The sweet tale of two bees | Sunday Observer

The sweet tale of two bees


Two enterprising bees had ventured in to our sitting room. The bunch of fresh flowers may have attracted them. Dangerous trespassers. They reminded us of the deadly hornets of Sigiriya. We trapped them into a bottle. We wanted to destroy them. My friend and I were going to be their executioners.

“Please, do not harm us, Sir. We are sorry to have entered your territory. Your exotic flowers lured us here. They are our source of food.”

“But you have a reputation for stinging people,” we said almost in unison.

“We sting only when we are disturbed when we are drawing nectar. As our mouths are attached to our digestive organs, it will be fatal if we are brushed away,” they said.

“Come to think of it. I did learn something like that in our Zoology class,” my friend said.

“Ah! Then sir, you are a student of science. Could you please spare us a few moments and listen to our story,” they asked.

“All right! If it is going to be a sweet story.”

“Thank you Sir, you are so witty. Now for our sweet talk.” “Sir, We have been mentioned in many a book of old, in many languages. We have been mentioned even in the Holy Bible, in the book of Kings. The mighty Samson was asked to unravel a riddle. The riddle went like this. ‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness'. Samson had seen a beehive in a dead lion’s ear once. So, he answered. “What is sweeter than honey, What is stronger than a lion.” He had answered well. Then again on another instance, the Queen of Sheba had placed two bunches of flowers, one natural and the other artificial which locked very natural, before the wise king Solomon. “What is false and what is natural?” she had asked. King Solomon had seen some bees by the window an had the windows opened. The bees promptly alighted on the fresh flowers where our king was perched. “This is natural,” the king had said. The Queen was amazed at his wisdom.

“Dear Sirs, we are a very active and disciplined species and humans have been studying our lifestyle for many years. It is written in your text books too. Our distant cousins, the termites too exhibit a wonderful life system. They are also studied by you. Unfortunately unlike us they are a bit destructive, “the bees explained.

“We are females. Our males are called drones. They are lazy. They do not go out to collect nectar. They are entrusted with fertility. I think you too call your lazy humans ‘drones’. Some of the larvae in our hives are fed on a special diet. They eventually become queens and cannot live in one hive or has to leave the hive. I forgot to tell you, the queen flies out with the male. We call it the ‘nuptial flight.’ Somewhat like the ‘going away’ after humans marry. The return of the queen and her mate is the beginning of a new generation.

“The hive we live in has nice hexagonal equal sided rooms. Our home is naturally air-conditioned because of the flapping of wings. Some of us go scouting for sources of food – flowers, then we fly back home and guide the others to the flowers from where we collect our nectar. We fly from flower to flower. We never hurt them. Along with our multicolored cousins the sweet butterflies, we obtain our honey. At the same time we help the plants to increase their kind. We never hurt any of them. The honey that we produce is the king of honey and the honey of kings - Oh! sweet nectar. You must be aware that the honey we make in our natural hives and even the artificial hives made by humans is very valuable and used by humans.

My friend and I were terribly embarrassed about our lack of knowledge and also intentions of killing these tiny insects of such value to nature and humans.

The bees did not notice or pretended not to and continued their story. “We may be small. But we have enriched your language. Our role in this world is printed in books in many languages. In English, we are mentioned in many instances such as ‘busy as a bee’, 'bee in one’s bonnet’, ‘hive of activity’, ‘buzzing like bees’ and ‘swarming round something’.

We have inspired many songs and poems too. ‘Where the bee sucks I and your immortal singer, C.T.’s song ‘Mee wadayaki jeevithe’ (Life is a beehive) are for all time.

My friend’s and my eyes were glistening., after listening to them. “Go on my sweet little bee,” we said. They flapped their wings. Went round our faces and continued to enlighten us. “Above all we make nectar. Even the gods crave for it. Our honey is medicine. In this lovely land, It is taken internally or mixed with other herbal powders and applied externally,” the two bees whispered as they flew around us.

Then they perched on our faces. “In this beautiful land it is used even to make Christmas and wedding cake. It is the best cake in the world. Our honey gives it that ‘extra’ taste,” they said. We could not speak. Here was knowledge imparted to use by one of nature’s tinniest creations. “Truly, my little ones,” I said “You have sweetened our lives for generations. Your honey cannot be compared to that of any other. Your social life system is definitely an example to humans. Your sweet talk has made us happy. Come my gentle friends, we will take you back to your home safely,” we said.

Then we took them. They were perched on our cheeks. We reached their luxury home. There was a hive of activity in there. Beers were swarming all over it. “Not to worry,” the two bees said. “They are buzzing around because we had not returned to the hive.” They then bowed and made a bee line to their hive.