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Little Bee Sunbeam

by Jakob Streit

Little Bee
Waldorf Publications

Sunbeam

38 Main Street
Chatham, NY 12037
by Jakob Streit

LITTLE BEE SUNBEAM
by

JAKOB STREIT

With Illustrations by Verena Knobel
Translated from German by Nina Kuettel

NY 12037 Title: Little Bee Sunbeam Author: Jakob Streit Translator: Nine Kuettel Illustrator: Verena Knobel Editor: David Mitchell Proofreader: Ann Erwin © 2010 by AWSNA Reprinted 2014 ISBN # 978-1-888365-98-6 German Title: Kleine Biene Sonnen strahl ISBN: 978-3-7725-0688-8 . Printed with support from the Waldorf Curriculum Fund Published by: Waldorf Publications at the Research Institute for Waldorf Education 38 Main Street Chatham.

Table of Contents

The Awakening. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Gate Opens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
The Beehive Is Prepared for Spring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Adventure at the Hazel Bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
A Happy Event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
The Death of Bee Alta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
With the Bee Cradles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
A Glimpse into the World. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Peculiar Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
The House of the Princess. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Many Dangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Discovering the World!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Encounter with People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
The Night in the Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Daytime Comes Early over the Pines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
An Important Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
The Queen Flies Out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Who Will Find a House?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Adventure at the Linden Tree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
A Fine Homecoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

The Awakening

It is Winter. The bee colony rests quietly in its little house,
in deep slumber. In the middle of the colony, the Queen is
sleeping. The loyal servants sleep very close to her. The
guards, who chase the wasps away from the hive entrance
in the Summer, are sleeping. The honeybees and the master
builder bees, who have built from wax the beehive, with its
many thousands of chambers, are sleeping. It is as still inside
as outside, where snowflakes are gently falling.
One day something stirs very close to the Queen. One bee
is awake. Slowly she turns her head and tries to move her
legs. She has little success. She is no doubt still too numbed
from WinterÕs cold. She is Bee Abelia, a faithful servant of the
Queen, who has stirred in the middle of the colony. After a few
attempts, she is successful in stretching out her feelers. Slowly
she feels for the sleeping Queen. Softly she taps the delicate
body with her feelers and mutters to herself, ÒThe Queen must
have honey food. Her body is cool.Ó

7

She goes to a large. She knows that the honey chambers are a fair distance away since. all through the Winter.Ó She crawls over the wings of the next sister bee. half asleep. I am too old and weak. ÒOtherwise. she pauses. She crawls on shaky legs. wake up! Lead the way for me to the honey chambers! Make a passageway for me! The 8 . experienced bee. The sentinel turns her head back and forth and asks. a sentinel. Exhausted. she tries with shaking. They all cling stiffly to one another. the Queen could die of hunger. strong bee. ÒIt has to be. They hold themselves clustered tightly with the other bees. I can no more. ÒI can no more. Each one is stuck to the next. ÒWhat is it? Who is disturbing me? Is it Spring?Ó Abelia answers. But no amount of buffeting or jiggling is any use. It requires much strength to make her way through. If only all my sisters were not sleeping so soundly! I will awaken one. Guard. ÒHey. Abelia tries to make her way to the path to the honey chambers. but it is blocked everywhere by sleeping bees who surround the Queen in order to protect her from the Winter cold. Abelia presses and pushes a path through the sleepers. honey is taken first from nearby chambers and later from those further out toward the edges of the hive.Ó muttered Abelia. But honey she must have. Once more.Ó Abelia is a clever.

ÒYou see. She blazes a trail for both of them.Queen needs food. ÒWhew! How cold it is here at the honey chambers. ÒSoon we will be at the center with the Queen.Ó When the sentinel realizes that the Queen needs honey. and asks. Now they come to the honey chambers. Abelia smells linden flower honey and sucks it in until she is full up. ÒAbelia. you are old and wise. Like sunshine. Abelia gently climbs over her wings. the Queen sucks in a drop of the linden flower honey.Ó Abelia again calls to her. That is what is in our honey.Ó Abelia says. She presses out a drop of honey from her proboscis tongue and passes it to the Queen. 9 . the guard forcefully thrusts and squeezes herself through the sleeping bees. the honey thoroughly warms her royal body.Ó Abelia smiles and explains. Head forward. otherwise our legs will become paralyzed!Ó They turn around. Quickly. as if in thanks. back again to the sleeping folk. it is still quite cold. ÒHave a care. It is melted sunshine. the guard out in front.Ó When they arrive at the Queen. then a second. Abelia presses through behind her. then a third drop. Tell me. and I cannot get there. The guard also gets a few drops for herself. That is why it is warming. Half asleep. Be careful not to bash into her side!Ó The sentinel stops. in Summer the flower cups drink in the warm sunbeams. she is wide awake! ÒLead the way. how is the honey able to warm us? When we take it in. She lifts her wings a tiny bit.

Sonia. but she cannot bring one tone out of herself. A cold breeze blows toward Sonia from the entrance. They are paralyzed. She wants to move her wings.Ó So. which is always slightly open in the Winter so that fresh air can get in. Two black ravens fly without a sound over the field.Ó ÒI will be right back.Ó Abelia replies. After a while she 10 . also known as the flight entrance. Tell me. She wants to raise her leg but cannot. I was awakened. when you grazed past me. She can move her feelers only a little bit. The world is white and asleep. ÒDear sister. donÕt be upset with me that I wonÕt let you sleep. Before. Be careful if you want to look out the entrance. Back by the honey chambers I was nearly frozen from the cold. Has the Winter Dragon bewitched her? She makes an effort to call to Abelia. Sonia scurries to the front toward the hive gate.Ó Sonia says. but she goes straight to it and steps out. She gropes with her feelers to see if Abelia is awake and speaks to her. Sonia feels very odd. is it Spring? May we fly out soon? I would love to go to the landing board and see if it is turning green outside. Òand report to you how it is. something sweeps over her head. It is her young bee sister. The trees extend their bare branches toward the sky. Just as Abelia wishes to go back to sleep. ÒI believe the Winter is not yet over. All at once. The cold Winter Dragon is certainly still lying over the Earth and blowing everything to death.

ÒYou have my gratitude. the gate of Spring will open and then you may fly out into the world!Ó 11 . and her body becomes glass-hard. bit by bit. Now she brushes and rubs the paralyzed body. Inside the hive. Look! Sonia begins to move her feelers and. to the middle of the colony close to the Queen. dear Abelia. where it is warmest.also can no longer move her feelers. ÒYou have freed me from the enchantment of the Winter Dragon. Already the cold wind is affecting AbeliaÕs limbs. ÒIt is still too early! Go to sleep.Ó Abelia gives her a small drop of the sun-honey and says. her front legs too. Sonia! When the little snowbell rings and the crocus blooms. ÒWhere is Sonia? Is she not back yet?Ó She rushes to the entrance and outside to the landing board. There lies her frozen-stiff sister. she grabs the lame Sonia and drags her inside. In a hurry. around and around.Ó Sonia whispers. Abelia is falling asleep. Suddenly. always further. she is startled awake.

ÒSonia. ÒAlta. a soft noise can be felt. the eldest member of the colony is sleeping. Sonia. the wise. old bee. who vibrates her wings and asks. ÒYes. Sonia is awake. Abelia pats AltaÕs forehead with her feelers to awaken her and says.Ó 12 . Do you not feel the low buzz going through our hive? Spring is surely at the door!Ó Abelia listens. See if the white winter grass is gone. steady humming is going through the hive. Alta. ÒHey.Ó Next to Abelia. Do you feel it? Spring is astir in the colony. In the process. a soft. Abelia. what are you throwing yourself around for? DonÕt you have enough room?Ó ÒIÕm sorry. go look out the gate into the world. In a weak voice she whispers. Would you like to waken the Queen?Ó Alta lifts her head slowly and sees Sonia and Abelia in front of her. The Gate Opens Now it is the beginning of March. she bumps her neighbor. Abelia! I am just waking up. She rubs her little head with her front legs and stretches this way and that. and somewhere a sentinel is walking around.

ÒHalt! Nobody goes outside! The Queen has not yet given permission to fly out.Ó Alta and Abelia begin gently stroking the QueenÕs wings to sweep away the winter dust. It appears that Spring will be here soon. No sign of green grass yet. for no one has flown out yet. ÒIt is Alta and Abelia. She wants to know if it is getting green outside. Wise old Alta says to Abelia. the first flights into the cold world are dangerous. who is caressing my wings?Ó she asks quietly. Your Highness. blocking the way. She sleeps in a light dream.Ó ÒLet me only look outside! Alta sent me. The sentinel says the last white winter spots are yielding. Your Highness. Your Highness should say whom you wish to send out. ÒI wonÕt let you! Go and tell Alta that the ground is still covered in patches of white. so she can awaken immediately. Your Highness. but already. and as you know.Ó The guard replies.Ó Sonia returns to Alta right away with the message. a strong guard stands there. there is buzzing throughout the hive. ÒHas Snowbell rung?Ó ÒWe cannot say. ÒOh. your faithful attendants. Sonia crawls to the exit. ÒLet us awaken the Queen! She shall decide if the gate may be opened. have you a command for us?Ó The Queen inquires.Ó 13 .

ÒBee Sonia may go. ÒYour Highness. I have made it through the Winter in good shape. and stretches longingly in the sunshine. If Little Snowbell is open. She is to be the first one to go out into the world as an envoy of the Queen! The year is starting out very well! Abelia gives her a few more warnings: Fly only in the sunshine and avoid all shady places. ÒVery well. ÒNow. Sonia bravely approaches the Queen and beseeches. the sentinel stands before her and demands she stop. bring some nectar back with you as a sign. and it could kill you. muru É . who quietly nods.Ó says the Queen. leftover wheeze of the Winter Dragon. I am young and strong. She buzz- growls. muru. The wind is a 14 . When Sonia comes to the hive gate to hurry outside.Ó Astonished.Ó The Queen peers at Alta. I am not afraid. I didnÕt know. as if blinded.Ó Sonia is so happy she can hardly believe it. ÒMuru. ÒIt is still too early!Ó Sonia steps to the gate. already long awake. I am willing to look for Little Snowbell. So go out!Ó And she mutters to herself. because in every shady place lies a cold. back! Or IÕll bite you in the leg!Ó ÒBut. here you are again. you want to go out into the world. the Queen has charged me to go out in search of the first snowbell. With these words. you cheeky little monster. Get back. and without as much as a by-your-leave. the guard stands there and snarls. She stands still in the light. Guard.

bim .little cool. wasps and hornets!Ó 15 . dear little bell!Ó She falls toward the ground. ÒUp! Get up! Little Snowbell is blooming! Come quickly to help me guard the gate against flies. by the white patches of snow. Already her legs do not want to carry her. Sonia is happy and does not think about any danger. her wings quiver in quick vibrations. The guard at the gate steps up to Sonia and sniffs her frock. Just in time! They catch the air and carry the little bee back to the colony. Whir! There! She is in the air. bim. what is this? Over by the bush she feels: bim. She slips up to the little bell and tickles its insides. but there is no nectar to be found. Oh. then bim. Sonia follows the vibration. She searches and searches with her little tongue until a teeny-tiny drop of nectar is found. looks here and there. Now she is hanging on the green bell stem. a little bell sways in the wind. it tastes good! But the breeze is cold. I will not land on it!Ó But. ÒThat is snow! The Winter Dragon spit it out.. bim . bim.. ÒMuru. she hastens to her sleeping comrades. She gives them a hefty jouncing and cries. under a tree. Sometimes it is still. Will my wings still carry me? she wonders to herself as she begins to vibrate them. With their last strength. and below white patches flash by... Sonia whispers. muru É that is Little Snowbell perfume! Snowbell is ringing! Spring comes! I must go quickly to the guardsÕ hut and wake the others!Ó Overjoyed. It stands in the shade of the tree. ÒMany thanks.

