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Title: Nuova - or The New Bee
Author: Kellogg, Vernon L. (Vernon Lyman), 1867-1937
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Nuova - or The New Bee" ***

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                          NUOVA


                   A Story for Children
                   of Five to Fifty by

                     VERNON KELLOGG

    With Songs by
    CHARLOTTE KELLOGG

    Illustrated by
    Milo Winter

    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
    Boston and New York

    COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY VERNON KELLOGG AND
    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


        TO
       JEAN
    WHO IS FIVE



[Illustration: "Nuova, I love you"]



PREFATORY NOTE


Most of this that I have written about bees is true: what is not, does
not pretend to be. Some of the true part sounds almost like a
description of what human life might in some respects be, if certain
social movements of to-day were followed out to their logical extreme. I
suppose that in this likeness lies the moral of the book.


V. K.



CONTENTS


     I. Nuova Appears                                                   1

    II. Nuova's First Experiences                                       7

   III. Nuova as Nurse                                                 16

    IV. Nuova sees Some Other Things Done                              29

     V. Nuova sees Bee Moth and gets acquainted with Beffa             44

    VI. Nuova and Hero, and the Birth of the Princess                  60

   VII. Nuova goes Outside                                             78

  VIII. Nuova and Hero again, and a Battle                             93

    IX. Hero and Nuova once more, and the Great Courting Chase        106

     X. Nuova in the Beautiful Garden                                 115

    XI. Hero finds Nuova in the Garden                                130

   XII. The Happy Ending                                              142



ILLUSTRATIONS



"Nuova, I love you"                                _Colored Frontispiece_

The beginning of a new life for Nuova                                   4

Industriously cleaning the floor                                       12

"I am so tired," replied poor Nuova                                    26

She would like that kind of work                                       32

"What?" she cried. "Well, you really are a stupid bee"                 42

"The stupid one! The faithless one!"                                   48

"Drones work? It isn't done, you know"                                 62

There came slowly forth ... the new Princess                           74

"Beffa, you are sad," said Saggia                                      80

Nuova began to clean his wings                                         96

Nuova was among the fallen                                            104

In the Garden                                                         116

Beffa settled down comfortably                                        128

"The Princess is lost!"                                               146



THE NAMES OF THE BEES


As all the bees of this story are Italian bees, they all, except one,
have Italian names. And they should really be spoken as the Italians
speak them. Besides, they are prettier that way. Therefore, a list of
them, with the proper way to pronounce them, is given here.

    _Nuova_ (noo-o'va)
    _Uno_ (oo'no)
    _Due_ (doo'ay)
    _Tre_ (tray)
    _Saggia_ (saj'jia)
    _Mela_ (may'la)
    _Cera_ (chay'ra)
    _Fessa_ (fess'sa)
    _Aria_ (ah'ri-a)
    _Principessa_ (prin-chee-pess'sa)
    _Lotta_ (lawt'ta)



_NUOVA_



CHAPTER I

_Nuova Appears_


Nuova seemed to be gradually awakening. It would have seemed that way to
any one who could have seen her just at this moment, and it seemed that
way to Nuova herself. It was just as if one were in a comfortable, warm
bed, and began to be conscious of a faint light outside and of soft
voices and of other subdued sounds. The light and sounds grow stronger
and louder, until, with a start, one is really awake, and sees that the
light is the sunlight of a beautiful morning coming in at the curtained
window, and recognizes the sounds to be those of the household already
busy with a new day's work.

It was, indeed, an awakening for Nuova; but it was more. It was the
beginning of a new life for her. Until now she had been in a sort of
pollywog stage for a bee--a stage in which she had no legs nor wings,
and in which she could do nothing for herself at all, not even as much
as a pollywog can--and had lain all the time in a long, narrow,
six-walled, waxen cell that was bed and room all in one. That is, we
might say, she had always so far in her life been in bed.

For when she was born in her cell, she was just a tiny white thing,
without wings or legs, blind, and quite helpless. Really about all she
could do was to squirm a little in her horizontal cell, and keep opening
her mouth when she was hungry to let somebody know she must be fed. She
was immediately taken care of, however, by the nurse bees who kept near
the nursery cells all the time except when they had to go to the pantry
cells for more food for the babies. This food was flower nectar and
pollen that had been brought into the hive by the active forager bees
and stored in the pantry cells. The nurses made a sort of very good and
nutritious jelly out of it which made Nuova grow very fast.

After she had been fed in this way for five days, she was many times
larger than she had been at first. At the end of this time, however, the
nurse bees did what might seem, at first thought, a rather heartless
thing. They made a thin cap or cover of wax over the open mouth of
Nuova's cell, thus shutting her up tight in her bedroom. She was so
large that she almost filled her cell, but there was still a little room
left, and this the nurses filled, just before putting the waxen cap on
the cell, with pollen and nectar mixed. For a few days Nuova lay quietly
in her dark, sealed-up cell, eating, when hungry, from the lump of
pollen and nectar which lay by her side. And then she stopped eating and
simply lay there in a sort of trance for several days more.

To Nuova herself all her life in the cell, from first day to last, must
have seemed little more than a sort of dream; a confused dream of not
being able to walk or fly, or see or hear, but only to squirm a little,
and be hungry and then be fed, and to feel dimly strange growing pains
from the rapidly growing legs and wings when they began to come, and of
always being rather comfortably warm and sleepy.

But this sleeping time had come to an end now; this helpless pollywog
stage was finished for Nuova. And the light she saw through the big
eyes that had grown out on her head, during the last few days in the
shut-up cell, was the faint but real light of a new day filtering its
way through the crowded hive. And the sounds she heard by means of the
many tiny little hearing organs on the long, delicate, sensitive
feelers, or antennæ, that had also grown out near her eyes and were
connected by fine nerves with her brain, were the humming and murmuring
of the thousands of industrious bees of the hive who were already at
work at their various duties all around her.

Nuova's awaking, then, was much more than the mere waking-up after a
night's sleeping. It was the waking from a life of doing nothing but
lying in bed and sleeping and eating and growing, to a life of taking
care of one's self and helping to take care of others; it was the waking
from a baby life to real bee life. For Nuova was now a full-grown bee,
with all the wonderful body and all the wonderful instincts and the high
intelligence that we know bees to have. But she was still shut up in her
nursery cell.

[Illustration: The beginning of a new life for Nuova]

However, to escape from it was not difficult. She could see that the
faint light came in strongest through the capped end of the cell. The
waxen cap was the thinnest part of the walls of her room, and as Nuova's
head was already lying close to the cap, it was a simple and easy matter
for her to begin biting it away with her two strong, little, trowel-like
teeth. In a few moments she had made a little hole in the cap, and the
light and sounds came in suddenly much brighter and louder than before,
although the light was really not bright at all nor the sounds loud, as
we reckon such things. For the inside of a honeybee's house, the hive,
is always pretty dark, and the sounds the bees make are not all loud,
except occasionally when things are especially exciting and all the bees
are buzzing together at once, or when a princess is about to come from
her nursery cell and both she and the old queen do a lot of
extraordinary trumpeting.

But to Nuova, biting her way out through the thin wax cap of her cell,
having never heard nor seen anything at all through all of her baby
life, things seemed very bright and noisy indeed. This, however,
instead of frightening her, made her only the more anxious to get out
and be a part of this exciting world around her, and so she worked away
as fast as she could, until suddenly the hole was large enough for her
to crawl out. This she did, feeling, we may imagine, rather strange at
using her new legs for the first time, and finding her new wings all
folded up and rather damp and heavy. But out she came and, with a long
breath or two, she started to walk over the uneven surface of the waxen
comb in which her nursery cell was situated. But after only a few steps
she felt tired and limp. Indeed she _was_ limp, for all the outer part
of her body, that was later to be firm and strong, was still rather soft
and damp and weak; her legs could not hold her up well yet, and her
unexercised muscles needed a little practice to work together just
right. So she soon stopped, trembling all over from her unwonted
exertion, and let her big eyes gradually take in the strange sight about
her.



CHAPTER II

_Nuova's First Experiences_


It was truly a remarkable sight. She found that she was part way up a
vertical wall or comb of waxen cells, each of six sides and all lying
horizontally in the wall. This wall of cells towered far above her even
to the very roof of the hive, and below her it stretched away down to
the floor. Facing it towered another similar wall of cells, and there
was but little more space between the two than was needed for the free
movement of the scores, aye, even hundreds of bees that were clambering
about over the opposite faces of the walls.

In each wall some of the cells were open and some capped over. In the
open ones were either baby bees lying on their stomachs with their heads
near the opening of the cells, and their mouths opening and shutting in
a most comical way, or there was some pollen or honey; or there was
nothing at all. The cells with babies in them were those in the middle
part of the wall, while around these were the food cells. Near the open
nursery cells were many capped ones, and Nuova saw that some of these
caps were being gnawed through from the inside. She knew what that
meant; she had just been doing that herself. But also near the open and
half-filled pollen and honey cells were other capped ones, and Nuova
guessed, and quite rightly, that these were filled and sealed-up honey
cells. The open pollen cells were pretty to look at because the pollen
in them was of different colors, yellow, orange, red, etc., and they
made a sort of uneven but attractive color-pattern on the face of the
great vertical wall.

Nuova was a little dizzy at first, with looking up and down the towering
wall, and she had to hang on tightly to keep from falling. But she soon
grew accustomed to the great heights above and below her, and even began
to feel quite at home in her peculiar situation. A pang of hunger came
to her as she saw a bee walk up to an open honey cell and take a long
drink. She started to walk toward the same cell, when she felt a tug at
one of her wings, and heard an impatient voice, evidently addressing
her.

"Here, wait a minute; we haven't got you clean yet; and your wings
aren't half dry. Don't be in a hurry!"

Nuova was startled; remember, it was the first bee-talking, or any kind
of talking, she had ever heard. Yet she understood it perfectly, and
understood at once, too, just what was going on. For as she turned her
head to see who was speaking, she saw that two nurse bees were most
industriously cleaning her body all over, and unfolding and smoothing
out her wings, so that they would dry rapidly, and dry all properly
spread out. Sometimes young bees do not get their wings properly spread
before they dry, and then their wings are crumpled up and useless all
through their lives.

Nuova had, indeed, for some time rather vaguely felt this gentle
cleaning and wing-spreading operation going on, but at first she had
felt so dizzy and faint, and then when she felt better had become so
intent on looking up and down the two great walls of wax, with their
various cells and the many active bees moving about over them, that she
had paid no attention to the gentle rubbing and pulling and stretching.
Indeed, it was done so gently that unless she had started to walk away,
or had accidentally looked around, she might not have known that it was
going on at all. It was a performance much like that a just-born kitten
goes through at the hands, or rather tongue, of its mother. The pollen
and honey, put into her cell when it was capped, had, of course, rather
soiled Nuova's body and much of her hair was stuck together by it. So
like every young bee, just come from its nursery cell, she needed a good
cleaning. And she was getting it.

Without thinking twice about it Nuova did a very surprising thing. Or
rather it was not surprising for a bee to do, but it would have been if
one of us, just born, as it were, and without any teaching or practice
or chance of hearing any one else first, should do it. For we always
call surprising, in bees or other creatures, what would be surprising in
us, which is a rather silly way of judging things, but one we are all
very much given to. As we think we are the most important kind of
creatures on earth--as certainly we are, to ourselves--we think our ways
of doing things are the usual or normal or even best ways, and all
other ways "surprising." But we shall find, the more we learn about
Nuova, that bees have their own manner of life and ways of doing things,
and one of the most important many differences between their ways and
our ways is that they know so many things right off without any learning
or practice or imitating of others. They are born knowing how; they do
not have to be taught.

For example, the surprising thing that Nuova did right away, without
thinking twice about it, was to begin talking to the two nurse bees who
were cleaning her. What Nuova said, and what was said to her in return,
is of no particular interest to us. It was simply commonplace talk, for
Nuova's coming out of her cell, her first dizziness, the high walls of
cells, the many bees moving about, the spreading-out of Nuova's wings
and cleaning her body, and even Nuova's ability to understand things
about her and to begin talking right away--all these were taken for
granted in the hive as the most usual things in the world, which
therefore needed no special exclaiming or talking about. In fact Nuova
felt already that, as soon as she was properly clean and dry, she must
join the other active bees, who were all busy with the different kinds
of work they were doing, and begin work herself. And she felt that she
knew just what this first work for her should be. It should be the work
of a nurse. And the nurse bees cleaning her seemed to take this for
granted too. For one of them soon said:

"I think you had better begin on the other side of the comb; there are
enough of us on this side already."

Nuova looked up and down the great comb and then to right and left. The
nurse noted this, and added:

"You can get around by going either to the top or the bottom, or to
either end."

Nuova thanked her, and decided to crawl down to the bottom, for she
could see, far down there, a number of bees moving about industriously
cleaning the floor and some others that stood still, apparently on their
heads, and kept their wings buzzing like mad. She was not quite sure
what this performance meant; and the floor-cleaning, too, seemed a
little curious. The fact is that, although bees do seem to know right
off about things, they know these things one at a time, as it were; that
is, when it is time for them to do a thing, they know pretty well,
without any telling, how to do it, but they do not seem to know about
other things at the same time. They seem to know things only as the time
comes for each special thing to be done. Nuova seemed to know that she
should begin working as a nurse, and to know how to do the work, for as
soon as she started she did just about as well as any of the nurses, but
floor-cleaning, and standing on one's head and fanning one's wings like
mad, were not things she knew about yet.

[Illustration: Industriously cleaning the floor]

She worked her way carefully down to the bottom of the comb and found
herself in a very busy place indeed. There was a free place under this
comb and under the one opposite to it as well. When she looked under the
comb which she had just walked down, she saw a great, low-ceilinged
place stretching away in all directions, rather dim and getting darker
the farther away it extended, except in one direction. In this
direction, however, it was lighter, and the farther the distance the
lighter it was. From this lightest part many bees were hurrying toward
her with great loads of vari-colored pollen in their pollen baskets, or
with their honey sacs filled to overflowing with fresh nectar. They
hurried on, paying no attention to any one, and disappeared one by one
by climbing up and out of sight, except the few that climbed up the face
of either of the combs that towered just over her. These bees she could
still watch, and she could see that they carried their loads far up to
the open food cells into which they emptied the food they had brought.
Also she saw other bees, without loads, hurrying along the floor toward
the light, and she had a wonderful thrill as she saw them, and something
within her urged her to run with them toward the distant light;
something inside her that sang of sunshine, blue sky, green grass and
bushes, and many-hued fragrant flowers. But something else, even
stronger, within her, told her not to go; that her work awaited her
close at hand; that she must nurse bee-babies here in the dimly lighted
hive.

So she turned away from the alluring light with only a glance at the
floor-cleaners and the silly bees on their heads with their wings going
like mad. So strong within her had grown the feeling that there was just
one thing for her now, that she walked under the broad, lower edge of
the comb from whose high wall she had descended and came into the bottom
of another high space between two other towering walls of waxen cells.



CHAPTER III

_Nuova as Nurse_


When Nuova had come into this new high space, she looked up and realized
that one of its side walls was simply the other side of the comb in
which her nursery cell had been, while the other was that of another
comb opposite it, just as she had seen that there was another comb
opposite its other side. Nuova, seeing this, easily understood that
probably this was the arrangement all through the hive, and that the
broad and long, low, free space running through the whole hive just
above the floor was a space just underneath the lower edges of many
great vertical combs standing side by side. Which, of course, was true.

Right away, however, Nuova saw that one of the walls above her was
incomplete; it did not reach, along its whole length, from the ceiling
clear to the floor, but at one end, the end toward the lighter end of
the hive, it came down but a little way from the ceiling. Clinging to
this unfinished part of the wall was a great mass of bees, the upper
ones hanging to the free edge of the wall, but the ones below clinging
to them and to each other, thus forming a festoon or curtain of bees
hanging down from the lower edge of the incomplete wall. Many bees in
this living curtain were buzzing their wings violently, while others
were quiet, with thin sheets or plates of some shining, silver-yellowish
substance forming on the under side of their bodies.

Beneath the lower edge of the bee-curtain there was a broad, free space
beyond which the vertical wall of another more distant comb appeared. On
the floor in this open space were gathered many bees, most of which
appeared to be picking up little pieces of the shining, silver-yellowish
substance that had broken off from the bees in the festoon above, and
fallen to the floor.

