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 OF all the people who lived and worked in the meadow by the
river, there was not one who gave so much thought to other
people's business as a certain Blue-bottle Fly. Why this
should be so, nobody could say; perhaps it was because he
had nothing to do but eat and sleep, for that is often the
way with those who do little work.
Truly his cares were light. To be sure, he ate much, but
then, with nearly sixty teeth for nibbling and a wonderful
long tongue for sucking, he could eat a great deal in a very
short time. And
 as for sleeping—well, sleeping was as easy
for him as for anyone else.
However it was, he saw nearly everything that happened, and
thought it over in his queer little three-cornered head
until he was sure that he ought to go to talk about it with
somebody else. It was no wonder that he saw so much, for he
had a great bunch of eyes on each side of his head, and
three bright, shining ones on the very top of it. That let
him see almost everything at once, and beside this his neck
was so exceedingly slender that he could turn his head very
This particular Fly, like all other Flies, was very fond of
the sunshine and kept closely at home in dark or wet
weather. He had no house, but stayed in a certain elder bush
on cloudy days and called that his home. He had spent all of
one stormy day there, hanging on the under side of a leaf,
with nothing to do but think. Of course, his head was down
and his feet
 were up, but Blue-bottle Flies think in that
position as well as in any other, and the two sticky pads on
each side of his six feet held him there very comfortably.
He thought so much that day, that when the next morning
dawned sunshiny and clear, he had any number of things to
tell people, and he started out at once.
First he went to the Tree Frog. "What do you suppose," said
he, "that the Garter Snake is saying about you? It is very
absurd, yet I feel that you ought to know. He says that your
tongue is fastened at the wrong end, and that the tip of it
points down your throat. Of course,
I knew it couldn't be
true, still I thought I would tell you what he said, and
then you could see him and put a stop to it."
For an answer to this the Tree Frog ran out his tongue, and,
sure enough, it was fastened at the front end. "The Snake is
quite right," he said pleasantly, "and my tongue suits me
perfectly. It is
 just what I need for the kind of food I
eat, and the best of all is that it never makes mischief
After that, the Fly could say nothing more there, so he flew
away in his noisiest manner to find the Grasshopper who lost
the race. "It was a shame," said the Fly to him, "that the
judges did not give the race to you. The idea of that little
green Measuring Worm coming in here, almost a stranger, and
making so much trouble! I would have him driven out of the
meadow, if I were you."
"Oh, that is all right," answered the Grasshopper, who was
really a good fellow at heart; "I was very foolish about
that race for a time, but the Measuring Worm and I are firm
friends now. Are we not?" And he turned to a leaf just back
of him, and there, peeping around the edge, was the
Measuring Worm himself.
The Blue-bottle Fly left in a hurry, for where people were
so good-natured he
 could do nothing at all. He went this
time to the Crickets, whom he found all together by the fat,
old Cricket's hole.
"I came," he said, "to find out if it were true, as the
meadow people say, that you were all dreadfully frightened
when the Cow came?"
The Crickets answered never a word, but they looked at each
other and began asking him questions.
"Is it true," said one, "that you do nothing but eat and
"Is it true," said another, "that your eyes are used most of
the time for seeing other people's faults?"
"And is it true," said another, "that with all the fuss you
make, you do little but mischief?"
The Blue-bottle Fly answered nothing, but started at once for
his home in the elder bush, and they say that his
three-cornered head was filled with very different thoughts
from any that had been there before.