This is another excerpt from the book In the Child's World by Emilie Poulsson.

"Live bees in kindergarten!" Yes; all the difficulties—and they are many —can be, have been, surmounted, and bees have been kindergarten guests for a day or more. Some lived on a large branch of blossoms in a box covered with glass on one side and netting on the other, and some in a glass jar with netting over the top and with only a Sower or two, or perhaps a wet lump of sugar for solace.


When we talked of the farmer we spoke of many creatures who live on the farm—some with four feet (children name them), some with two feet. Now we will look at some tiny little creatures, smaller than the cows, smaller than the sheep, smaller than the hen, smaller than the chickens, smaller than the birds, smaller than the butterflies, although, like the birds and butterflies, they can fly. Can you think of any living things so small? (Lead the children to name all the insects they can, and then produce the bees.)

Bees are so small that we shall need to use our eyes well to find out much about them. Let us listen now to what each child tells us. (Question individual children.)

How does the bee move? What can the bee do? What kind of a noise does the bee make? How many legs has it? How many wings? How many feelers? What is its body covered with? Very many soft, fine hairs so that it is like plush or velvet. What colors does the bee wear? Do you see that the bee's body shows three distinct parts? (head, thorax, abdomen—the fact not the names for the children). How many parts were there to the butterfly's body?

Now some one with very sharp eyes may tell where the wings and legs grow. Sharp eyes can find out many things. Where did the butterfly's wings and legs grow? The wings and legs of insects always grow from the middle part of the body.

Has the insect a backbone? No; its body is made in a different way. Who will be " Sharp Eyes " this time and look carefully at the back part of the bee's body? What did you see at the back part of the butterfly's body? These rings remind us of the caterpillar from which the butterfly grew. The bee has just as wonderful a story as the butterfly; for, just as the butterfly grows from a caterpillar, so a bee grows from a little white thing, like a caterpillar, which does not look at all like a bee, and which has no wings, no feelers and not even any legs. It does not need legs, for it stays in one place, never crawling about for food as the caterpillar does, for some of the older bees feed all these white babies as long as they will eat. Then they cover them over with wax and leave them to change into perfect bees.

Do you remember how wet and crumpled the butterfly was when it first came out of its chrysalis? And how it had to straighten and dry its wings before it could fly? Even this the bee does not do for itself, for some of the older bees stroke and pet and feed it until it is strong enough to fly and to work.


The Rhyme of the Little Idle Boy (from the French.)
by Emilie Poulsson

And have you heard about the boy—
(A very little boy indeed)—
Who did not wish to work at all,
Or go to school or learn to read?

Oh! slowly, slowly did he walk,
And heavy seemed his little book,
As through the daisy fields he want
And past the merry, clattering brook.

Above his head there flew a bee.
" O Bee," the boy said, "won't you stay
And show me how you fly so high,
And talk with me, and laugh and play?"

Then, scarcely pausing, said the bee:
"Dear child, no time have I to waste.
The North Wind long has kept me back,
And now to work I gladly haste.

"Already I am laden, see!
With honey for the honeycomb;
The lilac cups more nectar hold,—
'Twixt hive and flower I ever roam."

Away then flew the downy bee,
That joyous day of early spring.
A swallow passed the little boy,
And brushed his cheek with waving wing.

She floated in the sunny air
And called aloud in happy song:
"Rejoice! Rejoice! The spring is near! "
So rang her message, clear and strong.

The child looked up with brightening face:
"O Swallow! I remember you!
You are the bird who carries joy;
O Swallow, make me happy, too.

"Do come and play with me awhile! "
"Fain would I," said the swallow then,
"For I have flown so fast and far; —
But farther must I fly again.

"For many wait with eager heart
To hear the message that I bring;
And I must bear it faithfully
And herald now the dawn of spring.

"My happy news I sing abroad,
Then—oh, what joyous work to do! —
My pretty nest, my home, to build;
Indeed, I cannot play with you."

The swift-winged swallow flew afar,
The child lagged on with footsteps slow;
And—yes! I have to own—he cried,
But then he was so small, you know."

A dog who heard the steps approach
Came stalking from his kennel door;
But pitying the crying child,
All growls and barking he forebore.

"Good doggie," said the lonely child,
"I am so very sad to-day;
The bees and birds all have to work—
They will not come with me to play.

"I do not like to work at all,
I do not care to learn to read;
O doggie dear! If I were you,
I then could always play indeed!"