Ó as if blowing on a delicate. Little Snowbell is ringing! Here. The Queen tastes it and says. brave Sonia! You are our messenger of Spring. ÒThere is plenty of time! Those vermin will not venture forth so soon. In the meantime. 16 . The hive shall be improved for the new year!Ó So the Queen hums a soft ÒTu-tu-tu. ÒYour Highness. I will give the sign immediately so that the whole colony wakes. No wasp has ever yet seen a snowbell. The Chief Guard yawns and chuckles. ÒI thank you. I bring you nectar. She is answered by a thousand buzzing voices. Sonia has come to the Queen. The youngest ones rush to the hive gate. The hum travels from house to house throughout the entire beehive: ÒSpring is coming! Little Snowbell is ringing! The white winter grass is gone! The Sun has defeated the Winter Dragon!Ó The cries whir and buzz around wildly Ð a loud buzzing full of happiness and merry anticipation. little silver trumpet. You can wake me when the hazel bushes release their pollen.Ó And the Chief Guard rests her head on her legs and goes back to sleep.Ó Sonia stretches out her proboscis with the tiny drop.

Now it is time to thoroughly clean the hive. her handmaidens bring her honey and pollen cakes. she brings it to 17 . Day after day goes by. The Queen now lays the first eggs. always moving with their Queen as she goes about her work. With half a dozen or so other handmaidens. She requires many hundreds of empty cradles. When the Queen asks for honey. Abelia and Alta attend their Queen. The dead are carried out. And then one of the handmaids makes a terrible mistake. they form a star of caring. The worker bees have also prepared many small chambers where the Queen can lay her eggs. The first pollen and nectar from the crocuses are brought in. the attendant rushes to a little pot already open. When she is hungry. some bees in the colony breathed their last breath. and their lives came to an end. Without checking. The Beehive Is Prepared for Spring During the long Winter. just one egg to a chamber. Some of the worker bees scrub the chambers and the passageways.

dear!Ó exclaims Abelia. She doubles over. ÒI believe we fed the last of it to the young bees last autumn. It might help the Queen. forget-me-not. a big search is underway. We will go see.Ó Sonia looks and looks. Sonia also comes up to them and inquires. Alta advises her.Ó At the honey chambers. but her suffering does not lessen. There is the forest honey. take some of the linden flower honey. The wise bee Alta sadly shakes her head. Meanwhile. But what does that help? It will not make the Queen healthy again. Abelia scolds the careless servant. She is sick and unable to lay any more eggs. there the dandelion. ÒThere is only one thing that can help me Ð thyme honey!Ó ÒOh.Ó The Queen cautiously takes some.the Queen. Alta has brought in a large group of young bees to surround the Queen on all sides to give her 18 . Perhaps there is still some left. Sonia went to get it. sweet woodruff Ð and here. linden flower! She quickly sucks in a few drops and takes them to the Queen. The Queen has barely finished taking some when she feels ill. ÒGo to the honey chambers and look for the linden flower honey. ÒYour Highness. But alas! It is forest honey that has gone sour. ÒCan I do anything?Ó Alta says to her. She softly whispers. But not even one little drop of the thyme honey is to be found anywhere.

I know of a rock at the edge of the forest where thyme blooms almost all year. Finally. Maybe we will get lucky. could I not go to another bee colony and ask them for some thyme honey?Ó Abelia shakes her head. Sonia does not give up her idea. We cannot bring any nectar from it to the Queen. and says. The guards there would surely kill you. She sets herself down on some little tufts of green and sighs. ÒI must do it! I must do it!Ó 19 . ÒThis is thyme. So the two bee sisters pace up and down the rock at the edge of the forest for a while and think. you know that we bees are forbidden to trespass on another hive.Ó The two of them crawl briskly to the exit and fly off toward the forest. They would immediately recognize your scent as different and rush at you as an enemy. Abelia soon locates the large rock.. but it is not yet blooming. Sonia stands still. It will take a miracle Ð maybe the thyme will suddenly bloom.Ó In spite of the danger. ÒDear sister. She keeps repeating to herself. A thought has come to her and she says to Abelia. This cannot be! It is too dangerous. Alta. but she does not know what to do. ÒIf she should die . !Ó Sonia wants to console her.Ó Abelia is totally frustrated. The sorrowful Abelia returns from the search. Let us fly back home.. ÒSonia. look after the Queen! I will fly out with Sonia. ÒThere is not one drop of thyme honey in our hive.warmth.

checking every bee that flies in.Ó Sonia says to Abelia. She will take no food at all. There is no way she can get into the hive unnoticed. the guard comes out of the gate. Now. I am going now Ð you already know where!Ó She is gone before Abelia has a chance to change her mind. ÒI must get in. She sets down at the very edge of the landing board and remains still. When they get back to their hive and report to Alta that the search was in vain. and she knows that visits from strangers are unwelcome. ÒDear sister. ÒWhat do you want here. evening breeze is blowing as Sonia flies to the gate of a neighboring bee colony. She ate some bad honey. She peeks through the entrance to see if the unknown guards are paying attention. I am a ÔferociousÕ Guard!Ó ÒSo listen. she shows her stinger. donÕt be so angry with me!Ó ÒI am not a ÔdearÕ Guard. and blusters. stands before Sonia. Ferocious Guard! Our Queen lies dying. A cool. Sonia retreats a step and says. ÒDear Guard. even if it costs me my life!Ó She takes a few steps forward. Sonia notices the large head of a guard behind the gate. Every so often a bee arrives home late. Alta cries. Suddenly. stranger? You stink. my! Now I donÕt know how it will be with our Queen by morning. I would like to beg your Queen for 20 . ÒOh. Away with you!Ó And with these words.

because she cannot see clearly that Sonia is still on the board. Cries resound: ÒWhat stinks? A wild bee? A robber bee? Kill her!Ó ÒStop!Ó shouts the guard. ÒYou are in luck.help. they are surrounded by a whole crowd of bees.Ó Just as she goes. but the guard is already by her side.Ó Sonia replies softly. ÒI must bring her to the Queen. Come in!Ó She holds Sonia by one wing and leads her inside the gate. ÒI am here. She is hardly able to go meet the guard with her half-lame legs. ÒStay outside! I will go ask our Queen. but she is already much less severe. Please. the first guard is at the gate again. ÒAre you there?Ó she calls out. It is beginning to get dark. With her last strength. The guard thinks she has thrown Sonia over the edge. Finally. She grumbles.Ó 21 . The wild guard has disappeared. Sonia pulls herself back up to the top of the board. Suddenly. but Sonia hangs there by one little leg. go to her and ask if she might help a neighboring Queen who is ill. She lunges angrily at Sonia and pulls her by her wings to the edge of the landing board. It is already cold. fiercer. guard comes out. She has been ordered there.Ó The guard looks at Sonia somewhat suspiciously. a second.

Ó Sonia replies as she rubs one of her wings. The attack-happy bees free up the path. ÒYou are bold to venture into a foreign colony.Ó The Queen replies.Ó ÒI noticed that. little guest. Your Highness. and waves over one of her bees. She nimbly gnaws 22 . She bows her little head and waits for the Queen to question her. ÒYou there. It is too early in the year. Guard. Your Highness. little bee. go along and protect them!Ó With these words. My guards are very strict. the Queen bids farewell to Sonia.Ó So speaks the Queen. You are a brave and loyal servant. Soon Sonia is standing before the foreign Queen. as much as you can carry home. She told us that thyme honey could take away her sickness. but we have not one drop left. but the thyme is not blooming anywhere. lead the stranger to one of the pots of thyme. The old honeybee leads her to the honey chambers. our good Queen is sick. We still have several chambers full of thyme honey. old honeybee. what have you to say to me?Ó ÒOh. A careless servant fed her sour honey. We searched the forest for a long time today. ÒNow. You may have some from us. I come to ask if you might still have some thyme honey you could spare. ÒListen. So. who would give her life for her Queen. We could not help her.

It is cold outside. and the way is not far. But her legs are still pinched firmly in the wood. Oh. my 23 . she can no longer walk enough to get inside the gate. Sonia considers. ÒMust I die outside in the cold night? Poor Queen. Who knows what might happen before morning? You have my gratitude. what a wonderful fragrance! Sonia is allowed to drink in the delicate honey. But she escorts her safely to the gate. for nobody comes through the gate at night. ÒWill you not stay the night with us? It will certainly be dark night outside very soon. The guards have already returned to their little room for the night.Ó The guard makes a long face because the stranger wants to fly out into the darkness. help! ItÕs Sonia! I bring thyme honey!Ó But nobody hears the cry. When she is full. help. dear honeybee. ÒI will try to press out a drop of thyme honey onto the landing board. I cannot help you. Our Queen must have help right away. I am myself miserable and weak.Ó For a moment Sonia considers and then replies. ÒI dare not. and Sonia quickly disappears in the dark. If I should die in the night. her escort asks.Ó Every time the night wind strokes the landing board with a cold breeze. SoniaÕs wings shiver. But even a short flight causes the legs to stiffen. As she sets down on the home landing board. She calls out in a weak voice. ÒGuard.away one of the wax lids.

ÒI will not. ÒThen I will go out myself!Ó Past the guardÕs nose.sisters can bring the little drop to the Queen in the morning. ÒMy heavens! Sonia is lying here. No one is flying around any more. She goes toward it. The guard realizes with amazement what has happened and goes to get some helpers. Bee SoniaÕs voice is now also frozen. They warm and stroke Bee Sonia until she begins to move her head and legs. She thinks. Abelia says to the Night Guard. The foreign guards have surely killed her. As she gets close to the gate. Perhaps it will not be too late. she slips through the gate. Abelia is very nervous. Courageous little Sonia.Ó Abelia heaves herself up. She is saved! 24 .Ó ÒNo. go out to the landing board and see if Bee Sonia has flown in. just this once. ÒSonia!Ó no answer comes back. The Queen is getting weaker. ÒPlease. you meant so well! Nervousness forces Abelia to move through the entire hive. quickly. completely stiff! Quickly.Ó Inside the colony. When Abelia calls out in the night. and Sonia has not yet returned. inside with her into the warmth of the hive!Ó In no time Abelia pulls her paralyzed sister through the gate. Whew! How dark and gloomy it is outside. She is just about to turn around when suddenly she smells the delicate aroma of thyme.Ó grumbles the guard. It is long dark outside.

the Queen summons Bee Sonia. she is as good as new. But Alta admonishes the honey gatherers. and the handmaidens to the Queen announce to all. ÒOh. and the Queen thankfully drinks it in. Sonia tells what happened to her and that her body is still full of thyme honey. What is left over. ÒCome to the Queen. thyme!Ó she whispers and beseechingly sticks out her tongue. ÒBring her your gift!Ó Together they scurry with the others to the middle of the hive. ÒThis Summer we will bring a lot of thyme into the chambers and be careful that we never run out again. she strokes the helperÕs wings. Soon a happy buzzing goes through the colony. Soon the Queen falls into a deep slumber. Sonia squeezes into a little honey pot to save for later. The patient has scarcely smelled the aroma when she stirs. It is high time. She is healthy!Ó In a quiet moment. Sonia dabs out drop after little drop. towards evening. After she hears everything. how she came to get the thyme honey. When they reach the Queen.Ó Abelia urges. Sonia squeezes a drop of the thyme honey out of her proboscis.In a few words. ÒThe Queen is laying eggs again. In the morning the Queen awakens cheerfully! When she has eaten the rest of the thyme honey out of the pot.Ó 25 . She must tell her everything exactly as it happened.

