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ITHE POLKA DOT LADY Little Mrs. Ladybug was a worker. Nobody could deny that. To be sure, she had to stop now and then to talk to her neighbors, because Mrs. Ladybug dearly loved a bit of gossip. At the same time there wasn't anyone in Pleasant Valley that helped Farmer Green more than she did. She tried her hardest to keep the trees in the orchard free from insects. Some of her less worthy neighbors were known sometimes to say with a sniff, "If Mrs. Ladybug didn't enjoy her work she wouldn't care about helping Farmer Green. If she hadn't such a big appetite she'd stop to chat even more than she does now." That might seem an odd remark—unless one happened to know how Mrs. Ladybug freed the orchard of the tiny pests that attacked it. The truth of the matter was this: Mrs. Ladybug ate the little insects that fed upon the fruit trees. Her constant toil meant that she devoured huge numbers of Farmer Green's enemies. Goodness knows what Farmer Green would have done had Mrs. Ladybug and all her family lost their taste for that kind of fare. The orchard might have been a sorry sight. Perhaps it was only to be expected that Mrs. Ladybug should have little patience with folk that seemed lazy. She thought that Freddie Firefly wasted too much of his time dancing in the meadow at night. She considered Buster Bumblebee, the Queen's son, to be a useless idler, dressed in his black velvet and gold. Having heard that Daddy Longlegs was a harvestman, she urged him to go to work for Farmer Green at harvest time. And as for the beautiful Betsy Butterfly, Mrs. Ladybug found all manner of fault with her. Nothing made Mrs. Ladybug angrier than to see Betsy Butterfly flitting from flower to flower in the sunshine, followed by her admirers. "What can they see in that gaudy creature?" Mrs. Ladybug often asked her friends. It will appear, from this, that Mrs. Ladybug was not always as pleasant as she might have been. Moreover, she was something of a busybody and too fond of prying into the affairs of others. And if she didn't happen to approve of he neighbors, or their ways, Mrs. Ladybug never hesitated to speak her mind. When she first appeared on Farmer Green's place, wearing her bright red gown with its black spots, everyone supposed that Mrs. Ladybug was dressed in her working clothes. And indeed she was! Nor did she ever don any other. "I've no time to fritter away," she declared when somebody asked her what she was going to wear to Betsy Butterfly's party. "If I go to the party I'll just drop in for a few minutes as I am, in my polka dot." Her neighbors thought that very strange. They even whispered to one another that they didn't believe Mrs. Ladybug had anything else to wear. Nor had she. Nor did she want any. And it wasn't long before everybody understood Mrs. Ladybug's ways. She was so earnest that they couldn't help liking her, no matter if her remarks were a bit tart now and then. IIBUSTER'S RESOLVE Not only was Betsy Butterfly a beautiful creature. She was pleasant to everybody. And almost all her neighbors were just as pleasant to her. Mrs. Ladybug was one of the few that were sometimes disagreeable to Betsy. For Mrs. Ladybug did not approve of her. She thought that Betsy Butterfly was frivolous. And she frowned whenever she saw Betsy in her beautiful costume. "She never wears working clothes," Mrs. Ladybug often complained, when talking to her friends. "Now, if Betsy Butterfly would only wear something plain and serviceable, as I do, once in a while, people might have a different opinion of her....

The Tale of Mrs. Ladybug by T4 Book Publishing

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