Old Stentor looked upon the child
Whose dimpled fingers stroked his hair.
"What, little one? Did you not know
That even dogs in work must share?

"Not only all the livelong day
I watch my master's home and farm,
But while he sleeps without a fear,
My work it is to guard from harm.

"And more, my little one; for see
Where yonder at the heavy plow
The faithful horse our master serves; —
From year to year he works as now.

"The wool produced by yonder sheep,
Your mother, singing, spins at home.
When all are cheerily at work
Will yon, a little idler, roam?

"The busy bee gives honey sweet,
The swallow carries joy alway;
By some one's work all pleasure comes;
Will you do nothing, then, but play?

"Oh no! Go, little one, to school;
We dogs can never learn to read,
But you will be a man some day!
To be a man is grand indeed! "

The child had listened eagerly
To wise old Stentor as he spoke;
The words, " You'll be a man some day! "
A brave and manly spirit woke.

He clasped old Stentor's shaggy neck
And kissed the honest doggie's face;
And, with the book held proudly now,
Ran off to school at happy pace.

All eagerness some work to do,
Light hearted o'er the road he sped;
And reached the school. * * * When autumn came
You cannot think how well he read!


Many objects besides the bee itself will be useful for illustrating this talk,— flowers which show the pollen, a lump of war, a wax candle, a wax doll, and, best of all, a little feast of honey—honey in the comb, by all means.


Where do bees live? In beehives. Yes, and there are wild bees which live in the woods, in hollow trees; but when farmers and other people keep bees they provide beehives—large wooden boxes—for them to live in. (Show picture of beehive, or have a drawing on the blackboard.

A great many bees live together in one hive; as many bees, in fact, as there are people in a whole city,—from 20,000 to 60,000. One bee in each hive is different from the others and is called the queen bee. She lays all the eggs, and you should see how carefully the other bees watch and tend her! The queen cannot even feed herself, but would starve to death with honey right beside her if there were no bees to feed her! Some of the bees are called drones, and others workers. When the queen flies out of the hive the drones go with her, and when she is at home the working bees attend to her.

What kind of work do you think such little things as bees can do? Yes, they can gather honey, but they can do many other things They take care of the queen and the thousands of babies, and they make bee-bread to feed to them; they make thousands of wax cells in which they store their honey; they keep the hive clean, and, if it gets too warm inside, some of them stand at the doorway and fan fresh air into the hive with their wings! They drive away strange bees or wasps or snails or any other creatures which try to get into their hive. Do you wonder how they can tell which are the strange bees that do not belong to their hive ? Some of the wise men think it is by touching each others feelers. Whenever two bees meet they always touch each others feelers. Perhaps that is the same for them that talking is for us.
Do you know what they have to protect themselves with when troubled? A sharp little thing called a sting. It hurts very much to be stung, but a bee will not sting any one who does not trouble or frighten it in some way.

Did you ever taste honey? Bees are such hard workers that they make a great deal of honey, and so we often have some. When we take honey from the hive, enough must be left for the bees through the winter, or else we must give them syrup to live upon until the spring flowers come. After the bee has eaten all the honey it wishes from the flowers, it gathers more to take home to the hive. The honey for the hive is carried in a little bag which is inside the bee's body, and which the bee can empty into one of the wax cells. It takes a great many journeys from hive to flower and from flower to hive before a bee can fill even one cell.

How does the bee get honey (or rather the nectar which it makes into honey) from the flowers? With its long tongue, which is something like the butterfly's tongue. Bees get something else from the flowers besides honey—the yellow powder called pollen. You have seen it on pussy willows and lilies. In the spring, bees are very anxious to get the fresh pollen. Going into a flower for honey, the bee gets covered with the yellow powder, but soon brushes it off with its feet and packs it away in little baskets to carry it home. You would not have thought that the bee always carried two baskets, would you ? But there they are on its hind legs, and you can see them very plainly when they are full of the yellow pollen. Sometimes the bees fill their baskets so full that they can scarcely fly with their heavy load.

In the hive the pollen is mixed with honey, forming what is called "bee-bread," and fed to the baby bees.

You remember that the bee had a tiny bag in which to carry honey, as well as two baskets for carrying pollen. Besides the bags for honey and baskets for pollen, the bee has eight pockets on the under side of its body, out of which it gets the wax for building its cells. Just think! A bag for honey, baskets for pollen, and pockets for wax.