As this open space was lighter than the space she had come from, Nuova
could see everything quite clearly here, and the activity of all the
bees and their concentration on whatever they were doing impressed her
very much. No one so much as spoke to her; no one spoke to any one else;
but every one worked away for dear life. It made her feel that she must
get at her own work just as soon as possible.

She glanced up the part of the wall that was all finished, and saw
toward its middle a group of nurse bees, and a lot of open and capped
nursery cells. She could even see, sticking out of some of the open
ones, the comical heads of the babies, each with its mouth regularly
opening and shutting. And then she heard a song, a gentle lullaby sort
of song. It was the nurse bees singing as they worked. This is the song
they sang:

    We watch beside the cradles
      When the bee-babies sleep;
    We guard the shining pantries
      Where the bee-milk we keep.

    And when the countless tiny
      Bee-mouths open wide,
    We rush with drink and bee-bread
      And drop them inside.

    Our bread's the daintiest morsel
      A wee babe could eat;
    We knead it of soft pollen
      And flower nectar sweet.

    When ends our busy bee-day
      The nurseries we right,
    Then wash our countless bee-mites
      And tuck them in tight.

    Just try to feed our family,
      And swiftly you'll see
    That never were there nurses
      So busy as we.

So she started to climb up to them. Just as she had gone a little way
up, however, her attention was called to a very active and apparently
excited group of bees crowding about a very different sort of cell from
the ones that made up all the rest of the comb. This was five or six
times as large as any of the others, and not six-sided, but shaped
something like a pear with its small end down. It did not lie horizontal
in the comb, but vertical, or nearly so, and had a rough, thick wall,
and was open at its smaller, lower end. Nuova could not see what was in
it, for she was already as high or higher than it was, as it was near
the lower edge of the comb, its lower end, indeed, being but a little
way above the floor.

As she hesitated a moment, attracted by the sight of the strange cell
and the many excited bees about it, most of whom were nurses, she heard
a bee, hurrying away from the cell, say to another hurrying toward it:

"How fast the princess is growing!"

This did not enlighten Nuova much, but the feeling inside of her was now
so strong that she must begin work at once that she hurried on up to the
nursery cells lying a little way above the curious large cell without
trying to find out anything about it. Which shows again, of course, how
different bees are from us.

When Nuova got to the nursery cells with their hungry babies she went
right to work. She seemed to know just what to do; to go to the pollen
and honey cells and drink honey and eat pollen and swallow them, but not
too far, and then wait a few minutes, and then give this food up again,
all properly mixed, through her mouth right into the open mouths of the
hungry babies. And she knew just what babies were ready to have their
cells capped with wax--with a nice little lump of food stored inside
first, of course--and how to call some bee with a pellet of wax in its
mouth to do the capping. She understood at once that the shining,
silver-yellowish plates on the bodies of the bees in the festoon at the
end of the comb were wax, and that the pieces being picked up by other
bees from the floor underneath the festoon were to be used for capping
cells, and for making new cells where the vertical wall of comb was
still incomplete.

All these things, and whatever other new ones came up in the next few
days in connection with taking care of the babies, she seemed to
understand right away, and indeed she seemed to know how to do all her
work without having to reason about it, or to observe and draw
conclusions; in fact, without even once really having to think about it
at all. And because it was all so simple, and so easy to understand, an
extraordinary thing came to pass with Nuova; that is, an extraordinary
thing for a bee. The thing was that _Nuova got tired of her work_!

Yes, she got tired of it; tired physically, which is not perhaps so
extraordinary, for bees sometimes fall dead from being over-tired
physically; but she also got tired and impatient of the simplicity and
monotony of what she was doing. She got, I suppose we may fairly say,
mentally and spiritually tired of it. Which happening marks Nuova as a
bee of a strange and rare kind: a bee that is--is--well, all I can say
is, a bee that is different. Other bees, if they had known of it, would
have called her a "funny" bee, or a "peculiar" bee; or perhaps something
worse. Indeed, this something worse is just what she was soon called.
For Nuova, after a few days of this steady care of babies, one hot
afternoon--the hive was so set in the garden that it was quite exposed
to the sun--Nuova, I say, one hot afternoon stopped working, and crawled
slowly down past the great pear-shaped cell clear to the lower edge of
the comb and there she sat and simply did nothing!

Pretty soon Uno, one of the nurse bees in Nuova's group, who had already
shown herself to have a rather spiteful nature, noticed that Nuova was
not working, was not, indeed, to be seen anywhere about the nurse cells.
So she touched another nurse bee near her, named Due, with her antennæ
so as to call her attention, and said in a low voice: "Where is Nuova?"

Due looked around, and not seeing Nuova, said: "Why, where is she?" Then
both bees touched a third nurse bee, named Tre, with their antennæ. She
turned around and joined them.

"What's the matter?" she said. Then looking at the group of nurses, she
added: "Where is Nuova?"

"That's it," said Uno and Due together. "Where is Nuova? She isn't
here--she has stopped working."

"Exactly," said Tre. "I thought she would come to that--I've been
noticing her lately. She doesn't seem to like to work."

"Whoever heard of such a bee!" exclaimed Uno and Due together.

"Let us find her," said Tre.

So all three started to move around over the comb looking for Nuova.
They made wider and wider journeys from the nursery cells, until Uno,
who had got down almost to the very bottom of the comb and was quite
close to Nuova but had not yet seen her, heard a low voice murmuring, "I
am so tired."

Uno turned quickly and saw Nuova. She was sitting with her head hanging
down on her breast, and she looked very tired and dejected. But that
aroused no sympathy in Uno, who, together with Due and Tre, had taken a
strong dislike to Nuova, feeling in her, some way, a rather different,
even a rather superior sort of bee. Nuova was so unusually pretty, for
one thing. And she had such a lively interest in everything around her.
Uno, Due, and Tre, who were bees almost exactly like each other, and
like most other bees, felt an instinctive malice toward her, probably
based on a certain envy which they did not, however, even admit to
themselves.

Uno quickly called Due and Tre, and the three stared malevolently at
Nuova for a moment and then said together, speaking loudly so that the
other bees near by could hear: "Well, what a bee! To stop work! Just
think of it!"

Then Uno leaned over her and called to her: "Lazy!"

And Due stepped up to her and said: "Loafer!"

And Tre came up on the other side of her and hissed: "Shirk!"

Then all three, lifting their wings to strike poor Nuova, who had sat
very still through all this, shrinking from the vicious bees, called
out: "We'll teach her!" And then they began to strike her all over with
their strong wings.

It was going pretty badly with Nuova, when an old floor-cleaner named
Saggia stepping up to the group shouldered off the three angry nurse
bees. Saggia had noticed at other times that Nuova went rather slowly
back and forth between the nursery cells and the food cells, but she had
a good heart and thought it was because Nuova was sick, perhaps, for
bees often get ill just as we do. She spoke to Nuova rather sharply, but
still in a kindly way.

"Nuova! what are you doing here? You mustn't stop."

"But I am so tired," replied poor Nuova. "Thank you for driving them
away," she added.

[Illustration: "I am so tired," replied poor Nuova]

"Tired, nonsense," said Saggia. "That's nothing. Of course you are
tired. We all are. But what difference does that make? Go back to the
babies, and keep on with your work."

"That is what they all say," cried Nuova, bitterly and half angrily.
"Here am I a full week out of my nursery cell, and I haven't had a bit
of rest or fun yet. It is time I began to have some. Doesn't any one
ever rest or have a good time?"

Saggia was painfully surprised to hear Nuova talk in this manner. She
began to fear that Nuova's tiredness was not just physical tiredness.
She answered her therefore in a strongly reproving manner. "Of course
nobody rests, and of course every one has a good time. Look at them
all," and she waved an antenna toward the workers at the nursery cells,
"don't you see what a good time they are having? It is having a good
time to be always working; always working for each other and for our
children."

"But they aren't our children," Nuova broke in, "yours and mine, that
is, nor anybody's but the Queen's children. She is the mother of them
all. And she keeps on having more. And we have to take care of them all,
and all the time."

"They _are_ our children," Saggia interrupted, speaking very positively
and still more reprovingly. "They are the children of the community; the
children of the race. It is our race we are working for; the children
of the race. Think of it!"

Nuova made a little face. "Well, I am tired of the race and the race's
children," she said. "I want some children of my own."

Old Saggia was dreadfully shocked by this. And she was terrified on
Nuova's account for fear some other bees might have heard her. It was,
indeed, about as rebellious a thing as a bee can say.

"Hush, child," said Saggia in a whisper. "You mustn't say such things.
You mustn't even think them. Other bees don't. And you must hurry back
to your work before the others miss you." She helped Nuova up, and urged
her to begin climbing back up to the nurse cells. "If you are tired of
taking care of the babies you can do something else next week. You will
be old enough then to make wax and build cells or help clean the hive.
And then in another week you can go out and gather pollen and nectar
from the flowers. But go back now to the babies; the other nurses are
looking for you." She urged Nuova along again, and this time Nuova
started up, but she went very reluctantly and slowly.

"No," she said, "they pay no attention to me. Nobody but you pays any
attention to me, except when I stop working. They never notice me when I
am hard at work."

"Why, of course not," replied Saggia gently. "Why should you be noticed
then? That is what we all do all the time; just keep everlastingly at
it. That is what makes the bees such a great people. There is something
wrong about a bee that doesn't want to work all the time; you mustn't be
different from the others. I am afraid you are sick."

All the time she was saying this Saggia was urging Nuova along up the
comb toward the nursery cells, and now they had quite reached the group
of nurses. As Uno, Due, and Tre saw Nuova again they closed in around
her so as to strike or pinch her. But Saggia kept them off. And Nuova
slipped into her place again in front of a hungry baby.



CHAPTER IV

_Nuova sees Some Other Things Done_


Just as Nuova took her place again, however, she heard in the distance a
joyful singing. It came from the lightest place in the hive, and looking
in this direction Nuova saw a whole group of nectar gatherers coming
along together, half-dancing and turning about, and all singing together
in the happiest way possible. This is what they sang:

    Take a peep into the pail,
      Nectar to the brim,
    Carried over down and dale
      Till the ways were dim.

    On a dawn-ray forth we sped,
      A thousand wings in tune,
    By a new-born wind were led
      Down the paths of June.

    Silvery world of buzz and whirr,
      Fragrance on the wing,
    Sod and root and blade astir,
      Sped our garnering.

    Long in Nature's honey-room
      We dipped and drank at will;
    Brushed the purple lilac plume,
      Sipped from thyme and dill.

    Till when evening softly bore
      Over dune and dell,
    Hastened we with golden store
      Home to Queen and cell.

And then she heard another song, and saw a group of pollen gatherers
following the nectar gatherers. And this is what they sang:

    Here's saffron dust and crimson dust,
      And dust of rarest blue;
    In lavish Nature's pollen mines
      Each mines his favorite hue.

    Some buzzed and burrowed all the morn
      Within a clover hold,
    Till fuzzy backs were powdered fine
      And thigh-bags bulged with gold.

    And some delved deep in lily cups,
      Or hung from blossomy bells--
    The story of their mazy flight
      The rainbow treasure tells.

    There's pollen sweet for roof and wall,
      And more for soft bee-bread;
    For all, from wondrous Mother-Queen
      To bee-mite, must be fed.

    Here's palest pink and lilac dust,
      And green and brown and blue;
    In lavish Nature's pollen fields
      Each finds his favorite hue.

They liked their work, these foragers, that was sure, and Nuova felt
that she would like that kind of work too. Just then Mela, one of the
pollen gatherers, climbing up the comb where Nuova was, with her pollen
baskets filled by two great masses of golden yellow pollen, stopped for
a moment for breath. Nuova stretched her antenna toward Mela and touched
her, attracting her attention.

[Illustration: She would like that kind of work.]

"Oh, Mela, tell me about it," she said to her eagerly. "Do you hear the
birds sing and see the butterflies dance out there? Mela, take me with
you when you go back."

Mela was very much astonished to hear a pretty young nurse bee talk to
her this way, and she looked first sharply and then rather
contemptuously at Nuova.

"You upstart young thing," she said, "take you out with us? Well, I
rather think not until you have finished your nursing work. And you are
loafing now! Well, you will do your work better in the hive or you can
never go out at all, that's sure."

And Uno, Due, and Tre, who had overheard this conversation, buzzed at
her one after another: "Lazy! Loafer! Shirk!" and they tried to strike
her once more, but Saggia, who had not yet gone down to the floor, again
kept them off and whispered rapidly to Nuova:

"Yes, you shall go out some time. But you must be a good bee and do your
work in the hive first, nurse the babies, then help make wax and build
cells. So go on with your work now. Hurry, the soldiers are coming, and
they have their stings all ready for loafing bees as well as for wasps
and black bees that come to rob us. Hurry, hurry!"

Saggia pushed Nuova back into her place, and Uno, Due, and Tre also
hurried to their own places as the marching song of the Amazons was
heard. Into the hive and down the long aisles between the great vertical
walls of comb they came marching rapidly and brandishing their long,
sharp lances all ready for use. This was their song:

    Now fierce black bee and yellow wasp
      With cunning seek to rush the hive;
    Up warriors, aim the poisoned dart,
      Let no bold hornet pass alive!

    Defenders of the golden stores,
      Swoop down upon the robber band,
    No foe escapes the Amazon spears,
      For Hive and Queen we make our stand!

As they finished their song the files of the Amazons broke up and the
soldiers scattered themselves through the hive, although most of them
kept in the lighter part near the entrance.

In the special quiet that followed the cessation of the song Nuova heard
a voice calling loudly from a group of bees near the wax-making festoon
at the unfinished end of the comb. This group was busily engaged in
moulding new cells, using the wax which was being made by the bees in
the living festoon.

"Look here," called the voice, which was that of Cera, chief of the
cell-builders and wax-makers, "we must have more wax-makers." She waved
an antenna toward the festoon. "They can't furnish us wax fast enough.
Some of you older nurses come here."

Nuova who had stopped working and stepped a little out from the group of
nurses at Cera's first words, now started quickly to go over to her.
Uno, Due, and Tre all called angrily to her and tried to stop her but
Nuova easily evaded them and hurried over, with several other nurses
following, to Cera.

"Let me make wax," she said eagerly to Cera.

Cera looked at her, then away and to the others. "You! No, you are too
young," she said. Then more loudly to the others: "More wax-makers, I
say, and right away."

But Nuova insisted. "Take me," she urged. "Teach me to make wax."

Cera stared at her. "What a funny bee! Teach you! That shows you are not
old enough. If you were you would know without any teaching. Bees don't
have to be taught. They simply know how to do everything they need to
when the right time comes for doing it. And if they don't know it is
because the right time hasn't come."

But Nuova still stood squarely in front of her. Cera stared at her more
and more surprised and more and more angry. "Here," she said finally,
and very roughly, "keep out of the way. Go back to your babies."

Nuova fluttered her wings angrily and her sensitive antennæ trembled. "I
won't," she said. "I won't be nurse any more; I'll make wax or go out
for pollen. Yes, I'll go out into the garden."

Then she actually started to run toward the hive entrance, but was
promptly stopped by Saggia, who had noticed her altercation with Cera
and had hurried over.

Cera who had only half heard Nuova's angry outburst was nevertheless
greatly astonished, and was about to make an indignant reply and to call
the attention of the other bees to the audacious little rebel, but the
candidates to make wax crowded about her so closely and chattered so
distractingly to her that all thought of Nuova was, fortunately,
immediately driven out of her mind.

In the meantime Nuova was tugging away from Saggia, and had even dragged
her a little along toward the entrance. But Saggia held fast to one
wing, and at the same time talked to her rapidly.

"Nuova, stop!" she said in a low voice, at the same time glancing back
to see if the crowd around Cera was noticing them. "You mustn't say such
things. Bees never do. Listen, you can make wax. Listen to me, I'll tell
you what to do."

Nuova stopped tugging at the poor old bee, who was getting rather
breathless and could hardly go on with her speaking. What she had last
said, however, made Nuova want to hear more.

