

body," said Mrs.
lowances.
It's

Worm, "and make althe only way to get along
5

in life, especially in a boarding house.'

But

Lallie
to

Winnie

Ladybug begged so hard come, and offered to share

for

her
fi-

room with her friend that Mrs.
nally said "yes."

Worm

"Winnie's
lie said,

all right,

Mrs. Worm," Lal-

"if
3

you just don't rub her the

wrong way.'

"Wasps

can't expect sugar all the time,

my

dear," gentle Mrs.

Worm
3

said.

"It's

sugar and salt in life, you know. make the best of what comes.'

We must

i8o

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
she heard that her

So Winnie had her trunk moved over.

The next day

Aunt

Winnie, for whom she was named, had died, and left all her money to her.
It

was

to this old lady's funeral that all

the

Wasps had gone when Winnie found
Winnie wasn't
the

the house shut up, but

kind to admit that she was ever in the

wrong. She had said they closed the house on her, and after she had told it, it was like
her to stick to the story.

She quit speaking to her family, and declared she would have nothing to do with

any of them.
her a note the

Her
first

little

brother brought

morning the Wasps got

back from the funeral, but Winnie told

him

on back, that she didn't ever care to hear from any of her family again.
to take
it
.

.

.

So time passed on.
little school-teacher,

Lallie Ladybug, the

often said she wished

WINNIE WASP
she could be near her family and

181

Winnie

Wasp would
But even

always reply: "Be glad you don't have to live with them."
at the Bird-Nest Boarding

House, everything didn't suit Winnie. She was cross whenever Mrs. Worm

had bread-pudding
raisins,"

for dessert.

"I hate

she

said,

"and Cricket never
hot water to shampoo

brings

me enough

my

hair."

getting

Then somebody was always Winnie's soap. Winnie spoke to
said she thought

Mrs.
it

Worm about it and

was the baby.
"Well, maybe she did have
it,

Winnie,"

dear
little

little

Mrs.

Worm would reply.

"The

thing has to have something to play

with."

The Widow Grasshopper and Daddy
Long-legs felt so sorry for Winnie not

having a home, that they decided to give a

182

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
it

candy-pull and a phantom party, for was Hallowe'en.

Benny Beetle
that the
to

flew

home

to tell the

news

Widow and Daddy
ball.

were going

have a masked

Now

the

Reverend Beetle did not exhe said,

pect the members of his church to dance.

Baseball was

all right,

if

one cared

for games, but he

drew the

line at a danc-

ing ball.

He stopped writing in
u
:

the middle of his

sermon to go to the Widow's.
Hey*?'
said

Daddy, making a soundu

ing-board out of his hands.
Beetle,

Hey, Brother
to

who's

that

going

the

ball

game?"

Daddy Long-legs never missed a ballgame. The dream of his life was to be an
umpire.

"Not

a

ball-game,"

bellowed
:

Mr.

Beetle, "it's a d-a-n-c-e ball.'

"l

HATE

RAISINS," SHE SAID

WINNIE WASP

185
4

"When you

going to give

it

?'

Daddy

Mr. asked in his high, cracked voice. Beetle out of patience rose to go, but just
then the

Widow came
field

in

from the garden

peas to shell. The minister explained to her what he had heard, and she in turn at last made Daddy

with a basket of

understand.

"We

are planning to give a little phansaid.
"It's so dull

tom party," she

now.

We are going to pull candy."
Then
she told

Mr. Beetle, making him
reason

promise not to

tell the real

why
to

she

and Daddy wanted everybody
masked.

come

Rev.

-Beetle

said,

"Well,

I

never

thought of doing that. I've preached throat dry about family quarrels."
"That's just
it,"

my

wasn't a quarrel.

Widow. "It The Wasps don't know
said the
:

what Winnie's mad

about.'

186

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
night of the party came.

The

Small

yellow berries were scooped out and cut with Jack o' Lantern faces, to hold can-

There was pop-corn popping and tubs of water in which everybody had to
dles.

bob for apples. The candy was on cooking and the smell
of
it

floated

down

the hill to greet the

guests.

A

lovely harvest

moon

lit

up

all

out-doors.

