She was certainly a very grand princess. From the first the nurse-bees
fed her with rich golden honey instead of the bee-bread that the common
children received. She had a royal bedroom, too, very much larger than
the others. At meal-times the nurses were always waiting with her
honey; all day long they guarded and watched her, and fanned fresh air
with their wings into her bedroom. So she grew big and strong.
One day she said: "I have finished growing, and shall put on my royal
robes. Close the door so that nobody can see me while I dress."
The nurses closed the door, and she put on her royal robes. When she
was ready they rushed to open the door again. She came out beautiful
"Now I am going to be Queen," she said to the bee-people who had
gathered round her.
"Yes," they said. "The old Queen has gone to a new home and left this
one to you. Hail! Queen of the hive!" They bowed before her with
great respect, and walked backwards when they left the room.
Guards and honey-bearers were appointed for her, and maids of honour to
keep her robes in order. So the new Queen entered into her royal state.
"I am going to be married," she said. She flew out of the hive and
rose high in the air, and there she was married to Prince Drone.
"I must be busy," said the Queen, "or there will be no young bees for
Up and down the hive passages she went, placing a little egg in each
bedroom, and leaving it there to be hatched by the warmth of the hive.
Up and down she went till thousands of eggs were laid.
All were busy and happy in the hive and everything went well. Then one
sad day word went round that the Queen was missing. In a moment
everybody left their work and rushed wildly through the hive, looking
for her in every room and buzzing out their fear and sorrow. She was
not in the hive!
Her guards were questioned. They reported that she had gone for a
short flight in the fresh air, saying that she did not need their
attendance. Scouts were sent out in all directions to look for her,
while the bees stood about in groups, too anxious to do anything but
wait for news.
One by one the scouts returned, reporting no success in their search.
Others were sent out, and still others, but they too returned with no
news. Then the buzzing died down to a sorrowful silence, for the
bee-people felt that their Queen was lost. "She must have met with her
death out there," they whispered.
Suddenly a joyful call came from a returning scout; next moment the
Queen came flying in, tired and ruffled and shaking with fear. How her
people crowded about her in their joy! They caressed her, stroked her
trembling wings, and begged her to tell them what had happened.
"I flew rather far from the hive," she said, "and a huge monster called
a boy threw his cap over me and then picked me up in his hand. I would
not sting him as you might have done, so I was helpless. He carried me
round the garden to another boy-monster, and they agreed to pull off my
wings. Think of my terror! I struggled hard to escape, and at last
managed to slip through the clumsy fingers of the monster, and flew
home. Oh dear, it was terrible! I shall never again go out by myself."
"No, you must not," said her people. "We could not bear to lose our
They comforted her, and fed her, and soon the hive was going on again
in its old, happy way.