So as Nuova stopped pulling away Saggia went on talking. "The first
thing the wax-makers do is to go to the pantry cells and eat all the
honey and pollen they can. Then they all crowd together in close rows
like that," pointing to the festoon of wax-makers, "so as to get very
warm, and pretty soon the wax begins to come. It comes out in little
drops on your wax-plates"--touching one of the ten curious little
five-sided plates on the under side of Nuova's body--"and hardens right
away into a thin sheet of wax on each one of the plates. Now all you
have to do is to keep quiet and just mix with the others when they go to
the food cells to eat and drink. Say nothing to any one, and nobody will
pay any attention to you, not even Cera, as long as you are busy. There,
see, they are going," she added, as the group around Cera began to break
up, some of the bees going back to the babies while others, who had been
accepted by Cera, moved to the open food cells and began eating pollen
greedily and taking long drinks of honey.

"Slip over among them," said Saggia in a whisper, "and stuff yourself.
Then go when they do to the festoon and hang on to it."

Nuova was so eager to try this new experience that she hardly paused to
thank Saggia, although she did let a grateful smile flit over her pretty
fresh face as she hurried away.

Just as she reached the food cells she heard a gentle, rather monotonous
singing, and glancing in the direction of the group of cell-builders
and wax-makers from which it came she saw that under the direction of
Cera who had already rejoined her workers, the cell-builders were going
through a sort of dance or rhythmic gymnastics, moving their bodies and
waving their wings and legs in a sort of exaggerated imitation of
moulding and building, and that the wax-makers in the festoon were
buzzing their wings to make their bodies warmer and swinging back and
forth, and that all of them together were singing a pretty song about
their work. This is the song they sang:

    Cling close in living curtain,
      One thousand swing as one,
    Now ooze the amber jellies--
      The work has just begun.

    Haste, mould the dainty wax flakes
      And ply the trowels swift;
    Pat, pat--the floors spread wider;
      Tap, tap--the light walls lift.

    Through all the long hive-twilight,
      The patterned cell draw true;--
    Tap, tap, with tiny trowel,
      We've neither nail nor screw.

    Ten thousand honey pantries
      And rooms for pollen store;--
    Build high the whole bee-city,
      And still there's need of more.

As the song and motion dance ceased, Cera called loudly again. This time
she wanted cleaners to come. "Here," she cried. "Cleaners! Let a cleaner
come. We are getting too much dust on the floor. Cleaners! Cleaners!"

But no one came. Cera, looking impatiently about, saw Nuova glancing up
from the food cell over which she was standing, and motioned to her.
"Here, you," she said, without seeming to remember that it was with
Nuova that she had just had a dispute, "you don't seem to be doing much.
You run down to those cleaners," pointing to several cleaners on the
floor near the great pear-shaped cell, "and tell one to come here right
away. Look lively, now."

Nuova, who seemed always ready for a new thing, gladly ran down the comb
to the floor and danced happily across it to a bee that was busily
cleaning and touched her with her antennæ. As the cleaner looked up
Nuova said: "Cera wants you; they are making too much dust over there."

The cleaner straightened up a little and without a word shuffled slowly
across to a place just under the festoon and began to clean the floor
there. Nuova started to follow her, rather dawdling along, for the
prospect of hanging motionless in a wax-making festoon was not
especially attractive to her, when she was startled by the falling at
her feet of a lump of something soft and sticky-looking. She looked up
and saw far up on the vertical wall of the comb rising above her a bee
peering down at her and the lump. This bee was indeed right up by the
roof of the hive. As the bee saw Nuova look up she called to her loudly
and rather gruffly, "I say, pretty young bee, bring me up that lump of
propolis, won't you?"

Nuova picked up the soft brownish ball in her mouth and climbed quickly
up to the top of the comb with it. As she offered it to the waiting bee
on the ceiling, she found it sticking to her teeth in a very
uncomfortable way.

"Oh, the sticky stuff," she said in disgust, "and how it tastes and
smells!"

The bee to whom she was awkwardly trying to give it, whose name was
Fessa, and who was a crack-filler, replied disgustedly and wonderingly:
"Oh, the stupid bee. And it smells like what it is. And that's propolis.
And when you've worked with it day and night for a week, as you will
sometime, you will learn how to handle it, and not be sickened by its
smell. It has really a good healthy smell, for it comes from beautiful
great pine trees and balsam firs."

"Oh," cried Nuova, "from outdoors? From the garden where the flowers and
butterflies are? Shan't I go out and get you some?" And she turned as if
to start right away.

Fessa was much astonished, and as she was an irritable bee, she was
angry too. "What?" she cried. "Well, you really are a stupid bee. Go
out? You--you silly young thing. Don't you know you can't go out until
it is time for you to go? And then you'll have to go whether you want to
or not. Don't you know that bees do things according to custom? You
don't do what you like: you like what you do. That's the bee way, you
stupid. What kind of bee are you, anyway? Here now, hand over that
stuff, and go back to your work." And Fessa took the last of the
propolis from her very roughly.

[Illustration: "What?" she cried, "Well, you really are a stupid Bee"]

Nuova, who did not like to be handled so roughly, and talked to so
sharply, was almost in tears. She seemed to be always getting reproved.
However, she said rather maliciously to Fessa: "Well, do you like to
work with that sticky stuff? What do you do with it, anyway?"

But Fessa had already turned back to her work and paid no attention to
her. In fact she had already begun, with her two or three other
crack-filling companions, to sing a slow, "sticky" sort of song, as they
kept stuffing propolis into a crack in the roof. Although I cannot give
you the strange, monotonous melody of the song, I can give you the
words. They were these:

    We're the soft putty crew,
    Dripping the oozy glue,
    Squeezing our resins through
      Cranny and crack.

    Stuffing with pure cement
    Crevice and chink and rent,
    Where creeping airs have sent
    Warning of Bee Moth bent
      On sly attack.

    Yes, we are the safety crew,
    Spreading with trowel true
    Fragrant and golden glue,
      Gumming each crack.



CHAPTER V

_Nuova sees Bee Moth and gets acquainted with Beffa_


As the crack-fillers kept on singing their monotonous song over and over
while they worked, and as they paid no attention whatever to Nuova, she
turned away after a few minutes of listening to them, and stared around
her.

It was the first time she had been clear up to the roof of the hive and
she saw that here, as at the bottom, there was a low, free space for the
whole length and breadth of the hive. It was rather dark up here, and
very warm and stuffy, for the warm air rising from the body of the hive
could not escape, as the propolis workers had filled all of the crevices
and cracks in the roof and where the great flat roof-board rested on the
vertical sides of the hive.

Nuova felt glad she was not a crack-filler, and turned to go down to the
wax-making group where she belonged, when she saw a curious, dusky-gray
creature, not a bee, although with big eyes and long antennæ and wings,
which are all things that bees have also. But this creature's body was
much slenderer than a bee's, its antennæ very much longer and slenderer,
and its wings not only longer, but covered over, as was the body, with
myriads of small scales and hairs. These wings were so folded that they
covered all the back and most of the sides of the body and trailed out
beyond the tip of the body. The creature was walking rapidly and
nervously along the broad, upper edge of the comb on which Nuova stood,
and seemed to be quite at home in the dim light of this space just under
the roof.

Nuova stared at the creature a moment, and then began to approach her.
But the creature had stepped quickly over the edge and was now running
rapidly down the face of the comb. In this lighter place Nuova could see
that she was engaged in hiding every here and there small, white eggs
that she seemed to carry somewhere in her body. She would dart nervously
in one direction and then another, hesitating a moment after each swift
movement long enough to drop an egg in an open cell or squeeze it into a
crack in the comb.

Nuova, not being able to catch up with the creature, called loudly to
her a couple of times. "Who are you? What are you doing?" she cried; but
the creature did not reply, but only worked at her egg-hiding the more
rapidly. Nuova called to her again, this time so loudly that the
attention of several bees in the group of nurses was attracted.

The minute they saw the creature, they set up a great shouting and began
racing after her.

"Bee Moth! Bee Moth! After her!" they cried. "Call the soldiers!
Amazons! here! here!"

Nuova was amazed at the uproar, and then she was shocked to see how the
Amazons and all the bees in fact dashed at the poor Bee Moth and began
to tear her literally to pieces. First her long antennæ and then her
wings were torn off and brandished in the air victoriously, and then her
delicate body was stung and hacked into bits, and the fragments tossed
down to the floor to be picked up and thrown out of the hive by the
cleaners. And during all this violent scene, which horrified Nuova
because, strange as it may seem, she really did not understand the
reason for it, all the bees kept up the most excited buzzing and
exclaiming.

"The villain!" they cried; "when did she get in? Has she laid any eggs?
How did she get in? Who saw her first? Where did she lay her eggs?"

Some began now to peer about for the eggs, while others continued to
talk and gesticulate.

Uno, who had been standing silent for a moment as if in thought,
suddenly spoke up loudly, while she looked significantly at Nuova.

"Nuova saw her first," she said; "she called to us."

At that several of the bees turned to Nuova.

"Nuova, Nuova, saw her first!" they cried. "Did she lay any eggs? Why
didn't you call us sooner? _Did_ she lay any eggs, we say?"

"Why, yes," Nuova answered innocently, "a good many; all the way from up
there"--indicating the top of the comb--"clear down to--to--" and Nuova
shuddered so she could not finish.

With this the bees burst out into a new, violent excitement, and they
seemed to be very angry with poor Nuova. "Bee Moth laid a lot of eggs!"
they shouted. "Nuova saw her! Nuova let her! The stupid one! The
faithless one! Kill her! Kill her!" And they crowded around Nuova in a
most threatening manner, some trying to strike her, and two or three
Amazons trying to reach her with their lances. Nuova thought her fate
was to be that of Bee Moth's, and it really seemed so for a moment. And
then Saggia was heard calling loudly.

[Illustration: "The stupid one! The faithless one!"]

"A crack! There must be a _crack_! She must have come in through a
crack! She couldn't have come in past the guards at the door."

This distracted the attention of the bees from Nuova, for at once they
all turned toward Saggia and began shouting all together: "A crack!
There's a crack somewhere! Why haven't the crack-fillers found it?"

Then they all began to crowd toward and clamor at the propolis-workers,
who, up on their scaffolding, scowled down on the mob, seemingly
unafraid and unexcited.

"Well," said Fessa roughly, "find the crack and we'll fill it. That's
all we've got to say. Find the crack."

"Yes, that's right," spoke up Saggia loudly. "Some of us hunt for the
crack, and some hunt for the eggs and break them or throw them out.
Every one that isn't found and hatches in the hive means danger for us.
Find them all."

At this the bees all began hunting about for the crack and the eggs.
Every now and then an egg would be found and with a loud shout it would
be seized and thrown down to the floor of the hive. Nuova, disheveled
and still trembling from the fright caused by the attack of the bees on
her, crept down to the floor at the side of the hive just under the
wax-makers, who had paid no attention to all the hubbub. From here she
was looking on at the search for the eggs with astonishment, when
Saggia, who had been looking anxiously about for her, saw her and came
over close to her.

"Go up and get back into your place in the wax-curtain, and they'll
forget all about you," she whispered. "But why didn't you shout out
about the Bee Moth when you first saw her?"

"But why should I?" answered Nuova blankly and rather bitterly. "She was
such a pretty and such an interesting creature."

Saggia raised her antennæ in astonishment and despair. "Nuova, you _are_
a funny bee. You are so different. What _is_ the matter with you
anyway? Don't you know--but, of course, for some extraordinary reason
you don't--that your 'pretty and interesting creature' is one of the
most dangerous enemies we have? From any of her eggs that we don't find
and break, there will hatch a horrible little grub that will keep hidden
in the cracks or dark places in the hive, feeding on the wax of the
cells and on the pollen and honey, too, and spinning wherever it goes a
terrible, sticky, silken web that catches our feet and wings and
interferes with our getting around easily. And if there are enough of
the Bee Moth's grubs they spin so much web that finally we can't carry
on our work in the hive at all, and all our babies starve and the Queen
starves, and the whole community goes to ruin. 'Pretty and interesting,'
indeed; she is sneaky and despicable, that's what she is. And if you
ever see another, rush for her at once and call everybody. Being pretty
doesn't necessarily mean being good."

"Yes; but, Saggia," said Nuova slowly, "if her grubs have to have wax
and pollen and honey for food, and if there is nobody but Bee Moth to
get them for them, and she can't, of course, doesn't she rather have to
lay her eggs in a bee-hive where, when her grubby babies hatch out,
there will be enough food for them? And don't they have to spin the web
to keep us bees from killing them as soon as we see them?"

Saggia stared at her; and then, strange as it may seem, even this old
bee began to understand a little that Nuova's mind was a bit different
from that of the other bees in the hive, and that she had a heart that
could be hurt even by the killing of a dangerous enemy of the hive.
However, Saggia contented herself with repeating, "Well, you _are_ a
funny bee!" and then she urged Nuova again to start up the comb to the
group of wax-makers, and went back to see how the search for Bee Moth's
eggs was getting on.

Just as Nuova was about to begin climbing up, she heard a strong,
buzzing sound near her and found that she was almost stumbling over a
bee that was standing in a most odd position, with its head down and
almost touching the floor, and its body lifted up at an angle of forty
or fifty degrees, and all of its wings going like mad, although it was
not, of course, beating its wings to fly, for it remained constantly in
the same position. There were two or three other bees near this one
doing the same thing, and farther away, nearer the hive entrance, were
two or three more.

The wing-buzzing bee nearest Nuova, whose name was Aria, seemed to be
quite vexed with Nuova, for she said to her sharply: "Look out where you
are going, you stupid! Are you blind and deaf?"

Nuova was startled, and rather frightened, too, by the sharp speech, but
her curiosity was even stronger than her fear. "Good gracious!" she
said; "what are you doing?"

"What matter to you what I am doing?" said Aria, in a thick, "buzzy"
voice. "I am doing my work--which is more than you seem to be doing.
Aren't you bee enough yet to know that each of us has her own appointed
work and does it without worrying about what others are doing? If we all
do our work, then the whole community gets on all right. So if you will
look out for your work, I'll look out for mine."

Here Aria buzzed more energetically than ever for a moment without
saying anything. Then she began speaking again, "Still if you have to be
told, you pretty little stupid bee, I'll tell you that I and my
companions are ventilating the hive, and if we should stop to loaf and
moon about like you, you and all the rest of us would suffocate, that's
what you'd do." And she stopped talking. But in a moment she began to
sing a curious little song which was partly made up of just buzzing and
humming, and partly of words. These were the words of her song, in which
all the other ventilating bees joined:

    Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz;
    Back and forth, back and forth,
    Fanning and stirring and driving and churning;
    Old air we're forcing forth, new air's returning.
        On our heads all the day;
        This is the only way
        We can keep sweet the hive
        And our dear bees alive.

    Whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr;
    Roundabout, roundabout,
    Living fans ceaselessly driving and churning;
    Foul air we're forcing forth, fresh air's returning.
        Upside down all the day;
        Beating our wings away;
        So we keep sweet the hive
        And our dear bees alive.

While the ventilating bees were singing and Nuova stood idly watching
and listening to them, a small, old drone bee with crumpled-up, that is,
deformed wings, came, half walking and half comically hopping, down the
long aisle between the vertical combs from the back and darker part of
the hive. He was humming a song to himself as he came along. Beffa was
the name of the deformed bee, and he was the jester of the hive, as
could be guessed by his hopping way of walking, and by the words of his
song.

When Nuova heard Beffa singing, she turned toward him, but did not
interrupt him. She was ever so much interested in his appearance, and by
his sort of hopping dance which he kept up all the time he was singing,
and by the song itself, which told her something about him, but not
enough. As he stopped singing, Nuova spoke, speaking to herself at
first, and then to him.

"Oh, what a funny bee," she said. "You _are_ a bee, aren't you?"

Beffa stared at her a moment, then made her a deep, mocking bow and gave
a hop or two. "Yes, pretty one, which is, of course, to say, stupid one,
I be a bee--just as you be, only not just so, for I be doing my work,
which I don't see that you be." Then he hopped comically about, humming
to himself the refrain of his song.

No one, however, paid any attention to him except Nuova, who exclaimed
rather petulantly: "Oh, work, work, work; always that word!"

"Yes," said Beffa, mockingly bowing and hopping about her, "but not
always that work"; imitating grotesquely for a moment Nuova's idle
attitude.

"Do you call that hopping and singing work?" indignantly exclaimed
Nuova. "Why don't you go and nurse babies?"

Beffa, who was again at his hopping and humming, stopped a moment to
stare at her in surprise; then replied, in a sing-song: "I can't, oh, I
can't nurse babies."