.

Protect yourself from the flycatcher bird with the pointed 27 . Abelia warns her. Tomorrow there will be a lot of sun-flour. Still. The guard reckons. A warm. honey sun-porridge with it. It will make me stronger. In this night the hard hazel buds will spring open and become soft. ÒThe wind is warm and good. Just as she is about to slip through the gate. ÒPay attention! In Spring there are many dangers lurking for us bees.Ó Before Sonia flies out the next day.Ó Sonia is very willing to do that. she is beloved by all. she cannot fly out any more this evening. Since it will soon be dark in the world. Sonia explains her errand. the guard grumbles her reluctance. Adventure at the Hazel Bush Before Sonia takes her leave. Ever since Sonia saved the life of the Queen. and the guard lets her go outside. I will have my handmaidens make a fresh. ÒFly to the hazel bush tomorrow and bring me some sun-flour from the little hazel blossoms. the Queen says to her. she wants to go to the landing board and see about the weather. southern breeze is blowing across the landing board.

ÒGood bumblebee. She thinks. I have plenty.beak. head and stinger. ÒDid you take all of the pollen away from me? Shall we bumblebees be overlooked again? Every time there is something good around. ItÕs a wasted effort. there is a very loud buzzing behind her back. What is that? She turns around. This will make into wonderful sun-porridge for the Queen! In the middle of her work. and swallows them. She grumpily calls out to Sonia. He spies out bees. donÕt gripe and grumble so much. the honeybees are right there and carry everything away!Ó Sonia laughs. A fat bumblebee has settled herself on a hard bud and is trying in vain to get some flour. She flies to a little blossom. DonÕt you see that your bud is not even ripe yet? Come here to mine.Ó Soon Sonia is flying toward the forest near the rocks where she searched in vain a few days before for blooming thyme. She flies to a second. She goes over to the neighboring bud because hazel blossoms always 28 . There is enough for you as well. There is the hazel bush. but no matter how much she crawls around. The tall fibers in the flower are still too hard. ÒOh.Ó The bumblebee is immediately nice and meek. what wonderful gold dust is here!Ó Sonia eagerly brushes some onto her hind legs and knits herself little yellow stockings. no golden flour comes out. hacks them up.

bumblebee. She flies in a zigzag and is able to confuse the catcher somewhat. But tell me. We should be good friends. ÒOur wise bee. like cousins. ÒLook. he doesnÕt want to catch us bumblebees. do you know about the flycatcher bird? Is it also a bumblebee catcher?Ó The bumblebee mumbled. ha. He snaps with his beak and Sonia clearly senses his clacking. The flycatcher bird suddenly holds his head erect. no. ÒOh. Alta. she has a little head start. She is almost home! Then Ð she dives down. ÒDid a bee fly off from the hazel bush just now?Ó Whir. He gets closer and closer to Sonia. told me once that bees and bumblebees are close relatives. just such a flycatcher bird is sitting over there on the rock and eyeing the world.Ó Sonia is alarmed. ha!Ó All of a sudden the bumblebee starts gazing at the large thyme-rock over there.. Sonia says to her.. ÒNo. chasing Sonia. but he stays only a few wing flaps behind her. I must get out of here quickly!Ó She flies away. Fortunately. and he is already in the air. 29 . lands at the gate of the beehive and slips inside. and whispers. fuzzy coat would tickle his throat and scratch inside his tummy. Ha.hang in little pairs. Our thick. The flycatcher has lost and flits away. But flycatchers are fast and have great momentum in the air. whir .

Abelia looks at Sonia in amazement and says. ÒCome with the little stocking. One would have to fly all tilted!Ó Sonia explains how it all happened.Ó says Abelia. ÒLeave me the golden dust. well. strips off one of SoniaÕs little stockings and says. gold porridge mixed with a little dandelion honey and feed it to the Queen. She meets Abelia there. Exhausted. On this day she lays a thousand eggs! 30 . ÒGet to the side! You are blocking the way!Ó Sonia wants to say. shaking. ÒWhat is wrong with you. Sonia stays just inside the gate for a while. It is pollen for the Queen!Ó But the sister is already gone with it. A worker bee comes by.Ó They make a delicate. We will fix the morning porridge for the Queen. that is different. that you are coming home with only one stocking? No worthy bee does that. With only one little stocking. ÒOh. You will set a bad example for the young bees. she limps toward the center of the hive.

she says. It moves its little head and gently flutters its wings. Sonia eagerly begins gnawing at the little wax lid. Now Sonia can see a feeler through the crack. ÒYou come into the world with the first rays of the Sun! So your name shall be Sunbeam. How the little something is crackling and crawling in there in the cradle! Some wax crumbles off the lid. ÒStop! Here at this little chamber! Something inside is scratching. One last push! The little bee slides out. Let 31 . ÒAh!Ó exclaims Sonia. One morning as Abelia is going by such a chamber. Already the head can be glimpsed. soundlessly trembling. A young sister wants to come out. Help her!Ó Sonia goes up to it and very clearly senses how something is rattling and scratching at the little door from inside. the little chambers are closed tightly with wax lids. Just at that moment. A Happy Event After the eggs are laid inside. the rising Sun sends a beam through the hive gate. Young bees will grow from the eggs in the tiny chambers. It stands on its legs.

Sonia stops her. ÒLook here. I have to clean you up a bit. Bee Sunbeam thinks. The Queen laid eggs there yesterday. Bee Sunbeam very delicately buzzes her first bee word. 32 . She can help to warm the chambers where the other young bees are growing. Full of curiosity. Alta. the tongue!Ó Now it clicks. Now Sunbeam must stand around here with the other new bees and act as warming pads. ÒM-mm!Ó which means. how delicious!Ó Just then. ÒStick out your little tongue so you can get some honey! YouÕre standing there like youÕre sleeping. Sonia dabs some honey on it. this bee came into the world with the first sunrays.Ó Sonia brushes off her little sister all over. The little bits of waxy dust donÕt go very well with your beautiful name.me look at you. so I am naming her Bee Sunbeam. and Sunbeam can learn the bee language from them. What could that be? she wonders. ÒTake her up into the hive. to the baby lodgings. ÒNot the stinger! Here in front. she stretches her head forward and sees a white blob lying there below. Alta comes by.Ó Sonia leads Bee Sunbeam to the place. Sonia laughs. There are very many young sisters here.Ó Alta smiles and orders. LetÕs see that little tongue!Ó The little bee presses out the stinger on her behind. ÒOh. I would like to look inside one of the little chambers where no lid has been put on yet.

Soon after Sonia leaves. ÒHow is it going. Today I will give you your first taste of honey. ÒAsk your sisters. I will send the honey auntie to you. me too!Ó cry many little sisters. They will grow. ÒGood. ÒThat is hunger. She has filled her body full of honey. In a slow voice she explains. ÒThe little eggs were laid there by the Queen. and it goes.Ó says Sonia. Is it going ÔRum pum pumÕ for the other sisters too?Ó ÒYes. me too. the plump honey auntie comes waddling in. ÒWhat is that Ð eggs?Ó Abelia calls back to her. And whenever it is 33 . The sisters explain. It is Abelia. dear little sisters. bees magically come out of them. Bee Sunbeam asks. I have other things to do right now. She steps back quickly. She will give you food. ÒWhat are doing down here? You need to be up there warming.Ó And she is gone. not crawling into the chambers and disturbing the eggs!Ó Intimidated. ÔRum pum pum. Only inside my tummy it is rumbling. Suddenly from behind she is vigorously scraped on the arch of her back. little sister?Ó ÒIÕm fine.Ó Bee Sunbeam wants to ask more questions. She is very friendly and dabs some honey onto the little sistersÕ tongues. Sonia appears and talks to her. yes. She scolds. When they are big enough.Õ Ó Sonia laughs. ÒYes.

what is a wasp?Ó The guard begins to narrate. wasps are strong! A few days ago one came by and the guard noticed it too late. But right now there are good days. It makes no effort to search for nectar in the flowers on its own. ÒThe wasp is a bad creature for us bees. It lives outside in the world. We guards must fight against it and even pull out our stingers until we have driven it out. She stops next to Sunbeam and asks. It has yellow and black rings around its body.Ó The young bees are listening. What happened? It snuck 34 .rainy weather outside. you will get honey from me. Often it will come as a robber to our colony and sneak in the door and wait for a moment when it can shoot inside and steal our sweet honey.Ó ÒWhat is that Ð rainy weather?Ó ÒJust wait until youÕre bigger and may fly out. ÒYes. One boldly asks.Ó With these words the honey auntie leaves the young bees. yes. Then you will see. ÒDo you know what a wasp is?Ó ÒNo. ÒSo tell us. Just then a guard swaggers by. She walks straight over the arched backs of the young bees. I came into the world just today. The guard bee wants to take a shortcut from the flight entrance to the guardsÕ quarters.

and went straight away to the honey pots.Ó The guard skulks away quickly. She asks faintheartedly. yes. overran all the bees at the door. Yes. Guard. Yes. It would be better if you would see to it that another wasp or hornet doesnÕt get in here. Let the little ones alone! I have just come from the Queen. donÕt you have anything better to do than scare the young bees with your wasp stories? You are a fat blowhard. ÒWhat? You came into the world as a child of bees and you donÕt even know who our Queen is? This is a scandal! Shame on you! If a wasp comes in here. ÒHey. little bees. she would be dead by now. it should sting you in your foolish head!Ó Sonia overhears these angry words as she comes up to the abusive guard. It sucked nectar into its greedy belly and flew away with what we had stored up from over one thousand flowers.in. and our entire colony would die a slow death. yes. She does not want to be reported to the Queen. Sunbeam stands there very intimidated. ÒWho is that Ð the Queen?Ó The guard throws up her head and glares aghast at Sunbeam. 35 . She speaks to her. if this wasp had found our Queen and stung her. you see how important we guards are!Ó Bee Sunbeam did not really understand everything the guard said. bit some of them. but it must be something terrible if the Queen were to get stung.

ÒHas no one told you about our Queen? I will do it. ÒDear sister. in this world there are many wonderful things.What were those heavy words the guard said to me? Sonia also talks about a Queen.Ó Finally.Ó Sonia gathers the young bees around her and begins the story. the Heavenly Mother. that warms everything and causes it to grow. and I don’t know what that is. We can tell she is our Queen by her special perfume. ÒYou know. the guards are sometimes a little wild and uncouth. ÒThe Queen is the greatest bee in our colony and the mother of us all.Ó Bee Sunbeam pipes up. those who must fight with wasps. She smells good to all of us. When she goes by. Sonia smoothes over SunbeamÕs wings and says. and we smell good to her. It is the Sun. with your bee eyes you can see a bright light that shines on us in a friendly manner. ÒDoes a Queen also have wings and a little tongue like us?Ó Sonia laughs. Bee Sunbeam finds her courage and asks. In every egg that the Queen lays is a little spark of her light. You were all once each a little egg. Once you stand at the door into the world you 36 . But a good guard must be like that. The only other place with a light like this is outside in the world. This gives life to us bees. ÒBut eggs donÕt have wings or legs or little tongues!Ó Sonia answers.

