It was a dull, dark, rainy morning, just the nicest kind of a day to stay indoors. The windows were closed, and a bright fire was burning in the fireplace.
A fly was having a wonderful time walking on a mirror over the fireplace. It was very much pleased with itself and much amused at its reflection in the glass. It would fly away, and then fly back quickly to the mirror. Tiring of the mirror, it suddenly remembered that flies could walk on the ceiling. So it flew up there and walked ever so far across the ceiling, never once falling. This made it very venturesome, so it looked about for something else to do.
What a noise! A door was opened, and someone crossed the room and opened a window. Now that the fly looked about, it saw the sun was shining brightly, the rain was over, so it flew straight to the open window and out into the warm sunshine.
It was just a little fly without much experience. And for once it was aloneÄno one to say: "Don't go there"; "Be careful." Oh, it was delightful to be free. Now was the time to see the great wide world it had heard so much about. So it flew over to a honeysuckle vine where a bee was gathering sweetness from the flowers and buzzing merrily. It watched the bee admiringly. Then the bee flew away and the fly went too. Into the woods they went, for the bee was a wild bee and lived in the woods. As they flew along together they became good friends.
"Do you like the woods?" buzzed the bee.
"This is the first time I have ever been here," replied the fly.
"Oh," said the bee, "then take care where you go. Don't be too venturesome. Be happy and enjoy yourself, but keep a sharp lookout for flytraps or you may get caught."
"Silly bee," thought the fly; "I'm all eyes, and quick and sure-footed. I have nothing to fear. I will have my great adventure."
"Well," buzzed the bee, "I must be going." Buzz, buzz, and it was gone. And the fly was all alone.
Lighting on a nice cool green flower to rest, the adventurer looked down into this strange blossom. A rustle in the leaves nearby startled the everwatchful fly, and a bird warned: "Be careful; that Jack-in-the-pulpit looks very pious, but he bears watching." Now do you know this made the fly more venturesome than ever. It could take care of itself, it thought, and it would make friends with this Jack-in-the-pulpit. Was he not known as the woodland preacher?
The fly seemed to hear a little voice saying: "Come down into my pulpit. Don't be afraid."
You know Jack-in-the-pulpit, don't you ? How straight he stands in the flower, with a wonderful leaf folded in such a way that it makes a pulpit with a sounding board overhead.
"Don't be afraid," said the wee voice.
"Who's afraid?" said the fly, "I'll be right down."
Down, down, ventured the tiny visitor, admiring the beautiful shiny, striped walls of green and maroon and black. At the foot of the pulpit were the prettiest clusters of tiny flowers, round and greenish. The fly lighted on one of these flowers, and a wee voice said: "We are the little flowers that Jack guards so carefully until by and by we become bright scarlet berries. And then out of his pulpit Jack will step so everyone can see the scarlet babies."
The fly was quite thrilled to have discovered Jack-in-the-pulpit's secret. It was stuffy down at the foot of the pulpit, so the adventurer started to crawl out for a breath of air. But that was not so easy, for the walls were very slippery, and its feet did not hold. Strange, it could walk on a ceiling or a shiny mirror, but this was different. Then all of a sudden the fly remembered what the bee had said. Just suppose this were a flytrap! But no, this could not be, for Jack was a preacher. Weak and weary and quite exhausted from trying to escape, finally the tiny adventurer called out in a frightened, weak little fly voice: "Oh, kind bee, if you are near please come to my rescue." Then too tired to try again the fly dropped on the floor of the pulpit at Jack's feet completely exhausted.
A lusty buzz, buzz, buzz, made the adventurer stir. The bee had lighted on the same flower.
"Kind bee, please help me," said the fly.
"Where are you?" buzzed the bee, looking down into the flower but not venturing in.
"Way down here," said the fly.
"Quick!" said the bee; "look for the opening in the flap." So the fly made one more try for escape and, yesÄit found the opening in the flap in front where the leaf folds together. It didn 't feel very venturesome now, just glad to be alive.
"Thank you, kind bee," humbly said the fly. "You saved my life. I was a foolish fly."
"Yes," buzzed the bee, "but we are all foolish sometimes. There is always a way out though if we can only find it."
Then the bee and the fly flew away together and became even better friends.