"Then make wax," said Nuova.

"I can't, oh, I can't make wax," hummed Beffa.

"Then build a comb, or fill cracks, or clean the floor, or"--and she
pointed to the ventilating bees near them--"ventilate," persisted Nuova.

"I can't," sang again Beffa, "oh, I can't build cells, or fill cracks,
or scrub floors, or--" and he broke off suddenly with a sort of catch in
his voice.

But Nuova blindly persisted. "Well, then, why don't you go out and
gather pollen and bring nectar; out into the sunshine, out into the
garden."

The poor, deformed bee, now angry, indeed, began jumping up and down
violently right in front of Nuova, and then suddenly whirled around,
bringing his back and crumpled wings fairly in her face. "Oh, silly
little pretty, pretty little silly!" he cried; "which is to say, blind
one, stupid one, heartless one, _would_ I like to go out, out into the
warm sunshine, out into the fragrant garden! Would I like to go! Blind,
stupid, brutal one!"

When Nuova saw the poor, crumpled-up, useless wings, she suddenly
understood, and she felt like striking herself in the face as she
realized all the stupid, brutal things she had said. "Oh, you poor, poor
bee!" she cried as she touched Beffa caressingly again and again with
her antennæ. "I didn't see; I didn't understand; I am so sorry! Won't
you forgive me? Please?"

Beffa, though partly appeased, was still half angry, and still spoke
bitterly. "Oh, you _do_ understand now! You _do_ understand why I hop
and sing; why I dance for the Queen; and why I do anything I can do when
I can't do other things; can't do what a drone ought to do, fly wide and
high in the Great Courting Chase after the Princess. I am glad you
understand now. But hush, listen!" He whirled around, facing toward the
great pear-shaped cell in the lower center of the comb. "Hark!
Principessa, the new Princess, calls. Hark!"

Beffa and Nuova stood silent and expectant, facing toward the Princess's
cell as did all the other bees. There was a tense excitement everywhere.
Nuova felt that something very important was happening. And then came a
strange sound, first faint and low, then louder and shriller. It was the
piping of the young Princess shut up in her great cell, but ready now to
come out. It sent a shiver of excitement through all the bees.
Ventilators stopped buzzing and wax-makers and comb-builders turned
their faces intently toward the sound, and even the crack-fillers, far
up at the roof, stopped their work and peered down excitedly.

There had come, indeed, one of the most exciting and tense moments that
ever come to a bee community. It was the moment that precedes the birth
of a new royal bee, a Princess who is destined to be the new Queen of
the hive, or to go out from the hive with many of the workers to
establish a new community of her own.

Again came the shrill piping of the Princess in the royal cell. Another
wave of excitement ran over the hive. And again and again the weird
sound came. Suddenly the royal nurses began excitedly to plaster wax on
the outside of the great cell, especially over its mouth.

Beffa whispered to Nuova: "She is trying to work her way out, but they
don't want to let her out yet. See, the drones are coming."

And even as he spoke a gay song was heard, in voices very different from
any that Nuova had yet heard in the hive; and suddenly, as the song grew
louder, there came a half-dancing, half-marching file of
splendid-looking, robust bees, moving spiritedly directly toward the
royal cell. They were a fine-looking lot, these drones, these dandy
drones, and Nuova had a thrill she had never felt before. She gazed at
them entranced.

The drones made a half-circle about the cell of the Princess and lined
up there, strutting and dancing and singing loudly. This is the song
they sang:

    We are the courtiers, the beaux of the hive;
      Of the dandy drones surely you've heard!
    Our wings are a rainbow, our bodies are gold,
      To soil them would be most absurd.

    No, we never mix up with the common hive stuff,
      Neither garner, nor plaster, nor clean;
    'Tis superior far to be just what we are,
      And do naught but make love to the Queen.



CHAPTER VI

_Nuova and Hero, and the Birth of the Princess_


All through their song Nuova had given the drones her absorbed
attention. She admired them greatly for their fine appearance, and when
she learned from their song that they did no work, but had all day only
to follow their own sweet will, she became especially interested in
them. She was a little puzzled, too, for, from what she had heard from
Saggia and the others, and from all she had seen, she had come to
believe that all bees worked all the time. And here were all these
stout-bodied, vigorous bees proudly singing that they loafed all the
days through. She was so much interested in this that she approached one
end of the line of drones and spoke to the one nearest her.

"What a fine time you drones must have," she said. "Don't you ever have
to do any work?"

The drone did not hear her at first and paid no attention to her, but as
she repeated her question louder and more insistently, he turned and
stared at her amazed.

"Well, well, bless my eyes!" he said, stammering in his amazement at
being addressed by a common worker bee. "Bless my eyes! I say, work?
Work? Me work? Who ever heard such a question? What sort of a bee are
you? Who are you, anyway?" He touched the drone next to him to call his
attention. "Look here, who is this bee?"

Nuova was nettled by his manner and by what he said. She answered,
rather sharply, "Well, I'll tell you who I am. I am a bee that works;
anyway, I am the kind of a bee that works, like all the others except
you, and you" (looking defiantly at the second drone, who was staring
insolently at her) "and I want to know why you do not work--you and you
others that loaf around all the time and eat what we bring in, and do
nothing but sing and dance in the hive, or fly around doing nothing in
the garden, and keep all dressed up and just look handsome."

The drone was more and more astonished, but he was also a little
flattered by her reference to his clothes and appearance.

"Well, you are a silly little bee," he said; "that's what we are here
for. Drones work? It isn't done, you know. Our business is to love. And
singing and dancing and looking handsome, and not getting all dusty with
pollen and sticky with wax and dirty with cleaning, is part of it.
That's our work; not working, but loving."

[Illustration: "Drones work? It isn't done, you know."]

Nuova was so astonished by hearing this, and so excited to learn that
some bees did not have to work, and also so angry to think that these
bees were allowed to live without working, while she was always being
told to work, and scolded for resting for even the shortest time, that
when she answered him she spoke so loudly as to attract the attention of
other bees near her, including Saggia, who was moving around near by,
cleaning the floor.

"So that is what you call your work, is it?" she burst out. "Well, I am
glad to know there is some kind of bee work besides feeding babies and
sweating out wax and filling up cracks and scrubbing up floors. Loving,
you call it; well, I want to do some of that; show me how."

The two drones were stupefied with astonishment by Nuova's words, but
the one nearest her, to whom she was speaking directly, was rather taken
by the audacity of the pretty little bee's demand, and he involuntarily
strutted and swaggered a little and eyed her with special attention. He
even smiled down at her rather pleasantly, and seemed to be about to
speak to her again when Saggia and three or four other bees, who had
heard her last words and were scandalized to see and hear her talking
with the drone, especially in such a manner, bustled up to her.

This last unheard-of behavior of Nuova was too much for Saggia. Her
patience and sympathy with her were exhausted, and she broke out in a
tirade of scolding.

"Well, I never in my life!" she exclaimed, grasping Nuova and jerking
her around; "what in the world are you doing and saying? Talking to a
drone about love! You don't know anything about love. You can't know
anything about it. Only drones and princesses know what love is, or can
know. You are worse than a silly bee; you are a bad bee!" She jerked her
again and again; at the same time she went on with her scolding. "Well,
I wash my hands of you! If you can't be a sensible bee we don't want
you! Our thinking has all been done for us long, long ago. All we have
to do is what custom tells us to. And if you can't behave as the rest of
us do, you are useless. Here, take her, throw her out of the hive!"

Again Saggia jerked her vigorously, and other bees, especially Uno, Due,
and Tre, hustled her and struck at her. A couple of soldiers even came
up and began jabbing at her with their lances. Poor Nuova seemed about
to be torn piecemeal, like the Bee Moth, and turned out of the hive,
when one of the drones, who was in the line some little distance from
Nuova and Saggia, was attracted by the uproar. He came over to the group
in a lordly and leisurely manner, shouldering his way through the crowd
and carelessly driving off the jostling bees. They left Nuova
reluctantly, casting dark looks and making malevolent gestures toward
her as they turned their attention again to the excitement still raging
about the cell of the Princess. Poor Nuova, half dead from her
ill-treatment, could hardly utter her thanks to her rescuer. In a weak
voice she attempted to say something, but finding it too much of an
effort she contented herself with looking up gratefully into the face of
the newcomer. He looked down at her curiously.

"What is the matter with you?" he said, not unkindly. "Can you not do as
other bees do? What are you--a nurse, a wax-maker, or what? Why don't
you stick to your work? Why don't you do what you are expected to do?
Are you one of those dreadful creatures they call 'new bees'?"

Nuova, although still weak and faint from her jostling and fright, was
made angry again by these questions. "I do not know what I am," she
said, "but I'd rather die than be just a puppet in this hive. Is all my
life cut out for me, and not according to what I want to do and can do,
but just according to rules made by somebody I don't know anything about
and who doesn't know anything about me?"

She tried to say more, but a faintness came over her, and she staggered
a little and would have fallen if the drone had not unconsciously put a
wing behind her and supported her. She looked up at him, unable to thank
him in words, but expressing her gratitude in her eyes.

As she rested this way, leaning heavily against him, she closed her
eyes, happy to be protected, and even feeling strange little thrills
running over her body that were mysteriously enjoyable. Without opening
her eyes she murmured: "I am very grateful to you. You are very good."
He said nothing, but looked with more and more interest at the
sweet-faced little bee beside him.

Soon she opened her eyes again, and this time a pathetic little smile
ran over her face. Indeed, it grew to be a roguish smile as an
interesting idea formed more and more clearly in her brain.

"But you," she said--"aren't you rather breaking bee tradition by
helping me? If I am a useless bee, and only in the way, and a trouble to
the community, shouldn't you let them sting me and throw me out of the
hive? Are you" (she smiled again)--"are you, a--new bee, too?"

The drone, whose name was Hero, and who was truly the handsomest and
finest drone in the hive, was first surprised and then a little
embarrassed by what Nuova was saying. He looked rather fearfully around
to see if other bees were observing them and tried gently to take his
wing from behind Nuova, who, however, on realizing his intention, gave
new signs of weakness and leaned more heavily than ever on it. In fact,
it must be confessed, she nestled as closely against him, enclosed by
his protecting wings, as she could.

"No, I am not a new bee," he said, rather stiffly. "I know my duty, and
I try to do it." He looked again into his companion's pretty face, and
then spoke more gently.

"Still, I admit that some of our ways are old-fashioned, rather absurd
in fact," he said, with a manner and voice growing more and more
confidential. "I have often had a curious feeling as if I should like to
work." He smiled down at her. "Terrible, isn't it? And sometimes it is
pretty hard to work up a violent love for a Princess you never see until
you are just about to dash after her in the Great Courting Chase. Still,
that's something worth while. One such flight is excitement and exertion
enough for a whole life."

"Have you ever done it?" asked Nuova, curiously and even a little
enviously. "And did you win?"

"Yes," said Hero, "I have been in one chase. But I was so young my wings
were hardly dry and, of course, I didn't win, or I shouldn't be here
now. Don't you know that the winner always dies in the winning?"

"Oh, how dreadful!" cried Nuova, shocked. "And how silly! To die just as
you become King. How is it worth it?"

"What!" said Hero, surprised, and in a reproving and even stern voice.
"Not worth while to win in the Great Courting Chase? To prove yourself
the fastest and strongest and boldest of all the drones, and to be the
consort of the Queen, the father of all the Queen's children? Not worth
while dying for? What do I live for but that?"

"Ah, yes," cried Nuova, carried away for the moment by his enthusiasm,
"that _is_ something to live for!"

Suddenly, however, she realized that if Hero won in the Great Chase that
was soon to occur--that is, would take place when the Princess, already
trying to get out of her cell, was really out and ready for her wedding
flight--he would really have to die for a bee, so far unseen and
unknown, and who had done nothing to deserve such a sacrifice, and who
would give her love as well to any other drone as to Hero, this handsome
and kind new friend.

This made her angry and bitter again, and very sad, too, for she was
beginning to realize that she liked this beautiful, strong bee much more
than she liked Saggia or Beffa. He was different from all the other bees
she knew, and her liking for him was different. She wanted to be with
him all the time, and to have him talk to her or even just to look at
her. This must be loving, she thought, or part of it, anyway. She began
to dislike this Princess that was soon to come out of her cell. Probably
she would be very beautiful. When she thought of that she disliked her
more than ever. She could not bear to think of Hero's loving her or of
her loving Hero.

She looked keenly at Hero, and then spoke to him slowly and cautiously,
growing suddenly wise because of her new feeling for him.

"But how do you know you will love the new Princess?" she said. "Is she
certain to be beautiful and sweet? And will she certainly love you?"

Hero looked at her curiously. It was strange how this pretty little bee
attracted him. And it was strange that she seemed to have very clearly
certain thoughts that were already rather hazily in his own mind.

"Oh, well," he said musingly, "I shall not see much of her. It is not,
in a sense, love for her, but the response to the call of the race, the
fulfilling of my duty to our community, that will drive me to my best
effort to win her. But, of course, it is love for her, too; that is, so
far as there is love at all among bees. We can love only Princesses, you
know, we drones; that is honey-bee tradition."

Hero had seen no betrayal of Nuova's real feeling in her questions. He
only saw in them the expression of her odd, independent way of looking
at things and thinking about them. Nuova realized this and so became
bolder by his blindness. And she was made bitter, too, by hearing this
hero of hers repeat that always irritating phrase of "honey-bee
tradition."

"Oh, yes," she exclaimed, "you can only do what your grandfathers and
your great-grandfathers did! You must keep your eyes closed and your
heart cold and loll and loaf through all your life until they tell you
to go and love--love a Princess--love her, sight unseen--love her so
hard that if you win her you kill yourself! You are not _you_; you are
not a bee with a heart and brain and strong body of your own, to live
and strive and suffer and succeed after your own way and your own
desires, but you are a machine, an automaton, to do what custom has
fashioned you to do! You are not a bee; you are a clock-work; big and
strong and handsome--and hollow!"

Hero, amazed at her vehemence and her breaking of all bee tradition,
looked at her more and more interestedly. He found a responsive feeling
in himself, not only to the ideas expressed by her words, but to her own
attractiveness and boldness.

"Well," he said amazedly, but also sympathetically--"well, you _are_ a
silly little bee!"

But now the excitement around the Princess's cell broke out afresh. She
was evidently about to come forth. From inside her cell she piped more
loudly and more often than ever. Suddenly a loud, answering trumpeting
was heard, and Beffa came hopping and humming to announce the approach
of the old Queen. It was the Queen who was making the answering
trumpeting. She came majestically along toward the cell of the Princess
with a group of attendant bees about her. These attendants always kept
circling slowly, but animatedly, about her, facing toward her, and
although constantly shifting and changing places, always maintaining a
complete circle around her. Every now and then she gave a loud
trumpeting, and each time she was answered by a shrill piping from the
cell. Or perhaps it was the old Queen who was defiantly answering the
challenges of the Princess.

All the bees were enormously excited. They moved about constantly,
buzzing and grouping in dense masses, now here, now there, but mostly
close to the great cell. They were, however, plainly divided in their
feeling, for some of the groups were intent on keeping near the Queen.

All the drones, however, clustered around the Princess's cell. Only
Hero, who still stood by the side of Nuova a little to one side, had not
joined the group of drones which was giving all its attention to the
awaited appearance of the Princess. None of them paid the slightest
attention to the Queen.

The excitement steadily increased. It was evident that the climax was at
hand. Suddenly a breathless silence succeeded the buzzing whir. All the
bees stood still with eyes fastened on the royal cell, and there came
slowly forth from it, with beautiful but cold, set face and slow
automatic movement, the new Princess.

[Illustration: There came slowly forth--the new Princess]

As she stepped clear of her cell, with long, slender body erect, and
shining delicate wings already nearly dry and straight, the whole mass
of the bees quivered with renewed excitement. She carried a long,
shining silver lance which she held point upward and used to support her
first rather uncertain steps.

The old Queen, staring defiantly at the shining Princess, seemed to
realize that the end of her reign had come. But she lifted her own long
lance threateningly in the air and gave out a challenging trumpet call
that sounded loud through all the hive.

The Princess, though obviously not yet in full control of her movements
because of her long confinement in the cell, nevertheless faced the
threatening old Queen with full defiance, and piped back a vigorous
answer.

