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SBRISTOL:- ARROWSMITH .. ..
LONDON'- SIMPKIN. MARSHALL & C. ic y 06
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The Baldwin Library
t n Uniwrsity -
BUZ; OR, THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES
OF A HONEY BEE.
"BUZ," THE PEACOCK BUTTERFLY, AND THE SNAIL.
See Chaktkr III.
Copyright. Entered at Stationers' Hall.
Zbe tife anb Bbventures of a lonep Iee.
"UNDER THE WATER," ETC.
FRONTISPIECE BY LINLEY SAMBOURNE.
J. W. ARROWSMITH, II QUAY STREET.
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL & Co., 4 STATIONERS' HALL COURT.
All rights reserved.
THE BRITISH BEE-KEEPERS' ASSOCIATION,
N this little story, the author ventures to hope
that he mav succeed in interesting children
-perhaps even some big children-in the
Habits of bees, and in inducing them to
study for themselves their most wonderful lives.
He has attempted to describe a few only of the many
operations with which all bee-keepers of the present day
are perfectly familiar, and has not introduced any mention
of the bar-framed hives, which make the manipulation of
bees comparatively simple.
His object has been to awaken interest rather than to
attempt instruction; but, at the same time, except for
such parts of it as are obviously imaginary, his story
describes nothing that he has not witnessed in his own
In case any of his readers should wish for practical
information on the subject, he may mention that a little
book, called Modern Bee-keeping, has been published for
the British Bee-keepers' Association," and contains the
collective experience of the best bee-keepers in the country.
Com ing ut ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..
first ffligbts--Rarrow Ecape ... ... ... ... ... 17
Dispute witb a ieacoch asutterfl--Ube Snail settles it ... 35
Swarming ... ... ... ... ... .. ... .. ... 51
1u iOing Comb--lan Zcci0ent-Storing 1bonteg-a Surprise ... 67
12 Second !warmn--3le Ibours-Sent Sach ... .. ... 81
2iscontenteb 'libispers-La Stormnv Dispute-- be iflassacre
of tbe Drones ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 95
Deatb of 1bum-1Robbert'-lRestitution ... ... .... 105
Caught in a Cobweb--be SpiOer's ilan ... ... ... ... I19
Mattle-V-ictor--2eatb ... ... ... .. ...... 131
E '--. HE first thing Buz remembered
Swas having the cramp very badly
V-,-: in two of her left legs, and not
r.'. being able to stretch them; for
she was so carefully packed up
in her cell that it was impossible
But she found there was a chance of getting through the
ceiling; so she bit and pushed, and pushed and bit, till she
could put her head out.
-This was satisfactory, as far as it went, but it had its
A bee immediately ran across her face, and she shrank
back. She put it out again, and two bees, in a desperate
hurry, trod all over it, and she shrank back again.
And so for some time she kept on trying to emerge and
being driven back, till at last, becoming accustomed to the
manners of the hive, and taking no notice of the pushes and
shoves, she scrambled out, and stood on the comb-a very
promising young bee.
Then up ran a couple of bees, one of whom straightened
out her proboscis, or tongue, which was lying folded back,
and offered her honey; whilst the other caressed her with
her antennae, and stroked her with her fore feet.
"Much obliged to you, I'm sure," said Buz, sucking
Stretch your wings and legs, and never mind 'thanking
us," answered one of the bees.
"We all do our duty here," said the other, "without
wanting thanks. We attend to you because it's our place
to do it."
"You didn't help me to scramble out of the cell,"
remarked Buz; "and what a scramble it was! "
It's not our place to do that. A bee that couldn't get
out of her cell would be no good here."
At this moment, a young bee, from the cell next to
that which Buz had just left, came out, very crumpled, and
received similar attentions.
Buz looked on with much interest, whilst the new arrival,
who was named Hum," was groomed and fed.
Now," said one of the nurse bees, you two had better
go out on the board in front of the hive, and sun yourselves.
You won't work to-day, of course, nor to-morrow either,
unless it's very fine ; and don't forget," added she, touching
first one and then the other with her antenna, that you
are called 'Buz,' and you Hum.' Now be off with you."
But which is the way to the board ? asked Buz.
Find out," replied the nurse who had last spoken, as
she ran off. Where 's your instinct ?" demanded the other,
hurrying after her without waiting for an answer.
On being left to themselves, Buz and Hum began crawl-
ing down the comb, looking about them with great curiosity.
The cells they had just left were at the top of one of the
centre combs, and on their way down they did not meet
with very many bees; for as the day was warm and bright,
most of them were away from the hive, gathering honey and
pollen; but, as they approached-the entrance, they found
themselves surrounded by streams of busy workers, hurrying
in every direction, some bringing in stores, and others, who
had just deposited their last loads, bustling off to work
again. But, however busy they might be, they all found
time to touch Buz and Hum with their antennae as they
passed; and these last, instinctively put their own forward
and returned the compliment; indeed, they felt as if it
would not be comfortable to pass within touching distance
of a single bee without that little recognition; it seemed
like saying "All's well."
Arrived on the floor of the hive, they stood still and
looked about them. After a little time they noticed that
the two combs between which they had just descended,
looked rather darker and dirtier than those on the outside,
and that it was towards the latter that the honey-laden
bees were hastening.
I wonder why ?" said Buz.
"Yes, I wonder," echoed Hum.
"What are you wondering about?" enquired a great
drone, who chanced to be passing lazily along, and who
overheard what Buz said.
"We were wondering why some combs looked so much
blacker than others," replied Buz.
"Because they are used as nursery combs," said the
drone. Lots of young bees are born in them, and each
cell is used over and over again."
"Are they never used for honey ?" asked Hum.
Only if there's no room for it elsewhere; they always
like to put honey in a nice new comb, and then it's called
'Virgin honey.' But," he continued, in an old hive, every
comb gets used for young ones, or grubs as we call them, in
time. This isn't an old hive."
"You say 'they,' remarked Buz, rather timidly; "don't
you get honey yourself, then, and work like the others ? "
"I should think not!" replied the drone, with great
disdain. "Work, indeed !" And he moved slowly away.
Then the two young bees went on towards the entrance
of the hive, and, after being well jostled, and ever so much
pushed about and run over, all of which they didn't mind a
bit, they reached the board outside, and looked upon the
world for the first time..
But they soon had to change their position, for they
were standing exactly in the stream of traffic.
Now then," said a bee, who was waddling in with two
great lumps of pollen on her thighs, and who bumped
against Buz, "get out of the way, can't you! "
"Come, come," said another to Hum, "you mustn't
stand there, you know; which is it to be now-in or out ?"
I'd rather go out, please," answered Hum.
In fact, we've been sent out to sun," added Buz.
"Out with you then," said the bee, and ask one of the
fanners to show you where to stand."
"What's a fanner?" thought Buz. However, she
didn't ask, for fear of being again told to find out; so
she passed on with Hum through the entrance. Just
outside, a bee was standing quite still, and as Buz passed
she felt the ends of her antennae very much whirred against
and tickled, and on looking up found that this was occa-
sioned by the wings of the bee in question, who was
moving them so fast that they were almost invisible; in
fact, she was nearly lifted by them off her hind legs-
sometimes quite-and seemed to have hard work to keep
herself down by clinging on to the board with the claws
of her front feet.
"I shouldn't wonder if that was a fanner," remarked
Buz to Hum.
I 'm a fanner, right enough,'.' said the bee, who had
overheard her. "What of that ?"
"We were told to ask you where to stand," answered
"Get to the other side of me then, towards the edge of
the board, and out of the way."
Buz and Hum did so, and were then able to look quietly
about, without getting so tremendously knocked against.
They soon noticed that, besides the fanner they had spoken
to, there were half a dozen more, all busy in the same way.
"What do.you keep on fanning for? asked Buz, who
was rather a bumptious young bee.
",What for?" replied the fanner. "Why, to give the
Queen and the nurses and all in the hive a little fresh air;
they would be stifled, this hot weather, if something wasn't
"Ah! said Hum, "I noticed a current of air as we
"I should hope you did," returned the fanner; "it
would be a pretty thing for us all to be working away like
this for nothing "
At this moment a bee passed in with a splendid load of
pollen on her thighs, the two great yellow balls she carried
being almost enough to prevent her from staggering along.
"Well done! said the fanner encouragingly as she
passed. Good again, old mate and then, turning to Buz
and Hum, she added-
"That bee came out of the cell next to mine, and we
were born almost at the same time, so we take an interest
in each other."
"Only an interest?" enquired Buz. "I should have
thought you were great friends, like Hum and I mean to be;
Hum touched Buz with her antennae in a friendly way.
"There isn't much time to be great friends here,"
answered the fanner; "we are always so busy, except in
the winter, and then we are too sleepy to be very affectionate.
Besides, we give all our love to the Queen; you haven't seen
her yet, I suppose ? Wait till you do-you '11 find it's just
as I tell you. Now then! Where are you going ? Look
out, there! Help! Intruder! Intruder!"
As she spoke, the fanner made at a bee who had just
alighted, and was passing in. She was joined by several
others, and they were about to seize the intruder, who, how-
ever, discovered the mistake, and flew off just in time.
"What was all that about ?" asked Buz, as the fanner
"A bee from some other hive was trying to get into
ours," replied the fanner; "but she found out where she
was just in time. If we had caught her, we should perhaps
have stung her to death."
How did you know she was a strange bee ? enquired
"-We can tell at once, by touching or smelling a bee,
whether she belongs to our hive or not; I don't pretend to
explain exactly how it is, but we can."
This quite satisfied the young bees, who now became
very much interested in watching the workers arriving from
every direction, and alighting on the board.
Some were laden with pollen, others had collected
nothing but honey, and all, the instant they arrived, set off
to run into the hive as fast as they could, without waiting
to look round or gossip.
They certainly were very much in earnest; any one
could see that at once. Some seemed very tired, and
nearly fell back off the board when they pitched on the edge
of it, and indeed could hardly crawl along with their booty.
I know where that bee comes from," remarked the
fanner, as one with peculiar coloured pollen on her thighs
passed in. "I know quite well."
Do you ?" said Buz. How?"
By the look, and by the smell, and-in fact, I do know;
she comes from Cothelestone Hill. It's a beautiful place
for bees, but rather a long way off."
"How I should like to go there! exclaimed Buz.