The cells which the bee builds are pure white and of very pretty shape—six-sided. The bees never make a mistake. They do not make some cells square and some round and some with five sides; but always make their cells six-sided. All the cells which are built together make a honeycomb. What tools do the bees have? Only their jaws (mandibles) and feet. For what are the cells used ? For storing honey and for the babies to live in. When a cell is full of honey the bee covers it over with wax. When we have honey to eat, it is sometimes in the comb and sometimes strained ; that is, all the wax is taken out of it.

Do we use wax for anything? Ask your mama if she has a piece in her workbasket, and what she does with it. Do you not remember that the cobbler uses it, too? Candles are made of wax sometimes—little ones for Christmas trees and big candles, too. And have any of these little girls wax dolls? Their pretty wax heads were also made of the bees' wax.

Try to remember the busy little bees the next time you play with your wax dolls, and whenever you eat honey.


A Narrow Escape

by Maurice Noel - Slightly altered from "Buz," Henry Holt & Co., New York.

The time came when Buz and Hum, two young bees, were allowed to try their wings.

" Follow me," said a friendly older bee ; "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 rise.

The older 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 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 jusl 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." "Who is Experience? " asked Buz and Hum together "Oh ! somebody 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. 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 at once."

"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! Do you know," added Buz, putting out her proboscis, "I feel as if I could suck honey tremendously; don't you?"

"Yes, yes," cried Hum, "I long to be at it; 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 beyond.

And so she reached the field of clover, and, flying quite low over the flowers, was astonished to see how many bees were busy among them—bumblebees 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 is enjoying herself as much as I am. I don't mean to be idle either, so here goes for some honey."

Buz was very diligent indeed and soon collected as much honey as she could carry. But by the time she had done this she found herself close to the farther end of the clover field, and while 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 water!

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 suddenly, and taken her so utterly by surprise, that it is 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 did not 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 claw 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 to get up on the stick, very hard indeed. However, Buz managed it at last, and dragged herself quite out of the cold 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 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 up-hill 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 the top of a stone which had been well warmed by the sun's rays, she rested for a long time.

At last she recovered sufficiently to make her way, by a succession of short flights, back to the hive. After the first of these flights 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."

Now whether it was the exercise that 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. When she reached the end of the clover field, she sipped a little honey, cleaned herself with her feet, 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. After resting here, she opened her wings and flew gaily to the hive, which she entered just as if nothing had happened.

Solomon and the Bees
by John G. Saxe

When Solomon was reigning in his glory,
Unto his throne the Queen of Sheba came—
(So in the Talmud you may read the story)—
Drawn by the magic of the monarch's fame,
To see the splendors of his court, and bring
Some fitting tribute to the mighty King.

Nor this alone: much had her Highness heard
What flowers of learning graced the royal speech;
What gems of wisdom dropped with every word;
What wholesome lessons he was wont to teach
In pleasing proverbs; and she wished, in sooth,
To know if Rumor spoke the simple truth.

Besides, the Queen had heard (which piqued her most)
How through the deepest riddles he could spy;
How all the curious arts that women boast
Were quite transparent to his piercing eye;
And so the Queen had come—a royal guest—
To put the sage's cunning to the test.

And straight she held before the monarch's view,
In either hand, a radiant wreath of flowers;
The one, bedecked with every charming hue,
Was newly culled from Nature's choicest bowers;
The other, no less fair in every part,
Was the rare product of divinest Art.

"Which is the true, and which the false?" she said.
Great Solomon was silent. All amazed,
Each wondering courtier shook his puzzled head;
While at the garlands long the monarch gazed,
As one who sees a miracle, and fain,
For very rapture, ne'er would speak again.

"Which is the true?" once more the woman asked,
Pleased at the fond amazement of the King;
' So wise a head should not be hardly tasked,
Most learned Liege, with such a trivial thing! "
But still the sage was silent; it was plain
A deepening doubt perplexed the royal brain.

While thus he pondered, presently he sees,
Hard by the casement—so the story goes—
A little band of busy, bustling bees,
Hunting for honey in a withered rose.
The monarch smiled and raised his royal head;
"Open the window! "—that was all he said.

The window opened at the King's command;
Within the rooms the eager insects flew,
And sought the flowers in Sheba's dexter hand!
And so the king and all the courtiers knew
That wreath was Nature's; and the baffled Queen
Returned to tell the wonders she had seen.

My story teaches (every tale should bear
A fitting moral) that the wise may find
In trifles light as atoms of the air
Some useful lesson to enrich the mind—
Some truth designed to profit or to please—
As Israel's King learned wisdom from the bees.


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