W HEN the Caddis Fly felt like laying eggs, she crawled down the stalk of one of the pond plants and laid them there. She covered them with something sticky, so that they were sure to stay where she put them. "There!" she said, as she crawled up to the air again. "My work is done." Soon after this, she lay down for a long, long rest. What with flying, and visiting, and laying eggs, she had become very tired; and it was not strange, for she had not eaten a mouthful since she got her wings.
This had puzzled the Dragon-Flies very much. They could not understand it, because they were always eating. They would have liked to ask her about it, but they went to sleep for the night soon after she got up, and whenever she saw them coming she flew away. "I do not seem to feel hungry," said she, "so why should I eat? Besides," she added, "I couldn't eat if I wanted to, my mouth is so small and weak. I ate a great deal while I was growing—quite enough to last me—and it saves time not to bother with hunting food now."
When her eggs hatched, the larvæ were slender,
The Caddis Worms soon found that white was not a good
color to wear, and they talked of it among themselves.
They were very bright larvæ. One day the biggest
one was standing on a stem of pickerel-weed, when his
sister came toward him. She did not come very fast,
because she was neither swimming nor walking, but
biting herself along. All the
"What is the matter?" called the Biggest Caddis Worm. "Don't hurry so. There is lots of time." That was just him, for he was lazy. Everybody said so.
"I must hurry," said she, and she breathed very fast with the white breathing hairs that grew on both sides of her body. She picked herself up from her last somersault and stood beside her brother, near enough to speak quite softly. "I have been getting away from Belostoma," she said, "and I was dreadfully afraid he would catch me."
"Well, you're all right now, aren't you?" asked her brother. And that was also like him. As long as he could have enough to eat and was comfortable, he did not want to think about anything unpleasant.
"No, I'm not," she answered, "and I won't be so long
as any hungry fish or
"You are not so white as you were," said her brother.
"None of us children
are. Our heads and the front part of our bodies are
turning brown and getting harder." That was true, and
he was particularly
"Yes, but what about the rest of us?" said she, and surely there was some excuse for her if she was impatient. "If Belostoma can see part of me and chase that, he will find the rest of me rather near by."
"Keep quiet then, and see if you don't get hard and brown all over," said he.
"I never shall," said she. "I went to the Clams and asked them if I would, and they said 'No.' I'm going to build a house to cover the back part of my body, and you'd better do the same thing."
The Biggest Caddis Worm looked very much surprised. "Whatever made you think of that?" said he.
"I suppose because there wasn't anything else to think of," said she. "One has to think of something."
"I don't," said he.
She started away to where her other brothers and sisters were. "Where are you going?" cried he.
"Going to build my house," answered she. "You'd better come too."
"Not now," said he. "I am waiting to get the rest of my breakfast. I'll come by and by."
The Biggest Caddis Worm stood on the pickerel-weed and
ate his breakfast. Then he stood there a while longer.
"I do not think it is well to work right after eating,"
he said. Below him in the water, his brothers and
sisters were busily gathering tiny sticks, stones, and
bits of broken shell, with which to make their houses.
"I'm going to make my house big enough so I can pull in my head and legs when I want to," said one.
"So am I," cried all the other Caddis Worms.
After a while, somebody said, "I'm going to have an open door at the back of my house." Then each of his busy brothers and sisters cried, "So am I."
When the tiny houses were done, each Caddis Worm
crawled inside of his own, and lay with head and legs
outside the front door. The white part of their bodies
did not show at all, and, if they wanted to do so, they
could pull their heads in. Even Belostoma, the Giant
"Let's hook ourselves in!" cried one Caddis Worm, and all the others answered, "Let's."
So each hooked himself in with the two stout hooks
which grew at the end of his
body, and there they were as snug and comfortable as
Clams. About this time the
"Yes," answered the rest joyfully. "See us pull in our
heads." And they all pulled in their heads and poked
them out again. He was the only
"I must have a home," said he. "I wish one of you Worms would give me yours. You could make yourself another, you know. There is lots more stuff."
"Make it yourself," they replied. "Help yourself to stuff."
"But I don't know how," he said, "and you do."
"Whose fault is that?" asked his sister. Then she was afraid that he might think her cross, and she added quickly, "We'll tell you how, if you'll begin."
The Biggest Caddis Worm got together some tiny sticks and stones and pieces of broken shell, but it wasn't very much fun working alone. Then they told him what to do, and how to fasten them to each other with silk. "Be sure you tie them strongly," they said.
"Oh, that's strong enough,"
he answered. "It'll do,
anyhow. If it comes to pieces I can fix it." His
brothers and sisters thought he should make it stouter,
yet they said nothing more, for he would not have liked
it if they had; and they had already said so once.
When he crawled into his house and hooked himself in,
there was not a
The Biggest Caddis Worm's house was
not well fastened together, and every day he said, "I
really must fix it
When they had changed their skin many times, the Caddis Worms became more quiet and thoughtful. At last the sister who had first planned to build houses, fastened hers to a stone, and spun gratings across both its front and its back doors. "I am going to sleep," she said, "to grow my feelers and get ready to fly and breathe air. I don't want anybody to awaken me. All I want to do is to sleep and grow and breathe. The water will come in through the gratings, so I shall be all right. I couldn't sleep in a house where there was not plenty of fresh water to breathe." Then she cuddled down and dozed off, and when her brothers and sisters spoke of her, they called her "the Caddis Nymph."
They did not speak of her many times, however, for they soon fastened their houses to something solid, and spun gratings in their doorways and went to sleep.
One day a Water-Adder came around where all the Caddis
Soon Belostoma, the Giant Water-Bug, came that way.
"What is this?" he exclaimed, as he saw the sleeping
When the other Caddis Nymphs awakened, they bit through their gratings and had a good visit before they crawled out of the pond into their new home, the air. "Has anybody seen my biggest brother?" asked one Nymph of another, but everybody answered, "No."
Each looked all around with his two