"Gently, gently," said the fanner; "don't be in such a
Indeed," added Buz, I should like to try a short fly,
now, this moment."
"You had better not to-day; your wings will feel stiff
and cramped. Wait till you have had a good feed, and a
night's rest, and then you'll do very well. You see, the
danger is, that if you get below the level of the board you
may not be able to rise again; and if you have to spend the
night on the cold ground, I wouldn't give much for your
chance of swarming, I can tell you."
"What's swarming? asked Hum.
Oh, I can't explain now; it would take too long. You '11
find out before the summer is over, I dare say."
At this moment a big rain-drop came splash down on
the board, close to Buz, and astonished her immensely. It
was followed by another and another, and soon a smart
shower drove all the bees near at hand under shelter, and
Buz and Hum entered the hive with them.
"What's happening?" asked Buz.
They 've upset the watering-pot somewhere," answered
the fanner; "we never can find out exactly where they
Then how do you know it's a watering-pot?" enquired
"Sometimes," answered the bee, "when we are gather-
ing honey in a bed of mignonette or other flowers, the
gardener comes along with his watering-pot and upsets it
over us, and then it feels so exactly like what's going on
now, that we think it must be the same sort of thing, you
When the storm first began, a great many bees arrived
from different directions, and crowded into the hive; and
as those within were prevented from starting afresh, and
were standing near the entrance, impatiently waiting for the
rain to stop, there was a great bustle, and some difficulty in
moving. Buz, however, kept near her friend and the fanner,
and said to the latter:
"No more bees are coming in now; have they all'
Oh dear, no," answered the fanner; those who were
too far off to get back before the worst of the storm have
found shelter somewhere; but," she added, "they'll soon
stop watering now."
How do you know?" asked Buz.
I can feel it," said the fanner. Any bee, after a little
experience, can tell; and when they are going to water for
a long time we do not go out in such numbers, or so far, as
we do before a mere sprinkle like this. Look! It's just
This was quite true, and presently the sun shone
brightly out, and the rain-drops flashed and sparkled, and
a clean fresh smell came from the earth, and the flowers
lifted up their heads and offered the sweets they contained
to the busy, happy bees, who now left the hive in great
numbers, and scattered themselves all over the kitchen
garden in which their hive stood, and over the pleasant
"What fun!" exclaimed Hum, as they stood on the
board again. What fun to go out! Oh, how I long for
Buz and the fanner looked at her with surprise. She
seemed such a very quiet little bee, that they were hardly
prepared to find she could become so enthusiastic.
"I cannot bear to be idle," she continued; "I should
like to fill a cell with honey, all by myself; to be of some
use, you know, instead of standing and looking on whilst
"A very proper feeling, my dear," said the fanner
approvingly; but you must remember that the great thing
is to do your duty; and if your present duty is-as I tell you
it is-to do nothing, why, you are working very well and
profitably by just standing still and being nicely sunned,
ready for to-morrow, don't you see ?"
"Yes, I see," answered Hum, more contentedly.
At the same time," continued the fanner, there would
be no harm in your trying to fan, if you would like to prac-
tise that; only stand well out of the way, and take care at
first not to work too hard."
Hum, taking the permission without paying much atten-
tion to the caution, went to the side of the board and set to
work, but so vigorously, that she turned herself completely
over on her back, and would have lifted herself quite into
the air if she had not clung very tightly to the board with
her fore feet.
Buz was highly amused at this, and helped to set her
right; and Hum, though exceedingly astonished, and a little
mortified at what had happened, set to work again at once,
and in a very short time was really able to fan.
That will be a useful bee," remarked the fanner to Buz,
as Hum continued practising.
I'm sure she will," said Buz ; but all bees work, don't
they? 'I shall, I know."
Oh, yes; a lazy bee wouldn't do here at all. But there
are different dispositions in bees all the same; for instance,
some will think only of how many cells they can fill with
honey, and will consequently never go far from the hive, so
as not to lose time; others are more adventurous, go further
afield, and try to get curious sorts of honey."
"I shall be one of that sort," said Buz; "I know I
"Then again," continued the fanner, "some bees are
good-tempered, and others are cross.; for instance, I know
one who won't let any person but the gardener come near
the hive; if any one else does, she goes straight at him, to
sting or to pretend to sting him; and I must say it is very
amusing to see a person run. I say, do you feel hungry?"
Buz was rather astonished at the sudden manner in
which this question was asked, but replied, "Why, yes, I
think I do."
Because it is about time," continued the fanner, "for
you and Hum to go back to your cells: young things ought
never to be long without food. You will find the nurses
Thank you," said Buz; and she went off to fetch Hum.
On their way into the hive Buz stopped, and said to the
bee, who was still fanning away as hard as ever, "Will you
tell us your name, please ?"
"My name's 'Fan.'"
"What, because you fan ?"
"Oh dear, no; certainly not! I don't always fan, you
know; I only take my turn."
"I understand," said Buz; and away went the two
young bees to find their nurses and get some food.
firat fliobts-1Rarrow Escape.
FIRST FLIGHTS-NARROW ESCAPE.
S EXT morning, Buz and Hum were,
of course, in a great hurry to
;1 leave the hive and try their
wings; but one of the nurses,
who happened to see them on
their way to the entrance very
early indeed, told them not to be
Tempted out by the bright rays
of the sun, which had only just
risen, but to wait till the world was a little warmer. Many
a young bee," she added, "yes, and many an older bee who
ought to have known better, has left this hive on a bright-
looking spring morning, and has never returned, because it was
really so much colder than it seemed that no bee could stand
it. The fact is, we cannot endure cold weather; we should
like to be able to, but we can't, and so there's an end of it."
With these sagacious words the nurse took her departure,
and Buz and Hum, though they felt it was a great trial to
wait, agreed to do nothing foolish.
"At any rate," said the former, "we can stand out on
the board, and run in directly we feel cold."
So out they went, and took a bee's-eye view of the
It was certainly a lovely morning, and the sun shone
right into the mouth of the hive, which faced east, or rather
south-east, as a hive should.
The garden in which it stood, had a high wall all
round it; but, as the ground sloped away, Buz and Hum
could see the country beyond, and the end of the beau-
tiful lime-tree avenue which led from the old house near
Such a comfortable, old-fashioned country-house it was,
with many gable-ends, and queer bits of building sticking out
from it in all directions. It didn't belong to any particular
order of architecture, and didn't want to. There was
nothing at all correct about it; and no architect, travelling
through the country to pick up hints, would have thought of
pulling out his book of plans to take a copy. You couldn't
copy it-that was just the beauty of it; but no artist could
possibly pass it without taking off a lot of sketches of odd
bits and corners here and there, or without being delighted
with the picturesque old place.
And inside! Was there ever such a place for children
to play hide-and-seek in There were really no end of long
passages, and big cupboards, and tiny rooms; whilst, as for
stairs they were here, there, and everywhere: almost every
room had two or three steps leading up to it, or two or three
steps leading down to it; for the architect, or rather archi-
tects (there must have been a dozen of them employed at
different times), seemed to have said, No, we won't have
any two rooms exactly on the same level-not if we can
help it." Some of the rooms had windows that looked down
into the old hall;. others had managed to get so exactly into
the middle of the house that there was nothing for it but to
light them from the next room; but that didn't matter a bit:
they did famously for keeping bandboxes and odd things in,
and there were heaps of rooms to spare. Nowadays,
people wouldn't like to build in that sort of way, they are
so particular about turning every inch of space to account;
and one might tell from a glance at the outside of a modern
house the situation of all the rooms within. Well, that
wasn't the case with Heathercombe, at any rate; but, such
as it was, no one could have helped saying, What a dear,
comfortable old place I wonder what its history is ? There
must be plenty of stories belonging to it." And so there
were, as even the old lime trees in the avenue knew quite
The garden exactly suited the house, so it is hardly
necessary to say that there was nothing formal about it.
You couldn't take in the whole pattern of the flower-beds at
once, as if you were looking at a Turkey carpet; for little
narrow paths, that twisted about as much as they possibly
could, led you to all kinds of odd nooks and out-of-the-way
corners, here passing a quaint bit of yew hedge, and there
rounding a clump of enormous shrubs; and in all the corners
and in every nook you would find a little flower-bed or two,
filled with dear old-fashioned flowers-moss roses, wall-
flowers, columbines, stocks, marigolds, and many others;
and hardly any of those eternal geraniums with dreadful
names, and calceolarias of high degree, which have to be
shown in stiff regimental order, and which look very lovely
in certain places, but wouldn't have suited the old garden at
all. /Then there were plenty of rustic seats and dear little
summer-houses, and, of course, an old sundial, so covered
with moss that the figures on the dial were completely
hidden-that didn't matter; it would have been a shame to
dream of utilising it-and on the summer-houses, sweetbriers
and honeysuckles crept and twined and hung as much as ever
they liked; and mignonette grew in patches all about the
place, and eveft the steps of the old sundial were covered
What with all the sweet flowers, and what with the yew
hedges and tall shrubs, affording shelter from any wind that-
might blow, it was the place of all others for bees.
But Buz and Hum knew nothing about this as yet, and
as they looked at the kitchen garden they thought it was big
enough for anything. There were no fanners at work on the
board: the morning was too cool for them to be needed-so
cool that, though plenty of bees kept on walking to the edge
of the board and taking observations, it was some time before
any flew off.
At last, as the sun's rays grew warmer, one or two were
hardy enough to start away on their long day's work; but
just then Buz and Hum felt quite chilled, and had to run
into the hive, where they very soon got nice and warm
How lucky it is," said Hum, "that we didn't fly off at
"Why, yes," replied Buz, it is certainly colder than it
seemed at first; after all, I suppose it's a good thing to take
"Take advice," repeated a bee who was standing near
the entrance, and who heard what Buz said; I should think
it was, just. But what advice have you been taking ?"
So Buz told her, and she seemed pleased, and said:
I '11 tell you what it is, if you two will stay with me I '11
let you know when I consider it warm enough for you to go
out; and when I consider it so, it will be so."
"Come," thought Buz, "she doesn't seem to mistrust
her judgment much."
I might perhaps be tempted," continued the bee, "to
go out a little too soon myself, but when one judges for
others one is not led away by inclination; do you under-
"Yes," replied Buz, "you mean that it does not matter
to you how long we have to wait, don't you ?"
"That's about it," said the bee.