ÒWhat is your name?Ó ÒBee Sunbeam. The Queen!Ó It is AbeliaÕs voice. Oh. everyone. Sunbeam is shaking with excitement.Ó ÒThat is a very good bee answer. ÒYes. yes you are still very young! And you. There are beams that look like a little crown. Sonia directs the little bees to the right and left to make a lane open for the Queen. where there are still some empty chambers. The Queen comes closer. 37 .Ó the Queen praises. and she gives everyone a friendly nod as she goes on her way. A bright light emanates from her. There is a miraculous garden with sunflowers and starflowers and little bellflowers without number. ÒPlaces. Your Highness. She stops right in front of Bee Sunbeam and asks. a beautiful name! Tell me. Very nearby. Your Majesty!Ó She smiles and gives a friendly tap to SunbeamÕs forehead. the Queen backs her body inside and lays an egg in each chamber. places. accompanied by her maidservants. suddenly they hear a cry. Everything becomes still.will be amazed. what is your favorite thing?Ó ÒThe work. Bee Sunbeam. all the things that live and fly and crawl!Ó As Sonia is talking. Sonia. what is your favorite thing here in our beehive?Ó ÒEating honey. Your Majesty!Ó ÒAh.

ÒEvery day now you may help more and more in the beehive and be industrious. ÒOh. along with all of us.Ó Sonia says.Ó 38 . how beautiful and nice is our Queen! I want to live just for her!Ó ÒYou may do that. That makes our Queen happy. Bee Sunbeam watches silently. Then she says very softly to her sisters.

The Death of Bee Alta

The next day, as Sunbeam is cleaning out a chamber, the
honey auntie comes by and calls the youngest bees to her,
ÒCome here, come here. I bring honey porridge!Ó
Immediately they are pressing in from all sides, and the
good honey auntie is squashed so tight that a big drop of
honey is squeezed off her tongue, falls down into one of the
chambers, and lands on an egg. While the other bees are
getting their honey, Sunbeam slips down to the fallen drop.
She gently sucks it up with her little tongue without damaging
the small, delicate egg. When she backs out of the little
chamber, the other bees are already gone. Honey auntie has
given everything away and has disappeared.
But who is that painstakingly coming this way, pulling her
body along the floor? It is Alta. Bee Sunbeam steps up to her
and asks, ÒCan I help you? Have you hurt yourself so that you
almost cannot go any more?Ó
ÒNo,Ó Alta smiles, ÒI am old and want to go now to die.Ó
ÒWhat is that Ð die? Are you stung by a wasp?Ó

39

Sunbeam is not able to ask any more questions because at
that moment Sonia comes and stands before Alta, ÒWill your
legs not carry you any more?Ó
ÒNo, they have done it long enough. Now I want to go and
die. Sonia, accompany me over to the dark lane of the hive. I
will wait for death there. I donÕt feel like flying out any more
so that I can die outside by the flowers.Ó
Sonia beckons to Sunbeam. Together they carry the good,
old Alta back to the part of the hive where it is very dark. She
is light to carry because she has not eaten anything for three
days. Sonia whispers softly to Sunbeam, ÒYou stay here with
Alta. Call me when her soul has breathed out!Ó
Bee Sunbeam waits silently by Alta. It looks as if she is
sleeping. Sunbeam does not know that the old bee is now
dreaming of flower stars and sunshine. All at once a little light
glows over her, and then it is gone. Alta has lowered her head
and lays gently on her side. She remains motionless.
Bee Sunbeam calls to Sonia. The two bee sisters carry
AltaÕs body through the lane to the exit. The guards make way
for them.
The evening Sun is still shining outside. They both fly out
to the meadow with their dead sister where they lay the stiff
body between flowers and green leaves, close to Mother Earth.
ÒWhere has her life spark gone?Ó asks Sunbeam.

40

Sonia replies, ÒI believe it has gone to Bee Heaven. And,
from there, new little sparks are coming all the time and slip
into the tiny bee eggs, giving them life.Ó
When Sunbeam returns to the young bees, some of them
whisper to her, ÒAbelia was here. Tomorrow we will learn
something new. We are going to feed the white, little worms
which have come out of the eggs in their cradles.Ó

41

They are very chipper and all gather around the wise mistress. Dilute it with water that you will get from the water carriers. ÒStarting today you will be given a new duty. See. here. Hey. Bee Sunbeam labors to mix the pollen and honey into porridge. She explains. Every day you shall feed the white larvae that slip out of the QueenÕs eggs. not the thick. ÒFor the older larvae. a water carrier is coming. you mix in some pollen. so she brings a sample of her sticky porridge to Abelia. Get to work! I will stay with you until I see that everything is going well. Abelia shakes her head. that are already a little weightier. ÒYou forgot to put in the water. Oh. you give them sweet honey juice. pour some water into this beeÕs thick mush!Ó 42 . sticky honey. how thick and rubbery it is! She can tell that no little worm can eat that.Ó The young bees enthusiastically give themselves over to the work of feeding. First. water carrier. With the Bee Cradles Early morning of the next day Abelia comes to the young bees.

she does not even notice that the Queen with all her entourage has arrived and is watching the feeder bees.Ó The Queen is already on her way again. I will think of you. yes. The water carrier presses two fat water drops out of her proboscis into the porridge. But Bee Sunbeam is so in awe that she forgets to stir the porridge for a little while. She has remained my young friend.Ó The Queen says. How did you come by your beautiful name?Ó ÒThat I can tell you. ÒYour name would go well as a servant of the Queen. ÒI. In her eagerness. The first morning rays were shining through the flight entrance into our hive just as she hatched. myself. little porridge mixer?Ó ÒBee Sunbeam is my name. as she is feeding it to a little worm. the QueenÕs words are going through her mind: When you are bigger. ÒWhat is your name.Ó ÒAh. named her that. Bee Sunbeam is startled and turns around when a voice speaks to her from behind. Your Highness.Ó Sonia interrupts. and Bee Sunbeam stirs it until it thins. When you are bigger. Later. I will think of you! 43 . you are the bee whose favorite thing in the world is eating honey.

A Glimpse into the World Around midday Bee Sunbeam tarries near the flight entrance so she can breathe in some of the perfume of the meadow that is wafting in through the hive entrance. The guard does not hold her back. fly the air game. ÒCome. It rings and sings golden through her wings. I am to take you out onto the landing board and. You may only fly up and down in front of the entrance and not out into the world. but she does call after her in a warning tone. Would you like to come with me?Ó ÒI would like that very much!Ó Bee Sunbeam is well behaved and walks next to Sonia past the guard. I must still wait many days before I may fly out!Ó Just then Sonia touches her from the side and says. ÒDonÕt fly away from the gate!Ó As they both walk outside. She is already 44 . She spreads her wings and hums along with the sun tones that all the bees here outside are singing. little friend! Now you are eight days old. there. Pay attention. That is allowed only on the twentieth day. ÒOh. Bee Sunbeam is totally blinded by the powerful light.

.

Wait! I am going to scratch your face!Ó With these words. and finally lands on a flower. and in one breath sweeps Sunbeam away from the hive gate and far. the ant lunges toward the little bee and throws her from the bloom down into the green grass. ÒGet off my flower! I am getting the nectar. Bee SunbeamÕs head is buzzing. hee. a big. Sunbeam is somersaulted seven times in the air turbulence. loses all sense of direction. far out into the field. ÒOuch. but the words stick in her throat 46 .Ó Bee Sunbeam wants to explain that someone just threw her down from a flower. bent legs like grass stems and huge. hee! What are you looking for here in the grass? You belong on the flowers and we. the grasshoppers. ÒHee. As she is checking to see that she still has all six legs and her wings. On one leaf she notices a green insect that has long. There! What is that? A strong gust of wind comes blowing in. it speaks in a bleating voice. It gawks and stares at the little bee as if she has fallen from the clouds. long feelers.floating up and down in the bright. brown ant stands boldly in front of her and threatens. warm light. what was that for a scratcher? He is worse than our guards!Ó She looks around to see if there are any more such fellows here in the grass. on the green grass. Sonia remains standing on the board and watches her happy sister. It is a grasshopper. Finally.

ÒHopp. you . Bee Sunbeam quickly slips inside. Timidly. Other bee sisters are flying past her on their way home from nectar runs. The wind has carried me off. The black snail grins and puts out a gooey slime. She sees the grasshopper already hopping away with powerful jumps. and flies after her sisters. Sonia is no longer on the landing board. But I donÕt know how I shall find our hive gate again. !Ó 47 . Hopp.. ÒI have to hurry or IÕll be left behind!Ó She lifts her wings.Ó ÒA-a-sk Hopp. The guard growls and buzzes at her and wants to pick at her wings.. she asks. you meadow escapee. thatÕs me! The fast grasshopper. ÒAre you bad. He can sho-o-ow you. ÒThank you.Ó ÒWho is Hopp?Ó The grasshopper sits up straight and chirps. ÒGo home. word for word. You are still too young for the world!Ó ÒGo home Ð thatÕs what I want to do. be-e-ee. whirs in the air. that you have so many horns? Are you the meadow devil?Ó The grasshopper laughs and croaks so that the grass stems shiver.Ó Sunbeam tries to free herself from the grass.when she notices a black snail with four horns very close to her. ÒYou runaway. I know the meadows far and wide. Follow me! I will show you the way back to the beehive. Hopp!Ó she calls to the grasshopper. and soon has caught up with her guide. Then it speaks slowly. In no time she is back at the hive gate.

ÒBut. ÒBe glad that you didnÕt meet a hornet or a flycatcher bird! You would have never come back. Sunbeam looks for Sonia and tells her everything that happened and shows her where the ant scratched her face. Guard. Sonia is happy that the little one found her way back. and says. Sunbeam flits past her into the hive and leaves the guard standing there. He carried me away.Ó With these words. praises the grasshopper Hopp. please be nice! You should be angry with the wind.Ó 48 .

She is able to do it without too much effort. Abelia comes to Sunbeam and directs. tip. ÒNot so hard! You almost pushed right through the chamber floor.. tip Ð boom . ouch! She presses too hard and her head goes awry. Abelia walks ahead to the flour chamber. Abelia laughs. Be careful that you donÕt tear off a leg along with the stockings. Look. Bee Sunbeam tries the same from the other leg.Ó Bee Sunbeam wiggles her head and puts it right again. Abelia waves her over. ouch. and packs it in tight É tip. ÒToday you will perform a new duty. You must strip off the pollen from the yellow stockings of the pollen gatherers when they get home and fill up the chambers with it. Sunbeam imitates her É tip. 49 . tip. With her front legs Abelia grasps the little yellow ball that clings to the back legs like a stocking and gently strips it off. Peculiar Work In the morning of the ninth day.Ó Just then a pollen gatherer comes in the flight entrance. throws the little ball inside.. I will show you how it is done. with her head onto the floor of the chamber.