The

little

creatures as they

went into
and

the cottage,

wrapped

in their sheets

masks had great fun, trying to frighten each other. And when it came to guessing

who was who, none

of them

knew who

was who.
as well as

Everybody had changed voice masked his or her face.

The Widow Grasshopper
there

was a
to

wanted her
the

Winnie stranger present and she be very nice to him. Then
told

kind-hearted

old

lady

touched

a

WINNIE WASP

187

gentleman in a sheet and told him she had a strange young lady in the house, "and
I

want you and talk to

to take her out

on the porch

her."

THE WIDOW INTRODUCED "MISS SHEET" TO "MR.

SHEET*'

"An
But

old married

man

3

like me,'

he said,

"why don't you send Andy out with her?"
the

Widow was

already introduc53

ing "Miss Sheet" to "Mr. Sheet."

And

each said "glad to meet you,

in a

i88

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

high pitched voice and they went out in
the moonlight together.

The Widow was
poked Daddy

tickled to death.

She

and whispered: "If they don't make up now," she nodded
in the ribs

to the front porch.

Winnie talked

a blue streak at

first.

They
and
it

sat

on a settee in the moonlight was Hallowe'en. A strange thing

about the harvest

moon

is

that

it

has a

way

of

making people

tell the

truth

and

speak their thoughts.

Mr. Wasp, thinking he was speaking

to

an entire stranger, began to pour out his heart, about his daughter who had left
home.

"Why

did she leave?" asked Winnie,

never dreaming

who was

speaking.
full of tears.
I

Mr. Wasp's voice was

"My

dear young lady," he said, "if
I

only knew then maybe

could do some-

WINNIE WASP
thing to persuade her to come back. poor mother's heart is breaking,
I

189

Her
and

"

He

forgot and put his hand out of the

sheet, to

wipe

his eyes.

Winnie saw

the

WINNIE THREW HER ARMS AROUND HER FATHER'S NECK

mashed thumb-nail of her
hand.

father's right

Winnie

cried softly.

"My

dear young
"

lady," he said, "if

my own

daughter only

had your tender loving heart "She has," sobbed Winnie.

190

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

"If tears could bring her back," said

Mr. Wasp.

Winnie stepped out
father.
3

of the sheet

and

threw her arms around the neck of her
u
is

"Oh, Papa,'
tonight,
It

she said,

Mama
4

here

and did

Sister come, too ?"

was the

Widow

Grasshopper who

re-

plied to her questioning by shoo-ing the

whole
porch.

Wasp

family right out on

the

"Wesley!" Mrs.

Wasp

little

dreamed

who

young lady in her husband's arms was, "what does this mean?" 'That our dear little Winnie is
the

here

"

'Waiting to go home," added Winnie.
"Please forgive me, all of you,
if

you can."

Forgive her!
f

.....

Ts that a kissing game you are playing

WINNIE WASP
out there

191

V
all

asked Colonel George Grubthe door.

Worm, opening
It

was

over the place that quick

that

Winnie Wasp had made up with her
3

family.

'The candy's ready to pull/ said the

Widow.
"Ain't
it

time for everybody to un-

mask?" asked Daddy.
:c

lt's

high time," said the
they
all

Widow.

And
that

joined hands and tripped

into the kitchen singing merrily the tune

Daddy

Long-legs fiddled
'Tra-la-la-la-la

:

Tra-la-la-la-la

La-la! La-la!"

CHAPTER XI
THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING

THE

sun was not yet up, but the Snake-Doctor was busy with his

fishing tackle.

Mrs. Snake-Doctor was making sandwiches for him, for he was going off on a
fishing trip to be

gone several days.
is

'You are sure the canoe

safe,

Sam-

my?" asked

his wife, as she spread cheese
slices
it

and butter on

of bread.

'Yes, I bailed

out yesterday/' he said,
to paint

"and Daddy Long-legs helped me
it."

"Why didn't you
3

ask

Daddy

to

go with

you,

Sammy?'
I

"Because

don't

want him,"
192

replied the

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
Snake-Doctor,
testily.

193

'Yelling at him

drives all the fish away."

"He

can't help being deaf.

His poor
3

old ears have gone back on him.'

