Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

idle. It seems never to tire, but is constantly busy and happy. The idle people are the unhappy people; and those are the drones of society who do not love to work.

The drones of the bee-hive never labour; and they have a very short life. They are born, and die ; and this is nearly all of their history: Their name is given them from their lazy habits, and because they live on the labours of others. When they are only two or three months old, the bees destroy them all, killing them usually with their stings, and carrying them out of the hive. Their dead bodies may often be seen, toward the close of summer, scattered thickly around the door of their dwelling.

The active working bee has plenty to do. It does not seek its own enjoyment; it is content to labour for the good of the society to which it belongs. But how is the little creature furnished for its work? One of the principal things she has to do is to collect the pure fluid, called the nectar of flowers. This affords the bee its chief store of honey. If you examine the long tube of the honeysuckle, you will find it contains this sweet food of the bee. But the bee can obtain it, robbing the flower of its sweets, for the use of the hive, without destroying, or injuring in the least, the bright blossom where it was gathered.

Give thee good morrow, busy bee!

No cloud is in the sky;
The ringdove skims across the lea,

The tuneful lark soars high;
Gay sunbeams fall on dewy flower,

Slight breezes stir the tree,
And sweet is thine own fragrant bower-

Good morrow, busy bee !

Give thee good even, busy bee!

The summer day is by;
Now droning beetles haunt the lea,

And shrieking plovers cry:
The light hath paled on leaf and flower,

The chill wind shakes the tree;
And thou, well laden, hast left thy bower-

Good even, busy bee !

The bee has a most remarkable tongue, given her for this very purpose. It is long and quite flexible. It is not a tube through which the honey passes, nor a kind of pump to draw it up; but a real tongue, to lick or lap up the honey and pass it along, on its upper surface, into the mouth. She keeps it folded up, or unfolds it very rapidly, at her pleasure ; she pushes it forward, either in a curve or straight line, and darts it into every part of the flowers where honey is to be found.

Thus daily her task she pursues,

And pilfers with so much address,
That none of the odour they lose,

Nor charm by their beauty the less.

Look at the active little insect, as she alights apon an open flower! The blossom trembles upon its slender stem, as she touches its soft leaves. The hum of her wings ceases, and her work begins. In an instant she unfolds her tongue, she extends it to its full length, then shortens it again, and passes it over both the upper and under surface of the beautiful petals, that she may wipe off from them all their nectar. All this time she keeps herself in constant motion. The nectar thus lapped out of the pectary of the flower is conveyed to her honey: bag or crop, until this small deposit is filled with the pure honey. When she has completed her lading she returns to the hive to dispose of it. The curious little bag, in which she carries her treasure, is entirely distinct from the stomach of the bee.

If the cell she selects already contains some honey, she pierces a hole in the crust formed on its surface, drops from her mouth the honey she has just brought home, and closes up the opening in the crust, leaving it quite covered. A single cell will hold the contents of many honey-bags. The honey intended for daily use is easy of access ; but that which is stored up for winter and early spring is placed more out of the way, and each cell is carefully sealed with a waxen cover.

The bees do not gather this sweet nectar from every

flower. Some of the most lovely of the ornaments of the garden, the roses, pinks, and carnations, afford them little or no supply; while from the more humble, fragrant plants, as the borage, sage, and rosemary, they collect the finest and most delicate honey. When the apple-trees are loaded with their fragrant blossoms, or when the air is perfumed with the richness of the white clover, then they are active and busy indeed !

Of the lemon-thyme the bees are very fond. But they much prefer to have everything on a large scale, and whole fields of clover attract them more than single plants, even of the finest flowers. Their practice is, when collecting honey, to adhere to the same species of flower on which they first alight. They do not fly from the apple-tree to the clover, and thus mingle the nectar of the different plants ; but from each single excursion they return to the hive with that which they have procured from one kind of flowers.

Although the busy bees are usually so cautious, they have been known, yet very rarely, to collect honey of a poisonous nature. Some persons are said to have lost their lives, many years ago, from eating honey which it was agcertained had been collected by the bees from the flowers of a kind of wild laurel. Perhaps it was not easy for them to procure a plentiful supply of food, when they were thus tempted to partake of that which rendered their honey injurious for the use of man. It is not known that this honey was hurtful to the bee itself.

THE ANGLER. I saw the angler bait his hook,

He dresa'd it with a silken fly; I saw the heedless fish he took,

Dragg’d struggling out to bleed and die. And Satan, like the angler stands,

To make unthinking souls his prey; Let me escape his cruel hands,

And from his false baits haste away. I have no wisdom, Lord, to know

How far his dreadful skill can reach; But thou dost see that crafty foe:

Oh, deign a simple child to teach !
I would not from thy ways depart,

But still obey thy just command ;
Renew my spirit, cleanse my heart,
O Lord, and guide me with thy hand.

CHARLOTTE ELIZABETI.

[graphic]

THE NEW BONNET. “I WANT a new bonnet, mamma,” said little Susan. “The ribbon of mine is quite faded, and the shape is old-fashioned."

“When did you find out these faults, my dear p" said her mamma. “You were satisfied with the bonnet yesterday, when we went to visit Mrs. D."

“Yes, mamma ; but, when I went with the little Miss D.s to run about the garden, they said that it was not at all nice, so I hope you will buy me a new one."

"I think the bonnet quite good enough to

No. 88. APRIL, 1852.

E

« AnteriorContinuar »