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The Peacock Butterflies

from Sandman's Goodnight Stories





Plain little Miss Butterfly sat on a bush one day, when along came Mr.
Peacock, with his tail full spread.

"Oh--oh!" sighed little Miss Butterfly. "How handsome he is! If only
I could have a dress like the colors of Mr. Peacock's tail all the
other butterflies in the world would envy me.

"But here am I, only a plain little creature, with no color to boast
of, while all my cousins have gorgeously colored gowns. Oh, how I do
wish he would give me two feathers from his tail that I might have them
made into a gown!"

And then this plain little Butterfly, because she was so plain and had
no beauty to speak about, began to think about handsome Mr. Peacock.
"I wonder if he is vain?" she said out loud.

"Vain! Of course he is. There is no one in the world so vain as he,"
said a Bee, who was sipping honey near by.

Miss Butterfly did not ask any questions, and Mr. Bee was too busy to
say more. But when he flew away Miss Butterfly began to think, and the
more she thought the stronger became her intention to fly over to the
Peacock and speak to him.

Over she went, alighting on a flower near him.

"Mr. Peacock," she said, "I wonder you never have wished to see
yourself, you are so handsome."

"I have," replied Mr. Peacock; "often I have gazed into the pond and
beheld my handsome self."

"Oh, that is not at all what I mean," said Miss Butterfly. "Suppose
you were to see the very pattern of your beautiful tail flying all
about you. Then you could look at your beauty as it really is."

"I do not see at all what you mean," said Mr. Peacock, who was not very
quick at thinking.

"I mean if you would give me two tips from your beautiful tail I could
have a handsomer gown than any other butterfly in the world," said the
little flatterer, "and besides that, you would no longer hear the
yellow-and-black and those brown-and-black butterflies say that they
were the handsomest creatures in the garden. I should outshine them
all."

Mr. Peacock stood up and strutted about, and all the time little Miss
Butterfly flew close to him and flattered him.

"Oh, how jealous they would be if I had a dress like your beautiful
tail, for there are no colors in the world so gorgeous, and they would
call me the Peacock Butterfly! Think of that! You would have the most
beautiful butterfly in the world named for you, Mr. Peacock!"

Mr. Peacock could not resist this flattery. He told her she could
choose the two tips she best liked and have some one to pull them out.

It did not take Miss Butterfly a minute to fly to the tree near by
where Mr. Woodpecker was at work and ask his help, for she knew he did
not bother butterflies. His work was to find small insects.

Before the end of the summer the garden folk saw Miss Butterfly, but
not plain little Butterfly now, for she wore the most gorgeous gown in
the garden, of blue and black, and the next year all the other
butterflies were jealous of the Peacock Butterflies, who wore the
handsomest gowns in the world.

Mr. Peacock struts more than ever every time he sees one of the
handsome creatures he helped to dress, but no one knows that it was due
to the flattery of plain little Miss Butterfly that the family name was
created.





Next: The Revenge Of The Gnomes

Previous: Morning-glory



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