"Poor old ears nothing!
:

It's his

poor

old mind, he's too lazy to use, to pay attention
!'

The

coffee boiled over,

and Mrs. Snake-

Doctor flew to the stove.
"Breakfast
is

ready,

Sammy,"
off.

she said.

She put
in

it

on the kitchen

table, he

was

such a hurry to get
"I hope

no one gets sick while you are away, Sammy." She buttered another hot
biscuit for her spoiled old husband.

"They
back
if

ain't

going to die until
live,

I

get

they want to
2

and

if

they've

got their hearts set on
Louisa.'

dying, let

'em

die,

"Oh, Sammy!" she
hear you talk would

said,

"people to

never

know how

194

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
and very gentle you

really kind-hearted
are.

"Humph! grunted the Snake-Doctor. Then he picked up his lunch-basket,
slung his fishing-kit over his shoulder,

3

HE AWOKE FEELING FINE

wiped
bye.

his

mouth and

kissed his wife good.

.

The woods were

cool

and green.

The

river ran merrily along.
tor rested, ate his lunch

The Snake-Docand took a nap,

using his wicker fishing-kit for a pillow.

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
He
bank.

195

had

tied his canoe

up

close to the

He awoke feeling fine and began to take out his fishing-tackle. He had a lot of
bright red
flies

for bait.

'This will get 'em," he said.
until a cloud
his lines

He

fished

came up, then he put away and walked up the river to call

on

his wife's uncle, the

were so glad to see stay for supper, but he said he couldn't

They him, they made him
Water-bug.

spend the night.

He

had come

to the

woods

camp out. Old man Water-bug
to

told

him of a
'But

fine

pool full of speckled trout. pretty brier-y place," he said.
"I don't

it's

a

mind

that," replied the Snake-

Doctor.

"Good-night all!"
*

smell of crisp bacon was in the morning air. It was just dawn but the

The

196

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
it.

Snake-Doctor had his breakfast cooked,

and now he was eating
bacon on a forked

He broiled

the

stick held over the fire,

while the eggs roasted in the ashes. He drank his coffee out of his collapsible drinking cup.

He

was

in fine spirits,

and whistled

as he started off after the

speckled trout, thinking

how good

they'd

be when Mrs. Snake-Doctor was through

with them.

"Louisa can cook
self

fish,"

he said to him-

and he smacked

his lips like

Benny

Beetle.
.

got lost on his way to the speckled-trout pool. In trying to

The Snake-Doctor

get back to the camp to get his bearings, he came upon a tribe of red ants.

He
didn't

had heard that these

little

red in-

dians were camping in the woods, but he

know

they were anywhere near.

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
The
hole,

197

ants directed

him

to the fishing-

and

in return for their kindness, he
his wife.

bought a cane basket for
>

wasn't a good day for fishing. Danger lurked everywhere. First of all the
It

HE BOUGHT A CANE BASKET FOR

HIS WIFE

Snake-Doctor had
water
rat.

his nerves upset

by a

This horrid beast was just ready to spring on him from behind when
the little doctor turned,

and seeing him,

flew out of danger.

Then

a tall hungry-looking crane got

after him,

and gave him a

chase.

198

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
lost his temper.

The Snake-Doctor
big

He

said to himself he didn't

come out on a
his natural ene-

game hunt after these, He came to fish mies.
think.

quietly and to
!

And

he would

fish

HE STRUCK AT THE BAT GAMELY

Then

of all things in the world, a bat
at

swooped down and

him

!

Now

the Snake-Doctor

was a brave
world that

man, but the one thing he was afraid of was a

in the bat.

And

such a

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
bat as this was!
circled
It clicked its teeth

199

and

and swooped down at him. The Snake-Doctor was entirely un-

armed, except for his fishing-rod. struck at the bat gamely with this.
bat kept diving at him.
tor took off his hat,

He
The
docso

The

little

and though he was

much

smaller than his foe, he stood his

ground and beat at the bat with this. Just as the Snake-Doctor raised his hat
to strike at the bat, fray.
it

an

Owl

flew into the

He settled Mr. Bat in less time than
it.

takes to tell

"Whe-ew!"

said

the

Snake-Doctor,

blowing hard, as he sat down to rest on a "But I'm going fishing, just the log.
3

same.