The Queen seemed to lose all her self-control at this, and stooping a
little, and putting her lance in place so that it pointed directly at
the Princess, started to rush at her. But a mass of bees threw
themselves in front of her, blocking her way and pushing her lance up.

Thwarted in her intention of killing the Princess or putting her to
flight, the old Queen hesitated a moment, and then with a loud cry of
"Who loves me, follow me to make a new home," she rushed for the opening
of the hive followed by a great swarm of worker bees.

Nuova turned anxiously to Hero to see if he were going to follow the old
Queen from the hive. Her own inclination was to go with her, for she
detested the haughty, cold-faced new Princess, both because of her
appearance and insolent manner and because she felt that Hero would
surely win in the Great Courting Chase and hence become the Royal
Consort of the Princess and have to die for her sake. So she timidly
touched him with one of her antennæ to attract his attention, which was
all being given to the stirring scene before them.

"Are you going to follow the old Queen?" she asked, "or stay with the
Princess?"

Hero started, as she spoke, as if awakened from a daze. He looked down
at her curiously, as if only half recognizing her. Then he turned again
to look intently at the Princess and the group of drones about her. With
a quick turn back to Nuova he answered her as if astonished by her
question:

"I shall stay with the Princess of course." Then he straightened up
proudly and added: "Indeed, I think she will be my Princess; my Queen."

He looked toward the Princess again, this time eagerly and bending
rather toward her as if impatient to go to her. And even as he looked
toward her, her eyes, moving slowly and proudly over the whole group of
bees who had elected to remain in the hive with her, rested on him, and
stopped there. As she saw the handsome drone bending toward her with his
eager eyes fixed on her, a slow smile came over her face. It was the
first appearance of anything but defiance or cold insolence to which she
had yet given expression. Both Hero and Nuova saw it. Poor Nuova! It was
too much for her. She could hardly stand. Hero felt her trembling at his
side. He turned his face to look down at her, and was astonished and
then suddenly touched and even moved to see in her wet eyes the revealed
love of this pretty little worker bee for him.

He spoke to her half curiously, half tenderly. "And are you going with
the old Queen, or will you stay here with the Princess?" he asked.

"Stay, stay," whispered Nuova, almost sobbing. "I think--she will
be--my--Queen, also."

As she said this she turned away. Just then the old Queen and the swarm
of bees about her rushed from the hive. All the bees remaining began to
sing a loud song of gladness and welcome to the Princess who was to be
their new Queen. And they all joined in a mad dance of joy--except
Nuova, who hid her tear-stained face and limp body behind the nearest
great honeycomb.



CHAPTER VII

_Nuova goes Outside_


When Nuova felt that she could face again the scene near the cell, she
left her hiding-place and came slowly out into the open space where she
had left Hero. He was gone. She knew, without looking, that he was now
with the other drones pressing about the cold, proud Princess. She
looked rather for her old friends Saggia and Beffa. Though Saggia had
lost all patience with her because she had spoken to the drones, and had
punished her, and even given her over to Uno, Due, Tre, and the other
bees who disliked her, she still liked Saggia and believed that Saggia
liked her.

So she looked around for them. But they were not in the mass about the
Princess nor in any of the groups which were beginning to take up again
the different kinds of work of the hive.

Nuova noticed some bees going in and out the entrance hole of the hive,
and although she knew, by instinct, that she was still too young to
leave the hive, yet that strange driving spirit in her, which was
always impelling her to do things against bee traditions and custom,
urged her to the bright opening. Once there she hesitated. The brilliant
sunshine outside was blinding to her eyes, accustomed so far only to the
half-light of the hive. She had a curious sensation too, half of fear of
this unknown world outside, half of fascination to plunge recklessly
into it to see and learn the new things there must be in it, and to
escape from the automatic, heartless life of the hive, and the latest
and bitterest unhappiness this life had just brought to her.

As she stood, uncertain, at the edge of the opening, she heard a
familiar humming just outside the opening, and at once stepped out. She
found herself on a broad platform as wide as the hive and extending
forward for what seemed to her a long distance, but which was in reality
only a few inches. On either side of the platform and beyond it were
grass and flowers and bushes, and still farther away some great trees,
all new and wonderful things to her. Above was the blue sky, and she
heard birds twittering, and far away the song of a woman working in the
garden. And it was all very light and fresh and fragrant. Nuova liked
it.

She heard the familiar humming again. She turned her attention to the
entrance platform. There were only a few bees on it. A few guards moved
easily and half-lazily around, and a few foraging bees were coming and
going with loads of pollen and honey or with pollen baskets and honey
sacs empty. But suddenly she saw Beffa. It was he who was making the
familiar humming. With tired, drawn face and with only grimaces for
smiles, he was slowly hopping and humming near the front edge of the
platform. He often came to a standstill to look with fixed gaze out into
the distance. Beffa was a sad bee, for his Queen had gone and he could
not follow her. Poor Beffa! It made Nuova sad, too, to see him.

And then she saw Saggia, too. She was at one side of the platform with
dustpan and brush, and occasionally stooping over to brush up something.
She, too, seemed sad and tired. She looked older than Nuova had seen her
look before. Saggia, like Beffa, every now and then stood quite still
and gazed far away into the garden or sky as if hoping to see again
the old Queen whom they had lost. Saggia and Beffa had come close
together without noticing each other or Nuova, so occupied with their
own thoughts were they. But soon Saggia noticed Beffa and moved up close
to him.

"Beffa, you are sad," said Saggia, in a low voice so that only Beffa
should hear.

[Illustration: "Beffa, you are sad," said Saggia]

Even Beffa did not hear her at first, or, at least, he did not heed her.
But when Saggia repeated what she had said, Beffa came out of his
reverie with a jerk, and awkwardly made a little hop and grimace.

"Sad," said he. "Great Apis forfend. Haven't we a shining new Princess
to our hive; a virgin new Princess to wed and be a new Queen to us all?
Why should we mourn for an old Queen that's gone? Why be sad with a new
Queen to come? Ha-ha," he laughed sardonically and bitterly.

"Yes, sad," repeated Saggia again, still speaking low and significantly,
"when we have just lost our old Queen who liked her jester, Beffa, and
even her old floor-cleaner, Saggia, who neither of them know whether
the new Queen will like them or not. Oh, sad, sad! Ha-ha!" And she
half-imitated Beffa's sardonic laugh and his hop and grimace.

Beffa turned and faced Saggia squarely, surprised to find wise old
Saggia troubled and depressed just as he was. After a long, keen look at
her, he made a solemn gesture to the distance, and then a mocking bow
toward the hive entrance.

"The Queen has passed: long live the Queen!" he exclaimed.

Several of the guard and forager bees near him heard his cry and called
out after him--

"The Queen has passed: long live the Queen!"

But one old guard of testy temper added, speaking rather roughly to
Beffa: "What are you doing here? Doesn't the Princess laugh at your old
tricks? Can't you find some new ones?"

Beffa turned angrily toward the guard, as if to answer sharply, but
suddenly checked himself and began capering and humming. Then he sang in
a bitter voice:

    "Let the guards guard, and the jester jest,
    Let Saggia clean, and the new queen wed,
      Let all the bees do all they did,
      For life is doing what we're bid.
      Oh, life is doing what we're bid.
                   Ha-ha!"

Saggia felt a little anxious on Beffa's account, for his song seemed
bitter, and she saw that the guard was looking both puzzled and sour as
she listened to it. So Saggia spoke to her hurriedly.

"The odor from our full pantries comes strong from the hives this
morning," she said. "I hope it won't attract the Black Bees."

"Oh, the Black Bees," said the guard, superiorly. "Let them come. We'll
show them how robbers are treated."

Just as the guard finished speaking, a commotion began on the other side
of the platform, and Nuova saw a large black-and-yellow-striped creature
with a long spear lunging fiercely toward the entrance of the hive. It
was a Yellow Jacket. She knew it at once, because she had heard some of
the nurse bees one day talking about these fierce
black-and-yellow-banded robbers that sometimes fought their way into
the hive to steal honey.

The guard near Saggia and Beffa hurried across the platform brandishing
her lance. But already three or four other guards had thrown themselves
on the intruder and were beating it back, striking it viciously with
their lances. The Yellow Jacket made a good fight, but the bee Amazons
were too many for it. It was wounded, began to weaken, and soon was
hustled back off the platform and on through the grass behind a near-by
bush.

The guard who had been talking with Saggia came back proudly to her,
still brandishing her long lance.

"That's the way we do it," she said. "And a Yellow Jacket is stronger
than a Black Bee."

"Yes," replied Saggia, wagging her old head wisely, "but not stronger
than ten Black Bees, or a hundred, and that is the way _they_ come."

As Saggia finished speaking, the guards who had driven the Yellow Jacket
away returned boisterously, and joining all the other guards on the
platform, formed in a line, and half-marching, half-dancing, went
through some military maneuvers. While they were doing this, another lot
of guards came out of the hive, and forming in a line opposite them,
also went through the martial dance. At the end of it all the guards who
had been outside marched into the hive, while the new ones remained
outside on the platform. It was the "relief of the guard."

All during the guards' dancing and marching, Nuova had stood still
watching them intently. Neither Saggia nor Beffa had seen her yet. And
she was afraid to speak to them for fear of being made to go back into
the hive again. She had made up her mind to stay outside. It was all so
much more beautiful and exciting out here. She had decided that she
would not be a nurse or wax-maker or anything else inside the hive any
longer. She wanted to be a forager and be free to go in and out as she
liked, and to fly far out into the garden and spend long, sunshiny hours
there.

Just then, however, Saggia caught sight of her. It was, indeed, Beffa
who saw her first. He quietly touched Saggia with one of his antennæ and
waved the other in Nuova's direction. Saggia hurried over to her,
looking anxiously around her to see if any other bees had noticed Nuova.

"What are you doing out here?" whispered Saggia to her as she reached
her side. "Who sent you out? It isn't time for a week yet for you to
come outside."

Saggia wanted to be angry with her, but the sight of Nuova, so sad and
forlorn-looking, and with tear-marks still on her face, was too much for
her kind heart. And she really loved Nuova very much. Indeed, all that
Nuova had done, and what she had said, had made a strange appeal to the
wise old bee. She was almost frightened sometimes to feel that down deep
in her heart she not only sympathized with much of Nuova's revolt
against the rigid traditions and automatic life of the bees, but that
she realized that this stifling of all independent action and all
personal emotions was not always the way to the highest happiness nor
even the wisest conduct for the bees. She shuddered to think that
perhaps she, too, was a "new bee."

Nuova was half-frightened by Saggia's discovery of her and by her hard
words. But she answered her willfully and defiantly, although with a
touch of attractive mischievousness.

"Nobody sent me out," she said. "I have just decided to be a forager;
that's all. While I was in the hive a little while ago a forager came in
with two great loads of pollen in her pollen baskets. She was very tired
and seemed sick. While she was looking around for an empty cell in which
to put her pollen, she suddenly sank down--and--and died."

Nuova shivered as she said this, and dropped her antennæ down over her
eyes for a moment.

"Ah, yes," said Saggia sadly but proudly; "worked herself to death. That
is the noble death we have. We die in the harness--working for others,
working for the hive. The bees know that death well and honor it."

"They may know it well," broke in Nuova sharply, "but they do not honor
it well. Anyway, not by their actions. Nobody paid any attention to the
poor forager when she was staggering along with her load, and none when
she sank down on the floor and died. Except pretty soon a couple of
cleaners came along and dragged her body away. I suppose they brought
it out here and flung it off the platform somewhere. A noble death, well
honored, indeed! Well, I don't want that kind. I am going to die out in
the garden, under a flower."

While Nuova was speaking, Beffa had hopped and hummed his way over to
them, and now he broke in with a song, which he sang as he hopped and
danced about them. This is what he sang:

    "Work, no play; work all day;
    A useful life; a usual life;
    The good bee's way,
    All day, all day.
    Then die and lie
    Till Saggia spy
    The carrion stuff--
    A tug; a shove,
    And the friend you love
    Is gone to grass:
    Ha, ha, alas, is gone to grass.
    A noble life; a halted breath:
    The epitaph: 'She worked to death.'"

Both Saggia and Nuova listened to Beffa and watched him till he had
finished singing. They both saw clearly his own unhappiness and his own
revolt against the rigor of the bee tradition that demands always the
full sacrifice of the individual for the community. Saggia realized that
Beffa, too, was a "new bee."

Nuova, in the meanwhile, was looking off again into the beautiful
garden; at the green grass and bushes; the many-colored flowers; the
blue sky and warm, bright sunshine over all. She was enchanted. She drew
a long breath of relief and happiness. She turned to Saggia.

"Will they keep me in," she whispered, "if I go back into the hive? If
they will, I shan't go," she added positively.

Saggia looked about again to see if other bees were paying attention to
them. None was.

"No," she said, speaking in a low voice, "they won't keep you. They
won't pay any attention to you as long as you keep busy, coming and
going. You can be a honey-gatherer. The honey-flowers are only a little
way off, there in the garden. But first you must get acquainted with the
outside of the hive and the entrance. Look around. See, we are just by
the side of this big bush, with that long branch hanging over. You can
go out a little way from the platform, then turn around and see how the
hive looks from there. Then go a little farther and look back again.
Then go a little way to one side, and then to the other, and notice
everything that will help you to find your way back. If you get lost,
see if you can't see other honey-gatherers or pollen-foragers flying
with full loads; they are returning to the hive; follow them. As to
collecting the honey, you will learn that easily; in fact, you will be
surprised when you get to the flowers, to find that you already know
how. Be careful and not get into the poppies that shut up on you, and
watch always for the great-crested bee-bird that swoops down on you,
and, peck"--Saggia exaggeratedly imitated a bird's pecking--"and that is
the end. Now, be off for your first flight. But not too far--not for the
first time."

Nuova's face shone with eagerness. "Oh, thank you, Saggia, thank you.
You are good to me. You are different from the others. Thank you,
dearest Saggia."

Nuova started quickly forward toward the edge of the platform. Just then
Beffa, who had been hopping gently about Nuova and Saggia while they
were talking, now hopped and danced along in front of Nuova, singing:

    "The new bee and the old world;
    Flowers are there and butterflies;
    But ugly toads and big bee-birds,
    If the old bee thinks she knows,
    The new bee knows she doesn't.
    Ah, new bee knows the world-old truth,
    That the old world's ever new."

Nuova had slowed her steps so that she could hear all of Beffa's little
song, and as he finished she came up to him and touched him caressingly
with one of her antennæ. But Beffa shrank from her caress. It meant so
much to him, and yet he knew it meant so little to her. He knew Nuova
liked him; yes, but he knew that he more than liked Nuova: he loved her.
Poor Beffa! Love! A pitiful, deformed drone that could not fly; that
could never be in the Great Courting Chase! And it was only then that
the drones loved; and then only a Princess that could be loved. What he
felt was impossible for a bee to feel; bee tradition told him that; and
yet, he knew that he did feel this impossible thing.

"Beffa, you are good to me too," said Nuova to him; "you and Saggia are
both good to me. And you two are the wisest bees in the hive, for you
know that I am not the same as the other bees. No bees are exactly the
same, I believe. We can't be all exactly alike, and we can't all like
the same things, or think the same way, can we? I wish I could be a
Queen so that I could have you always for my jester; always by to say
funny things and wise things."

Beffa made a grimace--to hide a sob. And he hopped more grotesquely than
ever, while he sang:

    "Ah, well, who knows?
    New things unheard of may be true,
    For every day the world is new.
    Ah, well, who knows?
    Ah, well, who knows?"

"Good-bye, Beffa," said Nuova. And she stepped to the edge of the
platform, and spread her wings for her first flight, her first plunge
into the outside world of grass and flowers and butterflies and
bee-birds. And just then something happened that postponed this flight.



CHAPTER VIII

_Nuova and Hero again, and a Battle_


Just as Nuova was about to launch herself into the air, a sudden
commotion at the hive opening made her look back. After this look she
had no further thought of the garden. What she saw was the group of
drones coming out of the hive, with another group of worker bees
attendant upon them. These attendants were cleaning the drones' bodies
and wings and evidently preparing them for some great event. It was
plain to Nuova that this was the preparation for the Great Courting
Chase. Her heart gave a leap, her eyes became misty; she stumbled and
almost fell. She was so dizzy that she thought sudden death had struck
her. It was only, however, the blow of her heart and mind in realizing
that Hero--her Hero--must be in the group and preparing to leave her
forever. He had, in a sense, already left her forever she knew, for he
had made his decision--or rather she felt that the cruel bee tradition
had made the decision for him--to follow the Princess. And if he
followed her he could but win. Her wonderful, handsome, powerful Hero
would be easily the successful one in the Great Courting Chase.