"But shan't we keep you waiting ?" asked Hum.
"No; I'm not going out this morning. I shall fan when
it gets warmer: that's my work to-day. Now, if you are
warm again, we'll just step out and take a look round."
So they all three went out, and even in the short time
they had been away they found that the sun had become
much more powerful.
But their newly-made friend would not let them start quite
at once, and took the opportunity of giving them several
hints about collecting honey, and so on. However," she
added, I won't bother you any more now; for there is a
certain party to whom you are going to be introduced, who
will teach you more in a day than you could learn from me
in a week."
"Who ?" asked Buz and Hum together.
"Experience," answered .the bee, looking very wise
And now at last the time came,'and Buz and Hum were
allowed to try their wings.
Follow me," said their friend; I can spare time to fly
a little way; and when I stop, you stop too."
All right," cried Buz, trembling with excitement.
Hum said nothing, but her wings began to move, almost
in spite of herself.
Away went the bee, as straight as a line from the mouth
of the hive, and away flew Buz and Hum after her; but at
first starting they both found it a little difficult to keep quite
straight, and Buz knocked against the board to begin with,
and nearly stopped herself, as she had not learned how to
The bee did not go far, and lit on the branch of a peach
tree which was growing against a wall hard by. Buz came
after her in a great hurry, but missed the branch and gave
herself a bang against the wall.
Hum saw this, and managed to stop herself in time; but
she did not judge her distance very well either, and got on to
the peach tree in a scrambling sort of way.
Very good," said their friend, as they all three stood
together; you will soon be able to take care of yourselves
now; but just let me see you back to the hive."
So off they flew again, and alighted on the board in a
very creditable manner.
Now," said the bee, I shall leave you; but before I
go let me advise you, as a friend, not to quit the garden to-
day; there are plenty of flowers, and plenty of opportunities
for you to meet with Experience,' without flying over any of
the four walls. Good-bye."
So saying, she disappeared into the hive.
"Isn't it too delightful!" exclaimed Buz to Hum.
"Flying! why it's even more fun than I thought!"
It is," said Hum; but I should like to get some honey
"Of course," replied Buz, "only I should like to fly a
good way to get it."
I want to fill a cell quickly," said Hum.
Oh yes, to be sure! What a delightful thing it will be
to put one's proboscis down into every flower and see what's
there i Do you know," added Buz, putting out her proboscis,
" I feel as if I could suck tremendously; don't you ?"
Yes, yes cried Hum, I long to be sucking; let's be
off at once."
So away they went, and lit on a bed of flowers.
Hum spent the day between the hive and that bed, and
was quite, quite happy; but Buz, though she too liked
collecting the honey, wanted to have more excitement in
getting it; and every now and then, as she passed to and
from the hive, a lovely field of clover, not far off, sent forth
such a delicious smell, as the breeze swept over it, that she
was strongly tempted to disregard the advice she had been
given, and to hurry off to it.
At last she could stand it no longer; and, rising high into
the air, she sailed over the wall and went out into the world
Yes, right out into the world; and very much did she
enjoy the sense of freedom, of going as high as she liked
and flying as fast as she could, and stopping exactly
when and where she felt inclined, with nobody to bother
her with good advice-which she was ready to admit was
all very well, though, at the same time, a person couldn't
everlastingly be taking it. She had had quite enough for
one day, she was sure of that; and so she hadn't told
Hum of her intention to leave that poky -old kitchen
garden: Hum might be giving advice next, and that would
be too absurd.
And so she reached the field of clover, and, flying quite
low over the flowers, was astonished to see what lots of bees
were busy amongst them-bumble bees without end, and
plenty of honey bees too; in fact, the air was filled with the
pleasant murmur that they made.
"To be sure," said Buz to herself, "this is the place for
me! Poor dear old Hum! I hope she's enjoying herself
as much as I am. I don't mean to be idle either, so here
goes for some honey.
But the first thing to do was to pick out a flower to
It seemed easy enough, for there were hundreds of
thousands to choose from. .That was just it: who was to
28 BUZ-FIRST FLIGHTS.
choose any particular flower out of such a lot! A dozen
times Buz was on the point of alighting on one, and a dozen
times she was attracted by another close by, which seemed
a little fresher, or a little richer, or a little larger. This
wouldn't do at all; she felt she was wasting time, and had
just made up her mind to let herself fall anyhow into the
clover and begin on the first bit she touched, when she
caught sight of a splendid flower close to her. There was
no mistake about it this time; it was a king clover, she
thought, so tall and fine, and promising such a supply of
honey that she settled on it at once in triumph.
And she eagerly unpacked her proboscis and explored,
one after another, the cups of the many flowers clustered
together in the head.
But how dreadfully disappointing! Not a drop of
honey, not the least little drop, could she find in the whole
"Well, I declare!" she said aloud, as she raised her
head at last in disgust, "it's perfectly dry! "
At this the flower gave a low silvery laugh, and shook a
little on its stalk.
"Dry!" it repeated; "I should rather think I was;
sucked as dry as a brick, half an hour ago."
"Indeed!" said Buz.
"Yes, my dear, indeed," repeated the flower cheerily;
"and so many bees besides yourself have been sold this
morning, that it's really quite ridiculous I suppose you're
a young bee, eh ? "
Well, rather," answered Buz. "Why ? "
"You see, you young things always will pick out the
biggest and tallest of us, and will waste your time in trying
us all over, quite forgetting that others before you have most
likely been attracted by just the same qualities that you
admire yourself. Now let me give you a bit of advice."
More advice," thought Buz to herself. Oh dear!"
However, she said politely enough that she would be glad to
"Then," said the flower, "pick out the blossoms that
are most hidden and most out of the way. Flowers that are
really almost troublesome to get at are generally worth
trying: you will find this the case nearly always; and
remember also, that if the first two or three cups of a head
like mine be dry, it is hardly worth while trying all the others,
for the same bee who cleared out the first will probably have
worked out every cup in the flower. Don't you think so ?"
"Yes, I do," replied Buz; I know I should, at least.
Well, I 'm much obliged to you for the hint, and I '11 be off
at once and take advantage of it."
All right," said the flower. Good-bye."
Good-bye," answered Buz; and away she flew.
Not for more than a few yards though; turning suddenly
back, she lit once more on the same flower.
"I thought I'd just ask you," she said, if it's a fair
question, do you mind us bees taking away your honey; or
do you consider us so many robbers ? "
Mind it! replied the flower. Not at all; you do us
quite as much good as we do you, without being able to help
it any more than we can."
Do we really ? said Buz.
Of course you do," answered the flower; look at your
I can only see a little yellow dust on them."
"Well, that's pollen; and the pollen from one flower
fertilises others. But how is it to get to them ? It must be
carried, of course; and though sometimes the wind does this
for us, you bees are the means we chiefly depend on. In
short, without bees there would be a very poor look-out for
flowers; and, of course, we are necessary to you: so, you see,
it's a case of 'tit for tat.' Good-morning."
Good-morning again, and thank you," said Buz, as she
And now it was high time to set to work in earnest; so
Buz was very diligent indeed, and, remembering what the
tall clover blossom had told her, she selected the most out-
of-the-way flowers she could find, and soon collected as much
honey as she could carry.
But by the time she had done this she found herself close
to the further end of the clover field; and whilst resting for
a moment, before starting to carry her load to the hive, she
noticed a little pond in the corner. Feeling thirsty after her
hard work, she flew off to take a few sips; but just as she
reached the pond and was in the act of descending, a light
gust of wind caught her and turned her half over, and before
she could recover herself she was plunged far out into the
Poor Buz! She was a brave little bee, but this was a
terrible accident; and after a few wild struggles she almost
gave herself up. The water was so cold, and she felt herself so
helpless in it; and then the accident had happened so sud-
denly, and taken her so utterly by surprise, that it was no
wonder she lost courage. Only for a moment though; just as
she was giving up in despair the hard and seemingly useless
work of paddling and struggling with all her poor little legs
at once, she saw that a bit of stick was floating near her, and
with renewed energy she attempted to get to it. Alas! it
was all she could do to keep her head above water; as for
moving along through it, that seemed impossible, and she
was tempted to give up once more. It was very hard
though; there was the stick, not more than a foot away from
her: if she could only reach it! At any rate, she was
determined it should not be her fault if she was unsuccessful;
so she battled away harder than ever, though her strength
began to fail and she was becoming numbed with the cold.
Just as she made this last effort another gust of wind swept
over the pond, and Buz saw that the stick began to move
through the water, and to come nearer and nearer to her.
The fact was that a small twig sticking up from it acted as a
sail, though Buz didn't know this. And now the stick was
quite close, almost within reach; in another moment she
would be on it. Ah! but a moment seems a long time
when one is at the last gasp, as poor Buz was.
Would she be drowned after all ? No! Just as she was
sinking she touched the stick with one little claw, and held
on as only drowning people can; and then she got another
safely lodged, and was able to rest for a moment. Oh, the
relief of that, after such a long and ceaseless struggle!
But even then it was very hard work to get up on the
stick, very hard indeed. However, Buz managed it at last,
and dragged herself quite out of the cold, cruel water.
By this time the breeze was blowing steadily over the
pond, and the stick would soon reach the bank; but Buz
felt very miserable and cold, and her wings clung tightly to
her, and she looked dreadfully forlorn.
The pond, too, was overshadowed by trees; so there were
no sunbeams to warm her.
Ah!" thought she, "if I can manage to drag myself
up into the sunshine, and rest and be well warmed, I shall
soon be better."
Well, the bank was safely reached at last; but Buz, all
through her after life, never forgot what a business it was
climbing up the side. The long grasses yielded to her
weight, and bent almost straight down, as if on purpose to
make it as uphill work for her as possible. And even when
she reached the top, it took her a weary while to get across
the patch of dark shadow and out into the glad- sunlight
beyond; but she managed to arrive there at last, and
crawling on to the top, of a stone which had been well
warmed by the sun's rays, she rested for a long time.
At last she sufficiently recovered to make her way, by a
succession of short flights, back to the hive. After the first
of these she felt so dreadfully weak that she almost doubted
being able to accomplish the journey, and began to despond.
If I ever do get home," she said to herself, I will tell
Hum all about it, and how right she was to take advice; in
fact, my story shall be known throughout the hive: it may
be'a useful warning to many young bees yet unhatched."