A breeze sprung up,
came

then a

little

shower

to cool things off.

The Snake-Docmorning
in

tor forgot the troubles of the

the prospect of a nice afternoon.

200

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
found a good place under a willow near some briers, and began to fish.

He
tree,

speckled trout bit as fast as he threw his hook in. He was enjoying himself very

The

much.

There was a crash overhead and a dead
limb
fell

on the

little

Snake-Doctor.

It

pinned him to the ground.

He

tried to

move, but he couldn't. A storm was coming up and he wanted to get out from
under the limb that held him, but he
couldn't budge
it.

Rain began, and while he didn't get wet, he noticed the river was rising.

"My! My! My!"
:f

Snake-Doctor,

sputtered the little this is a pretty fix to be

caught

in.

I'm as helpless as Enoch ArI

den Worm.

will get out!'

But he

couldn't.

He used all the strong

words he knew, but the willow limb held him tight, and the river was still rising.

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
Then he began
to kick

201

and

to call.

He

was sorry he hadn't let Daddy come along. At least the old man could lift this tree
off

him.
to the

Minutes seemed hours
Doctor.

Snake-

He

was

tired of calling, he could

kick no longer, and the river was nearly

up

to

him now.
unless he was

The Snake-Doctor knew

rescued in a very few minutes the water

would cover him, and he would drown.
began to think. He didn't have his will made. His life wasn't even insured
\

He

for Louisa.

He
life

had often heard that the whole past

of a drowning person passes before
just before the end.
true.

him
was

Now

he

knew

it

thought of the pink colored water he had given Mrs. Beetle for Benny's
stomach-ache, and of the tiny bread pills

He

202

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
Widow
I've

that the

Grasshopper declared she
to fool 'em," he said, "be-

couldn't sleep without.

"But

had
5
'

ing a doctor.

He

thought of

all the

harsh things he

had said
5
'

to his patients.

"It wasn't neuralgia

Mamie

Wiggletail

he said, "but pure selfishness as I told her. Wasn't she a new woman fifteen
had,

minutes after she helped those poor
Beggar-lice?"

little

The Snake-Doctor
his little joke.

chuckled.

He loved

"

'Damp

rain-barrel' giving her neural-

gia," he said.

"She and

all her

family

were born and bred in a rain-barrel.

"Winnie Wasp's head-aches weren't
anything but temper. I told her the truth. They left as soon as she made up with her
people.

"And what was wrong

in the

way

I

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING

20}

broke up that epidemic of measles," he was almost enjoying himself. "I did promise

every child in town a nickel and a picnic, not to have 'em. But they got more fun
out of the picnic.
I

know

that."

JUST THEN HE HEARD A FAINT

HELLO I"

And so

he went back over his long years

as doctor for the

whole neighborhood.
a joke," he said.
3

"Medicine

is all

"I

know because
"Who's
Doctor.

I practice

it.'

Just then he heard a faint "Hello!"
there?"

asked

the

Snake-

204

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
reply,

"Angus Ant," came the
brother, Augustus.

"and
:

my

Where

are you?'

"Come quick/
"I

3

said the Snake-Doctor,

am

in great danger.''

It

They put their shoulders to the limb. moved and the water washed it away.
free.
3

The Snake-Doctor was
"It's

a wireless, Doctor,'

Angus

said.
3

"And

I

thought

it

might be important,'

added the grave Augustus. It was a telegram from his wife.

"Come home,'
appendicitis.

3

u
it

read,

Mr. Flea has

Says he must be operated

on at once.
It
isa.

3

was signed 'Your loving wife, Lou-

The Snake-Doctor asked
Mrs.

Cricket where

Worm

was.
she replied.

"I'll git her,"

The

little

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES PISHING
mistress of the Bird-Nest Boarding

205

House

came

in a

moment
this

later.

"What's
asked.

about Fred Flea?" he
3

"He
said.

says he has the appendicitis/

she

"He's got a trained nurse upstairs. Cricket has been sterilizing things for her
2

all the

morning.'
the Snake-Doctor.

