she had quantities of long brown hair and large, earnest brown eyes, and then I shall have done all I can to give you an idea of what she was like.

Sylvie (I found out her name afterwards) had knelt down just as I was doing, to help the beetle; but it needed more than a little stick for her to get it on its legs again; it was as much as she could do, with both arms, to roll the heavy thing over; and all the while she was talking to it, half scolding and half comforting, as a nurse might do with a child that had fallen down.

`There, there! You needn't cry so much about it; you're not killed yet -- though if you were, you couldn't cry, you know, and so it's a general rule against crying, my dear! And how did you come to tumble over? But I can see well enough how it was -- I needn't ask you that -- walking over sand-pits with your chin in the air, as usual. Of course if you go among sand-pits like that, you must expect to tumble; you should look.'

The beetle murmured something that sounded like `I did look,' and Sylvie went on again:

`But I know you didn't! You never do! You always walk with your chin up -- you're so dreadfully conceited. Well, let's see how many legs are broken this time. Why, none of them, I declare! though that's certainly more than you deserve. And what's the good of having six legs, my dear, if you can only kick them all about in the air when you tumble? Legs are meant to walk with, you know. Now don't be cross about it, and don't begin putting out your wings yet; I've some more to say. Go down to the frog that lives behind that buttercup -- give him my compliments -- Sylvie's compliments -- can you say "compliments"?'

The beetle tried and, I suppose, succeeded.

`Yes, that's right. And tell him he's to give you some of that salve I left with him yesterday. And you'd better get him to rub it in for you; he's got rather cold hands, but you mustn't mind that.'

I think the beetle must have shuddered at this idea, for Sylvie went on in a graver tone: `Now you needn't pretend to be so particular as all that, as if you were too grand to be rubbed by a frog. The fact is, you ought to be very much obliged to him. Suppose you could get nobody but a toad to do it, how would you like that?'

There was a little pause, and then Sylvie added: `now you may go. Be a good beetle, and don't keep your chin in the air.' And then began one of those performances of humming and whizzing and restless banging about, such as a beetle indulges in when it has decided on flying, but hasn't quite made up its mind which way to go. At last, in one of its awkward zigzags, it managed to fly right into my face, and by the time I had recovered from the shock, the little fairy had gone.

I looked about in all directions for the little creature, but there was no trace of her -- and my `eerie' feeling was quite gone off, and the crickets were chirping again merrily -- so I knew she was really gone.

And now I've got time to tell you the rule about the crickets. They always leave off chirping when a fairy goes by -- because a fairy's a kind of queen over them, I suppose -- at all events it's a much grander thing than a cricket -- so whenever you're walking out, and the crickets suddenly leave off chirping, you may be sure that either they see a fairy, or else they're frightened at your coming so near.

I walked on sadly enough, you may be sure. However, I comforted myself with thinking: `It's been a very wonderful afternoon, so far -- I'll just go quietly on and look about me, and I shouldn't wonder if I come across another fairy somewhere.'

Peering about in this way, I happened to notice a plant with rounded leaves, and with queer little holes cut out in the middle of several of them. `Ah! The leaf-cutter bee,' I carelessly remarked -- you know I am very learned in natural history (for instance, I can always tell kittens from chickens at one glance) -- and I was passing on, when a sudden thought made me stoop down and examine the leaves more carefully.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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