Now, whether it was that the exercise did her good,
or that the sun's rays became hotter that afternoon,
cannot be known; but this is certain, that Buz felt better
after every flight, and before she had reached the end of
the clover field she had almost determined to say nothing
about her adventure, except, of course, to Hum. "What's
the use of being laughed at ? she thought. I shouldn't
mind much if it would do any good; but would it ? that's the
point. I fancy not; the young bees would only be amused
at hearing what a mess I had got into, but they never would
think of the story at the right time. No, I shall certainly
not make it public."
So she sipped a little honey, cleaned herself with her
feet, and stretched her wings, and, with the sun glistening
brightly on her, looked quite .fine again. Her last flight
brought her to the top of the kitchen-garden wall, from which
she was just about to start for the hive, when she thought
how disagreeable it would be to meet Hum and tell her
everything. "After all, what good can possibly come of
alluding to my adventure ? she said to herself. It hurt
no one but me, and I 'm all right again now; so I may say it
has done me good. No, I declare I '11 say nothing at all
about it to Hum or anyone else: that will be the best way."
So she opened her wings and flew gaily to the hive,
which she entered just as if nothing had happened.
Viopute with a Ileacoch :5utterftI.
Zbhe !nail settlco it.
DISPUTE WITH A PEACOCK BUTTERFLY.
THE SNAIL SETTLES IT.
SOR a few days after her narrow
escape, Buz did not venture
S. far from the hive, and worked
-_''- -1 steadily and well. She now
and then met Hum, and they
'-,. were always good friends; but
she found that what she had
heard was quite true, and that there was not much time
for anything but work. One morning, however, as they
were both waiting near the entrance of the hive till it
should be warm enough to go out, Hum asked Buz if she
had seen the Queen yet.
"I should think so! replied Buz. The first time I
met her, I was carrying in some honey, and was passing
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
between two combs, when, without knowing why, I found
myself turning round to the right and bowing away like
anything What's the matter with me ?' thought I; this
is quite ridiculous '-but ridiculous or not, I did not seem to
be able to stop, and was actually getting angry with myself,
when I saw, in the midst of a circle of bees close to me,
one who I felt must be the Queen. She was so long in the
body and so graceful, and her wings were so much shorter
than ours, that no one could help seeing the difference at
once X and, then, all the bees round were careful to keep
their heads respectfully turned towards her. She was busy
laying eggs, and I watched her for some time; but one got
tired of that, and so I squeezed out of the crowd. I sup-
pose you've seen her too?"
"Oh, yes! answered Hum, and she noticed me quite
kindly; I'd do anything for her-anything !"
Certainly," said Buz; "I suppose you feel that you
couldn't do a stroke of work unless you knew that she was
in the hive, and all safe."
"Yes," answered Hum, I quite feel so."
"With regard to that," pursued Buz," every bee in the
hive is just the same."
How do you know ?"
"A drone told me."
I have several times seen you talking to drones."
I always go to a drone when I want to know anything."
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
"Do you really?"
"Yes, of course; bees who work hard like you, old Hum,
never have time to explain, but are always in such a hurry
to be off. Now drones are very lazy in every other way, but
are tremendous gossips, I find."
"Ah said Hum; I remember nurse telling we that
if I showed her a lazy person, she would show me a gossip."
That's it cried Buz. Well, a drone told me that
the custom we all have of touching each other with our
antennae whenever we pass, was introduced on purpose to
save the trouble of asking after the Queen. It's merely a
signal that everything is going on well with her."
"I can believe that," said Hum, "for it's just what
At this moment the sun peeped over a bank of morning
clouds, and called the bees to work; and out went Buz and
Hum with the rest, the former making her way to the old-
fashioned flower garden near the house.
Here she was soon busy amongst some early stocks and
mignonette which grew near the sundial, and had already
made several journeys to and from the hive, when she was
addressed by a peacock butterfly which she had noticed
flitting about, and which was now sitting on the top of the
"-You seem to have something like an appetite this
morning!" said the butterfly.
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
"What do you mean?" said Buz.
"But you'll make yourself ill, you know," continued
"I'm sure I shan't!" answered Buz, indignantly.
Unless you're like a snake," persisted the butterfly in
an aggravating manner, "and can take in enough food for
"You don't know what you 're talking about," cried Buz,
turning angrily away.
Oh, yes, I do," said the butterfly coolly; I've been
watching you, and thinking. It's the only thing I 've been
And you've done that wrong," retorted Buz; so it's
a pity you weren't asleep."
I've been thinking," repeated the butterfly, as if she
hadn't heard what Buz said, "that you bees are a greedy
lot; and the more I think of it, the.more I can't remember
ever seeing a bee that was doing anything except what
you're doing now."
"Do you mind saying that again?" said Buz sarcas-
tically; "it's a pretty sentence, very! "
Not at all," said the butterfly. And she repeated it
all over again, word for word, and seemed quite pleased.
This bothered Buz, who didn't exactly know what to
say; when the butterfly continued in the calmest manner-
The simple truth is, you're always thinking of eating."
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
Why, you ignorant, conceited creature !" cried Buz;
"how dare you tell me that?"
"Because it's a fact-come now, isn't it?" said the
"No! No!! No!!! It's a most abominable story! "
You seem a little put out," said the butterfly, "which
is foolish; people can't always agree, you know. Now,
suppose you come here and talk the matter over with me
quietly. I'm sure you can spare a few minutes."
Buz was at first inclined to refuse indignantly; but re-
membering what a triumph it would be to prove the butterfly
wrong in everything she said, consented.
"That's right," said the butterfly, as Buz settled down
close to her. Now begin."
"How?" asked Buz.
"I made a statement that seemed to annoy you. You
must either admit it, or prove I'm wrong. My statement
was, that you bees are always thinking of eating."
I certainly don't admit it."
"Then disprove it."
"To begin with, we don't-but, I say," said Buz,
suddenly interrupting herself, "why shouldn't you prove
you're right ?"
"Anything you please; I won't be particular with you.
Well then, I've observed, not you alone, but dozens of
other bees-not on this day alone, but on dozens of other
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
days-and you have all been doing the same thing-always.
You have all been employed in sucking every drop of honey
out of every single flower you could get at; as for ever
resting, or playing about, or even stopping to talk-why
you know you never do. Those are the observations
I have made myself, and on those observations I base
my statement-I base my statement," repeated the butter-
fly, speaking very slowly, and evidently rather proud of
"Amoigst your other observations," said Buz, trying to
talk as calmly as the butterfly, have you ever noticed that
we are in the habit of leaving at intervals the'flowers on
which we are busy, of flying rapidly away, and of returning
after a short absence ?"
I have," replied the butterfly.
Can you tell me why we do so ?"
If you'll promise not to be vexed, I'll tell you what
I've always thought."
I'll promise," said Buz.
"To get an appetite for a little more honey."
"Ah! then you're just wrong-as wrong as ever you
"Am I really ?" said the butterfly. Well, you know,
it was only a guess, and isn't of the least consequence."
But it is," cried Buz, "of the greatest possible con-
sequence, and so you'll be driven to admit when I explain
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
that we leave the flowers, on purpose to deposit the honey
we have collected, in our hive; and there it is stored up for
our use during the winter. So you see we don't eat it at
all, or think of eating it-there! and so you're wrong!"
concluded Buz, excitedly.
"Then you'd like me to withdraw my statement ?" asked
"Of course; you must withdraw it, now you know that
I have hardly eaten any honey all this morning-not so
much as you have, I daresay."
"Very good," replied the butterfly; "but before I do
so, tell me if I am wrong in thinking you said the honey
was stored for your use during the winter."
"That's just what I said."
May I ask how you use it ?"
"Why, we eat it, of course," said Buz.
Then all this morning you must have been thinking-
not of what you were eating, certainly-but of what you
are going to eat in the winter. Dear me dear me This
is even worse than I thought," said the butterfly, almost
"But it isn't greediness on our part," said Buz; "we
call it, being provident."
It sounds greedy to me though," said the butterfly.
"According to your own account, you think all the summer
of what you are going to eat all the winter. You think of
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
nothing else, and work like slaves, and never have any fun.
Well, I wouldn't be a bee "
Buz was rather disconcerted at the turn the conversation
had taken, and, more to gain time than for any other reason,
she asked the butterfly how she spent her time.
"I do exactly what I like all day long, and never
think of a moment beyond the present. If I feel hungry,
I eat, and directly I'm satisfied I think of food no
longer; if I am hot, I fly in the shade; if cold, I
bask in the sun. When I feel lively, I dance gaily
up and down in the air, and the moment I 'm tired,
I stop. I have a thousand companions as gay and
beautiful as myself,. always ready to play with me, and
nothing can put me out, for I don't care what happens
But when the cold winter begins!"
Then I shall die," said the butterfly, very cheerfully-
"at least, so I suppose; but what of that ? Perhaps I shall
"At any rate," said Buz, "you have described a very
selfish, useless sort of life."
"And in what sense is yours useful ?" retorted the
butterfly, "except to yourself perhaps. If you do not
gather all the honey you talk about for your own use, you
at least expect a share of what the other bees in your hive
collect; so that in point of fact you only work hard in
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
order to keep yourself alive. I ask again, what's the use
of your keeping alive ? "
"To begin with," said Buz, "I help to make the cells
in which we rear the young grubs, and to collect the food
with which we feed them-and in that way I am unselfishly
useful, you must allow."
"Perhaps; but after all, what do you gain by working
hard to rear a lot of things as useless as yourself ? I know
there will be dozens of young caterpillars-nasty things !-
crawling about some day, that will all come out of the eggs
I laid yesterday. Do you suppose I 'm proud of that ?
Buz suddenly remembered what the clover flower had
told her with regard to the use of bees in distributing
pollen, and eagerly repeated it to the butterfly, who only
"I sincerely hope you don't take any credit to yourself
for that. You surely are not proud of doing what you
couldn't help doing, however hard you tried ?"
"I like to think I am useful, even if no praise is due to
me for being so. My life would not be spent in vain if I
were useful even against my .will, and I still say that it is a
higher and nobler one than yours. I am convinced that
the consciousness of being usefully employed- "
"I deny the usefulness to anyone but yourself, mind,"
put in the butterfly.
BUZ-DISPUTE WITH A BUTTERFLY.
