Dame Cricket's Story

: Sandman's Goodnight Stories

"Come, children, it is time to get up," said Dame Cricket to her ten

little crickets.

"Hurry, now, and take your bath and put on your little black caps and

your little brown suits. The sun has almost gone down over the hill

and the birds will soon be asleep."

But the little crickets snuggled under the bedclothes just as if they

did not hear their mother's words.

ome, come," she said, a few minutes later, "you will sleep all night

if you don't hurry. Some of our cousins are already singing, and it

will soon be dark."

"Oh dear! why do we have to get up?" said one little cricket, poking

his head over the clothes. "Lots of bugs sleep all night."

"Yes, but they are up all the daytime," answered Dame Cricket, "and

they run a great risk, I can assure you, my dear. Our family used to

sing in the daytime, but if we had kept on there would be no cricket

family. There is a reason for our sleeping days and singing at night."

"Oh, mother, is it a story?" asked all the little crickets, jumping out

of bed with a bound and gathering about their mother.

"Yes, there is a story about our family, and if you will all hurry and

dress I will tell it to you," she said.

Very quietly all the little crickets began to dress, and their mother

began the story:

"Once, long, long ago," she said, "our family sang in the daytime and

slept at night; but one day the Great-grandfather Cricket noticed that

our singing was not as loud as usual, so he called all the children,

big and little, about him and looked at their throats.

"'Strange, strange!' he remarked. 'You all have fine-looking throats,

as fine as ever crickets had, and yet our singing is very faint; there

is not as much volume to it as in the old days. I will call on Doctor

Frog this very day, and see what he thinks about it.'

"Doctor Frog thought awhile and then he asked, 'How many have you in

your family, now, Mr. Cricket?'

"Great-grandfather called us all about him and began to count, and to

his amazement he found our family was only about half the size it

should be.

"'Just as I thought,' said Dr. Frog, 'the voices are as good as ever,

but there are not so many of you, and, of course, the singing is not so

loud as it was once.

"'Shall I tell you the reason for this?' asked Dr. Frog.

"Great-grandfather said that was why he called on him, so Dr. Frog told

him that the birds were eating our family, and if they kept it up we

soon would be out of existence.

"'Horrors! horrors!' chirped Great-grandfather Cricket. 'Whatever will

we do to preserve the family?'

"'Easy enough to do that,' said Dr. Frog. 'Sleep days and sing at

night as our family do; little chance we would have if we came out and

sang in the daytime.'

"So that is the reason we sleep days and sing nights, so the birds and

chickens and bug-eating animals cannot catch us.

"Of course, sometimes they do get a cricket, but it is always one who

has stayed out too late or gotten up too early, usually a very young

cricket who thinks he knows more than his mother or father.

"But the good little crickets who mind and get up when they are called

are pretty sure to live to a good old age."

When Madam Cricket stopped talking all the little crickets stood

looking at her with very curious expressions on their faces.

"We are good little crickets, aren't we, mother?" they asked.

"Of course you are. Here you are all ready to go out and sing and the

sun has just dropped behind the hill," she said.

"Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp," they sang as they scampered after their

mother out into the night.