The big black cat never had much to eat so he was very glad to go and catch a mouse. Poor Birdling dropped his mullen-leaves and ran faster and faster, but could not run fast enough. The Cat came nearer and nearer.
“Oh, I can’t run anymore!” panted Birdling at last. In another moment the Cat would have pounced upon him and devoured him—but just then the Bumble-bee came booming through the air, and stung the Cat on his big, black, S-shaped tail. The cat gave a terrible cry, turned around, and ran home three times as fast as he had come.
Birdling had to sit down and rest for a while after the Cat had gone. Then he and the Bumble-bee went on, hoping to reach the Little Dipper before noon. But they had not gone one-half a fairy-mile further when a cross, scratchy voice shouted at them: “Get off the beach!”
“I can’t,” said Birdling timidly. “There’s a board fence on one side and water on the other, and I can’t go back the way I came, because there’s a cat.”
He could not even see who was speaking. There was only a big brown hill in front of him.
“I’m not on the beach,” replied Bumble-bee. “I’m in the air. Who are you, anyway?”
“Who am I! Well, I like that—who am I? Why, I’m ME!”
The big brown hill lifted itself up a bit, and they saw that it was the back of a Horse-Shoe Crab.
“Get off the beach, you civilians, this is a parade-ground! I’m drilling the new regiment from the Deep Sea.”
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Then they noticed a long line of little pink Crabs emerging from the foamy water and slowly ascending the sands. “Backward—march!” shouted the Horse- Shoe Crab. There was nothing for Birdl…