The next gatherer brings only small stockings that are light yellow in color and have a delicate perfume. She asks.Ó she explains.Ó This time Bee Sunbeam pays close attention when she is pressing the pollen into the chamber so that she does not get a crooked head again. ÒPrimrose. The smell of the sunshine flour will tell you what kind of flower has worn it. If ever you are not sure. ÒI would like to get to know them! They smell so good. just ask the pollen carriers where they have been and what they have brought. Bee Sunbeam inquires. ÒAre there also black flowers? Or are your stockings dirty?Ó ÒTulip flour is dark. Just at that moment a pollen gatherer comes up with thick stockings on. ÒFrom what flower is this?Ó ÒDandelion. But.Ó the gatherer pronounces proudly.Ó says Sunbeam.Ó With these words Abelia takes her leave.Ó says Abelia. ÒThere is one other thing that you must bear in mind.Ó ÒWhat does its bloom look like?Ó ÒYellow and pretty like a little Sun. ÒYou may fill up each chamber only with the pollen from the same kind of plant. Sunbeam helps her scrape them off. what is this? Here comes a gatherer wearing little stockings that are almost black. ÒHow do tulips look?Ó 50 .

They hold dark flour. One bee brings only a tiny. and Bee Sunbeam devoutly carries the dark tulip pollen to a new chamber. There is enough room inside for many bees. We have to dive down deep.Ó 51 . Each kind goes in its own little pot. ÒThey are giant cups that are fire-red. she nods contentedly and tells Sunbeam. ÒYou have done your work well. What is it?Ó ÒIt comes from the forest. Tomorrow and for the next few days. They all claim that it is nectar from a single tree that has as many blossoms as the beehive has bees. Sunbeam sucks the nectar from the proboscis tongues of the gatherers and fills the honey chambers. from the white starflower of sweet woodruff. There is much to do. the sisters bring in only linden flower nectar. ÒThat is very little you are bringing! And it smells so strange. In the evening the tulips close up their petals.Ó The next morning many bees are flying out. Is she lazy? Bee Sunbeam remarks. At first and for a while. In the evening. or yellow or violet. little drop. The black containers stand on the inside. you may take the nectar from the nectar gatherers and fill the chambers with it. It was really nice to sleep the night in a tulip!Ó The tulip gatherer is silent. It was lovely how the evening wind rocked me to sleep. as Abelia comes to the pollen chambers. One time I spent the night in such a chalice because I was too tired to fly home.

ÒThe forest bee revealed to me that you love it above all else. ÒNo. She looks a little tired because she has already laid many eggs on this morning. It shines white over the dark green moss. They stand next to each other and rock and rustle in the wind. surrounded by her handmaidens. Bee Sunbeam? It is good that I see you.Ó replied Sunbeam. how lovely! Is this not sweet woodruff honey.Ó ÒI will gladly do that. The Queen has barely tasted it when a smile comes over her face. when I gave her some. ÒWhat is that Ð forest? Is it a tree?Ó Sunbeam asks. Together with Sonia. the forest is a colony of trees. ÒOh. but our Queen especially loves sweet woodruff honey. you shall begin a new task tomorrow. Strange plants and forest flowers grow by their roots. you shall build the cradle for a princess. She whispers quietly. The forest bee gives over the sweet woodruff nectar onto her little tongue. After a short search Sunbeam locates the Queen laying eggs. Listen. Its nectar drops are tiny. is it you. The sweet woodruff is such a delicate starflower. please!Ó Bee Sunbeam hurries up to her and passes on the sweet woodruff honey. Once. then bring her some of this honey. ÒSome honey. my favorite food?Ó ÒYes.Ó says Sunbeam. When it is ready I will lay 52 . If you want to do her a special favor. it is. she stroked me.Ó ÒAh.

She knows all about it. The handmaidens also hear these words. Let me know as soon as you are finished with the cradle.Ó Sunbeam laments.Ó The Queen gives Sunbeam a friendly stroke over her wings and goes on. Sonia remains behind.Ó 53 . and IÕm supposed to build for royalty!Ó ÒLetÕs go to Abelia. It is time that I raise a princess who can become Queen after me. they whisper excitedly among themselves about the good news. She will advise us. ÒI cannot even make wax. hurries to Bee Sunbeam and says. If you both need to know something about the construction.a Queen egg. ask Abelia. As they follow after the Queen. ÒWe have been given a wonderful but difficult job.

she sinks her head as if trying to recollect something. They hurry to eat some honey. Go to the wax bees. They will sweat for you. ÒGive us wax! Give us wax!Ó But the wax makers grumble. ÒThat would take too long.Ó ÒWhat do you mean?! We must have wax for a princess chamber!Ó Sonia shouts excitedly. You can wait! There is very little to build right now. ÒWe are resting just now. nuzzled up 54 .Ó Abelia replies. Work carefully so that no crack appears in the wall!Ó Bee Sunbeam asks. The House of the Princess When the old bee Abelia finds out what kind of news the Queen has announced. and you build with it. Woo-hoo! Now the wax bees get some speedy legs. Build the chamber big enough for a grown Queen to have room inside. ÒThe chamber for the Princess must hang vertically. The entrance will be at the bottom. Then she explains. from top to bottom. ÒShall we sweat out all the wax ourselves?Ó ÒNo. and soon they are hanging.Ó Sonia and Sunbeam hurry to the wax makers.

That will be put on later. in a long chain. It shall produce a beautiful princess. She goes around the chamber. she sees a tender. But nobody is allowed inside except the two attendants. she says. As she gets inside the cradle chamber. They will sit around the princess chamber and warm it with their bodies. She pours some of the honey cautiously onto the silky-fine egg and then leaves the chamber. after the egg has been laid and cared for. ÒTake good care of this egg. checking it. In the meantime. 55 . Sonia brings a group of younger bees. When she comes out again. whitish shimmer shining from the egg.Ó Bee Sunbeam chooses some rubbery pine honey. because she has found no mistakes. She arranges herself gently in the chamber and lays the egg. She nods. After two days everything is finished except the little door. In a short time they are sweating out little disks of wax from between the rings on their abdomens. Abelia comes by once in a while to look and offer advice. Now the Queen is brought. Carriers bring them quickly to Sonia and Sunbeam. ÒGo and get some sticky honey! The egg must be glued so that it doesnÕt fall down.Ó Abelia is the first to slip into the chamber to check the position of the egg. satisfied.together. She is allowed to go inside herself and fasten the egg. Construction of the chamber can now begin. She comes out again quickly and commands Sunbeam.

ÒIsnÕt tomorrow your twentieth-day birthday? You may fly out into the world for the first time.Ó Sonia and Sunbeam build the door and glue it to the chamber so tightly that not even a dust particle can get in. hesitantly. Then the day comes when Abelia orders.Ó 56 . little worm. Only then will we open it. Suddenly. That is what Abelia ordered. ÒWhen the time comes. attendants observe how a young life is stirring inside the egg. we will open it.Ó replies Abelia. The miracle of transformation into a Queen Bee can happen only in hidden silence. Sunbeam asks. It sucks in a lot of honey.Ó ÒWhen will it be time?Ó ÒAfter as many days as are necessary for the transformation. Then I will give you good advice for your flight.Ó So spoke the wise Bee Abelia. This evening I will come here again to the Princess chamber. usually sixteen days. ÒWonÕt the young Queen suffocate if we glue it so tightly?Ó ÒNo. Day after day. white. After a few days it becomes a larva. she turns to Bee Sunbeam and says. ÒToday the chamber must be sealed with a wax door! The larva is big enough. Then the young Queen will stir and start to scratch on the little door from the inside. like a thick.

she crawls up to Sunbeam. ÒRemember. that the world is full of dangers. She wants to learn much from Abelia about the world she will be allowed to fly into tomorrow. who has been long awaiting her at the princess chamber. ÒOften. then you must crawl inside a flower cup and cling tightly with your feet until you can fly again. Drops of water fall from the sky and make everything wet. then crawl into a dry little place. but not for us bees. Sunbeam is curious. 57 . But if you are in the forest. Do not fly out if there is a strong wind! But if you are in a meadow and a stormy wind blows in. When there is rain. Abelia begins telling her. It is not always sunny and nice. Bee Sunbeam. Many Dangers That same evening as Abelia is finishing her rounds through the colony. You have already experienced how the whirlwind can come wailing by and carry you away. It is good for the plants. fly home as fast as you can. They begin as soon as you come to the flight entrance. dark clouds will come and bring rain.

Do not fly over it. ÒBut why was I given a stinger? CanÕt I sting the bee picker and the hornet and drive them away?Ó Abelia chuckles and explains. you will fall into the water and will miserably drown. then fly back and forth in a zigzag motion. One single hailstone can strike you dead. Luckily. If ever a hornet is following you. but many times larger. ÒNow. two strong giants. and rumbling. the Hail Giant seldom gets into a rage. That is a lake. That is Thunder and Lightning. ÒDo not be frightened if there are powerful noises coming from the sky. there is one thing that is a bee eater Ð that is the hornet. ÒIt is not that easy. They donÕt like that because they are heavy and cannot turn easily. They are horribly loud. but they will cause you no harm. and before you are able to sting them. It is a powerful. They are much stronger than a bee. There are also some birds that are bee pickers. and fire blazing down. because our bee stinger comes 58 . That is Hail. If you become tired and want to rest. flying insect with yellow rings like a wasp. you have been swallowed. Protect yourself from them!Ó Bee Sunbeam asks. and destroys the blooming meadow. He tears up flowers and leaves. Your stinger should be used only in times of mortal danger. There is only one mean enemy who can throw white stones at you from the sky. ÒIt may be that you will come to a large body of water in which the sky is mirrored.

Only one or two days a year is he a little bad. The guards went out to sting him.Ó Sunbeam asks. Do not go near them. Then he takes away a lot of honey from us. He cares for us bees.with another kind of barb. he puts sweet water into our colony and covers our hive with warm pillows. there are also good people. pay careful attention. with smoke coming out of it. The best human is the beekeeper. and go around like that. They are called humans. ÒYes. There are some who swat at bees when they fly near to them. and we cannot get any more nectar. and it stinks frightfully. They save bees from drowning. In Autumn. Many times they hack at wood for hours and break it into small pieces. He often carries a stem in his mouth. Maybe he has to feed his little children with it. Do not get close to them. He cried out loudly and ran away. and will rip the life from your body. It stays stuck where it is. He built us this house. There are very large people in the world. The young ones sit on top of wheels and turn them with their legs. He never came back. they do strange things. Small humans often have sticks in their hands. ÒAnd now. when all the flowers are wilting. these humans. ÒDo all humans have sticks? Are all humans mean?Ó ÒNo. One time such a little person poked a stick into our flight entrance and injured a few sisters. Still others 59 .

and only a few hit us when we fly too close to them. Still. they jump into the water and act as if they are fish. most of them are good to us. It is hard for us to understand these human people.Ó On this evening. I wish you a good trip into the wide. They live in large houses and often let their stink out through little towers in the roof.drive in colorful boxes on the roads and stink up the meadows. She thinks about all of the curious things that Abelia has told her. What all will she experience in the world? 60 . beautiful world. When it is hot in Summer. Why they do this is not known by us bees. Bee Sunbeam. ÒLet us go to sleep! For tomorrow.Ó Abelia interrupts her story. Bee Sunbeam lies long awake and cannot fall asleep. ÒIt is late.

the guard jests. It is a clear. There is no wind to blow her away. Sunbeam scuttles toward the flight entrance. Just as she wants to go out the gate. it is cold. cold morning. and above. Warm sunshine quickly spreads over the world. ÒItÕs too early! Do you want to stiffen out there?Ó Bee Sunbeam is already on the landing board.Ó An hour later the Sun has come up. She circles over flowering meadows. But the bees are shivering in the cool breeze. before dawn. The guard is right. but now I know how beautiful it is before daybreak. On the landing board. blue flower stars! 61 . Oh. a guard next to her grumbles. But many birds are singing. when almost all the other bees are still asleep. The flowers open their blossoms. As she returns inside. little yellow suns. this perfume! Here below. Discovering the World! Early. Yes. Bright morning sunshine makes the sky very blue. ÒDid you find a lot of nectar?Ó ÒNo nectar. Bee Sunbeam happily spreads her wings.

