The Midwife sees Beetle as free labor, someone of whom she can take advantage to take care of the more odious and mundane aspects of her livelihood. She has no idea of how intelligent and observant her apprentice really is. Because most others are afraid of the darkness, she sends Beetle "to fetch and carry and deliver messages after dark, while the villagers (stay) in their smoky cottages". The Midwife is unaware that in the process of performing these tasks, Beetle sees and remembers "much of what (goes) on in the village and how people (live) their lives and (spend) their time" (Chapter 7).
Beetle uses her knowledge of the people's habits and fears to concoct a series of magnificent pranks to punish those who had taunted or tormented her by exposing their secret sins. The only one who is spared is the Midwife herself, who, along with the townspeople, has no idea of the cunning and intelligence of the little homeless waif (Chapter 7).
The Midwife, "busy with her own importance", does not notice that Beetle is growing "in knowledge and skills". The villagers do, however, and little by little begin to ask the little apprentice for advice about "how and why and what can I". Sometimes they would even pay Beetle "a ribbon or an egg or a loaf of cheese or bread" for the help she has given them in lieu of the Midwife herself (Chapter 8).