"Humph," grunted
'Trained miss!'
"It's

one of the Doodle-bug
said.

girls,"

Mrs.

Worm

Mr. Flea was a comical

sight to see.

He

wore a bandage on his head. He had a hotwater bottle at his side. The nurse was
just

taking the
as the

thermometer from

his

mouth

Doctor entered.
said the little

"Good morning, Doctor,"
detective in a feeble voice.

"What's the matter with you, Fred?"
((

A

J*

"

j.'

I"
:

Ap-pen-di-ci-tis

206

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
trained nurse

The

moved an empty

tray

from the hospital table beside his bed. There was a smile under the SnakeDoctor's mustache.

"How

long have you had it?"

THE NURSE WAS JUST TAKING THE THERMOMETER FROM HIS MOUTH

"I'm afraid
Flea.
side.

it's

chronic,"

replied

Mr.

"I'm never free from pain in my I might as well have my appendix
the Snake-Doctor burst out

out."

"Humph!"

in a hearty guffaw.

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING
"You
he said.

207

haven't got appendicitis, Fred,"

"For the simple reason that the Flea family do not have the appendix."

"Then
detective

it

must be
he

gall-stones," said the

as

slipped

the

hot-water

bottle to his other side.

The Snake-Doctor looked over
eye-glasses at Dolly

his

horn

Doodle-bug

in her

cap and nurse's uniform. "I thought you were away taking a
business course, Dolly."

"No," she

said, "that's

my

sister,

Pet."

"Where did you

learn trained nuss-

ing?" he asked. "I took a correspondence course by
3

mail/ she said.

"Give me that thing!" The SnakeDoctor broke the thermometer and threw
it

out of the window.

208

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

"Aren't you going to do anything for

meT' asked Mr Flea. have a new treatment 'I
e
C

for

your

trouble, Fred," said the Doctor.

"You've

been reading too many newspapers and going around picking up germs that
didn't belong to you.

"Tomorrow morning get your hoe by five o'clock and get to work in the Widow Grasshopper's garden. The early morning

dew

is

what you

3

need.'
at once.

Mr. Flea got better
"If I'm well
3

enough

to

do garden work,

Doctor,' he said, "I've got a case I ought

working on right now. A mosquito was killed and his family want me to find
to be
3

his murderer.'

"Then get up from there and put your clothes on and find him.' The testy little doctor turned to Dolly
:

Doodle-bug.

"l DON'T

WANT

TO CATCH YOU TRAIN-NUSSING ANY MORE OF MY PATIENTS"

THE SNAKE-DOCTOR GOES FISHING 211
'What were you doing when you were
sent for on this case, Dolly?"
"I

was helping
5
'

my grand-mama
to

put up
3

preserves.

"Then go back
Snake-Doctor

your preserving/ the

said.

"And
3

I

don't want to

ever catch you train-nussing any more of

my

patients,
sir/'

Dolly/
said Dolly politely.

"No,

CHAPTER
THE WORMS'
GLASS

XII
WEDDING
next

EAR, do you know what
Thursday
will be?" Mrs.

Worm

asked her husband as he turned
a sheet of his evening newspaper. "Not the Fourth of July, Evie Lou?"

"Our anniversary/ she came behind him and put her arms about his neck and
kissed him.
years."

3

'We've been married

fifteen

"Ah," said Mr.

Worm,
is!'

clearing his

throat, "so it is! so it

He

walked

to the mirror

and looked

at the top of his

head.

He

had a horror of growing old
is

and getting bald.
"Every hair
still
212

there," said

Mrs.

"DEAR, DO

you KNOW WHAT NEXT THURSDAY WILL BE?"

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING

215

Worm, which was more than she could say of her own fast thinning locks, sprinkled
with snow that had not touched her husband's.

Mrs. Worm's

first

thought, even before

her boarders, was Mr.

Worm's

well-being.

No

matter

how

troubled she might be

about rent, the high cost of living, overbearing boarders, or the cares of the
dren, she never let
chil-

any of these worries

come

to her

husband.

"I'd like," she said with a
in her eyes, "to give

happy look
3

them a

party.'

"Them,"

to

Mrs.