She sets down on a large blue flower at the edge of the forest. ooh! I would much rather eat a little beetle. She wallows around in the soft blossom bed and becomes golden herself from the pollen. little bee! My name is Mrs. She knits her first little pair of stockings. Fine nectar is to be had here! A heavy bumblebee flies close by. This must be a black meat-eater. ÒI am making beautiful music. Ooh. chirpz. What is this? Someone is calling from below in the grass. you droning buzzy bee!Ó ÒWould you like some pollen to still your hunger?Ó asks Sunbeam. chirpz!Ó Sunbeam asks. ÒGood day. ÒAre you in pain. Bumblebee. She flies off to take the first load of pollen back to the bee colony. he might try to eat me. I donÕt eat such yucky stuff. ÒChirpz.Ó 62 . It is golden and soft. she plunges into a brilliant dandelion sun. No sooner has Sunbeam stripped off the pollen than she flies out again into the world. She gets back on her feet and begins to brush the pollen onto her back legs. The cricket laughs very loudly.Ó Phooey! thinks Sunbeam. Who knows. I had better move on. that you screech so? Or are you hungry?Ó ÒWhat screech?Ó replies the cricket. ooh. She greets her cheerfully. ÒNo. ÒWhere shall I go? Where shall I drink and immerse myself in color?Ó Suddenly.

Shocked. As Bee Sunbeam is flying up. oh terror! In front.Ó Buzz. She holds on tight with her front legs. fuzzy hair. a very dear bird. I live in a tree and have a nest there with bumblebee eggs. honeybees are always afraid of the snapper. ÒThat is a swallow. ÒGood day.Ó As they are talking. yes. Bumblebee flies away. All at once. and pulls Sunbeam with it out onto the water. she sets herself on the bank and listens to the murmuring and splashing. When they hatch. She scurries onto a stem that reaches out over the water like a little bridge. Curious. She thinks about AbeliaÕs warning: Be careful at the brook! But this water flows so peacefully that she can surely chance getting a little closer.Ó Mrs. buzz . Yes. Mrs. we will be a little family. Do you see my long hair? No bird wants to swallow this pelt.. Too large a colony of bumblebees would be forever tickling each other with our long. she can sense a little brook bubbling close by. but he does nothing to us bumblebees. the stem sinks a little deeper. ÒThe bee snapper bird!Ó ÒNo. but her back legs and wings are deep under water. Bumblebee! Do you also have a Queen in your colony?Ó ÒI have no colony. Bumblebee explains. something swishes in the air.. The little brook rises 63 . Mrs. There is no such thing as a bumblebee snapper. Bee Sunbeam cries. is torn away.

ÒOh. Oh my. no. and she sinks ever lower. she flies back toward the forest. ÒI am saved!Ó But her legs and wings are still shaking. ÒI would like to get some sweet woodruff nectar!Ó The fine. and Sunbeam is able to climb out of the water. She has never been so afraid. there is an intense whirring in the air. The Sun is warm and drying. Bee Sunbeam flits from one to the other and sucks in the juice. She has a peculiar odor. When she is sitting on a leaf. I will drown!Ó Further downstream. she puffs. She cleans and combs her wings back in place.Ó Just as the stranger speaks. Sunbeam hurriedly lifts into the air. My little tummy is full. Sunbeam asks in a friendly way. The bee snapper got her in one glide. another honeybee sits next to her on the same blossom. ÒHome to the colony! 64 . Finally. a bushy branch protrudes from the water. it is hard to breathe. Bee Sunbeam clings to the flower. tossing Sunbeam up and down. Suddenly. the sister bee is gone. our landing board is yellow. ÒDear sister. you are not also from the colony with the blue landing board. I am lost! If I lose hold of the stem. The stem is caught in it. Already. where I am from?Ó ÒNo.and falls. Frightened. familiar aroma of the white starflowers wafts up between the pines. I will fly back right away.

The guards gaze after her in astonishment.Home to the colony!Ó She looks behind her. Tomorrow I will fly out with you into the world. ÒWhat is wrong with you? Are you sick?Ó Finally Sunbeam calms down a little. Sonia says. the world is beautiful. Inside. dear sister. it is soon evening. and she tells Sonia what she has just been through in the forest. DonÕt fly out any more today. she is over the blue landing board and shoots inside through the gate. but there are many dangers. Sonia comes up to her and asks. ÒYes. Is the snapper following her? Finally. Listen.Ó 65 . Bee Sunbeam stands by the honey chambers and shakes over her whole body.

sister. we will take the nectar home. ÒAha. All at once. Come. With her dance she is showing us the way. She buzzes with her wings. scurries left. Sonia cries. we will fly with her. But first.Ó A large group flies with the dancer to a huge linden tree near the forest. ÒDo you see there behind the big. It is very fine nectar. A sweet perfume floats toward them. An excited bee comes up to them and dances around. Encounter with People On a Summer day. They think about whether they want to fly to the meadow or the forest.Ó says Sonia. Sonia and Sunbeam get ready for their flight into the world together. She has already been outside.Ó 66 . scurries right. Come. and turns around in a circle. ÒThat is the linden flower dance. Bee Sunbeam always stays close to Sonia. brown spot in the meadow? That is a human house. we will follow the dancer. They go from bloom to bloom. You can get to know about people there. She has found a tree with a lot of linden flower nectar.

where nobody will see him. but the nectar harvest is calling. ÒOh. As they return to the tree for the third time. They go back to the linden tree. Maybe the person will suck out the linden flower honey at home. Bee Sunbeam is startled at the size of the person. and the man is walking toward the house. It is no wonder that the sisters lose each other.Ó Sunbeam asks. Two long boards are stuck in the ground and rise into the branches. Look at how someone is picking flowers and putting them in a bag. the long boards are gone. Bee Sunbeam notices that something is different about the tree. and puts them into a bag. With their bodies full of nectar. There are many thousands of bees buzzing in the tree. but then she whispers to Sonia.Ó All at once the hand pushes a large branch to the side. Sonia whispers. That is a human hand. Sonia also does not know what it is. As the sisters fly to the first bloom in the branches. and bees are always hard-working when the weather is nice. the sisters return to the hive and fill up the honey chambers. picks the linden blossoms. what a poor man! Did someone pinch off his wings? Or does he not even have any?Ó The bee sisters would like to watch longer. ÒOh!Ó 67 . ÒWill the hand eat the flowers?Ó ÒI donÕt know. They can see the whole person! He stands on a ladder. ÒI believe there is a human person up the tree.

I want to go look at the people house. oh! A bee!Ó He puts his little boat under her and maneuvers her onto it. She nimbly climbs onto the sail of the little boat. He also has only two legs!Ó A bluish smoke rises from the roof of the human house. The little human child waves after her. ÒOh. Water flows from a pipe down into a little lake. shakes the water from her wings. Luckily.Sunbeam exclaims. She sets down on a water pump in front of the house. ÒI would like a nip of water once more!Ó She flies to the edge of the lake and drinks. Bee Sunbeam becomes afraid of this roaring person with the large eyes and the long hair. she flies back past the linden tree and goes over to the people house. But she cannot fly with wet wings. cheering her on. I will make a few more nectar runs. After Sunbeam has brought home nectar for the seventh time. But before it is night. Bee Sunbeam thinks. Oh. A wave splashes up. The human child cries. holding up one finger. no! Sunbeam is flogging around in the water and is driven away from the edge. Then a large person in a long dress comes out of the house and yells at the little one in a high voice. Suddenly the little boy hits the water with his hand. The little man cries out loud perplexing words while letting the bee go for a boat ride. ÒHe is really a poor man. and flies away. 68 . A young person stands by it and pulls a string attached to a little boat so that it sails on the water. he does not have a stick. Sunbeam feels thirsty.

.

In the evening. and says. ÒI saw people at their house. The big ones are like monsters. The little one was nice and funny. Sunbeam meets Sonia. I like the little ones. The big one was wild and yelled.Ó 70 .

The night could surprise you. Bee Sunbeam dives between dark pines down into the forest interior. She wants to fly to the forest once more. The Sun has just gone down.Ó She answers her. so stay here! Look. they will eat you up. Bee Sunbeam crawls through the gate onto the landing board outside. the last nectar gatherers return home. It is too late. I know a little place where the sweet woodruff is giving a rich amount of nectar today. I will be back soon. ÒDear Guard. IÕll be right back. buzzes away. A small moth is sitting on a flower next to her.Ó She lifts her wings. After she has sucked in the nectar from the first sweet woodruff blossom.Ó 71 . The Night in the Forest One evening in July. tomorrow the blooms will be washed empty. ÒWhat is with you? All of your sisters have flown home! Do you want to spend the night in the forest? Protect yourself from the large forest ants. ÒIt will be dark soon. He says to the bee in amazement. If you have nectar in your body. A guard approaches her and warns. and leaves the guard grumbling behind her. If it rains tonight. she feels how cold it has become.

a shiver goes through her body. She wants to lift her wings and fly on to the next flower. My wings donÕt want to fly any more! What should I do?Ó The moth replies. But.Ó The moth flies away. I tell you once again. What is this? They wonÕt perform their duty.Ó So Bee Sunbeam crawls down the stem of the sweet woodruff to the ground below. just then. I will climb up there.Ó Now poor Bee Sunbeam sits alone on the sweet woodruff flower with her great fear. A little further on are some high ferns. I will look for a hiding place on a green leaf. I will hold fast to the underside of the leaf. just like the moth advised me. ÒOh. ÒNow you will have to stay the night in the forest. her wings unable to move. every tree. eating pincers and grab me. Pay attention! They climb on every flower. ÒI will fly away from the ant!Ó But. Good night. 72 . ÒHelp me. no! The cold has paralyzed my wings!Ó In fear. ÒGood night. be careful of the forest ants! They eat bees and butterflies. She considers. The forest ants would come with their big. Fortunately. The best thing to do is go under a large leaf of a plant that has no blossoms. ÒStaying up here will not work. and have delicate feelers to sense everything sweet. The breeze blows so cold in the pine forest. No ant will look for nectar in a fern. she is still able to move her legs. little bee! The cold doesnÕt hurt me. dear moth. dear moth. she pleads. she thinks. Sunbeam wants to reply.

.

Ó Little Bee Sunbeam asks. In front of her. He notices the bee. ÒDonÕt be afraid! I am a glowworm.Ó ÒOh.Ó The glowworm looks around for a moment. Sunbeam breathes a sigh of relief. I will go and get a few ant soldiers. can you help me when the ants come? They are after me because I am sweet. Do I have to use my stinger now? A delicate voice whispers. His pincers tremble. I will stay below on the stem and try to head off the ants when they come. ÒDo you also leave the ant alone?Ó ÒYes. The ant disappears behind the rock. How startled she is to see another creature moving on a plant next to her. and nobody hurts me. Glowworm. The head of a forest ant appears from behind a rock. and then he advises. When it is very dark. He thinks. ÒCome. Now she is down the stem and lands on a dry leaf on the ground. green plant. I donÕt hurt anyone. The bee is a little too large for me alone. He feels around in the air with his feelers as if he is searching for something. Crawl up here onto this high.Ó 74 . she senses a hurried scuttling. She does not suspect what evil the ant has in mind. And they shy away from my light and avoid me. That way we can better tear her to bits and carry her home. She crawls further up the fern. Bee Sunbeam wonders. But hook your feet tightly into the leaf so that you donÕt fall down in your sleep. You can hide yourself up there under the leaves. bee. I will shine.