She ran her eyes anxiously over the group of drones now well out of the
entrance and spreading out on the platform. At first she did not see
Hero. But in a moment she did. He was a little apart from the others,
and showed none of the excitement of the other drones. Indeed, he seemed
to be rather depressed, and was evidently keeping quite by himself. He
had not even an attendant with him. Nuova saw in this her chance.

She turned back from the edge of the platform, merged into the excited
crowd, none of the bees paying any attention to her at all, and began to
work her way through the press toward Hero.

Just then, however, Uno appeared by his side and began to brush his
wings. He turned on her with an impatient gesture. Surprised and angry,
Uno made a grimace and left him. A moment later, Due, noticing that he
had no helper, hurried over to him, but she, also, much to her surprise
and chagrin, was treated as Uno had been.

Hero seemed to be in an irritable mood. As the drones and their
attendants came farther out, he moved away toward the front of the
platform. This brought him rather near Nuova, who was able to reach him
before any other bee could offer him her services.

Nuova, unperceived by Hero, slipped behind him and began nervously and
awkwardly, glancing at the attendants on the other drones for guidance,
to clean his wings. Soon an awkward tug apprised Hero that some one was
again trying to attend him, and he turned with an angry movement to
drive her off, when he recognized Nuova, and arrested his gesture. He
stood still, looking at her keenly, and, without a word, let her go on
caring for him. She grew even more nervous and awkward. Then he smiled
gently, and spoke to her in a low voice.

[Illustration: Nuova began to clean his wings]

"How do you come to be out here?" he asked. "You weren't sent as an
attendant to us. Only the older and more experienced bees are given
that--honor." He smiled again. "You didn't come out just now?"

"No," said Nuova almost in a whisper--"no, I was going out for honey."

"Oh, fine!" said Hero. "Out into the world already! You must have done
your work in the hive very well."

"Yes," murmured Nuova demurely.

Just then two or three Black Bees slipped out from behind a bush near
the platform, but no one noticed them.

"But why don't you go, then?" asked Hero. "It is beautiful over there
among the flowers." He waved an antenna toward the garden. "And
fragrant, and exciting. Other kinds of creatures; beetles and
grasshoppers and big buzzing flies. Some bad ones, too; spiders and
giant bee-birds always watching, watching to catch you." Nuova
shuddered. "But you are not afraid, are you?" Hero looked at her keenly.
"Or are you? Do you prefer to stay here in safety and just wait on the
drones?"

"Yes," said Nuova slowly, "I prefer to wait on a drone."

"I am surprised," said Hero sternly and even half-contemptuously.

Just then Nuova made an awkward tug at his wing. He winced. "Ouch!" he
said; then half-laughed. "Your champion will never win Principessa if
you pull his wings out."

As he said this, Nuova involuntarily, in response to her feelings, gave
an even harder tug at his wings.

Hero exclaimed again, and half-pulled away from her. He spoke almost
angrily.

"Here, what _are_ you doing?" he cried. Then, as he looked into the
eager, excited, pretty face of his little attendant, he felt his heart
give a curious throb. And when he spoke again it was almost tenderly.

"Well, you are good to try and help me, anyway. But"--and now he spoke
rather moodily--"I don't need much preparing. I can beat any of
them"--and he waved contemptuously toward the other drones--"easily,
just as I am."

Poor Nuova! He could hardly have said a more discouraging thing to her,
or one to hurt her more. She drew back a little and had hard work not
to cry. She half-sobbed as she said: "That--is--fine. I am sure--you
can." She paused. Then she said slowly: "And if you do beat them, are
you sure to get--her? Are you sure to be able to catch--her?"

The excitement on the platform was growing. The drones seemed to be
getting impatient, and the attendants worked feverishly at the cleaning
and making ready for the wonderful event about to happen. The infection
of all this excitement began to seize Hero. He had turned his face away
from Nuova to stare intently at the opening of the hive. It was there,
of course, that the Princess would soon appear.

At Nuova's last question he started a little. "Eh?" he said rather
brusquely. "Oh, yes, of course, I can catch her. She will fly faster
than we at first, but she can't keep it up as long as we can. She will
try to go higher and higher in the air, but that is hard work. That is
when we shall catch up with her." He paused, then added, musingly: "It
is odd; she is trying her best to get away from us and yet she wants to
get caught all the time. She must get caught, you know, or we shouldn't
have any Queen, and the hive would go all to pieces. The old Queen never
comes back, of course. The Princess is our one chance to have a Queen at
all."

Nuova seemed to be thinking hard. Something was puzzling her. "But," she
asked insistently, "what really does happen if a Princess doesn't get
caught, or something happens to her. There must be some way to save the
community, isn't there?"

Hero seemed to have lost interest again in Nuova and her questionings.
He was gazing fixedly at the hive entrance.

"Oh," he said carelessly, "I don't know. I've heard sometimes that a
worker bee can--"

He was suddenly interrupted. There was a new and very violent commotion
on that side of the platform which the few Black Bees had approached,
unnoticed, a few minutes before. Now there was a whole group of them
plainly in sight and many others were coming quickly out from behind the
bush. A great and angry buzzing was heard from the guards on the
platform and cries of "Lotta, Lotta! The Amazons! Call Lotta! Call the
Amazons! Hurry! The Black Bees! The Black Bees!"

The guards, few as they were in comparison with the oncoming horde of
Black Bees, threw themselves bravely at them, and a moment after Lotta
and her Amazons began issuing pell-mell from the hive entrance. They
were met almost immediately by the foremost Black Bees, who had easily
killed or were driving back the few guards, and were making rapid
headway over the platform toward the entrance. A few even had passed in
through the entrance, but they were driven out again at once by the
issuing Amazons. In fact, most of the first Black Bees to gain a
foothold on the platform and to push forward to the entrance or into it
were killed. But that brought no terror to the others. They pressed on
over the dead bodies of their comrades, lunging and striking viciously
with their long lances.

But Lotta and the Amazons were fighting fiercely, too. They were making
a heroic defense of the hive and its stores. The battle raged with great
fury, but for a little while with no apparent advantage to either side.
The Black Bees seemed, on the whole, the more expert and the more
furious fighters--they are, indeed, a race of bees famous for their
fighting--but Lotta's wonderful personal courage and deeds of prowess
were a great inspiration to the defenders. She appeared to be everywhere
at once, and her shouts of defiance to the enemy and of encouragement to
her followers made up in some measure for the feebler strength and less
experience of her band.

This was so obvious to the Black Bees that she was soon singled out for
special attack by groups of her adversaries. Two or three Black Bees
would combine to assail her from different sides, but her lightning
movements and dashing bravery had so far saved her even from being
touched by an enemy's lance. But just at the moment when Nuova had
recovered a little from her amazement and terror at this sudden
invasion, Lotta received her first wound. The fierce Black Bees were
closing around her too closely. Nuova felt a violent rage rising within
her as she realized that at any cost the Black Bees were going to kill
the leader of the Amazons. Lotta was staggering, and a half-dozen lances
were lunging at her. She stumbled, gave one final shout of
defiance--and fell.

It was a terrible blow to the Amber Amazons. They were seized with
dismay. They had no one to lead them. They hesitated, gave way here and
there, and the Black Bees with triumphant shouts pressed forward. Some
of them had even reached the entrance, when a new, shrill battle-cry and
call of encouragement to the Amber fighters rose above all the noise of
the battle.

The cry came from Nuova. She had watched the whole terrible struggle in
a sort of daze; half of terror, half of utter amazement. But when Lotta
was struck down, the rage rising within her seized her completely, and
when the Black Bees had pressed on over the fallen leader's body with
shouts of triumph, she sprang forward, grasped Lotta's own lance from
her sinking hand, and threw herself with such fury on the rear of the
marauders that they had to turn to defend themselves. Then it was that
she had uttered her first battle-cry. As the Amber bees heard it and saw
at the same time that some of the black fighters had turned to defend
themselves against an attack in the rear, they checked their retreat
and began answering back this new shrill call. In the next moment they
saw something that filled them all with rejoicing and gave them at once
a new courage.

Nuova, taking a lesson from the method of the attackers, had looked
about, even as she leaped into the fight, for the leader of the Blacks,
and had fought her way fiercely directly toward her. In a moment they
were face to face, and in another moment thrusting and parrying in
deadly personal combat.

But nothing could withstand the vigor and audacity of this rage-maddened
new warrior's assault, and the black leader, first contemptuous, then
amazed, then terrified, found herself fighting vainly for her life. She
managed to strike Nuova one or two glancing blows with her lance, but
for answer received a thrust fairly through the body, and fell with a
great cry of defeat and pain.

This it was that filled the despairing Amber bees with a new courage and
reanimated them to fresh resistance. Turning on their attackers, they
renewed the battle with an irresistible surge toward Nuova, and reaching
her and following her lead in but few moments more they had rushed the
disheartened Black Bees off of the platform. They even followed them
into the grass, where they killed many of them one by one. Then they
hurried back with shouts of victory, and ranged themselves in lines for
marching and dancing. While the foragers busied themselves with carrying
the bodies of the fallen off of the platform, all the Amazons marched
and danced and sang loud songs of triumph.

[Illustration: Nuova was among the fallen]

But Nuova was not among them. She was among the fallen. Not far from the
body of the dead leader of the Black Bees whom she had so brilliantly
overcome, Nuova lay huddled. Saggia, who had been hustled out of the
press and into the entrance of the hive while the battle was going on,
now hurried to her fallen friend. Beffa, also, came hopping anxiously to
her, and Hero, who knew now that Nuova was no coward, and had, indeed,
been seized with a great admiration and at the same time a great
solicitude for his extraordinary little worker-bee friend, also hastened
to her side and bent over her. Other bees, too, came crowding around,
and Nuova's body would almost have been trampled under foot by the
surging crowd if Hero had not angrily cleared a little space about her.
Saggia, who had found already to her great joy that Nuova showed no
lance wound, but had only been stunned by a glancing blow, was lifting
her gently to her feet. And just as Hero came to her side, Nuova, dazed
and faint, first opened her eyes.



CHAPTER IX

_Hero and Nuova once more, and the Great Courting Chase_


"My brave little Nuova," said Saggia, joyfully and tenderly. And Beffa
hopped happily about, singing softly to her:

    "For a new bee
    A new way;
    From nurse to warrior
    All in a day.
    What's for to-morrow?
    Who can say?
    For the newest bee,
    The newest way."

The other bees about her were all talking confusedly together. "She
saved our stores! Who is she?" they cried. "She is Nuova, the nurse!
Nuova, the wax-maker! She is Nuova, the honey-gatherer! She was not even
an Amazon! Is she hurt? She is killed! She is wounded! What a brave
bee!"

Hero had said nothing yet, but now, as he leaned over her with his face
close to hers and her eyes opened slowly, he murmured tenderly, "Little
Nuova!"

Nuova looked languidly up at him and around at Saggia and Beffa; then
closed her eyes again with a weak but happy smile, and spoke in a low,
trembling voice: "She struck me, but I hit her back; I hit her harder."

"You killed her, Nuova," broke in Hero, proudly. "You were wonderful."

Nuova shuddered. "Killed her!" she said sadly. "Dreadful! I am sorry."

"Sorry?" cried Saggia. "You silly! You saved us! You won the victory by
killing her!"

"Who was she?" asked Nuova, still sadly.

"Why, the Chief of the Black Bees," said Hero, proudly and tenderly.
"Their greatest fighter! And you, little Nuova, alone, killed her."

Nuova looked up at him thoughtfully. "Are you glad?" she asked.

Hero turned with stupefaction to Saggia. She could only lift her hands
in amazement. Nuova's mental processes were too much for them, although
Beffa, hopping near, nodded his head wisely to himself.

"Glad? I glad? Of course, you absurd warrior!" said Hero. "We are all
glad, aren't we?" he asked of the others about.

"Glad? Of course, we are glad! You saved us!" said they all.

"Well," said Nuova, smiling gently, and looking up at Hero, "if you are
glad, I am glad." And then she let her head sink down again and closed
her eyes.

While Saggia and Beffa and Hero had been caring for Nuova and talking to
her, most of the other bees had gradually resumed their normal
occupations, the guards moving watchfully about over the platform, the
foragers coming and going, and two or three cleaners scrubbing the floor
here and there to remove all stains of the battle.

But Uno, Due, and Tre had not yet gone back into the hive to resume
their nursing work, but with a few other bees had formed a group
standing a little way off from the group about Nuova. They were
whispering and looking and pointing toward Nuova. Uno finally left her
group and came over and joined the bees about Nuova. She whispered to a
few of them, and finally spoke out loud enough to be generally heard.

"Nuova was not an Amazon," she said. "Why should she fight? Is this the
way of bees?"

Due and Tre shook their heads vigorously and murmured, "No, no."

And several other bees of their group shook their heads dubiously.

"No," spoke up Due, "this is not the bee custom. A good bee does the
thing she is set to do. For a nurse to use a lance! No, that is unheard
of."

"No, no, it isn't done, you know," said a drone near by, wagging his
head wisely.

"If it hadn't been done, you loafer," cried Saggia angrily, "you would
have starved to death before we could have refilled our pantries again
after the Black Bees had taken all our food!"

"But it is not the bee way," interjected Tre; then adding boldly and
tauntingly to Saggia, "Are you a new bee, too?"

"No," replied Saggia vigorously, "I am an old bee--old enough to have
learned a little more than I knew when I was a nurse bee--a loafing
nurse bee," she added, looking significantly and hard at Uno, Due, and
Tre in turn.

They all started guiltily and began to move slowly toward the entrance,
but all the time looking back malevolently at Saggia and Nuova.

"It's not the right bee way," they muttered. "It isn't the usual way."

Several other bees joined them in their muttering and head-shaking.

Just then, however, a new excitement became manifest at the hive
entrance. Those drones who had gone back into the hive were issuing now
post-haste, while those still outside joined those coming out. To them
hastened their attendants, and in a moment all was busy preparation and
expectation again.

Beffa, who had moved over to the entrance as the drones began to come
out, now came hopping and humming across the platform toward Saggia,
Nuova, and Hero. As he came near he was singing:

    "She comes; she comes;
    Principessa now would wed;
    She seeks the sky for marriage-bed.
    Let drones aside their languor fling;
    Bethink the prize; to be a King."

Hero started up, infected by the excitement and driven by the still
potent bee tradition. "She is coming," he murmured, "the Princess."

All the bees were growing more and more excited. The drones began to
form in a line. Their attendants worked feverishly at cleaning and
preparing them. The other bees cleared a space near the entrance, in
front of the drones, whose eagerness was betrayed by their bending
forward like runners on the starting-line. Hero started forward to take
his place at the nearest end of the line. Nuova tried to stand, Saggia
helping her. She tottered as if to fall, but regained her balance. Her
face was drawn and tears welled from her eyes. She pushed Saggia to one
side and totteringly followed Hero. As he moved to his place, as if in a
sort of daze and hypnotized and driven by another will than his, Nuova
staggered into place behind him, as attendant, and made feeble attempts
to brush his wings. He did not seem to see her nor even to realize her
presence, but kept his eyes fixed on the entrance.

The commotion among the bees increased. All watched incessantly the
opening of the hive. Suddenly the Princess was seen to be coming slowly
and proudly out, still cold and set of face, but beautiful in figure and
carriage, truly queenly in all her seeming.

Three or four attendants were busy behind her, brushing her long,
slender wings, and removing every speck or stain from her body. The
drones all leaned farther forward, their eagerness infecting her. For
she became more animated and began spreading out and fluttering her
wings. The drones did the same.

Beffa was hopping about with ridiculous activity and awkwardness,
humming inaudible words. Suddenly, with a jerk, Hero turned his eyes
from the Princess and let them wander about as if seeking something.
They rested on Beffa, who in response made motions in his dancing that
unmistakably directed Hero to look behind him. He did so and saw Nuova.
He stared fixedly at her a moment. Then he leaned toward her and said
in a curious, tense, but almost appealing tone, as if he were asking her
for advice or help:

"The Great Courting Chase is on! A Queen is to be won! The prize is to
be a King!"

