“Your mistress has died, but please do not leave. Your new master will be an excellent one.” John sighed heavily.

Head bowed, his calloused palms pressed against his young daughter’s hands in prayer. The words fell ponderously from his dry lips like stones into a pond. John ruminated over how every living species had a heart and should be honoured, respected and alerted, as he tied the last black ribbon. The occupants were now in mourning. As he finished his duty, he closed the gate to the meadow and walked home with his little one.

Anne, a bright precocious child with long wavy hair like delicate rippled waterfalls was pensive. Usually. she helter-skeltered ahead radiating laughter. Not today. That endearing dimple in her chin swelled as she asked, “Father, why did you tell them of their mistress’s death?”

The scent of heady roses and sweet honeysuckle tingled their noses. Blackberries were black jewels in the hedgerows, but failed to entice Anne.

Pleased that his precious one had asked this question; he was relieved to express his feelings and cleanse some sorrow away. “Anne, we are dependent on bees for honey. For our livelihood. They help pollinate, meaning, they take the pollen of one flower and place it in another to later produce juicy tomatoes, crisp Russet apples, your favourite Bartlett pears, and so much more.” John tenderly took his daughter’s right pinkie and placed it into the throat of a showy apple blossom which swayed invitingly. Anne stared at the yellow pollen, before her father delicately placed her pinkie into another delicate pink tinged blossom. 

“A terrible tragedy if our bee family decided to leave because we failed to inform them of family matters like death, marriage and birth. You saw me knock on each hive, inform the bees of the death of their beloved mistress. They are part of our family and should be informed. Remember, every living creature has feelings.”

The beekeeper bear-hugged his motherless child to his chest as tears escaped from weary eyes.


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2 months ago

Wonderful descriptions: words falling “like stones into a pond”, hair “like delicate rippled waterfalls”, and an apple blossom “which swayed invitingly”. All this leads the reader to sympathize the loss, especially when it is revealed there have been two losses. What a lucky daughter to have such a sensitive father.

Preston Randall
Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
4 months ago

I’d read about this tradition recently, but you really brought it to life. I especially enjoyed your detailed descriptions of the various scenes and characters. A beautiful story reminding us of all of life’s connections..

Last edited 4 months ago by Preston Randall
Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
3 months ago

Margarida, I really love this story. Bees are very dear to my heart – essential to the health of the planet and to the beauty of our lives. When I read your story, I thought it was the queen bee who had died, and I wondered why there would be a “master”, since the head of the hive is always female. Now after reading your comments, I see that there is a… Read more »

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
3 months ago

I loved your description of the end of summer, the end of an era, the end of lives, ended through the smell of roses and the ripe blackberries…
Telling the bees of an important event is an old tradition, present in many civilisations, something I used for one of my previous stories too.
I loved the way you linked the death of the two queens. Well done!

3 months ago

I think this story is one of your best, Margarida. It manages to combine ancient beliefs and traditions with current events and concern for the health of the planet. Superb writing!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago

This story is very rich with important ingredients, Margarida. There’s the close, loving connection between father and daughter, the care and respect for nature, the importance of bees existence and welfare, and the old tradition of information being passed between humans and their bees. I had never before heard of it and found it both touching and deep in the sense that all life is connected. The father expresses this very well… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago

Your story is very informative about life cycle and natures mixed with traditions and beliefs. And the Father’s reminder, “Remember, every living creature has feelings.” resonated with me so much. Well Done. Nice one, Margarida.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Margarida Brei
3 months ago

I love bees too.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Margarida Brei
2 months ago

Yeah. Amazing.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
2 months ago

Beautiful story, Margarida, well-paced and the way you revealed the family in the story was handled with such sensitivity. Very nicely done.

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