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?