Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bees (and honey!)

This post is dedicated to my friend Sara who loves bees!
I gathered some bee stories, and because English is my second language, there won't even be any bad puns in it! Enjoy!

Taoscán Mac Liath and the Magic Bees (from Edmund Lenihan's book, Strange Irish tales for children)
Any story that has the Fianna in it can only be good! This one is about a druid who brings magic bees into Ireland from Iceland, and upsets the peace in King Cormac's court. Buzzing and honey ensues! And all is well in the end.

The bee and Jupiter (Aesop's fable)
Cute little story about how bees learned to sting. I have heard a longer version of it from a Catalan storyteller, where the bee keeps coming back for things - stripes, wings, colors, honey-bags... and then, the sting. Kids love this story, and it goes well with Greek or Roman storytelling sessions.

Pindar and the Bees (from Pausanias)
"When Pindar was a young man he was once on his way to Thespiae in the hot season.  At about noon he was seized with fatigue and the drowsiness that follows it, so just as he was, he lay down a little way above the road.  As he slept bees alighted on him and plastered his lips with their wax. This circumstance first induced Pindar to compose verses."
And his words flowed like honey. Bees were sacred to the Muses.

Bees on the train (Hungarian tale)
Some people argue that this cannot possibly be a folktale, since it is set in the Communist times of Hungary, but it still makes a fun little cartoon. It is about a man who can talk to the bees, and when he leaves them behind against his will, the bees get upset and take revenge...

Dongó János (Hungarian folktale)
One of my favorite folktales about a young boy who can talk to the bees, and make them sit on his hat as he travels around. Collected from Transcarpathian storyteller Pályuk Anna about a hundred years ago. (I am working on translating the whole tale in the near future)

Butes the beekeeper
Wait, what? There was a beekeeper on the Argo? You bet! One of the Argonauts, Butes, was famous for his knowledge of bees. He did not see the whole mission through, though; he could not resist the song of the Sirens and he jumped into the sea. But Aphrodite saved him, carried him to Sicily, and had a son from him, the culture hero Eryx.


  1. Love the folklore about bees.

    Look forward to your challenge posts...
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  2. I love bees, but wasps and hornets are trying to make a home in my wicker furniture.

    I'd like to learn more about Hungarian folktales!

  3. All very interesting. Thanks for the lesson on bees. Happy a-z.