The Story Of A Fly
: Keep-well Stories For Little Folks
I was hatched one sunny day in May in the nicest, warmest, dirtiest spot
you ever saw. It was in a barnyard heap, just outside a city, that I
first saw the light. I was not very old before I had to take care of
myself, so you may know I was glad that I had opened my eyes for the
first time in such a dirty place, because it is much easier for a baby
fly to take care of himself in a dirty place than in a clean one.
My good mother knew this when she flew away that May morning and left
the tiny egg, from which I came, to Dame Nature to care for. Mother Fly
knew that warmth, dirt, and moisture were all that a baby fly needed in
its infant days. She knew that the dump-heap at the barn made the nicest
kind of cradle for her baby, and it was rent-free to all the mother
flies in the neighborhood.
Day by day, I grew and soon began to take notice of things around me. It
was not long before I saw that some of the other baby flies which were
in the dump-heap with me had grown some beautiful gauzy wings. On these
wings they began making daily visits from our fly-nursery to a near-by
farm-house. When they came back from these visits, they would talk long
and loud about the good time they had, and the nice things they had to
eat in the great world outside the dump-heap.
I was mighty glad that my wings were growing stronger each day. One
morning, bright and early, I sailed away on my beautiful wings to see if
all the wonderful things my little fly friends had told me were true. I
followed the lead of my friends, and we soon came to that same
farm-house. First, we went to a door--a screen they called it--and tried
hard to get through. To our great disappointment, we could not get
through; the screen was closed tight. One little fly said, "I will find
a way in, I don't believe the folks who live here have been so careful
with the kitchen door." So we flew away, and sure enough the kitchen
screen door was standing ajar, with just enough of a crack in it for a
busy little fly to slip through into the kitchen. I was next to the last
one to get through; and, alas! when I did get in, you never saw such a
disappointed little fly in your life. Everything looked very clean, too
clean for me to enjoy it. Presently, one of my friends called to me and
O joy! he had found some soiled dishes and bits of food on a table, just
the thing for a tired, hungry little fly. The sugar bowl was uncovered,
and, oh, how I did eat, for I dote on nice, sweet sugar.
The pantry door stood ajar, and I could see some nice things to eat in
there also. After we had feasted on the good things in the kitchen, we
flew into the dining-room. There on the table was a pitcher filled with
milk. I jumped into the pitcher and took a nice bath and a good swim. I
came out very much refreshed, for I had left there in the milk pitcher
all the dirt I had gathered on my feet and body in my early life. I
walked much better. I walked all over the food which was on the table
and I also walked on the baby's bottle which was on a nearby shelf.
While I was thinking what I would do next, a lady came into the room.
She had a dear little baby in her arms. You know how I love little
babies. I love to tickle their noses and to lick the sweets from their
juicy little mouths. I sat and watched the little fellow, awaiting my
chance to make his acquaintance. Presently the lady gave the baby some
milk to drink from the pitcher in which I had had such a nice bath.
After the little fellow was fed, the lady put him to sleep and laid him
in his crib in the next room for his morning nap. My friends told me to
come with them into this room, the nursery. The lady had forgotten to
put a net over the little fellow; so I crawled around and ate some sugar
from his lips. It tasted so good that I crawled almost into his mouth.
Since that happy morning, I have spent almost every day between the
farm-house and out-houses. I have my daily bath in the milk pitcher and
my dinner from the nice juicy food on the table. Very often I get my
lunch of sweets from the corners of the baby's mouth, and I like this
best of all.
For several days I have felt lonely. I noticed that the baby did not
come to the dining-room to get his milk and sugar. I kept wondering why
he did not come, and finally I wandered into the nursery to see for
myself. What do you think? The baby was lying in his crib all red and
hot. While his mother was busy, I crawled on his mouth to see if there
was any sugar in the corners for a lunch. Then away I flew.
This morning I flew over to the farm-house again, through the kitchen
door, and into the nursery. I thought I would find a glass of milk and
have a nice bath and my breakfast. But, alas! the baby was not in his
crib. The room was so still and cold it frightened me and I flew out. I
saw several strange men and women; the women were all crying and the men
looked sad. A man was fastening something white on the front door. I
tried to understand it all, but I could not catch any word except
"TYPHOID." I wonder what that means, anyhow? As no one will tell me, I
must be off to the next farm-house to hunt a good dinner.
This was a sensible fly, do you not think so, children? Thousands of
other flies might tell the same story if we would only watch their
habits and listen to what they have to say.
1. I wonder if any of you can guess what was the
matter with the baby on the morning the fly found
it red and hot?
2. What had happened when the fly went back to
3. What caused the baby to have typhoid fever?
4. What is a germ?
5. Where did the little fly say he was hatched? It
is in such places as this--in stables and other
filthy places--that all flies are hatched and
raised. They all like good things to eat. Flies
can smell a good thing to eat a long way off; so
they soon find their way to the kitchen and
dining-room. On their way to the kitchen, they
often stop by the out-houses and gather on their
feet and legs a lot of dirt and germs. I must tell
you now that the fly can get the typhoid germ or
plant only from human filth.
NOTE.--The teacher should have an inexpensive
microscope and show the children a fly,--its head
and its feet especially.
6. Have you ever seen a fly under a magnifying
glass? On the bottom of the fly's feet are little
glue-like pads and a number of little hairs on his
body and feet, to which germs and bits of dirt
stick. The fly in this story had come to the
farm-house for the first time, you know, when he
found the pitcher of milk and had such a nice
bath. He had been gathering germs and dirt on his
feet, both from his early home in the barn-yard
and from the out-house at which he stopped on his
way. Some of these germs gathered at the out-house
had come from some person who had typhoid fever.
As he crawled over the baby's bottle and its
little mouth, he left some of the germs there and
he left some in the milk pitcher also. It was
careless of the mother to give her baby milk that
was not covered. The mother did not know she was
giving the baby milk in which there were these
little plants, or germs, which cause typhoid
You have learned that the house-fly carries the
seed, or germs, of typhoid. These germs, or seed,
will grow and multiply in the body. So you should
never leave food uncovered where a fly can get to
7. Since you know where house-flies are hatched
and bred, what may you do to keep them from
8. What else can be done to make sure that no germ
can get to our food or drink?