The Story Of The Bees And The Flies

: The Book Of Nature Myths

There were once two tribes of little people who lived near together.

They were not at all alike, for one of the tribes looked for food and

carried it away to put it up safely for winter, while the other played

and sang and danced all day long.

"Come and play with us," said the lazy people, but the busy workers

answered, "No, come and work with us. Winter will soon be here. Snow and

ice will be everywhere,
and if we do not put up food now we shall have

none for the cold, stormy days."

So the busy people brought honey from the flowers, but the lazy people

kept on playing. They laughed together and whispered to one another,

"See those busy workers! They will have food for two tribes, and they

will give us some. Let us go and dance."

While the summer lasted, one tribe worked and the other played. When

winter came, the busy workers were sorry for their friends and said,

"Let us give them some of our honey." So the people who played had as

much food as if they, too, had brought honey from the flowers.

Another summer was coming, and the workers said, "If we should make our

home near the lilies that give us honey, it would be easier to get our

food." So the workers flew away, but the lazy people played and danced

as they had done before while their friends were near, for they thought,

"Oh, they will come back and bring us some honey."

By and by the cold came, but the lazy people had nothing to eat, and the

workers did not come with food. The manito had said to them, "Dear

little workers, you shall no longer walk from flower to flower. I will

give you wings, and you shall be bees. Whenever men hear a gentle

humming, they will say, 'Those are the busy bees, and their wings were

given them because they were wise and good.'"

To the other tribe the manito said, "You shall be flies, and you, too,

shall have wings; but while the workers fly from flower to flower and

eat the yellow honey, you shall have for your food only what has been

thrown away. When men hear your buzzing, they will say, 'It is good that

the flies have wings, because we can drive them away from us the more