Worm, always meant

her boarders.

"Now, Enoch, a little lawn party would be nice, don't you think so?"
Mr.

Worm

cleared his throat again.

"They could play tennis and croquet," Mrs. Worm went on, "and we could have
lemonade and gingerbread.'
3

216

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
is

"Pop

a cool, pleasant drink," Mr.

Worm
night?'

said.
to-

"Has Cricket brought your pop up
1

asked quickly. "No," replied Mr. Worm, "not yet." Just then little black Cricket knocked

Mrs.

Worm

and entered with a cold bottle of soda-

pop and a
"But

glass

on a

tray.

She brought

it

every night.
let's

not

tell

any of them

it's

our

anniversary," said Mrs.

Worm.

"Cricket,

we

are going to have a
1

lawn party next

Thursday afternoon.'
"Is
it

er eatin'

party?" asked Cricket,
Ladies'

"or

is

it

just the

Aid Society

meetin' here?''

"No,

it's

a regular party with refresh-

ments, ice-cold lemonade for the ladies,

pop

for the gentlemen,
3

and gingerbread

for everybody.'

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING
Mrs.

217

Worm

told the boarders at break-

fast the next morning,

and then she sent

the children around with the invitations
for
all

the neighbors

to

come

at

four

o'clock on Thursday.

In the meantime Cricket had said she

mind freezing ice-cream, that she knew Benny Beetle would help her and be glad to, if they'd let him have the
didn't

dasher of the freezer to

lick.

The Widow Grasshopper
thread.
holes.

bit off her

She was working more button-

"Let
forth.

me
his

see,"

she

rocked back and

Daddy

mopping
Flea

on the porch steps face with his red bandana
sat

handkerchief.
all the

He

had been

after

Fred
to

morning trying

to get

him

help set out the Widow's potato

slips.

"Why,

it's

their anniversary."

218

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
said

"Hey?"

Daddy.
3

"How

high

d'you say the mercury is?'
"An-ni-ver-sa-ry!" shouted the

Widow.

"Evie

Lou and Enoch Arden
fifteen

Worm
next

have been married
Thursday."

years

"What
shrieked

are

you going
as the
scissors

to

do about it?"
started up,
into her

Daddy

Widow

dropping her

and thimble

work

basket.

"I'm going to start a glass wedding an"Evie niversary for them," she said.

Lou

hasn't got but eight goblets to her

name.

She and the children always have

to wait until the boarders get through be-

fore they have a drink of water at meals."

"Going to buy her some glasses?" 'Yes, and everybody's going to give
her something in glass for her crystal

wedding-day.

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING
The news
before night.
to telephone
see.

219

spread.

Everybody knew
Lallie

The Widow asked
and
tell

any one she didn't

No
to

one was forgotten.
the little
in

Everybody got
and

work

to find a present for dear Mrs.

Worm, even
Cricket

Worm children
secret.

were

the

Cricket

bought some
ten-cent store

salt-cellars at the five-and-

and when the baby cried, Cricket told her what a good girl she must
be because her
to

mama and papa
wedding;

have a glass

were going then baby

Maudie
bottle

Worm

wrapped up her nursing

and

said she'd give that to her

mama and

papa.

Thursday dawned, blue and beautiful. Mrs. Worm was up with the sun. Before
Cricket had done the breakfast dishes,

Bennie Beetle was in the kitehen dancing

220

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
ice-

on one foot waiting to freeze the
cream.

The

Worm

children

they could to help.
little sister,

did everything Gertie bathed her

Mamie, and small Georgie, and dressed them all except tying their
Mrs.

sashes.

Worm

always tied the

chil-

dren's ribbons herself.

Cricket said she

would have plenty of time to bathe and dress the baby, little Maudie.
After Mrs.

Worm

had

laid out

Mr.

Worm's

nice clothes

in his white vest,

and put his buttons and his studs and cuff
lawn made the year

links in his shirt, she dressed herself in a

freshly ironed white
ruffles

She put a piece of black velvet ribbon about her neck; on
this

were much worn.

was a cameo that had belonged

to her

mother. stayed in bed all day so as to be fresh for the party, but poor Mrs.

