Once upon a time there was a little girl named Beth who was 9 years old and lived with her parents on a small patch of land next to a forest. They were very poor, but loved each other and were happy together.
One day her father said, “Beth, would you go into the shed for me and find my hammer? I have some repairs to do.”
Beth was a good natured kid, curly haired and pretty and she loved doing things for the parents she loved so dearly.
“Sure Dad,” she answered and Beth trotted off to the shed on the other side of the patch of land they owned, next to the forest. It was very hot so she didn’t run too fast.
She entered the shed, found the hammer and began to leave. As she pushed the door closed, she saw it; a huge fat and beautiful bumblebee on the floor, walking very slowly toward the door. Beth touched the black and yellow insect with her finger but he ignored her and kept walking so, so slowly.
“Poor thing,” said Beth. “You got caught in this hot shed and you’re dying and you can’t even fly or buzz,” and a tear fell from her eye and landed on the bee, but he just kept on walking.
“I know what you need!” said Beth and she put a flower pot over the bumblebee and ran into her house, shouting to her father that she’d be there in a minute.
In the kitchen, Beth poured a little water and some honey into a glass and stirred it together and ran back to the shed. She picked up the dying bumblebee, poured some of the mixture into her palm and placed the bee next to it and to her great delight the big fat bumblebee began to lap up the mixture with its long, dark tongue and he drank and drank and Beth grinned and grinned. Finally, his belly filled, the now revived bumblebee flew from Beth’s hand and through the door, his buzzing loud and then softer and then gone as he disappeared into the woods.
Beth ran to her parents with the hammer and told them about the bumblebee and they were so proud of her and smiled and hugged her for being so kind to that ailing insect because they believed all living things should be loved and helped when needed.
The weather stayed hot and one day a week later when Beth’s parents were visiting friends, she decided to go into the forest to find some beautiful wildflowers to surprise them when they returned. Beth knew she was breaking the rules because they told her to never go into those dark woods without them, but she knew they’d be so happy with the flowers that they’d forgive her.
So off she went and after a while could not remember which way was home and it was so hot and she was so thirsty and scared and the woods were dark. She sat down against a tree and cried and soon fell asleep. But something was touching her head. She pushed at it but it would not go away and it kept bumping into her. Oh she was thirsty, it was so hot and what was that thing banging into her head?
Beth looked up and saw and heard a huge bumblebee banging into her forehead and flying away and coming back and doing it again and again and Beth finally realized the bee was trying to get her to follow him, so she did. He buzzed down next to a tiny stream in the woods, and Beth fell forward and drank and drank, and then the bee continued to gently slam into her forehead, buzzing away, and coming back—again and again, and so the tired young girl followed him and he led her back to her home and to her anxious parents who held and scolded her for going into the forbidden forest. Then they told their daughter how much they loved her, and over their shoulders Beth grinned as she watched the big fat buzzing bumblebee fly away and disappear into the sky.