Makes life far happier," continued Buz, "than it can
possibly be in your case, who live only for self-indulgence;
and, even if it be true, as you affirm it is, that my existence
is utterly in vain, the very fact of my longing to be of use,
and of your being unwilling to be useful even if you could,
makes me certain that it is better to be a bee than a
Pity we can't agree said the butterfly. Fine day,
Buz was so annoyed at the flippant manner in which
the butterfly put an end to the conversation, in which she
had really become interested, that she turned to leave
without saying another word, when she heard a thick,
muffled voice, so close to her that she quite started-
I'm very old." Then there was a pause. "Very old
indeed," continued the voice, which Buz now found pro-
ceeded from a large snail, stuck close to the edge of the
sundial. "Hundreds of years, perhaps," said the snail
slowly, as if he was reckoning up.
"Thousands, I should say," remarked the butterfly, in
a low voice.
"And I know a lot." Here there was a long pause.
He knows how to keep silence, at any rate," said the
butterfly to Buz.
"Which is more than some people do," retorted Buz.
In here I think a good deal," continued the snail. I
BUZ-THE SNAIL SETTLES IT.
was once imprisoned in a rock for over a hundred years;
I thought a good deal then."
Buz didn't know what to say, and even the butterfly
made no remark; the voice was so very solemn, and also
she felt that the snail wouldn't have cared for any words
of hers. The latter soon continued-
I once considered the subject of your late conversation
(of which, I must tell you, I heard every word) for fifty
years at a stretch."
Did you get a headache after it ?" the butterfly couldn't
help asking. But the snail didn't seem to hear her, and
Buz took no notice whatever of the question.
"And as," said the snail, "you were both totally wrong
in the conclusions to which you came, I shall just put you
right. You bee," he continued-suddenly shooting out the
horn nearest to Buz, and keeping it pointed towards her-
"seem to despise the butterfly for not working, or taking
any care for the future, and for leading a vain and useless
life, as you call it. Don't despise the butterfly. And you
butterfly "-here he shot out his other horn, and pointed it
at the insect he addressed-" appear to pity the bee because
she works hard during the summer, in order that she may
keep herself alive through the winter, instead of enjoying
herself whilst she may: Don't pity the bee."
The snail paused for a moment, and drew in both his
horns, and then continued in a very solemn manner-
BUZ-THE SNAIL SETTLES IT.
"What is right for one person, is wrong for another. If
a bee were to lead the life of a butterfly, she would be
miserable; for she was created in order that she might
work, and no one can be really happy who is not fulfilling
the object of his creation. On the other hand, if a butterfly
were to attempt to work, she would fail, and be miserable
also. So let the bee work as hard as she can, without being
proud of doing what is only her duty-and she will be as
happy as the butterfly. Let the butterfly sit in the sun and
look beautiful, and enjoy all the pleasures of life and be
thankful for them: above all, let her never look down on
those whose duty it is to work; let her always have a soft
heart and a kind word for such as are fagged and worn by
the toil she is not called upon to endure herself-and the
butterfly will be as happy as the bee. As for presuming"-
(here the snail became as stern as such a soft thing con-
veniently could)-" as for presuming to settle which is the
nobler, or higher, or better life to lead, how dare you attempt
to do so It is not for you to decide. In my opinion, who-
ever does the work he is given to do, best-whatever that
work may be-whatever that work may be, mind," repeated
the snail emphatically, putting out both his horns, and
pointing one at each of the insects in a very significant
manner-" leads the best life."
At this moment the sun, which had been behind a cloud
for some time, shone brightly out, and the snail retired into
BUZ-THE SNAIL SETTLES IT.
his shell at, once, and rested on the cool soft moss which
grew over the dial. The two insects looked at each other
rather foolishly, and Buz was the first to speak:
I'm glad that snail overheard us, and spoke out so
plainly; I seem to see things differently now, and retract
what I said about selfishness."
"And I," answered the butterfly-who was really very
good-natured, and was apt to hurt people's feelings only
from want of thought-" am very sorry indeed that I should
have laughed at you or your work; for I honour you in my
heart, I do indeed. Now come," she continued coaxingly,
" do let us part friends; and if you would let me take one
of the hints given by that dear old snail, I should think it
so kind of you. If ever you feel tired or overworked, or
whenever things go wrong, do come and let me try to cheer
you up; now do "
I certainly will," answered Buz, though at the same
time, I enjoy my work so much that I don't expect to have
to trouble you often; however, it's quite nice of you to
think of it," she concluded, and I hope we may frequently
meet. Now I really must be off. I don't consider my time
here has been wasted, but I am perfectly rested, and have
plenty to do."
I won't try to detain you," said the butterfly; "and
mind, I shall always be most interested in hearing what
work you are engaged in, and how it is getting on."
BUZ-THE SNAIL SETTLES IT.
"And on my part," answered Buz gaily, it will always
be a pleasure to me to see you flying about and looking so
pretty. Good-bye, dear !"
"Good-bye, good-bye!" echoed the butterfly as Buz
For some little time after this, the pretty butterfly sat
and thought, but at last, rousing herself with a merry little
laugh-" I mustn't become like 'the snail," she said to
herself; that's not my work, at any rate."
So away she flew, in the highest possible spirits, in and
out, in and out, amongst the flowers and over the shrubs
that grew in the delightful old garden.
wNE morning early, Buz was on
the point of starting for the
top of Cothelestone Hill. She
Shad been there several times
already; indeed it was a
favourite place of hers. She
Sso thoroughly enjoyed the long
flight to it through the air: it
was so glorious to mount high
up above the fields, and to see the dewdrops sparkling like
diamonds in the morning sun-to listen to the lark as he
took his first upward flight, and poured out his song for joy
that another day had come-to inhale the fragrance of
dawn, knowing that all the flowers which made it so sweet,
were waiting for her, and would be glad when they saw her
coming. This was delightful indeed.
Then again, Buz always looked forward to interesting
conversations with the flowers she visited, and the insects
and creatures she met; and she had a sort of idea that the
further she strayed from the hive, the more curious would be
her adventures, and the more charming the stories she was
told. But this did not follow at all; and many of the
prettiest tales she heard, were repeated to her by flowers
which grew in the old garden near the hive, though it was
some time before she would admit this, even to herself.
On her way to the entrance on this particular morning,
she perceived that a most unusual bustle was going on all
through the hive; and, directly the first bee touched her,
she felt quite excited and disinclined to work, though she
didn't exactly understand why. At this moment she saw a
drone-" What's up now?" she cried, running to him in
a great hurry.
Don't fuss," said the drone snappishly.
"Well, I only want to know what all'this stir and con-
"I'll tell you fast enough if you won't fuss. I hate a
bustle; and there's enough of that, I 'm sure, without your
helping to make it worse."
I '11 be as quiet as a grub," said Buz, speaking in a low
voice and standing quite still, though she felt that she was
becoming more restless every moment.
The drone looked at her for some time without saying a
word; and at last, in a provokingly indifferent manner,
asked if she had been fanning lately.
"Yes," said Buz, it was my turn yesterday, and it was
a very hot day, and so I fanned a great deal; and stupid
work it was."
Did you observe that there were often great clusters of
bees hanging together, just by the board outside the hive ?"
"Of course I did," replied Buz; "they were there till
"Did you wonder why?"
"No; I heard lots of them say that it was dreadfully
hot inside, so I suppose they hung out to cool."
Exactly; do you know why it was so hot in the hive ?
I can tell you: partly because the day was so warm, and
partly because there are such a lot of bees-too many bees,
that's the fact. Well, the weather can't be made cooler,
but some of the bees can go, and they will go too."
Dear me said Buz, "will they ? What! leave the
hive ?-really leave this hive ? "
How can they go without leaving the hive, stupid ?"
answered the drone.
Of course they can't; but what will they do without a
"Our present Queen will go with them; she knows
it's too hot in the hive, so she will leave with a party
"Volunteers!" cried Buz; "what fun! I'll be one!
I'll go! I may, mayn't I ? Oh, I hope I may go!"
"Now, for honey's sake, don't fuss," said the drone.
"Certainly not," replied Buz.
But she was trembling with excitement. Anything for a
change, anything for novelty. She never wished to be idle,
and she liked all sorts of work; but put her to a different
job every day-then she was happy! She cared little for
danger, and explored all kinds of places that many bees-
Hum for instance-wouldn't think of going near; and now
the thought of volunteering, and flying off with the dear old
Queen, and beginning life again as it were, was charming.
It suited Buz exactly; but, as she had still plenty of ques-
tions to ask the drone, she kept as quiet as possible; and
he was much too lazy and indifferent to notice what an
effort this was to her.
By the row that's going on," remarked the drone, I
should say this would be a big swarm."
A swarm exclaimed Buz; then that's what swarm-
ing is! "
"A horrid noise, a hopeless confusion, a dreadful fuss,
and an intolerable bustle-that's what swarming is," repeated
the drone disdainfully. I shall certainly be glad to have
the hive more empty," he went on to himself; "but why
can't they go away quietly, and swarm one by one, I should
like to know ? "
Do none of the drones intend to join the swarm ?"
Hundreds will, no doubt; I shan't."
"Will you tell me, please," asked Buz, "how you will
get on here without a Queen ?"
"You ask such stupid questions," said the drone. "You
don't think; you're in such a hurry-that's it."
How is mine a stupid question ? "
Do you mean to tell me that you have never passed
the royal nurseries ? Do you mean to say that you have
never heard of royal food ? Do you wish me to understand
that you have never been told about the royal grubs?"
demanded the drone.
Of course I've heard of them." Buz said this a little
impatiently-the drone spoke so very contemptuously.
"Oh, you have, have you? Then you will not be as-
tonished when I tell you that royal grubs become -queens,
and that one of those in this hive is just ready to leave her
cell; but she won't come out before the old Queen has left.
Oh, no she'll take care of that-or rather, the royal nurses
Because the old Queen would try to get at her, and
sting her to death. You females are so jealous and spite-
ful! answered the drone.
I ain't a female," cried Buz.
"Yes you are, though; all you working bees are un-
developed females. Suppose now we had been in want of
a Queen, and we had picked you out as a grub, and enlarged
your cell and fed you on royal bread: why, you would have
become a Queen! Actually you!"
"Yes, really; but it's too late now; no chance for you
now, my dear; so you needn't be proud."
"I'm not a bit proud," cried Buz.
"No, I see you're not; on the contrary, you are con-
descending enough to come and speak to poor me! I feel
the honour deeply, I assure, you."
