756 THE BEETLE
' Golden shoes !' said the Beetle. ' Am I not just as good as that big creature, that is waited on, and brushed, and has meat and drink put before him ? Don't I belong to the imperial stable % '
' But why is the horse to have golden shoes ? Don't you understand that ? ' asked the smith.
' Understand ? I understand that it is a slight to me,' cried the Beetle. ' It is an insult, and therefore I am now going into the wide world.'
' Go along !' said the smith.
* You're a rude fellow !' cried the Beetle ; and then he went out of the stable, flew a little way, and soon afterwards found himself in a beautiful flower garden, all fragrant with roses and lavender.
' Is it not beautiful here ? ' asked one of the little Ladybirds that flew about, with black spots on their red shield-like wings. ' How sweet it smells here—how beautiful it is ! '
' I'm accustomed to better things,' said the Beetle. 1 Do you call this beautiful ? Why, there is not so much as a dung-heap.'
Then he went on, under the shadow of a great stock, and found a Caterpillar crawling along.
' How beautiful the world is !' said the Caterpillar : ' the sun is so warm, and everything so enjoyable ! And when I go to sleep, and die, as they call it, I shall wake up as a butterfly.'
1 How conceited you are!' exclaimed the Beetle. ' You fly about as a butterfly, indeed ! I've come out of the stable of the Emperor, and no one there, not even the Emperor's favourite horse, that wears my cast-off golden shoes, has any such idea. To have wings to fly! why, we can fly now ; ' and he spread his wings and flew away. ' I don't want to be annoyed, and yet I am annoyed,' he said, as he flew off.
Soon afterwards he fell down upon a great lawn. Here he lay for a little, and then he fell asleep.
Suddenly a heavy shower of rain came falling from the clouds. The Beetle woke up at the noise, and wanted to escape into the earth, but could not. He was tumbled over and over : sometimes he was swimming on his stomach,