| Among the Forest People|
|by Clara Dillingham Pierson|
| A charming series of nature stories for young children, including tales of red squirrels, great horned owls, rattlesnakes, and bats. No one can read these realistic conversations of the little creatures of the wood without being most tenderly drawn toward them. Within the context of each story children learn many entertaining facts about the lives and habits of these little people of the forest. Ages 5-7 |
 THE beautiful, brilliant Butterflies of the Meadow had
many cousins living in the forest, most of whom were
Night Moths. They also were very beautiful creatures,
but they dressed in duller colors and did not have
slender waists. Some of the Butterflies, you know,
wear whole gowns of black and yellow, others have
stripes of black and
 white, while some have clear
yellow with only a bit of black trimming the edges of
The Moths usually wear brown and have it brightened
with touches of buff or dull blue. If they do wear
bright colors, it is usually only on the back pair of
wings, and when the Moth alights, he slides his front
pair of wings over these and covers all the brightness.
They do not rest with their wings folded over their
heads like the Butterflies, but leave them flat or wrap
them around their bodies. All day long, when the sun
is shining, the Moths have to rest on trees and dead
leaves. If they were dressed in yellow or red, any
passing bird would see them, and there is no telling
what might happen. As it is, their wings are so nearly
the color of leaves or bark that you might often look
right at them without seeing them.
Yet even among Moths there are some more brightly
colored than others, and
 when you find part of the
family quietly dressed you can know it is because they
have to lay the eggs. Moths are safer in dull colors,
and the egg-layers should always be the safest of all.
If anything happened to them, you know, there would be
no Caterpillar babies.
One day a fine-looking Cecropia Moth came out of her
cocoon and clung to the nearest twig while her wings
grew and dried and flattened. At first they had looked
like tiny brown leaves all drenched with rain and
wrinkled by somebody's stepping on them. The fur on
her fat body was matted and wet, and even her feelers
were damp and stuck to her head. Her six beautiful
legs were weak and trembling, and she moved her body
restlessly while she tried again and again to raise her
She had not been there so very long before she noticed
another Cecropia Moth near her, clinging to the under
side of a
 leaf. He was also just out of the
chrysalis and was drying himself. "Good morning!" he
cried. "I think I knew you when we were Caterpillars.
Fine day to leave the cocoon, isn't it?"
"Lovely," she answered. "I remember you very well.
You were the Caterpillar who showed me where to find
food last summer when the hot weather had withered so
many of the plants."
"I thought you would recall me," he said. "And when
we were spinning our cocoons we visited together. Do
you remember that also?"
Miss Cecropia did. She had been thinking of that when
she first spoke, but she hoped he had forgotten. To
tell the truth, he had been rather fond of her the fall
before, and she, thinking him the handsomest
Caterpillar of her acquaintance, had smiled upon him
and suggested that they spin their cocoons near
together. During the long winter she had regretted
 this. "I was very foolish," she thought, "to
encourage him. When I get my wings I may meet people
who are better off than he. Now I shall have to be
polite to him for the sake of old friendship. I only
hope that he will make other acquaintances and leave me
free. I must get into the best society."
All this time her neighbor was thinking, "I am so glad
to see her again, so glad, so glad! When my wings are
dry I will fly over to her and we will go through the
forest together." He was a kind, warm-hearted fellow,
who cared more for friendship than for beauty or
Meanwhile their wings were growing fast, and drying,
and flattening, so that by noon they could begin to
raise them above their heads. They were very large
Moths and their wings were of a dark gray, with white
and brick-red stripes and pink-violet tips. There were
black spots near the tips
 of their front wings and
four other white and brick-red spots. On their legs
and fat bodies the white and brick-red fur was long and
thick. They were very beautiful and strong-looking.
When the Cecropias rest, they spread their wings out
flat, and do not slide the front pair over the others
as their cousins, the Sphinxes, do. The most wonderful
of all, though, are their feelers.
The Butterflies have stiff feelers on their heads with
little knobs on the ends, or sometimes with part of
them thick like tiny clubs. The Night Moths have many
kinds of feelers, most of them being curved, and those
of the Cecropias look like brown feathers pointed at
Miss Cecropia's feelers were perfect, and she waved
them happily to and fro. Those of her friend, she was
troubled to see, were not what they should have been.
One of them was all right, the other was small and
crooked. "Oh, dear," she said to herself, "how that
does look! I hope he
 will not try to be
attentive to me." He did not mind it much. He thought
about other things than looks.
As night came, a Polyphemus Moth fluttered past.
"Good evening!" cried he. "Are you just out? There
are a lot of Cecropias coming out to-day."
Miss Cecropia felt quite agitated when she heard this,
and wondered if she looked all right. Her friend flew
over to her just as she raised her wings for flight.
"Let me go with you," he said.
While she was wondering how she could answer him,
several other Cecropias came along. They were all more
"Hullo!" cried one of
them, as he alighted beside her. "First-rate night,
He was a handsome fellow, and his feelers were perfect;
but Miss Cecropia did not like his ways, and she drew
away from him just as her friend knocked him off the
branch. While they were fighting,
an-  other of
the strangers flew to her. "May I sit here?" he
"Yes," she murmured, thinking her chance had come to
get into society.
"I must say that it served the fellow right for his
rudeness to you," said the stranger, in his sweetest
way; "but who is the Moth who is punishing him—that
queer-looking one with the crooked feeler?"
"Sir," said she, moving farther from him, "he is a
friend of mine, and I do not think it matters to you if
he is queer-looking."
"Oh!" said the stranger. "Oh! oh! oh! You
have a bad temper, haven't you? But you are very
good-looking in spite of that." There is no telling
what he would have said next, for at this minute Miss
Cecropia's friend heard the mean things he was saying,
and flew against him.
It was not long before this stranger also was punished,
and then the Moth with the crooked feeler turned to the
 any of you want to try it?" he
said. "You must understand that you cannot be rude
before her." And he pointed his right fore leg at Miss
Cecropia as she sat trembling on the branch.
"Her!" they cried mockingly, as they flew away.
"There are prettier Moths than she. We don't care
anything for her."
Miss Cecropia's friend would have gone after them to
punish them for this impoliteness, but she clung to him
and begged him not to. "You will be killed, I know you
will," she sobbed. "And then what will become of me?"
"Would you miss me?" he asked, as he felt of one of
his wings, now broken and bare.
"Yes," she cried. "You are the best friend I have.
Please don't go."
"But I am such a homely fellow," he said. "I don't
see how you can like me since I broke my wing."
 "Well, I do like you," she said. "Your wing isn't
much broken after all, and I like your crooked
feeler. It is so different from anybody else's." Miss
Cecropia looked very happy as she spoke, and she quite
forgot how she once decided to go away from him. There
are some people, you know, who can change their minds
in such a sweet and easy way that we almost love them
the better for it. One certainly could love Miss
Cecropia for this, because it showed that she had
learned to care more for a warm heart and courage than
for whole wings and straight feelers.
Mr. Cecropia did not live long after this,
unfortunately, but they were very, very happy together,
and she often said to her friends, as she laid her eggs
in the best places, "I only hope that when my
Caterpillar babies are grown and have come out of
their cocoons, they may be as good and as brave as
their father was."
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