He said these last words in such a nasty, sarcastic
manner, that Buz determined to leave him. "Poor fellow!"
she thought, "this noise and excitement must have made
him cross." And indeed the confusion and hurrying about
increased every minute.
"Good-bye, Mr. Drone," said Buz. I really am much
obliged to you for what you have told me."
"I 'm quite overwhelmed," said the drone, getting
more disagreeable than ever. "Your politeness is some-
thing imperial. Are you sure you didn't get hold of any
royal bread ? Are you sure you ain't a Queen ? Just make
certain of it-do Fly out of the hive, and see if the other
bees won't swarm round you. They may. And what shall
I do," he went on, "to show my respect? Shall I stick
here waxed to the floor all the rest of my life, in case you
want to come back and ask any more questions ? Only say
the word. What! going off in a huff, are you? That's
right, follow your temper-and make haste, or you'll never
recover it "
These last words were thrown after Buz, as she hurried
away without trusting herself to speak. To tell the truth,
she was getting a little afraid of the drone, who seemed to
have lost all command over himself; and she was so excited
about the swarming, that his words affected her less than
they would otherwise have done; at the same time, it was
exceedingly disagreeable to be so misjudged. "Though I
brought it on myself," she thought; and it shows what a
mistake it is to keep on asking questions when you see a
person's out of temper. I '11 never do it again, I'll be
stung if I.do!"
Saying this, she ran round the corner of a comb in a
great hurry, to see where the Queen was, and what might
be going on, and knocked up against a bee coming just as
hastily in the other direction. It was Hum !-positively
Hum Only imagine her being excited about anything but
work! Buz was quite amused.
"Then you mean to swarm too, I suppose," she said.
"Well, no," answered Hum; "I think not. I couldn't
very well, you know."
I'm sure I don't know," said Buz.
I've got into such a groove here, don't you see, that
I 'm almost afraid I couldn't bear to leave it. I know where
everything is now, and exactly where to go; and besides, I've
got a -- Here Hum stopped short, as if she had said
rather more than she meant to.
Got a what ? asked Buz.
"Well, dear, I'm afraid you'll think it foolish of me-
I know you wouldn't consider it a reason yourself, and I
daresay you're right; but the fact is-- and here Hum
fidgeted about nervously, as if she was a little ashamed,
"the fact is, I've got a cell that I am filling with honey
all by myself; it's up in a corner, out of the way, and I
couldn't bear to go before it was full. You understand,
don't you ?" concluded she, almost pleadingly.
"I think I understand what you feel, though I don't
fancy I should mind leaving it myself. Well, I shall be
very sorry to part from you, for you 're the best bee in
the world. I really have half a mind to stay," continued
Buz suddenly; "I feel as if you would keep me out of
Oh, please don't let me prevent you from going!"
cried Hum; "it would never do. I'm sure you are just
the sort of person to join the swarm; you are so bold and
active. I shall often think of you, dear Buz, and long to
know how you are getting on; but we should seldom meet
here, you know, even if you were to remain."
That's true," said Buz, thoughtfully; "and after all,
something tells me I ought to join the swarm. But, I say,"
added she briskly, "what is the state of the case exactly,
for I hardly know ? "
"I do," answered Hum. "I came straight from the
Queen when we met."
"Tell me all about it then."
"It seems that even yesterday the Queen became rest-
less, and said something about changing her house. I have
it on good authority, for one of the royal attendants told
me as much."
Told you she said that?"
Well, hardly; in fact, it's difficult to say exactly what
she did tell me. She kept on hinting: she said, 'there
might be changes before long, and what- should I think of
that? '-and' the Queen 'might use her wings before long,
and what should I think of that ?'-and 'because a certain
royal person chose to live a certain time in a certain house,
did it follow that that royal person was never to change her
residence ? '-and so on, you know."
I hate that! cried Buz. "Why couldn't she tell you
outright, or leave it alone altogether ? "
It does appear foolish, when one comes to think of it,"
said Hum; "especially when one recollects all the nods
and whispers; but at the time, I suppose, it makes a person
seem important; and I caught myself nodding mysteriously,
and whispering too: very silly of me, to be sure! "
"Why, yes," said Buz. I wish you had laughed at
her, or, at any rate, pretended not to understand; but it
can't be helped. What's the news this morning?"
Nothing has actually happened yet, but the Queen gets
more restless every moment, and an old bee-one who has
been in a swarm already-told me that she quite expected
she would leave the hive to-day. I know I can't settle
down to anything. It's wretched work!"
"Come along," said Buz; "I want to be near the Queen,
and watch her."
The two friends were separated before they reached the
royal presence, for great numbers of bees were crowding
round. Buz soon pushed her way into a good place, and,
just as she got there she heard the Queen say to herself,
" I've a very good mind to do it. Is it fine ? she asked,
turning to her attendants.
It is, your majesty," answered several.
"A very good mind," continued the Queen to herself;
"my family is becoming inconveniently large, and this
house doesn't do: it gets hot, much too hot. That's one
reason, and there are two or three others."
She means by that," said a bee very softly to Buz,
"that there are two or three royal grubs just ready to come
out; but she doesn't like alluding to them, even to herself."
Too proud ? asked Buz, in a whisper.
Too proud," answered the bee, with a confidential nod.
The Queen was now close to them.
"I declare, I think I '11 do it to-day," she repeated.
"Did you say it was fine?" she added aloud, turning to
"Very fine, your majesty," said they.
"Fine enough, eh?" asked the Queen.
"Fine enough for anything, your majesty," said the
attendants, who were prevented by court etiquette from
seeming to know what orders the Queen was about to give,
though every one knew perfectly well that every bee in the
hive knew all about it. Curious, perhaps; but the laws of
etiquette are curious-very.
"I hear a great noise," said the Queen. "What is it ?"
It was no wonder she did. Thousands of bees were
darting backwards and forwards just at the mouth of the
hive, and the air was filled with a roaring sound. But the
attendants pretended to be quite astonished.
"We'll go and inquire, your majesty," they replied.
They did so, and returning immediately, said, "A few
of your majesty's subjects are loitering about near the en-
trance, your majesty; would your majesty wish them to
No matter," said the Queen. "A few, did you say ?"
"Well, more than a few, perhaps, your majesty," re-
plied the attendants, looking one at another; "more than
"Are there enough, do you think?" asked the Queen
carelessly. "Are there as many as there ought to be?"
There are enough for anything, your majesty."
"And the day, you say, is fine enough?"
For anything, your majesty."
'The excitement was becoming quite intense.
The Queen, after showing great restlessness and inde-
cision for several moments, suddenly grew calm, and
standing in the centre of the circle drawn respectfully
round her, gave a few shrill squeaks, and said, I have
made up my mind to go. Let all who wish to join me
wait outside, and be ready to SWARM!!!
Directly she spoke the last word, there was an end to
all restraint. It was the word so anxiously expected all
the morning, and was now the signal for a general rush.
It was passed round the hive in no time, and Buz took it
up, and found herself repeating, like every one else, "A
swarm! a swarm! a swarm !" Meantime she pressed
forward to the entrance. It seemed to her as if she would
never reach it; but then, she was in such a desperate
hurry. At last her struggles were rewarded, and,- with
dozens of other bees, she tumbled out of the hive-head
over heels! anyhow!-and joined the excited mob in front.
There she dashed backwards and forwards as madly as
anyone, but always watching the entrance; always ready
to follow the Queen the moment she should appear,
She had not long to wait, for her majesty soon presented
herself, and, after looking about her, spread her wings and
flew slowly and steadily away.
By this time the noise was tremendous; such an angry
noise too! But Buz hardly heard it, she was so excited,
so bent on keeping the Queen in sight.
Her majesty, after taking a short flight round the garden,
just to pick out a good place, alighted on the under side of
one of the branches of a small standard pear tree, and was
immediately hidden by a cloud of about twenty thousand
bees, which settled on and round her.
Buz was one of the first -to take up her position, but,
hardly liking to pitch on the Queen, attached herself to the
branch close to her, and was at once used by several other
bees as a convenient thing to cling to; these in their turn
were treated in the same way, till a lump of bees was formed
as big as a good-sized cabbage, and Buz found it rather
hard work to hold on.
"It must be uncommonly hot in the middle, though,"
she thought: "better be here than there."
At this moment the gardener approached. His coat
was off, and his shirt-sleeves were rolled up. He knew the
bees would not sting him for shaking them into the new
hive he carried, but he had to roll up his sleeves for fear of
one crawling up and being hurt.
He now held the hive upside down under the swarm,
took hold of the end of the bough on which it hung, and
gave a sharp, strong jerk, which dislodged it and sent it
right into the hive. .There was no hesitation, no indecision
about him; it was all the work of a moment. Instantly, a
cloud of bees ascended all round him, and many alighted
on his arms, and some even on his face. Of these he took
no notice whatever; but, seeing that a great cluster re-
mained in the hive, he was satisfied that the Queen was
among them; he then turned it over in its right position and
stood it on four bricks placed ready on the ground, so
that the bees outside could, easily join their friends within.
Having protected the hive from the sun with a few freshly
cut boughs, he left the swarm alone till the evening. Buz
was right in the middle this time, holding on like anything
to the bee just above her.
When it grew dusk, the gardener came back; and finding
that every bee had entered the hive, he placed it on a flat
board, and carried it off to a stand which had been prepared
for it, close to the old hive from which the swarm had come.
BUILDING COMB. AN ACCIDENT. STORING HONEY.
.. OW long shall we be squeezed
-- ,- _-.-L, together like this ?" de-
li : 11 manded Buz of a bee who
was clinging to her.
"For days," answered
the bee shortly.
Come, I say," said
Buz,. "you don't mean that, do you ?"
If you don't believe me, ask someone else."
"Oh, I believe you, but how slow!"
"I daresay," remarked another bee, "that you have
heard of a Queen having a great many attendants hanging
about her at court; now you know what it means !"
At this moment the cluster of bees began to move, and
to spread about.
The hive in which they had been taken was very different
to the old straw butt they had left, their new abode being a
square deal box without any bottom. Into the back of this
box a pane of glass had been introduced, through which the
bees might be watched at their work; and at the top of it
was a short narrow slit, closed at present, but capable of
being opened from without, by means of a zinc slide.
