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The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast   By: (1825-1894)

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The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, by R.M. Ballantyne.

This one of the half dozen or so little books that Ballantyne wrote for young children. Many of these, and certainly the earlier ones, were written under the pseudonym of Comus, but this one went out under his own name, perhaps because by the time it was published in 1874 his own name had become much more celebrated than that of his pseudonym.

It was written for very young children, and very amusing they must have found it, with its characters being the little insects and small mammals of the fields and woods, who assemble together for a feast. Naturally they must have become vegetarian for the day! Anyway, they put away their warring instincts, and had a good time together, though one or two incidents caused by the over exuberant during the dancing, threatened to cause serious mishaps, though all were avoided.

It's a tiny book, perhaps a twentieth of the size of one of Ballantyne's novels for older children, but it is certainly fun.

THE BUTTERFLY'S BALL AND THE GRASSHOPPER'S FEAST, BY R.M. BALLANTYNE. The Butterfly's Ball by RM Ballantyne

CHAPTER ONE.

THE BUTTERFLY'S BALL AND THE GRASSHOPPER'S FEAST.

Come, take up your hats, and away let us haste To the Butterfly's ball and the Grasshopper's feast; For the trumpeter Gadfly has summoned his crew, And the revels are now only waiting for you.

On the smooth shaven grass by the side of the wood, Beneath a broad oak that for ages has stood, See the children of earth, and the tenants of air, For an evening's amusement together repair.

And there came the Beetle, so blind, and so black, Who carried the Emmet, his friend, on his back; And there came the Gnat, and the Dragonfly too, And all their relations, green, orange, and blue.

And there came the Moth, with her plumage of down, And the Hornet, with jacket of yellow and brown, Who with him the Wasp, his companion, did bring They promised that evening to lay by their sting.

Then the sly little Dormouse peeped out of his hole, And led to the feast his blind cousin the Mole; And the Snail, with her horns peeping out from her shell, Came fatigued with the distance, the length of an ell.

A Mushroom the table, and on it was spread A Water dock leaf, which their table cloth made; The viands were various, to each of their taste, And the Bee brought the honey to sweeten the feast.

With steps more majestic the Snail did advance, And he promised the gazers a minuet dance; But they all laughed so loudly, he pulled in his head, And went, in his own little chamber, to bed.

Then, as evening gave way to the shadows of night, Their watchman, the Glow worm, came out with his light. So home let us hasten, while yet we can see, For no watchman is waiting for you or for me.

The Butterfly's Ball by RM Ballantyne

CHAPTER TWO.

THE BUTTERFLY'S BALL AND THE GRASSHOPPER'S FEAST.

Come, take up your hats, and away let us haste To the Butterfly's ball and the Grasshopper's feast; For the trumpeter Gadfly has summoned his crew, And the revels are now only waiting for you.

On the smooth shaven grass by the side of the wood, Beneath a broad oak that for ages has stood, See the children of earth, and the tenants of air, For an evening's amusement together repair.

It was very early one delightful morning in summer, when the trumpeter Gadfly sounded his horn, inviting all the insects in the forest to the Butterfly's ball and the Grasshopper's feast. The sun shone brightly, the air was mild and soft, and the scent of the wild flowers delicious, so that not one of the insects thought of staying at home. Butterflies, Beetles, Bees, Wasps, Snails, Grasshoppers, Ants, all put on their best coats and frocks, all, put on their sweetest smiles, and all hurried off, in little bands, to the ball, talking and laughing, and humming and buzzing, by the way, as if they were the happiest creatures in the wide world... Continue reading book >>




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