ÒWhatÕs this? Bee gone! Look. look! She canÕt have gone far!Ó Some of them disappear under the dry leaves. Glowworm. and flowers. Get out! I want to go up this green plant!Ó Sunbeam hears everything that is going on below her. Now I am lost! Farewell. ÒZzurr. zzurr! SheÕs not here. dear Abelia. ÒIÕm looking for the honeybee that didnÕt fly home. How happy is Bee Sunbeam. soldiers. Zzurr. She has hidden herself. zzurr. The leader is in front. Just in time! A long train of large forest ants appears from behind the rock. ÒGet out. Sonia and the Queen! I will never see you again! But the glowworm wants to save the bee. searching for the sweet bee. The dark fellow hisses sharply. and one of the ants crawls over to the plant where the glowworm is shining. She is quaking and thinks. zzurr!Ó 75 . trees. There is no nectar up there!Ó The ant blusters. ÒThis is my stem for the night! I will not go away! What do you want with my plant? There are plenty of others. He quickly runs to the sweet woodruff flower where she was last sitting. zzurr! Nor here!Ó It has grown dark. We ants want to tear her apart. Others climb up bushes. He goes up to the ant. She climbs up the thick stem right away and covers herself up in the leaves. Zzurr. zzurr. zzurr.

The leaf under which she is resting is thrown here and there by the wind. large raindrops prattle through the branches. The other trees are shaken to their roots in the 76 . All at once. green light underneath her that is shining from the glowworm. rushing noise. At this moment. In the night. they do not even notice that the buzzing is coming from a beetle. ÒOoh-hoo! Ooh- hoo!Ó The trees moan and groan. Look there for the bee!Ó The ant runs off. a powerful swishing goes through the pines. Through the loud. and finally sleep comforts the very tired bee. ant. or will I be thrown down? She laments quietly. They creak and crack. Sunbeam wakes up. Bee Sunbeam sees only the friendly. Fortunately. a short buzz can be felt coming from a beech tree. and the others follow him. a cry sounds forth. In their excitement. ÒListen. ÒOh. Everywhere is gloomy night. Her fear slowly subsides. A stormy wind dashes dark clouds over the forest. there is a horrific crack. Bee Sunbeam shivers from fear. The glowworm quickly counters. Can my feet hold onto the leaf tight enough. itÕs buzzing over there by the beech tree. they do not return. The lightning strikes a nearby pine. Dampened thunder rolls. if only I had listened to the guard! If only I had not flown into the forest late in the evening!Ó All at once. Zig-zaggy fire flames up over the forest.

Do not be afraid. the heavenly lightning throws his fire into the forest. is that you?Ó ÒYes. The ants will not come any more tonight.resounding thunder. dear bee. I will stay with you until it is morning.Ó 77 . ÒStay with me with your light! Shall I give you some nectar?Ó ÒI do not eat nectar. there is a tiny light shining next to her.Ó The comforting voice of the glowworm takes away all of SunbeamÕs fear. When she comes to herself again. I wanted to see if the wind had blown you down. It is very noisy and chaotic in the forest tonight. The rain is already letting up. She asks. Then the ants would eat me too! But you sleep in peace. The Earth will be made fresh and new from it. The thunderstorm will be over soon. For a while Sunbeam is very faint. ÒGlowworm. The rain sent all of them running home. And now.

The cold has not completely yielded. He crawls away from the soundly sleeping bee and goes down to the earthy realm. The birds are singing in the trees. There the glowworm slumbers during the day. she is still hanging under the leaf in the forest. The bee thinks. She cannot fly yet. Something moves at the edge of the leaf. A little while later Bee Sunbeam awakens. ÒIf only the Sun would come soon and warm me!Ó She crawls to the upper side of the leaf. She looks out for the glowworm. How can he eat green things! He must be very hungry. Sunbeam tries to lift her wings. Was everything just a dream? But no. and so the light of the glowworm goes out. She looks about her. It is growing a little warmer. Daytime Comes Early over the Pines Toward morning the sky grows lighter and lighter with the dawn. Her feet are already working better. between leaves and moss. 78 . but he is nowhere to be seen. A green caterpillar is nibbling his breakfast here. There is no longer any glowworm around.

Now I am lost! the bee thinks. The two ants 79 . she again feels it from behind. Sunbeam bounces off the leaf and makes a high arc as she falls down to the brown forest floor. Sunbeam doubles her steps and climbs high up on a pine trunk. no. He carries a pine needle in his pincers. with the ant right behind her. ÒGood day.Ó As they are talking Ð oh my É a bird lands heavily on the leaf. the caterpillar notices the guest and greets her. zzurr. In the meantime. Sunbeam realizes to her horror that a second forest ant is coming toward her from above. ÒZzurr. In her mortal danger. Quickly. snaps up the caterpillar and flies off. and really. happiness! They whir and grab onto the air. She tries to go faster.Ó ÒSo suck on this dew drop!Ó ÒIt doesnÕt make my little tummy full and warm. zzurr!Ó Oh. and she flies away. honeybee! Would you also like some salad?Ó ÒNo. All at once. When he notices the bee. I only take what I can suck. the greedy. Only now does it occur to her that she is in a very dangerous place because the anthill must be close by. he lets the pine needle fall and hurriedly lunges toward her. it is already going much better with the walking. Oh. an ant is walking toward her and clapping his pincers. she musters all of her strength into her wings. Suddenly.

She cheers. she is paying attention at the gate. She circles the pine tree and sets down on a fragrant little branch. She receives her with anger.. Fine drops of nectar are everywhere seeping out of the needles. She is met by a sweet perfume. How will the gate guard greet me? She surely noticed that I did not return home yesterday evening. She eagerly drinks from it. commits the location to memory.Ó But Bee Sunbeam does not feel like arguing and quickly slips past her. and shows her 80 . Abelia had not noticed that Sunbeam was gone the night through. ÒSo. She wants to take the forest nectar to Abelia.on the tree trunk crash their heads together and are fighting with each other. She is the same one who warned her yesterday not to fly out any more. The thought occurs to her. dear Sun! The terrible night is over! Home to the colony. here comes the escapee! Wait. When Sunbeam reaches her.. Yes. Bee Sunbeam has never greeted it as gratefully as she does now. IÕm going to charge you before the Queen . She sees the bright landing board shining in front of her. Bee Sunbeam remembers what Abelia once told her: It sometimes happens that once in awhile pine trees will also give nectar. It is called forest nectar. and flies homeward again. The Sun has just come up. to the Queen!Ó She flies over a white pine. ÒI am saved.

do the pine nectar dance! Lead a large group out into the forest to the nectar pine!Ó Sunbeam immediately begins to dance and sing. Just then the guards bring in their prisoner. ÒWhoever flies with me will find forest nectar! Whoever flies with me will find forest nectar!Ó Many bees follow her to the flight entrance. and Abelia is just telling her about the good fortune of Bee SunbeamÕs find in the forest. One guard cries. The Queen is in the middle of the hive. I bring you an ill-behaved night swarmer. the cold paralyzed her in the forest.Ó With these words the Queen goes to Bee Sunbeam and speaks 81 .Ó The Queen answered. Quickly Bee Sunbeam. As I hear it. Last night she stayed outside all night. the guard and her co-workers grab Sunbeam and say. ÒYou lucky finder! Where forest nectar flows. ÒYour Majesty. ÒNothing doing! ItÕs a march to the Queen for you!Ó And before the other sisters have a chance to defend her. She certainly did not willfully remain outside. ÒGood Sentinel.a little drop of forest nectar. we will find it in rich quantity. And this morning she found a forest nectar tree. As they attempt to go out. do not be angry with Bee Sunbeam. the guards haul her away. Abelia is joyful and cries. Let her go free! She should go out into the forest now as the nectar leader. Now we can add to our slim provisions. and early this morning she wanted to get by me and run in the gate.

Soon a long formation is flying toward the white pine tree. One after the other. Go. many thousands of the colony bees carry back the forest nectar. It is a rich harvest. ÒI thank you for the forest nectar.to her. On this day AbeliaÕs poor folk become a rich honey colony. and have a good harvest!Ó The guards look at each other in astonishment and let the accused go free. Sunbeam hurries to the flight entrance where the nectar gatherers are waiting impatiently for her. 82 .

Ó A few other trusted ones also gather around the Queen. If I were old and weak. It is an old law of the Royal House that only one Queen may govern a colony at any given time. So this is what I will do. An Important Message ÒCome quickly to the Queen!Ó Sonia calls to Sunbeam the next morning just as she is about to hurry out the gate. The older must leave the hive to the younger and move with half of the bee folk out into the world. you are the oldest and most 83 . That cannot be. IÕm coming. ÒYes. ÒDear bees. Then there will be two Queens in the colony. But I am still in the middle of my lifetime. and whispered to me that the Queen has a special message to impart. ÒIn a few days. Abelia and Sonia. making an earnest face. What is it?Ó ÒI cannot tell you. I will move away. Abelia is with her. There they can build a new hive. when the Princess comes out. The Queen begins. you know that in a short time our Princess can be released from her little chamber. I would make a place for the young one and go to die.

For now. just as Abelia is here. The Queen is not used to flying. she returns to laying eggs because she wants to leave the new young Queen with as many young bees as possible.Ó 84 . You will stay here with the young Queen! She will need your counsel. and a beekeeper will not be able to give her a new house. In the new hive that we will build.experienced bees. Moving into the world and founding a new hive bring many dangers and difficulties. Then you must see to it that you find protection for her from the cold and rain. Sonia and Sunbeam go to the princess chamber in order to keep watch together. it will carry her far away. Abelia. you are going with the Queen to meet a difficult challenge. will move with me into the world. Bee Sunbeam. You. keep good watch on the Princess and let me know as soon as she is ready to leave her chamber. If a wind grabs hold of her. you will be my first handmaiden. They are a little sad because they will soon have to say goodbye to each other. perhaps in the forest in a hollow tree or under a trunk. ÒDear sister.Ó After the Queen finishes her speech. Abelia speaks to Bee Sunbeam.

Other bee sisters press in from everywhere to admire the new miracle. A messenger goes to announce the hatching to the Queen. Sonia cleans off the little pieces of wax that are still clinging to her. Abelia says to Sonia. At last the door is completely nibbled away. She mixes thyme and sweet woodruff. She sucks it in gratefully. rak!Ó Abelia hurries to the honey pots to get the first food for the Princess. k-nap. ÒK-nip. I will go to the Queen to discuss what is to be done next. Shyly. k-nap Ð rak. Bee Sunbeam smoothes her wings into their proper place. The Queen Flies Out One night the three sisters notice that the little chamber is too narrow for the Princess. A tender light glows from her body. rak. Abelia returns with the honey and gives the Princess her first taste.Ó 85 . ÒLet the Princess be surrounded by young bees to warm her and tell her about our folk. One can sense how she is delicately nibbling on the inside of the little wax door. the Princess climbs out of her chamber. k-nip. It reminds Bee Sunbeam of the glowworm.

