Once there was a bug named Jumblebee who lived with his mother. They were very poor, and Jumblebee’s mother worked hard, but Jumblebee was so lazy that he never worked at all. He slept in the shade under flowers on hot days, and dozed in front of the warm fire on cold days.
Jumblebee’s mother was fed up with her son’s laziness.
“Tomorrow you must go find work,” she told him.
The very next day, Jumblebee worked in a farmer bug’s field, picking weeds. At the end of the day, the farmer gave Jumblebee a penny for his pay. But on the walk home, Jumblebee stumbled and dropped the money into a river.
“Oh, Jumblebee,” said his mother, “if you had put the penny in your pocket, you wouldn’t have dropped it.”
“Mother, I’ll be sure to do that next time,” said Jumblebee. “I promise.”
The very next day, Jumblebee worked for a beekeeper who gave him a cup of honey for his day’s work. On the way home, Jumblebee put the cup in his pocket. But as he walked, the honey dripped and dribbled out of the cup.
When Jumblebee got home, his mother immediately saw what had happened. “You
sticky, silly bug!” she said. “You could have carried that honey more steadily
on your head.” “I’ll be sure to do that next time,” said Jumblebee. “I promise.”
Bright and early the following day, Jumblebee went to work for the farmer bug again.
This time the farmer bug paid Jumblebee with a large pat of butter. Before his walk home, Jumblebee placed the butter carefully on his head. But at the end of the long, hot walk, the butter had melted all over Jumblebee’s head!
“My buttery boy,” said his mother, “you could have kept the butter out of the sun by holding it carefully in your hands.”
“I’ll do it that way next time,” he said. The next day, Jumblebee went to work for a baker who paid him unkindly with a jumpy grasshopper. Jumblebee carefully picked up the grasshopper and began walking home.
Before he had gone very far, the grasshopper had scratched Jumblebee’s tummy so much that Jumblebee had to let the grasshopper hop away.
When he got home, his mother sighed and said, “Son, you should have tied the grasshopper with a string and made it hop along behind you.”
“I’ll be sure to do that next time,” said Jumblebee.
Jumblebee then worked a full day for a butcher, who paid him by giving him a heavy wheel of cheese. Jumblebee tied the cheese with a string and dragged it behind him in the dirt. By the time he arrived home, the cheese looked like a wheel of mud.
His mother was a bit cross with him for ruining the cheese. “We can’t eat that cheese now,” she said to Jumblebee. “You should have carried it over your shoulder.”
“I’ll make sure to do that next time,” said Jumblebee.
The next day Jumblebee worked at the Toad Rodeo. At the end of the rodeo, the toad wrangler gave him a toad as payment. Jumblebee had a hard time lifting the heavy toad over his shoulder, but he managed to do it. He began to walk home slowly with his wiggly toad.
Now, a beautiful young ladybug and her father lived on the road to Jumblebee’s house. The poor ladybug couldn’t speak at all. The doctors said she would never make any sound until she was first able to laugh. But the ladybug was far too sad to laugh at even the best, funniest jokes.
The young ladybug happened to look out her window just in time to see Jumblebee carrying his toad. The sight of Jumblebee struggling to hold his squirmy toad was so silly that the young ladybug smiled, then giggled, and finally burst out with a loud hoot of laughter. At that moment she was able to talk.The ladybug was so happy that she asked Jumblebee to marry her, and he said yes. Jumblebee loved his ladybug wife very well and he began to work very hard. They lived in a large house, and Jumblebee’s mother lived with the two young bugs happily ever after.