Nuova called on all her strength, physical and spiritual.

"Yes, yes," she gasped. "Be ready! Lean forward! They are starting! You
will win!" Her voice broke a little. "You can't lose, Hero--wonderful
Hero. You will be King--our King--my King. Good-bye!" She stifled a sob.
"Good luck! Good-bye!"

She could say no more. She turned her face away from his, sobbing
unrestrainedly. Saggia, who had come to her side, caught her and
supported her just as the Princess, with wings outspread and eyes fixed
outward and upward, ran quickly to the outer edge of the platform,
followed a little way behind by the drones in a group. As the Princess
reached the platform's edge, she launched herself beautifully into the
air and flew swiftly, first straight out and up and then curving gently
away to the left. One after another the drones flew after her.

Nuova gazed fixedly after the following drones. Hero's delay with Nuova
made him the last to spring into the air. But he flew so strongly that
it seemed certain that he would quickly make up for this handicap in the
great race. Indeed, some of the onlooking bees began to call out, "See
how Hero is gaining! He will surely win! Hero will be King!"

Nuova had strained her gaze after Hero until he with all the others had
passed from sight far out and up in the bright sky. As she gazed she had
lifted on tiptoe and had even spread out her wings as if she would fly
after him, but now as he disappeared she collapsed and fell back heavily
with closed eyes and a pitiful sob into Saggia's supporting embrace.

Just then Beffa came hopping and humming over to them and sang, as if
mockingly, but really with sympathetic and comforting meaning:

    "Ha, ha, the sad attendant!
    Her champion is too slow.
    He'll never win the Princess,
    Her kiss he'll never know."



CHAPTER X

_Nuova in the Beautiful Garden_


When Nuova had recovered enough to face squarely the situation in her
life and in the life of the hive, she found herself very weak and very
sad. Above all, she found the thought of going again into the dark hive
to work extremely repugnant to her. And almost the first thing she said
to Saggia, who had remained faithfully by her, supporting and caring for
her, was that she would not go back into the hive to nurse or make wax
or do anything else that meant staying inside.

Saggia comforted her by saying that she would not have to work inside.
The kindly old bee whispered to her that there was always so much
confusion and such change in the hive arrangements whenever a new
Princess was born, and either she or the old Queen went out with many of
the workers, that she could easily change her kind of work now without
any notice being taken of it. And to confirm this Saggia pointed to
several of the nurses, among them Uno, Due, and Tre, making one after
another the little trial flights that Saggia had told Nuova to make
preparatory to going into the garden out of sight of the hive. These
nurses were plainly intending to become foragers. Even as Saggia and
Nuova watched them, one after another flew out higher and farther and
disappeared into the garden.

It was a beautiful garden on the edge of which the hive was set. The
owner of the garden was a great lover and student of flowers. He liked
bees and beetles and birds, too; all kinds of live things, plant or
animal. And no one was ever allowed to kill any creature, little or big,
in his garden, so it was full to overflowing with life and animation.
Birds made their nests in it; squirrels barked in the trees; even moles
and gophers made their underground runways unmolested. There were open,
sunny grass-plots for playing, and close little copses and coverts for
hiding, and great trees for climbing to see out into the still wider
world beyond the garden walls. But the garden itself was world enough
for most of the creatures that lived in it. There were flowers enough
for the bees; seeds and worms enough for the birds; nuts enough for the
squirrels. And if some of the happy family in the garden had to live by
eating some of the others, still that was the way of life, and the only
thing was to hope and try to make sure that the end would not come too
soon.

[Illustration: In the Garden]

Nuova already loved the garden, although so far she had not been in it;
at least not been any more in it than standing on the entrance platform
of the hive and looking into it from this vantage-ground. But now she
was really to go out into it, and sad and tired though she was, she felt
a little thrill of happiness as she thought of what she might see over
there beyond the near-by bushes, out there among the brilliant flowers
and the lush grasses. She turned to Saggia gratefully.

"Good-bye, dear Saggia," she said gently. "I am going to go into the
garden now. I will make the little flights first as you told me, so as
to be able to find my way back to the hive--but, I don't know, Saggia, I
don't feel like ever coming back to the hive." Her eyes filled with
tears. "He--he will never come back. He will win, and he will--will
die." She shuddered and nearly collapsed again.

Saggia could say nothing. She believed, too, that Hero would win in the
Great Courting Chase. And if he won, he would die. It was really, she
thought with some anger, a very stupid sort of arrangement; very unfair
to the King; to be crowned because he was the finest, strongest, and
swiftest drone in the hive, or in any of the other near-by hives whose
drones also joined in any Courting Chase they noticed going on, only to
die at once. It was simply not only stupid; it was brutal.

She did not like to think of Nuova's going off alone into the garden so
soon. And she could not put out of her mind the uneasy feeling that
Nuova would never come back to the hive at all; not even as a forager
who might go out and in as she pleased. Nuova had too plainly shown that
her interest in living was gone, and her surrender to her impulses of
the moment was likely at any time to be complete even though it might
lead to death itself. Saggia decided that she and Beffa were needed in
the garden. As Nuova left her to go to the edge of the platform for her
first flights, Saggia scurried off in search of Beffa.

       *       *       *       *       *

A number of bees were busy at a little group of flowers in the garden
when one of them, Uno, who had just turned around facing the general
direction of the hive, suddenly uttered an exclamation.

"Well, of all things!" she said. "Beffa in the garden!" The other bees
turned and stared.

"And Saggia!" exclaimed one of them. "Beffa and Saggia! Beffa in the
garden! What can he do here?"

Beffa, hearing them, released himself from Saggia's support, and began
to make weak little hoppings and to sing. Poor Beffa; he was sadly
tired, for because of his deformed wings he had had to walk all the way
from the hive. And Saggia was tired, too, because she had walked with
him, and not only that, but had helped him over some of the rougher
places.

Beffa sang:

    "Beffa in the garden;
    The prisoner in the sun;
    No Queen in the palace;
    No jesting to be done."

He stopped to rest, and Saggia went slowly to a flower, where she busied
herself putting a little pollen into her pollen baskets.

Due turned to Beffa. "Hi, Beffa, you can sing and dance for us while we
gather pollen and honey. And you can watch for Bee-Bird to see that he
doesn't surprise us. Oh, you can be useful. Hop, hop, hop-la!" And she
made a little hop or two, in mimicry of Beffa.

Tre had been looking sharply at Saggia. "And Saggia doesn't seem to be
doing much," she said, with asperity. "Foraging again, is she? That is
rather a dangerous business for such an old bee, isn't it?" she said
malevolently. "The two-legged man giant that owns this garden likes the
two-legged bird giants. He is a brute! He protects the birds! And they
eat the insects! He might protect us, rather. Brute!"

"Brute!" cried the other bees. "Protect the horrid birds, indeed! Sting
him if you see him."

Just then a big blue-bottle fly that had been buzzing about the flowers
ventured too near a dark corner lower down in the bush, and was lunged
at by a big black spider, which barely missed it. The blue-bottle
dashed excitedly away with a tremendous buzzing, and all the bees jumped
about nervously a little.

Beffa began to sing without rising from the ground, just moving his feet
as if dancing:

    "Bee-birds in the tree-tops,
    Spiders in the grass;
    Death rides down the sunbeam,
    Death leaps as you pass."

"Ugh!" said Uno. "Can't you sing something more cheerful? Be funny,
can't you?"

Beffa got up and hopped about a little. Then he sang:

    "Out among the flower-cups,
    Dancing in the sun;
    Now a drink of nectar,
    Then another one.
    Brushing up the pollen,
    Hurry 'gainst the gloam,
    Pail and basket over-full,
    Off to hive and home!"

All the bees skipped and danced and sang after him:

    "Pail and baskets over-full,
    Off to hive and home!"

After singing this refrain several times and dancing happily about a few
moments, the bees set at their work again industriously. It was so
beautiful and so bright and so warm in the garden that one could not
help being happy in it.

And yet just then Nuova stepped out from behind a flowering bush looking
very weary and very sad. Saggia, who had been glancing around for her
all the time, slipped quickly and quietly over to her without attracting
the attention of any of the bees, and before any other one had seen her.

Saggia led Nuova around to the side of the bush where they would be out
of sight of the other bees, and then spoke to her in a low tone.

"Are you all right, Nuova?" she asked anxiously.

Nuova smiled wearily and sadly. "Of course, I am all right," she said
gently; "who would not be out here in this wonderful world, this golden
sunshine, this fragrant air? It's a place to be all right in all the
time. I am going to stay here."

"Stay here? What do you mean?" asked Saggia.

"Simply that, dear Saggia," she replied gently, smiling; "stay right
here in the warm sun, near the beautiful flowers. Do you think I am
going back into the dark hive to die like that poor forager and be
dragged off and tossed out like a piece of dirty wax?" She shuddered.
"No, no; I am going to die out here, and lie in the soft grass under
that heliotrope there."

Saggia spoke anxiously but sternly. "Die? Die? Why do you talk of dying?
Have you a right to die yet? Have you done all you should do for the
hive? Are you going to shirk your duty? Anyway"--and her voice grew more
kindly--"do you really want to die? Don't you want to do first all the
things a bee can do, to nurse--"

"I have nursed," Nuova interrupted.

"And make wax--" Saggia went on.

"I have made wax," Nuova broke in.

Saggia persisted, "And build cells--"

"I have built cells," interrupted Nuova again.

"And gather honey--" Saggia continued.

Nuova touched a near-by flower. "I am gathering honey," she said.

Saggia hesitated a moment, then began again. "And--and--" she
stammered; then exclaimed suddenly and triumphantly--"and clean floors!"

Nuova smiled at Saggia's anticlimax. "No, I haven't scrubbed the floor
yet. I suppose I ought to enjoy that a little before I die. But you see
I am not really old enough to have had time for _everything_."

"That's it," broke in Saggia warmly. "You are not old enough yet. It is
nonsense to talk of dying so young. You must live a long time yet. Look
at me! Think how old I am!"

Nuova smiled again, but grew earnest as she spoke. "It is not how long
you live, Saggia; it is how much you live. I have not done everything,
but I have done most things. You, you dear wise, old, sensible bee, you
have done the things calmly one after another as it came time for you to
do them. But I have tried everything that was interesting and for only
as long as it was. You have lived a long and useful life with much in
it. I have lived a short and useless one; but also with much in it. You
have lived mostly for others, and have been mostly happy. I have lived
mostly for myself, and been mostly unhappy. But that is the way I am,
Saggia. That is my way of living and really I suppose, my way of being
happy; happily unhappy. And, Saggia"--and Nuova bent close over to her,
as if to tell her a secret--"you know, don't you, that if I have missed
cleaning floors, I have done something else in place of it; something
you haven't done. I have loved! And that is the happiest unhappiness I
have had."

Saggia was truly shocked. "Nuova," she exclaimed, "haven't I told you
before not to say such things! You have _not_ loved," she added, firmly,
"because you _cannot_ love. Poor little Nuova, you have much to learn
yet about bee life."

"There is much about it I don't want to learn," muttered Nuova.

"There is much you must learn," replied Saggia sternly, but kindly. "And
some of it you must learn now. When I say you cannot love, I mean
exactly that; not that you ought not or must not, because other bees do
not, but simply that you cannot. Bee loving is not just liking and
sighing and laughing and dancing and crying, and being always happy and
unhappy at once, but it is becoming the mother of babies, many babies,
and that only Princesses can become. And when they are the mothers of
babies, they are Queens. In bee land to be a mother is to be a Queen,
and to be a Queen is only to be a mother."

Nuova was silent. She felt compelled to believe Saggia, who surely knew
about the life of bees if any one did, and who had always spoken
truthfully to her. And yet she had a feeling within her that seemed some
way to contradict Saggia's knowledge.

"Well, then, Saggia," she said slowly, "I haven't loved, but I have
wished to love." And she added in a whisper, "I _want_ to love!"

"You cannot love," repeated Saggia firmly. "Only Princesses can love.
You should not think of it any more."

Nuova looked up into the sky. And when she spoke it was as if she were
speaking in a dream. "I want to love and I cannot love! Only a Princess
can love. And I am not a Princess. What can I do? Clean floors?" She
turned to Saggia and smiled sadly. "No, I cannot clean floors, either,"
she said softly. "I am an unfortunate sort of bee, Saggia, a worthless
sort. A new bee, but not new enough to love, and too new to clean
floors. Just a bee to lie under the heliotrope bush."

Just then Beffa, who had come hopping and gently humming up to them
unperceived by either, and who had overheard Nuova's last words, began
to sing:

    "A heliotrope or a rose-bush,
    A pale-blue flower or pink,
    But a dead bee sees no colors
    Nor smells sweet smells, I think.
    An old world for old bees,
    A new world for the new,
    And, ah, who knows the real truth?
    The untrue may be true."

Nuova was delighted, in her sadness, to see Beffa again. "Beffa, you
dear, funny Beffa!" she cried. "But how did you get out here in the
garden?"

    "He couldn't come,
    And so he came.
    Can or cannot,
    All's a name,"

sang Beffa in reply, hopping about more vigorously than ever.

As Beffa finished, Saggia saw some of the other bees looking scowlingly
toward them. She touched Nuova with an antenna.

"Nuova," she said in a low voice, "we must get to work. The other bees
are noticing us. We are idling. We must go to work. Beffa can sit here
in the sunshine and watch us." She moved off toward a flower.

Nuova looked after her a moment, and then she turned to Beffa.

"Good old Saggia," she said. "She is an example of industry, isn't she?
But I don't like her to work just because others are noticing us. That
makes me want _not_ to work." She stood loitering by him.

Beffa deliberately stretched himself, with a yawn, and settling down
comfortably near a dandelion, he hummed, as if half-asleep already:

    "Some work because others talk;
    Some talk because others work;
    The wisest bee keeps wisest way,
    He--goes--to--sleep!"

And as he finished he closed his eyes.

[Illustration: Beffa settled down comfortably]

Nuova saw through Beffa's transparent means of sending her off to
work, and was as much amused as vexed. "Oh," she said, "I much prefer
working to talking with bees whose wisdom might put me to sleep, too.
Good-bye." She made a mocking curtsy and went off slowly to a small
group of flowers which was hidden by a large bush from the rest of the
bees.

As soon as she had started, Beffa opened one eye to spy on her, and as
she disappeared behind the bush he slowly straightened up, very much
awake and evidently strongly possessed by some idea. He let his eyes
roam over all of the garden he could see, and he even scanned the air in
all directions. Apparently not finding what he sought, he remained
quiet, but alert, on the flat dandelion leaf. The bees at the flowers
worked industriously. The garden was fragrant and quiet in the sun.



CHAPTER XI

_Hero finds Nuova in the Garden_


Saggia had joined a group of foragers at work, among whom were Uno and
Tre. These two bees at first moved away a little as Saggia came over,
but in their foraging work they gradually came close to her again.
Pretty soon Uno, after glancing toward Beffa sitting quietly by the
dandelion, spoke to Saggia.

"The garden is not a place for jesting," she said sharply; "nor for
listening to jesting. Beffa is not a good example for bees who work." As
she said this she looked significantly at Saggia, and several of the
other bees, overhearing her, smiled maliciously.

Saggia said nothing at first, but busied herself at her flowers. As she
changed, however, from one flower to another one near by, she said
quietly: "Beffa works harder than most of us."

"Do you call jesting work?" asked Tre indignantly.

"I call Beffa's work hard work--for Beffa; and useful work," Saggia
replied.

"What other hive has a jester, a bee that does no work, that just hops
and sings?" demanded Uno angrily.

"We are more fortunate than other hives," said Saggia evenly. "We have a
bee who has time to think, and a clever tongue to say what he thinks."

No one spoke for a moment, then Tre said mechanically, as if repeating
by rote: "Bees ought not to think; and if they do they ought to keep
their thoughts to themselves." Then she added maliciously: "I think I
learned that from you, Saggia."

The other bees turned and smiled.

"One lives and learns," said Saggia, a little confused.

"Oh, worse yet!" exclaimed Uno. "'Bees do not learn: they know.' That
also is from Saggia," she said, turning to the other bees.

They all smiled again enjoying Saggia's discomfiture.

"Well," said Saggia desperately, "bees do know most things,
but--not--everything."

