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THE little bees are extremely neat in their persons and in their houses. They remove from the hive, as quickly as possible, all dead insects, or anything of the kind which is light enough for them to drag out with their mouth. If they cannot remove it, if still alive, they attack, sting it to death, and then enbalm it, covering its body with propolis (a gummy substance, which we have described) so that it cannot become offensive.
A poor snail, with a shell on its back, having crept into a hive early one morning, crawled about for some time, till, at last, by means of its own slime, it stuck fast to one of the panes of glass. There the bees soon found it; as it was so large they were not able to remove it; and on account of the hardness of its shell, they could not destroy it; 80 they formed a border of propolis round the whole edge of the shell, fastening it securely and perfectly down, and leaving the creature within to perish.
This attention to cleanliness is rendered very necessary for the bees, from the confined space within the hive, and the multitude of active laborious individuals it contains. All the cracks or openings too they have closed up with pro. polis, and the door of entrance is very small. This door, which is the only opening for the admission of air, is often much filled up by the bees themselves, in departing to their work and arriving again at the hive on their return. The air within is, of course, affected by these things ;
out, in order to prevent it so fa they can, and to keep it sweet and clean, these little creatures have a most remarkable contrivance. They cool themselves, and purify the hive, in the sultry days of summer, and even at other seasons, by the use of a fan!
To do this, they arrange themselves in regular order, chiefly on the floor of the hive. Here they stand in rows, extending from the front towards the back part ; some outside of the entrance, with their heads turned to it; those within having them always turned in the opposite direction. They then unite their wings, by the hooks at their extremity, into one piece, and flap them up and down, as ladies do a fan. The motion is so rapid, that the wings can scarcely be seen while it is going
on, and a pleasant buzzing sound may be constantly heard by the listener outside of the hive. When one set of workers is tired, an. other takes its place ; and the current of fresh air, thus brought into the hive, is so important to the family of bees, that without it they could not live.
The honey bee has many enemies. Sometimes the birds find them out and destroy them for food, as they do many other insects. The swallows come and pick them up, like grains of
The king-birds will kill thousands of them in a season. The spiders make sad havoc among them. The little ants do them much mischief by overrunning their hives; and the mice, in the cold weather, when they are inactive, will also attack them.
The wasps, so bold and strong, in some countries commit great ravages upon the bees. They are very fond of sweets, and have much love for the honey of the hive, and are so daring, that they will brave a great deal to fill themselves with the rich feast. One wasp is said to be a match for three bees; and the cunning thieves have been known to drive away a colony of the poor insects from their home, then take possession of it, and eat all the honey it contained.
But the most dangerous enemy of the poor bee, in some countries, is the insect called sometimes the wax-moth, and sometimes the bee-moth.
Another kind of moth, in some places, troubles the bees. It is so large that it has been taken for a bat; and, from its great size, and from a certain mark on its body, has been called the death's-head hawk-moth. This moth has the power of uttering a shrill mournful cry, which is said to produce such an effect upon the bees, that they do not attempt to molest it. To defend themselves from this creature, and keep it out of the hive, when they are annoyed by it, they build up, at the entrance, a thick wall of wax and propolis. In this wall they leave a passage just large enough for one or two workers at a time to pass through, but which the large moth can. not enter.
Surely, the little bee is a wise and ingenious builder: she may truly be called a cunning architect.
“ Not to myself alone,"
"Not to myself alone, from flower to flower
I rove the wood, the garden, and the bower,
With busy care,
A scanty share."
No. 9. LEAVING the Beautiful Palace, and armed for future conflict, Christian went down the other side of the hill, into the Valley of Humiliation. It had been hard to climb the hill, and it was dangerous to descend; so that, although he went very carefully, he made a slip or two. You, reader, can understand something of this, if you recollect how difficult you have found it, at times, to take the lowly place which belonged to you amongst your companions, especially when something has recently occurred to exalt you in your own esteem. Under such circum. stances, it is not always easy to appear humble; and to be so in reality is harder far. Pride, and the love of praise, are bound up in our sinful nature, and the grace of trųe humility is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Yet the Valley of Humiliation is a peaceful and happy place, and many have wished to stay there all their lives. It has been blessed by Jesus, who willingly remained there during the years of sorrow and suffering which for our sakes he passed in this world below. Pray, then, that this mind may be in you which was also in Christ Jesus ; that you may be contented with your lot, and thankful for its mercies.
“A little while, dear Lord, and we
In glory hope to see thy face :
Thy place on earth,- the lowest place." It was in consequence of the “slips” he made that Christian had to encounter his terrible enemy, Apollyon, in the Valley of Humiliation. They represent the rebellious murmurings with which we too often receive those humbling events appointed by our heavenly Father for our spiritual improvement. Nothing opens the way for temptation like a discontented, repining spirit; and never are we in greater danger than when we refuse to submit our own will to the will of God. These
slips" of Christian should teach us that what seem to us "little sins” are in reality great