Mr.

Worm

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING

221

Worm
nap.
to let

didn't have time to even get a cat-

Winnie Wasp begged Mrs. Worm her curl her bangs. Winnie slipped

a pretty comb out of her

own

red locks

MR.

WORM

STAYED IN BED ALL DAY

into

Mrs. Worm's wasted
guests began to arrive.

little

knot.

The
the

First

came

Widow

Grasshopper

and

Daddy
pell-

Long-legs.
mell.

Then

the others

came

"Evie Lou," said the

Widow

Grass"

hopper, "just fifteen years ago today

222

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE

"Oh!" said Mrs. Worm, "Minervy! Did you remember?'

"We

all did," said the

Widow, "Come

see your

wedding presents, Evie Lou." Mr. Worm seemed to rise up out of the

ground to take his place in the procession to view the wedding presents.
held his head high, and his chest "Isn't he handsome?" said well out.

He

Mrs.

Worm.
is

"Handsome
marked the

as

handsome
curtly.

does," re-

Widow

"And
us,

all

of these lovely gifts are for

Enoch," Mrs.

Worm

turned to her

husband.

Her
I
it

eyes were full of tears.

"How
"I'll

can

ever thank them?"
for you,"

do

Mr.

Worm

said,

and he

rose to his feet, cleared his throat
:

and began

"My

dear friends

"

'You'd think we gave all this glassware to Enoch Arden Worm himself/'

MR.

WORM CLEARED

HIS

THROAT AND BEGAN

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING
said the
still

225

Widow

sharply.

Mr.
It

Worm

was

making

his speech.

sounded ex-

actly as if he

had been running the Birdall these years.

Nest Boarding House

Winnie poked raised her hand
"It's

Lallie in the side
to

and
it:

whisper behind

He
him.

another case of the gold-headed cane. thinks we did this because we love

Dear

little

Mrs.

Worm!"

"I hope Mrs.

Worm will get to heaven,"
that they won't let
let her give

said Lallie.

"And

him

in.

He'd

him her very
it

crown and believe he won

himself!'

Mr. Worm's
soapy water.
bathing

feet were in a basin of hot

Cricket on the floor was
tenderly.

them
his

Mrs.

Worm
salts

rubbed

head and held smelling

to his nose.

"Seven pickle dishes," Cricket's mind was still on the splendid presents that

226

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
the

over-flowed

Bird-Nest

Boarding

House's dining-room. 'We'll sho' have to gitter refrigerator now, Miz Worm," the little black cook
said.

'We

jes

natchully ain't got no
3
3

place to set all that glass-ware.'

"A

side-board,

you mean,

Cricket,'

corrected Mrs.

'You lak

Worm, gently. dem salt cellahs I

give you?'

Cricket asked.

"Oh, Cricket," Mrs.

Worm
we

said,

"they

are as pretty as anything

got.

And we

needed them
"I thought

3

so.'

Mr.

Worm
3

could have one

on

his

breakkus

tray.'

No
light

reply from Mr.
fell

Worm. The lamp
his

softly

on

sleek,

neatly

parted-in-the-middle hair.
"S-sh," said Mrs.
off to sleep, Cricket.

Worm,

"he's

Poor dear,

he's

dropped had

a hard day.'

3

THE WORMS' GLASS WEDDING
3

227

'Yas'm,'

said

Cricket,

'Is

making

speeches hard work?'

"Very."

'Then why didn't he

let us

do

it

for

him?"

"S-SH," SAID MRS.

WORM, "HE'S DROPPED OFF TO SLEEP"

"I haven't the brains," said
softly,

Mrs.

Worm

"and you haven't the education,
Cricket.

Cricket."

"Naw'm," agreed
"All

"Isn't he fine looking, Cricket?"

de

boa'ders

says

he

ain't

no

'count," Cricket

was thinking aloud, "but

228

THE BIRD-NEST BOARDING HOUSE
is

I allus

said Mistah

Worm's

too grand

fer er boa'din'-house."

'Yes," said Mrs.
little

Worm, knowing what
I

Cricket ifieant to say, "but the Bird-

Nest Boarding House was the best do for him, Cricket."

could

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