Just then Beffa came hopping toward them hurriedly. He was singing
loudly, too, and was evidently much excited about something. As he
reached the group of foraging bees he did not stop, but kept hopping
right on by them singing loudly as he passed:

    "Hoptoad squats beneath the flower;
    Waits that pleasant fateful hour
    When honey-bee on food intent
    Comes within his leafy tent;
    Open! Shut! Poor bee, good-bye;
    An ugly, horrid way to die!"

As the bees heard this, they all became much frightened and excited,
skipping about and peering in all directions.

"The Toad!" they cried. "Where? There! I don't see him! Where, Beffa?
Beffa, where?"

Beffa's movements plainly indicated the direction of danger to be toward
where he had come from, and the way of safety correspondingly in the
direction of his hopping. All the bees, therefore, with much buzzing and
jumping about, moved along with the hopping and singing Beffa. Only
Saggia seemed a little slow to take alarm or to follow him closely. She
watched him curiously, and kept turning to look in the direction from
which he had come. She remembered that Nuova was back there somewhere,
and she could not believe that Beffa would leave her in danger in order
to warn ever so many other bees. Saggia knew well poor Beffa's hopeless
love for Nuova.

As a matter of fact, Beffa had seen not a toad, but something else,
which, under the circumstances of bee life and tradition, was much more
extraordinary, and he had come hopping over to lead off the other bees
that they might not also see it.

What he had seen was something that his keen wits had told him all along
he might see: in fact, he had been looking for it all the time since he
had been in the garden; it was something that made him happy and unhappy
at the same time. It was something that would make Nuova the happiest
bee in the world, for a little while at least, though it might mean
something very dreadful to her in the end. And what could make Nuova
happy made him happy--even though her happiness should come from seeing
somebody else who would almost make her forget that Beffa ever lived.
What Beffa had seen was Hero flying slowly down into the garden near
where Nuova was. It was certain that they would see each other in a
moment.

In fact, Nuova, turning away from the flower which she had been slowly
and listlessly rifling of nectar, saw Hero just a moment after he
alighted. Her heart gave a great jump, and her first impulse was to slip
away before he could see her; but when she saw how dejected and sad he
seemed, she felt a great pity for him and wanted to comfort him. Just
then he lifted his eyes and saw her. He started, then controlled himself
and came to her. "Nuova," he said quietly but earnestly; "Nuova, I am
glad you are here."

Nuova could hardly speak. She was so tense with excitement, with wonder,
with happiness that they were together again. But what had happened? How
could this be?

"You did not win?" she stammered. "You are not dead?" She stared at him
with painful intentness.

"I did not go on," said Hero slowly and somberly.

Nuova did not understand. "An accident?" she cried. "You could not fly?
Your wings were not--" she stopped, alarmed and almost in tears at her
thought. "Surely I did not hurt them when I--I--pulled them?"

Hero did not understand clearly what she meant. In fact, he was too
intent on the overwhelming fact of what he had just done, of the
absolute break he had just made with bee tradition, to think, for the
moment, of anything else.

"No, no," he said; "I just decided not to go on. I--wanted to come to
you."

Nuova could not realize at once all he meant by these words. The thing
clearest in her mind just now was what Saggia and all the others had
told her so often. She began to speak slowly and almost mechanically as
her memory guided her.

"But you can't do that," she said. "It--it--isn't done, you know. You
_must_ chase the Princess; you _must_ win her; and you--you"--she
sobbed--"you _must_ die."

She stepped toward him, excitedly, with her hands outstretched to urge
him on. "Go on!" she exclaimed. "Go on! Start again! You are so much
swifter and stronger than the others! You can beat them yet! Hurry!
Fly!"

In her excitement and half-crazed exaltation she pressed against him to
push him into starting. He held her closely to him for a moment,
caressing her gently. But soon she drew violently away, and spoke again
with choking voice. "Fly!" she said. "Go on! Go on!"

Hero shook his head doggedly. "No, I will not go. I cannot go. I never
wanted to go. I wanted to come to you. I didn't know you were in the
garden. But here you are." In his joy at being with her, he began to
dismiss the dark thoughts of his break with bee custom. He looked
intently and eagerly at her.

"Yes, here you are, I have come to you. I have come to tell you that
I"--he stumbled a little in his speech, and smiled slightly--"I--am a
new bee, too!"

Nuova laughed happily. Then she grew serious and puzzled. "And Saggia
and Beffa," she said. "Are we all new bees in this hive?"

Hero smiled. "Uno, Due, and Tre--" he said.

"Ugh! horrid bees," said Nuova with a grimace. "They would like to kill
me."

"Beasts!" broke in Hero, "I'll kill them!" But then he remembered the
fact that he had no lance nor by bee tradition could have any. "Absurd,"
he said in disgust. "What a world, where only the women may carry lances
and fight and work, and the men are only loafers and lovers, and can
only love by tradition, at that. Bah! I'd rather be even a human being.
They are silly enough, those awkward giants, and can't fly and eat other
animals as spiders and snakes do, but their men can work and fight; and
they can love whom they like. At least they can if they don't try to be
too much like us, as some of them seem to want to be. It's a terrible
thing to be a man bee. We have no rights at all!"

Nuova looked up at him wonderingly. "Why, the other drones seem to like
to loaf," she said. "Anyway, they don't object."

"Don't object!" exclaimed Hero contemptuously. "They don't think; they
don't feel! Each just does what the others do and all just do what
drones have always done."

"But how else are we to know what to do," persisted Nuova, who had
learned her lesson well from Saggia, "except by seeing what others do,
and being told what the bees before us did?"

Hero was amazed and disconcerted to hear Nuova talk in this way.

"Why, you talk like Saggia!" he said. "What do you mean? Haven't you
always objected to doing what the others do? Haven't you always tried to
do what you most wanted to? And haven't you wanted to talk with me? I
thought you--liked me."

Nuova was disconcertingly calm. "Oh, yes, I have objected to some
things, and I do like to talk with you. And I like you. But all that
must not interfere with the work and life of the community. And I am
afraid it is interfering. I ought to be getting more honey, and you
ought to be flying after the Princess." She paused; then she added,
determinedly and even severely: "You must go right away. You can catch
up with them yet, and beat them, and--and--win her." Nuova had grown
more excited and earnest as she continued urging him, but her voice
broke a little as she uttered the last words.

Hero, paying too little attention to her manner and reading nothing in
it, so seized was he by surprise at Nuova's new attitude, was yet
doggedly intent on speaking out his own feelings. "No, I am not going
after the Princess," he declared, speaking almost roughly in his
vehemence. "I stopped flying because I wished to, and I came here
because I wished to, and I shall talk to you because I wish to. You
_must_ hear me! Nuova, it is not the Princess that I love; it is you."
Nuova started. "Yes, you; just you; all you. I love _you_, Nuova."

Nuova had stood rigidly at first, but then unconsciously swayed a little
toward him. Then she caught herself and stepped back, all the time
staring at him fixedly. He leaned toward her as he finished speaking,
but made no other motion.

Nuova began to speak, still holding herself rigid and staring at him.
She spoke in an even, monotonous voice, even mechanically, and as if
directed by some foreign influence.

"You cannot love me," she said. "You can only love a Princess. I cannot
love you. I cannot love anybody. There are other things for me to do. I
have not cleaned floors; I must clean floors. And you, you must chase
Princesses, chase Princesses, chase--Princesses--all--the--time." Her
voice trailed away into tense silence, and she swayed as if about to
fall, but recovered herself, and half-turned as if to move away.

Hero stepped forward, caught hold of her roughly, and spoke harshly.
"You shall not clean floors," he said, "and I will not court the
Princess." Then suddenly he spoke tenderly, "Nuova, I love you. Saggia
says I can't; all of them say I can't; you say I can't. Well, I do. That
is all. That is the answer. I have never loved a Princess and I do love
you; I have loved you from the moment I saw you." He spoke more
impetuously. "I didn't know what it was at first; now I do. I found out
when I started to fly after Principessa. I can fly faster than any other
drone; yet every one was beating me. I can fly higher than any other
bee; but I couldn't rise at all. Why? Because of _you_, Nuova; because I
loved _you_, Nuova, and could not love Principessa. And they say that
you cannot love me. Saggia says so, does she?--and all of them say so,
do they?--and you say so, do you? Well, they are all mistaken. Just as
they are all mistaken about me. I can love _you_, because I _do_. You
can love me, because you are going to. You were not an Amazon, yet you
fought. You are not a Princess, but you are going to love. I can teach
you; I _will_ teach you."

Nuova was almost carried away by Hero's speech--and her own
inclinations. But she still fought blindly and feebly against what she
wanted most. "No, no," she stammered; "I must work; I must go; I am only
a worker bee; I _cannot_ love; it is all fixed; it has been that way for
a long time; _I_ know; Saggia knows; _Beffa_--"

She stopped short, remembering some of Beffa's cryptic words.

Just then Beffa's voice was heard. He was coming toward them hopping and
singing.



CHAPTER XII

_The Happy Ending_


Beffa had not been able to hold the foragers any longer away from that
part of the garden where Nuova and Hero were. The flowers here were more
abundant and sweeter with honey, and the bees soon forgot their fright
of the toad they had not seen--and that Beffa had not, either.

Hero and Nuova were still concealed by the bush, behind which they
stood, from the returning bees, but it was only a matter of a short time
before they would certainly be seen. Beffa, therefore, came hopping
toward them and singing. He could at least warn them of the approach of
the others. So he sang loudly:

    "Ah, well, who knows?
    Ah, well, who knows?
    The old world for the old bee;
    The new world for the new;
    For who may know the real truth?
    The untrue may be true.
    Ah, well, who knows?
    Ah, well, who knows?"

Hero turned triumphantly to Nuova. "Yes, yes, you hear?" he said. "Beffa
knows. Say it; say it. Beffa knows: not Saggia; not the others; but
Beffa. They are all blind. They only see what has been, but Beffa sees
what may be. And you see it, Nuova, and I see it. You are a new bee,
Nuova, and so is Beffa, and so am I. And we shall do new things; live a
new life. Ah, Nuova, my little Nuova! I love you, and you love me. My
little Nuova!"

Nuova could say nothing, do nothing. It was too much. She could only
look up through a mist of tears into Hero's face and smile happily at
him; it was half-smiling, half-crying, but unmistakable to Hero for what
it truly was; the full revelation of Nuova's consent to all he had said.
They stood together, silent in their great happiness. And thus Uno saw
them. Uno was the first of the returned foragers to come, in seeking new
flowers, around the bush and in sight of them. She stared at them
amazed. Then, angry and malevolent, she beckoned, without calling out,
to her companions to come to her. They crowded up and looked where Uno
pointed. They were astounded and outraged. Uno first spoke up.

"They call themselves bees!" she said with scorn and malice.

"Beasts, rather!" said Due similarly.

"No, human beings," said Tre. "Like the daughter of the owner of the
garden and her lover. In secret, and against all the customs. Shame and
scandal!"

"Drive them out! Kill them!" burst out all the other bees, who had come
crowding up at the words of Uno, Due, and Tre. "Call the Amazons! Sting
them to death! Hero, the faithless one! Nuova, the silly new bee! Hero,
our finest drone! Nuova, the pretty little nurse! Traitors! Kill them!"

It was a terrible moment for Nuova and Hero, for death looked them in
the face. But they stood quietly side by side realizing their impending
fate, yet fearless in their exaltation. Neither one spoke. They looked
at each other with great eyes shining with love and happiness.
Death--together--was such a little thing. It was even a thing, under the
circumstances, to be courted. There seemed, indeed, nothing else that
could be a "happy ending" for Nuova and Hero's romance. And as the
Amazons pressed forward with lances set and already almost touching the
devoted pair, it seemed to be the inevitable and immediate end. Yet,
just at the moment when Nuova, with one last look of love and joy to
Hero, turned full toward the shining lance points as if to say,
"Welcome, sweet Death!" something happened.

A cry from the air just above them was heard. A messenger bee, greatly
excited and almost breathless, was dropping down to them and gasping:
"The Princess! The Princess! The Princess is lost! The Bee-Bird has
caught the Princess!"

The mob about Hero and Nuova stopped in its attack and stood still,
thunderstruck by the news. The messenger dropped to the grass just
between the foremost Amazons and the pair of lovers, and there collapsed
with fatigue and grief. She was caught and supported by Saggia and
Beffa, who had pushed forward out of the crowd at the first cry from the
messenger.

The horror-stricken bees were dumb for a moment, overwhelmed by the
catastrophe. Then they began to call out, all speaking confusedly
together: "The Princess is lost! The Bee-Bird has killed Principessa!
Our only Princess! The old Queen gone, the new Queen killed! Our hive is
doomed! We are queenless! No more children in our hive! It is our end!"

[Illustration: "The Princess is lost!"]

All the while they were speaking they surged back and forth, turning to
each other. They seemed utterly at a loss what to do. None any longer
paid any attention to Nuova and Hero standing there, still silent and
motionless together, as if with no more thought of their present
momentary escape from the death that was so close to them than they had
had for their apparent certain destruction a moment before.

Saggia had not called out with the other bees. Nor had she moved away
from her position near Hero and Nuova, where she was still supporting
the messenger. But she had been looking keenly first at the shouting
bees and then at Nuova and Hero. Her face was alight with a new thought
and strong purpose. As the cries of the bees died down from exhaustion
for a moment, she lifted her head and began to speak in a loud, clear
voice.

"Bees," she said, "a terrible thing has happened to us!" Some of the
bees cried out again in lamentation. Saggia paused a moment till there
was silence again. Then she went on.

"But we stand before a wonderful happening that may be our saving." As
she said this, she half-turned toward Hero and Nuova so as to call the
attention of the bees to them. As she did this a few bees, notably Uno,
Due, and Tre, began to gesture angrily again toward the couple, and to
mutter against them. But Saggia paid no attention to this, except
perhaps to lift her voice a little higher and to speak more rapidly.

"I am an old bee," she said, "and know the lore of bees better than any
others of you. And I tell you plainly that the death of the Princess
does not mean that all is lost. I tell you that we have a means of
saving our hive. Sometimes a bee is born, who is not a Princess, but who
is of a different sort from the rest of us workers; a bee who can not
only work, but _love_; who can love and be loved and be the mother of
bees."

She turned now swiftly to Nuova, stretched out her antennæ and wings
dramatically, and spoke as with the voice of an oracle.

"Nuova is such a bee!" she exclaimed solemnly. "Nuova can be a Queen for
us! She loves Hero. Do you, Nuova?" Nuova turned a rapt face up to
Hero's.

"And Hero loves Nuova. Do you, Hero?" Hero leaned down to Nuova and
kissed her.

Saggia turned again to the bees. "That Hero loves Nuova proves that she
can be loved; that Nuova loves Hero proves that she can be our Queen.
Let Nuova, the new bee, be our new Queen!"

The bees were already buzzing and fluttering about in great excitement
again. They were not able to comprehend immediately all that Saggia's
words implied, but they saw in them a hope for their hive, and some of
the bees already began to call out joyously. Just then Beffa began
dancing vigorously and waving his wings and antennæ in triumph and
singing loudly and clearly:

    "Bee-Bird may yet be beaten;
    We yet may peal the wedding bell,
    Although our Queen is eaten!"

Then he made a grand whirl which brought him squarely in front of Nuova,
and with a deep curtsy and elaborate gesture he called out to all the
bees, like a herald:

"The Queen has passed. Long live the Queen!"

And Saggia immediately echoed him, also bowing low before Nuova: "The
Queen has passed. Long live the Queen!"

Other bees took up the shout, which soon spread to all. Beffa beckoned
all to follow him in a triumphal march and dance around the amazed and
happy pair, and altogether they set up a great song of joy and triumph.
Nuova and Hero were not only saved, but they were become in a second
King and Queen of the hive. It was breath-taking. They could only look
at each other in utter thanksgiving and love. But as Beffa, tiring of
the exertion of the dance, stopped by the side of Nuova, she put out an
antenna caressingly to him and then turned to Hero.

"Hero, my King," she said proudly.

"Hero, our King!" proudly shouted all the bees.

And then she turned to Beffa.

"Beffa, my jester," she said lovingly.

"Beffa, our jester!" shouted all the bees.

Beffa gave a little hop; then looking up at Nuova, he sang:

    "Ah, well, who knows?
    Ah, well, who knows?"


THE END





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