This may not be! Send the guards to me!Ó Mournfully. I have noticed that some of them are very angry that I am leaving. The Queen lays her feelers on top of AbeliaÕs and speaks softly. ÒOh. I will say good-bye to this hive. The Queen says. She hands the farewell honey to the Queen. Take good care of her. It may be that one of the guards will try something stupid.Ó Abelia asks. just as you have served me! But send Bee Sunbeam to me. obediently. ÒBrush my wings!Ó the Queen requests. Bring me some honey food for the last time!Ó Abelia thinks. sent by Abelia. will you not see and greet your Princess?Ó ÒNo. Abelia leaves her beloved Queen. loyal Abelia. I feel that my life will soon come to an end. ÒI thank you. I can give the young Princess no more experienced or wiser bee than you to be by her side. for all your good service to my kingdom. I would rather fly out with the Queen. They might turn their anger toward the young Princess and want to sting her to death. Go to her! Serve her with loyalty. it is a law of our royal house that queens should not meet. ÒNow that the Princess is born. ÒI hope they 86 . She will stay in the back of the hive until I have moved out. Soon Bee Sunbeam appears at the QueenÕs side. Queen. but I am old. My wings will not carry me very well.

it is getting toward midday in the world outside. What will happen? Who goes away? Who stays here? The two Queens light up the excited bees like two lamps. take some honey with you for the trip!Ó Thousands rush to the honey chambers. all waiting for the Queen. I love this old hive!Ó Meanwhile. fly out. ÒI will stay here with the young ones. The hustle and bustle inside becomes ever louder. those returning home from field and forest are met with shouts. and swarm up and down. It has been a long time since I have flown. Now the eager ones can no longer be held back. 87 . news of the PrincessÕs birth spreads through the whole hive. The Queen calls out loudly through the colony. ÒKeep the honey. The Sun stands high in the sky. They press toward the gate in thick groups. go to the back and leave the entrance free!Ó The ones sent out to check the weather return. Some of them buzz.will carry me well through the air. and they report sunshine and soft wind.Ó In the meantime. Outside. ÒI am going with the old Mother out into the world! I want to help build a new hive!Ó Others say. keep the pollen! Take everything with you for the flight out with the Queen! Those who are staying here. ÒWhoever wishes to come with me.

and thousands swarm away with her. lifts herself into the air. and gives them their orders. After a while. She spreads her wings. so that the entire folk finds place inside. the whole swarm protectively surrounds her. ÒWe will have to stay the night in this tree. People are standing there and cry out excitedly.Ó She also goes on the search deep into the forest. But it would be good if a few scouts could go in search of a new home. accompanied by Bee Sunbeam. ÒLook everywhere for an old tree or tree trunk that is hollow. on the landing board in front of the gate. A wind gust seizes the swarm and drives it past the humansÕ house toward the forest. The Queen is completely exhausted from the flight. 88 . It must be large. Bee Sunbeam is very close to the Queen and awaits her first order. Finally she appears. The cloud of thousands of bees hangs in a large clump on a branch. The flight of the Queen brings her closer to the forest.Ó Immediately Bee Sunbeam makes her way toward the outside of the cluster. As she alights on a sturdy branch. It looks like a long cloud of bees. and remains still. hollow linden tree that sticks out from the other trees. She is drawn to a tall. asks a few sisters to join with her. she whispers.

ÒWill the bird snap me up?Ó But the mother bird is quietly brooding and closes her eyes. Maybe there is a nice cave there? Oh. The mother bird has come home and settles herself on top of the eggs. Away now! Outside! Under a tree. It is lined with soft. by the roots. Suddenly the opening darkens. cushiony bird feathers. Not one has found a new place to live. Sunbeam hardly dares to move. Bee Sunbeam sadly brings this news to the Queen. and eggs are lying on top. On the outside of the swarm.Ó she comforts. There is a little grotto in there. She goes inside. ÒPerhaps you will have better luck tomorrow. Some of them fall into the forest deep 89 . She does not notice the bee. Who Will Find a House? The scout bees look everywhere in the forest for a new place to live. Bee Sunbeam finds a hole. no! It stinks of mouse in there! Get out Ð quickly! In the evening all of the scouts return to the swarm. many bees have stiffened. The night is very cool. Bee Sunbeam finds an opening in a tree trunk.

90 .because they can no longer hold on. She sets down on the edge and peeks into the darkness. She feels a strange vibration. She goes with them and searches trees and large rocks. In the morning Bee Sunbeam sends out even more scouts. We would not get along well with them!Ó She flies off. We would lose the Queen. ÒWhat a pity we cannot move in here! The cave is occupied by twirling fur balls with long tails. The hollow seems almost too big. These are the cares that weigh on Bee Sunbeam. with wind and lightning! Then the swarm will be torn apart. Bee Sunbeam can find no proper rest the entire night. and our folk would have to die. On a little hill in the middle of the forest. and the search goes on. If we donÕt find a house in the new day É ! If a thunderstorm comes. Bee Sunbeam has to press against the side. Two young foxes tumble out of the hollow and roll around in front of the entrance. There is a lot of room here. she discovers a wide cave entrance.

ÒHe should go. can we get the forest bees back?Ó ÒIt is very difficult to find a swarm in the forest. ÒHe is not neglecting any work. ÒWhat a shame that the bee swarm flew away from us into the forest yesterday!Ó Tony asks.Ó says the beekeeper to his wife. and he hurries out of the house. and he climbs 91 .Ó ÒFather. the beekeeper is speaking to his son. what are the bees doing now in the forest?Ó ÒMaybe they are still hanging on a tree. and he will soon give up the search. ÒFather.Ó Tony comes to the edge of the forest and looks up into all the crowns of the trees. He is a good climber. I want to go look!Ó cries Tony.Ó ÒFather.Ó ÒFather. Adventure at the Linden Tree At this hour in the humanÕs house. what happens to the bees in the forest when Winter comes?Ó ÒUnless they find a little cave or hollow tree trunk. Tony. they will freeze to death.

a dark clump is hanging on a branch. Tony restrains the joyful yell welling up in his throat. Now he can clearly hear how there are buzzing. Tony climbs a few branches higher to be very certain that his eyes are not deceiving him. But only the quiet rustling of the leaves can be heard. Sometimes he stays up in the branches. she is still out looking 92 . Bee Sunbeam is not in the swarm with her Queen. the swarm of bees is hanging there up above. Yes! It is the bee colony all right. he comes upon a linden tree. But he goes to get a long ladder and a box. ÒFather. peeks into the crown É What is that? High up in the tree. Father arranges what he needs and climbs the ladder with the box. This beautiful tree could attract bees. the linden tree!Ó At first his father does not believe it. He has never run home so fast. When he arrives at the house. At this time. I found it! In the tree. He slides down the tree so quickly that his pants get a long tear. They find the tree. He is so happy he does not even notice it. and he follows Tony into the forest. and listens for buzzing noises. closes his eyes. He wants to shake the bees from the branch into the box and bring them home. shining in the afternoon sunlight. He thinks. With some of her other sisters. humming sounds coming from up there. He thinks Tony is playing a joke. he yells. He climbs up.up on some beech trees to try to discover the bees. Yes. Not far from the edge of the forest. Father.

Only a few little bees are left behind. She goes to the top. as it is getting dark.Ó one of them moaned. 93 . whining and complaining on the branch where the swarm had been hanging. ÒWe will search for them! They are certainly nearby.for a hollow place. Bee Sunbeam flies with the other scouts back to the linden tree. The Queen realizes that she is in a room with walls. The beautiful cluster falls gently into the box. It is dark like in a cave. In the late evening. The Queen calls out for Bee Sunbeam. he gives them a new little home inside a large bee house. still empty-handed. For a few moments. chaos reigns! After awhile. Then something perplexing happens: A clap of thunder and a huge shock wave goes through the swarm of bees. But nobody has seen her. ÒNow they are gone and did not wait for us. ÒWhere shall we go to look for them? They have not even left a messenger for us!Ó Bee Sunbeam consoles them. Maybe they have found a place. All the bees hug tightly around their Queen. The Queen thinks with sadness. But where is Bee Sunbeam? Toward evening. and the other bees surround her in a new clump in the box of the beekeeper. The Queen waits anxiously for good news. To their horror. She is not here. they discover that all the bees are gone. the bees calm down. Must I now lose my best helper? The beekeeper carries the bee swarm peacefully back home.

Oh. The Sun sets. Again and again she thinks about her Queen. how many glowworms must be up there.When the Sun goes down we will all return to this branch and see if anyone has found them. As soon as they are warmed up. Among them is Bee Sunbeam. Bee Sunbeam is very disheartened as she lands on a sweet woodruff flower to get some honey to strengthen herself. they begin looking in the forest for any trace of their swarm. Once in the night Sunbeam glances up to the sky and sees a thousand sparks of light.Ó Now the abandoned bees begin looking around in the forest. the lonely sisters gather at the linden tree. She is about to fly on when a bee from her old colony lands beside her and gives her a 94 . In the morning the Sun wakes up a sad bunch of frozen bees. Bee Sunbeam is the only one still awake. ÒTomorrow we will continue the search. They will protect us from the forest ants high up in this tree. Slowly. she thinks. All the other sisters are sleeping. We will find them!Ó They squeeze up closely to one another into a little ball to give each other warmth during the night. but there is no sign of the lost colony. Was she unhappy with me? Is that why she left me behind? Was she angry because I did not find a place? Maybe it would be best if we return to our old colony tomorrow and beg them to take us back.

friendly greeting.Ó For a moment Bee Sunbeam can say nothing in her amazement. ÒWhat do you mean. She cries happily. but first she directs her flight to the linden tree to tell the others the wonderful news. dear sister?Ó ÒThe beekeeper gave your Queen and the whole bee colony a new house. What? Her Queen is in a new bee house! And right next door to her friends! She must go check immediately. After that. they can all fly home together. Bee Sunbeam! IsnÕt it great that we are neighbors again in the bee house?Ó Sunbeam asks. Very close to our blue landing board is yours Ð a red one. ÒAbelia and Sonia. 95 . dear sisters!Ó Sunbeam wants to fly to the new home right away. ÒGood day.

I am here again. Along with her companions. the sisters greet her cheerfully. ÒMy dear Bee Sunbeam! You. ÒBee Sunbeam is here! Bee Sunbeam is back! We thought you were lost.Ó She puts both forelegs on SunbeamÕs head and whispers. here again! Now everything is all right. ÒYour Majesty. and they hurry to the gate. But on all sides. At the red landing board there is much activity. How may I serve you?Ó The Queen turns around quickly and replies. Where did you come from? Hurry to the Queen! She is mourning you. She gets closer to the Queen. and a strong buzzing carries through the colony. She must steer clear of the old gate at the blue landing board. she lands on the board. Bee Sunbeam can tell by the scent that her sisters Ð her bee folk Ð live here.Ó As Bee Sunbeam makes her way through the new hive. ÒI had 96 . The guard tosses her head around when she sees them. Bee Sunbeam catches a first glimpse of the bee house. A Fine Homecoming From far away. She cries joyfully. everything seems so unfamiliar and narrow.

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ÒCome! Accompany me. It is still small and narrow. One by one. The builder bees are already preparing wax to construct new.great sorrow when I thought you were lost. Tell me how it went with you! Are the other sisters and brothers also returned?Ó Bee Sunbeam has much to tell. We will look and decide how we wish to design our new hive. yellow-gold apartments and chambers. the sisters and brothers from the linden tree that were thought lost come and greet the Queen. She turns to Bee Sunbeam and says. I have not been able to lay any eggs. In your company I will soon lay the first eggs that will be the foundation for our life in our new colony!Ó 98 .

Little Bee Sunbeam by Jakob Streit Little Bee Waldorf Publications Sunbeam 38 Main Street Chatham. NY 12037 by Jakob Streit .