This box was placed in a wooden cupboard, which stood
on four legs, had a gable roof, and doors opening at the
back, and was large enough to contain three other boxes of
the same size. Horizontal apertures, about two inches long
and just high enough to admit a bee, were cut in the cup-
board at the bottom of its front, and opposite each of the
The floor of the cupboard, which was also the floor of
the boxes, was cut away about the eighth of an inch deep,
just underneath each of these apertures, and made to slope
up towards the interior, so that any rain driven into a hive
might run out again at once. This pleased the bees,,who
hate damp beyond anything.
The swarm now began preparations for the great work
of forming the comb; and hung from the top, no longer
in a ball, but in sheets or strings, about which the bees
could freely pass.
They formed, in fact, living scaffolding; and, as they
themselves produced material for the building, all the
trouble of hauling and carrying was saved.
Each bee, besides holding on as tightly and as patiently
as a postage-stamp, was busily employed in preparing
plates of wax.
These were secreted in pockets on the under side of the
abdomen, from which the bees drew them when ready for
use, working and moulding them in their mouths.
"I wonder how you can all go on so long without
eating," remarked Buz at length in a general sort of way
to the bees about her.
In the same way that you can," answered one of them.
Oh, I took in as much honey as ever I could, just
before we swarmed," said Buz.
"Well, so we almost all did," replied her friend; "it is
an instinct with bees."
I wonder why," said Buz thoughtfully.
It's simple enough," returned the other. If we do
not unload our honey, it is gradually formed into wax: so
that arriving in a new hive with honey is almost the same
thing as arriving with wax-and that we must have at once.
So that only those few bees who happened to join the swarm
without being full of honey have gone to work. The mo-
ment the honey you arrived with has become wax in your
pockets, you will pull it out, and munch away at it till you
have munched and pulled it into good order. Then you
will place it in position, where you see it is wanted, and the
nurse or architect bees will work it into shape. Then you
will go out and get a fresh supply of honey, and again hang
yourself up till it turns into wax. It's simple enough, as
I said before."
Buz found that this was- really the case, and in due
time she deposited her bricks of wax, and left the archi-
tects at work, while she went off for a fresh supply of
The architects began by attaching some wax to the roof
of the box, and fashioning therefrom hexagonal cells-by
employing which form, the greatest number can be arranged
in the smallest space.
Each comb consisted of two sets of cells placed back to
back. If the bottoms of these opposite sets of cells had
been exactly opposite to each other, they would have been
dangerously thin; and the architects, knowing this very
well, arranged that the bottom of each cell should be
opposite part of the bottoms of three cells on the other
side of the comb.
In this manner, the thin plate of wax forming the bottom
was in every case strengthened and supported by the bases
of three contingent walls behind it. For the bees, having
so well economised their space, were determined not to use
an atom more wax than was really necessary.
Let us be consistent all through," they said, "and
then we shall make a job of it."
For nearly a week Buz stuck to her post, only going out
occasionally. At the end of that time so much of the comb
had been made, that she, with many others, was employed
in gathering honey.
It was the beginning of June, there were plenty of flowers
about, and the honey season was good. Things were looking
up. Fortune, however, delights in a practical joke, and
often, 'so to speak, cuts a hammock down when the owner
is most comfortably asleep. A terrible accident happened
to the bees just at the time they seemed so prosperous.
Whether the heat within the hive became so great as to
melt the wax, or whether the top of the hive was too smooth
for the comb to be securely fastened thereto, it is impossible
to say; but, whatever might be the cause, one of the centre
combs, nearly filled with honey, suddenly broke down, and
fell to the bottom of the hive.
The result was dreadful! Numbers of bees were crushed
to death or suffocated, the floor of the hive was deluged
with honey, for the comb had not been sealed, and there
was a barrier formed right in the line of traffic.
Luckily for her, Buz was away when the accident hap-
pened; and by the time she returned to the hive the bees
were beginning to repair the mischief.
Their first care was to collect all the honey that had
escaped, and to store it in the empty cells. After that they
began to clear away the broken pieces of comb, and to carry
out the dead.
Of course we are not going to let that great comb stay
where it is ? said Buz softly to an older bee.
"Of course we are though," was the reply. "Why,
what a waste of time it would be to carry all that wax away
and make a fresh comb "
But it's so dreadfully in the way."
"We shall manage to get over that difficulty," said the
How? asked Buz.
"Ain't you supposed to be honey-gathering ?"
"Yes, I am."
"Gather honey then, do! You'll be able to see for
yourself, each time you come in, how we get on here. I
can't waste time explaining."
Away flew Buz, and got honey as near the hive as
she could, and worked particularly hard, so as to come
in often; for she was very much interested in what was
The fallen comb was leaning against an adjacent one,
the bottom being of course on the floor instead of a little
above it, thus impeding- traffic. To obviate this, tunnels
were soon driven through the comb-beautiful arched tunnels,
with waxen pillars to support them-whilst little stays and
buttresses of wax were introduced wherever they were re-
quired, to make all firm and safe again.
"Capital!" said Buz approvingly, as she ran through
one of the new tunnels.
"No honey to be stored in this side of the comb," re-
marked a bee shortly.
"All right," said Buz.
Now Buz had very nearly said Why," instead of "All
right"; but she checked herself in time, remembering
that she had often asked unnecessary questions, and that
she had resolved to try to find things out for herself. In
this case she soon saw the reason why.
The comb was leaning over a little, and of course any
honey put into a cell on the side towards which it leaned,
would run out again.
"I'm glad I didn't ask," thought Buz; "and now
that I'm about it, I '11 just examine one of the other
She did so, and found that the cells on each side sloped
upwards, ever so little, but enough to prevent thick stuff
like honey from running out.
Let me see," said Buz to herself, as she turned away,
"how will they use the side that can't be employed for
Just at this moment there was a bustle close to her, and
she saw the Queen making towards the fallen comb.
Oh, I know," thought Buz: "the Queen will lay eggs
in it; it will do very well for a breeding comb, of course."
Buz was right. The Queen, with ten or twelve attendants
round her, passed over the comb, examining each cell before
she deposited an egg within it. Whenever she rested, which
she frequently did, the members of her suite, who formed a
sort of screen round her, overwhelmed her with their atten-
tions and caresses, and offered her honey. In one cell the
Queen inadvertently deposited two eggs;- the watchful at-
tendants, much too polite to call her majesty's attention to
this, quietly took one out and ate it.
After Buz had looked on for some little time, she
asked one of the suite how many eggs the Queen could
lay in a day.
"A couple of hundred, or even more," was the answer.
Does she often have an egg-laying day ?"
"She lays eggs every day-for months. She does no-
"Well," thought Buz as she flew off, "no wonder there
are such a lot of us!"
For several weeks Buz worked very hard, and met with
no adventures. It was the busy time, and a fine lot of honey
was collected and sealed up.
One morning, as she was passing near the middle of the
hive, she saw a good many bees employed on a large cell,
which was attached to the comb only at one spot.
"Ah !" said Buz to herself, I know what that is. That's
a royal cell: I remember seeing some in the old hive."
She stood and watched, and presently observed to one of
the workers, "What a lot of wax you are using, to be sure !"
"I should think so indeed," was the reply. "I don't
suppose you'd wish us to be careful of our wax when we're
making a royal cell-that would be mean "
"Oh, no!" cried Buz, "of course I shouldn't; only it
seems funny, don't you know. Ever since I swarmed I
have heard nothing but, Economise your space; economise
your material'; and now, here you are, seeing how much
wax you can get rid of at once! I like it myself, mind,
only I can't help observing that there is enough wax there
to make fifty ordinary cells."
"If I didn't think that there was," returned the other,
I should feel quite ashamed to be on the job. Bees don't
economise where royalty is concerned."
She said this very stiffly, and walked away. Buz rubbed
her head and antennae with her fore legs, and felt rather
Just at this moment there was a sudden movement of
bees upwards, and Buz was off directly to see what was
On reaching the top of the hive, she joined a number of
bees who were crowding through a hole in the roof, and
found herself at once in a fine open space above. Here a
bee was gesticulating excitedly with her antennae, and Buz
joined the group of listeners round her.
"All I know is," said the bee, "that I happened to be
at work on the roof just underneath where this hole has
appeared. Everything was quite secure, nothing loose at
all. There was no passage up, not even a very little one-
that I'm sure of; and then, all of a sudden there was! I
heard a kind of a tearing, scraping sound, and it became
quite light I saw this hole, ran up as fast as I could, and
found myself here. That's all I can tell you."
But was there nothing moving near the top of the hole
when you came through ? asked one of the bees.
"Certainly not: that's the odd part of it. Everything
was as quiet as possible. Now, any one may account for it
who can. I can't." *
As the bee moved away after saying this,. Buz ran off on
a tour of inspection. She found herself in a space about
half the size of the hive below; the walls and roof were
very slippery, and the light came through them.
She climbed up the side and got to the roof, but had
hardly reached it when she lost her footing and fell with
a flop on to the floor.
As she stood rather confused for a moment, a friend of
hers came up and said, "Isn't this a piece of luck! We
The gardener had drawn back the slide at the top of the hive, and placed a
glass super in position for the bees to fill.
had nearly filled the place below with wax and honey, and
now here's room for lots more."
"Yes," replied Buz; "I was wondering' the other day
what we should do for space; it was getting so hot, too."
Oh, we should have been obliged to send off a swarm,
I suppose, when a young Queen was hatched; but now we
shall get on without that."
"What shall we do with the young Queen then?"
Oh, let the old one kill her, I suppose," said the bee
unconcernedly, "or starve the royal grubs, or something.
I don't know," she continued, "if eggs have been laid in
the royal cells yet; I rather think not, in which case the
Queen won't lay any at all now."
As she spoke, something came down on her head with a
great bump. It was a bee, who, like Buz, had tried the
roof and had met with a similar mishap. The floor and
sides of the new space were by this time covered with bees,
and some were continually falling down.
I can tell you what," said Buz sagaciously: it will be
very difficult work, fastening up our comb."
It may be difficult, but it is not impossible. We shall
therefore manage it," said the bee who had just fallen.
"When we have fastened a few little specks of wax about,
to hold on to, we shall be able to manage. I wish it wasn't
quite so light, though; I like working in the dark."
She hard hardly spoken the words, when something came
down on the roof and round the walls, and in a moment the
place was quite dark.*
There said Buz; "you 've got your wish; but what
will happen next, I wonder ?"
"Whatever happens, I shall begin to work at once," was
the reply: so, come on."
Come on," said Buz.
The gardener placed a cap of felt, or other thick material, over the super.
it ZeconO !warm.
A SECOND SWARM. IDLE HOURS. SENT BACK.
N E day, when the heather was in
bloom, Buz went off to Cot-
helestone Hill, and whilst she
was at work a sudden shower
This drove her for shelter
under a rock, where she nearly
ran against another bee, which had entered from the oppo-
"Hulloa!" cried Buz.
Hulloa said the other; "where do you come from ?
I don't know your smell."
"Very likely not," answered Buz, who did not admire
the manner of the other bee; "what of that ? I suppose
I have as much right here as you?"
BUZ-A SECOND SWARM.
"Don't be waxy," replied the other; "I said very
But you didn't say it nicely, I thought," retorted Buz.
"Well, you are particular! exclaimed the other. How
I should like to know where you come from."
Oh, a long way from here," said Buz : from the valley
at the foot of the hill. We live in a garden, where there are
several other swarms."
How very odd! "
Why odd ?" asked Buz.
"Well, I suppose you're always fighting; and that's an
odd state of things, isn't it ? "
It would be if it were the case; but then you see it
"That's odder still. Now we should fight tremendously
if another swarm came near us."
"Should you really ? asked Buz.
There 's a hollow tree not far from ours," answered the
other bee significantly; take it and try."
"A hollow tree !" echoed Buz contemptuously; I should
be sorry to live in one."
"What do you live in then ?"
"A hive, to be sure."
"And what may that be ?"
"Why, the house in which we were taken when we
BUZ-A SECOND SWARM.
"Taken! cried the wild bee. "Ah! I begin to under-
stand: I've heard of that sort of thing before; then you're
a slave bee, I suppose ? "
"You're a rude bee, I'm sure," retorted Buz.
"Am I ? I only mean, that the honey you make is
not for yourselves, but for whosoever shook you into the
hive you seem so proud of."
I should just like to see anyone taking our honey," said
Buz. Whoever came to do it, would have to be very fond
of honey, or care very little about stings."
That sounds fine," replied the wild bee; but I have
heard some curious stories. Let me advise you to make a
few enquiries when you return. I may be wrong, of course;
but then, you know, I may be right."
"I don't mind asking about it," returned Buz; "but
you must be wrong."
"Why so?" asked the wild bee.
Because, if what you say is true, it is ridiculous to
suppose that any bees would live as we do now. We should
fly right away, of course, and even put up with a hollow
"That's all very well," answered the wild bee; "but
when people once get into a groove, they are slow to get out
of it: to make up one's mind to a thorough change, requires
a deal of energy."
Don't you call swarming a thorough change ?" de-
BUZ-A SECOND SWARM.
manded Buz. "I found no difficulty in making up my
mind about that."
"There you only followed an old custom, and did not
strike out a new line. However, as the storm is over, sup-
pose we go on with our work; mine being to gather honey
for myself, and yours to gather it-for someone else."
Put it as you please," replied Buz: "always remem-
bering that I don't want your opinion."
In the same way," answered the wild bee, "gather for
whom you please; always remembering that I don't want
your honey. Good-bye." And away she flew.
As Buz followed her example, and went to work again,
she could not help admitting to herself that there was some-
thing in what had been said. "When I get back to the
hive," she thought, I '11 just talk the matter over."
In the evening, therefore, she asked one of the older
bees whether what she had heard was true.
No doubt it is," was the answer. "This very spring,
a fine super of honey was taken from the hive next to ours,
and a lot of excitement it caused; surely you remember ? "
"No, I don't," said Buz.
It must have been just before you were hatched then."
But what were they all about ?" cried Buz excitedly;
"why did they let their honey go ? Couldn't they sting ?"
"I heard one of them say that they tried at first, and
that something prevented them from getting near the
BUZ-A SECOND SWARM.
robbers-something soft; and besides, there was so much
honey running about, that they were very busy sucking it
up; and, what with the excitement and what with being
glutted with honey, very few of them felt like fighting."
Then my rude acquaintance at the top of the hill was
not very far from right after all," said Buz thoughtfully.
She was right to a certain extent, but there's another
side to the question."
Indeed," cried Buz; I should like to know it."
"_The tradition is, that those who rob us look after us
in the winter, and supply us with food if our honey runs
short; so we need never starve. Now, I have heard, that
after a bad honey season whole swarms of wild bees are
starved to death. Then again, our hive is much more con-
venient than a hollow tree: drier and warmer, and with a
better entrance. I 've seen some pretty good hollow trees
in my time certainly; but there's nothing like a hive after
Buz was somewhat consoled by this, but still felt in-
dignant at the idea of being liable to lose any of the beau-
tiful honey she had worked so hard for.
"Wait till some one tries it on with us," said she to
herself. "Not sting, indeed! We'll see about that."
Soon after this, Buz began to find her present hive almost
as inconveniently crowded as the one she had left; the super
was nearly filled with comb, and that was half full of honey;
BUZ-A SECOND SWARM.
the Queen had laid a great many eggs in the hive below, and
the young bees were daily emerging from their cells.
Some of the grubs, also, in the royal cells were nearly
ready to come out.
A feverish excitement, similar to that which she re-
membered on a former occasion, began to set in, and the
Queen frequently squeaked.
This time, however, Buz made up her mind to remain
where she was.
"I'm getting too old," she told herself, "for knocking
about; let the youngsters do the swarming."
But although she was inclined to be patronising towards
the "youngsters," she could not help feeling surprised at
her disinclination for change and excitement; she was even
a little sorry for herself.
The fact is, she had become a middle-aged bee, and was
beginning to go down the hill-a fact which it is not always
pleasant to look in the face.
And now the Queen became more excited than ever,
and sometimes attempted to tear open the royal cells
and kill the poor little princesses. She was prevented
from doing so by the royal nurses, who were respectful,
but very firm.
"Though it's a tremendous thing, mind you," said one
nurse to the other, "to find oneself tackling the Queen
herself, and preventing her from doing what she likes."
It certainly is," said the other; "but she knows it is
only our duty."
Opinions in the hive began to differ as to whether it
would be better to let the Queen kill the young ones, or
to send off a swarm. Some thought it was too late in the
year; others declared that anything would be better than
being so crowded.
A particularly hot day settled the question, and those
who were in favour of a swarm had it." Then began the
same sort of orderly confusion described before, and away
flew the Queen, with many of her loving subjects, but with-
After the swarm had left, the latter felt disinclined to
work: she was a little upset, and wanted a gossip.
There vas no difficulty in finding a bee similarly dis-
posed, for work in the hive was slack that afternoon.*
Bother the pollen," grumbled a bee, as she was passing
Buz; how it does stick to one, to be sure; but this is the
last lot I bring in this blessed day. My name is 'easy' for
the rest of the afternoon."
"And so is mine," cried Buz; "let us go to the garden,
and sit in the sun."
"All right," said the other; "just wait till I unload;
I won't be a minute."
It is a fact that bees do not work so hard after a swarm has left; and it is
sometimes necessary to send it back to the hive, in order that a half-filled super may
be completed. If the Queen be caught and removed, the swarm will return.
9o BUZ-IDLE HOURS.
As soon as she returned, the two bees flew off together.
"We are not the only ones who are taking it :easy,"
observed her friend to Buz, as they settled comfortably on
a cucumber frame in a corner; I heard several bees say
they intended to knock off work."
"After all," she continued, "why should we take
any more trouble? We had nearly made honey enough
to carry us through the winter, and now we shall not
want so much, in consequence of that swarm having
"Exactly so," replied Buz; "we have enough, and to
spare. I don't mean to say," she continued, after a pause,
"that I intend to do nothing at all-that wouldn't suit me;
but I do not mean to hurry up. I've worked pretty well
all through the summer, though I say it myself, and made
honey enough to support half a dozen drones. By-the-by,
talking of drones, why should I make honey for those lazy
Can't say," replied her friend; I don't see the fun of
it myself. But, do you know," she continued, sinking her
voice, I hear they are not likely to eat much more honey
in our hive."
"What do you mean ?" asked Buz. "The stupid great
things are always hungry. The less I do, the more I want,'
seems, in fact, to be their motto."
"Well, what I tell you is quite between ourselves, of
course," said her friend; "but, mark my words-we shall
get rid of them, and that before long."
Oh, my queen! cried Buz. You.astonish me! How
shall we manage it ?"
"The working bees will rise against them, and turn
- them out of the hive; see if they don't. Why should we
keep them -all through the winter ? That's what I want to
Why indeed ?" said Buz hastily; and. then continued
after a pause: If we do get rid of them, there is all the
more reason for our taking a- little holiday now; for we
shall have plenty of honey."
My sentiments exactly," returned her friend; "-but as
I feel inclined for a little on my own account, I shall'have
a turn at the flower-beds. What do you say ?"
Come-on," said Buz, and away they flew.
Later ori, when they returned to the hive, they were
surprised- to see a great commotion, and crowds .of bees
"What is all this bustle about? asked Buz of the first
bee she encountered. Is anything the matter ?"
Ever so much," was the answer. There has been an
accident, and the swarm that left so lately is returning."
"Indeed!" cried Buz; "but what accident could pos-
sibly induce the old Queen to come back ?"
"Nothing would ever have induced her to do such a
thing," replied the other; but "-and here she spoke very
impressively-" she has disappeared "
Disappeared echoed Buz. Oh, how ? Do tell me
more about it."
If you want to know the particulars, ask one of those
who joined the swarm: I didn't."
Buz lost no time in following her advice.
"I '11 tell you all I know," said the bee she ques-
tioned, "but I can't quite understand it myself. Our
poor Queen settled on a branch of a small apple tree,
and we all clung round -her of course; and there we
hung in a big bunch-in such a big bunch, that I really
thought the branch we were on would come off. After
a short time, something gave such a jerk that we all
fell off into something, and it was very uncomfortable.
Most of us kept crawling, about, not liking to leave
the Queen; but some flew up, to see what was the
I should have been one of those," put in Buz.
"Well, so was I, my dear; and I found that the thing
that had done it was the man we always see about the
garden, and the thing he had shaken us into was a kind of
box like this."
I know," said Buz; "that's just what happened to
"Well, the man carried us off to where something large