the Spotted bee

Once upon a time, a very very long time ago, when the Earth was flat and the Moon and the Sun chased each other over the edge of the earth, there was, in the Land of LotsofFog, a busy little hive.
Inside the hive, there were many hardworking little worker bees.
And ferocious and loyal soldier bees.
And maternal and loving nanny bees.
And of course, there was the Queen Bee.

It was a busy, prosperous hive.

Every morning, when the Sun came up from the edge of the Earth, the hardworking worker bees would fly out of the hive and go among the flowers in the Land of LotsofFog. There they would spend the whole day, busy gathering nectar to make into sweet golden honey.
And every evening, when the Moon chased the Sun off over the edge of the Earth, the busy worker bees would return home to their hive, tired after a day's work.

The soldier bees stood guard around the hive.
Every morning, when the Sun came up from the edge of the Earth, one group of soldier bees would take their positions and stand guard over the hive. Never faltering, ever alert.
Any being, be it another insect or another animal, or even a bee from another hive, if they were to come too near, would be ferociously chased away. If they did not run, then the soldier bees would fly straight into them and sting them, at the expense of their own lives. After all, what is the life of a soldier bee but to protect his own hive from any and every one out there. That is not a sacrifice. That is their life.
Every evening, when the Moon chased the Sun off over the edge of the Earth, the second group of soldier bees would take over from the first, standing guard over the hive. Never faltering, ever alert.

And the nanny bees took care of the thousands of young little bees borne of the Queen.
Feeding them with the honey that is made by the worker bees.
Showering them with love and care.
Every tiny little bee was carefully looked after, groomed, to grow up into either a worker bee or a soldier bee or a nanny bee.

And the Queen bee, she was the head of the hive. She was proud of the hive. The entire hive she has given birth to. She thought of every single mechanism that went into the functioning of the hive; she was immaculate. After all, the hive was hers, the bees were all hers. Every single honeycomb has to be exactly in its place, every drop of honey has to be exactly the way she wanted it to be. And of course, every single bee had to have their stripes in exactly the same distance on their tummies, their buzzes exactly the way she liked it. And when they are just the way she likes it, Queen bee can be very nice, oh so very nice.

And so time went on. The Sun continued rising from the edge of the Land of LotsofFog, the Moon continued to chase the Sun off the edge every evening, and the hive continued its busy existence.

Then one fine day, there appeared in this busy little hive, a little bee, newly born.
Instead of yellow and black stripes around the tummies of all the bees in the busy little hive, this little bee had spots!
She did not have a sting and so she could not be a soldier bee.
She did not have pockets on her legs to hold the nectar and so she could not be a worker bee either.
But the nanny bees took care of her like she was one of the bees, they gave her all the honey she needs and they sang her lullabies to sleep.

But the nanny bees were worried. Queen bee would often pop by to look at her little baby bees. What will happen if Queen bee saw little Spotted bee? One who had spots instead of stripes? So whenever Queen bee passed by, the nanny bees pushed little Spotted bee to the back, hidden behind the crowd, so that Queen bee will pass her by.

But as little Spotted bee grew, she became curious.
Who was this huge majestic being whom every bee in the hive bowed to when she passes?
Why was she always pushed to the back when the huge majestic being passed her way?
Why do the worker bees work and the soldier bees soldier?
How was it decided that one was a worker bee and one a soldier bee and another a nanny bee?
Who decided that?
Why did she have to live in this hive?
What was outside there?
Why did one have to live in a hive?
So many questions.
But the nanny bees could not answer her questions.

"Shut up" they said.
"What's the point of thinking about all these?"
"Life is good here, why spend time thinking about all these unnecessary things?"

"So what do you think happens to those whose black and yellow stripes are not aligned in exactly the right way? little Spotted bee asks.
"There aren't any whose stripes are not aligned the exact right way." They answered.
"And what happens to those whose buzzes are not in harmony?" little Spotted bee prodded.
"Everyone's buzzes are in harmony." They replied.

"But you know there are those who aren't. You've heard them. Then they are gone. You know there are those whose stripes are not exactly right. They were born here, you've seen them. But they are no longer here."

"There aren't, there aren't, there aren't. We never see them."

So little Spotted bee went off more and more by herself. Because she wanted to think. She wanted to question. She wasn't born like the rest of the bees in the hive, she didn't know why, but she didn't want to be like them either.

Spotted bee couldn't be a worker bee. Nor could she be a soldier bee. But Spotted bee soon realised, she could still be a nanny bee!
Not one of the nanny bees who stands proudly in front when Queen bee arrives, but she could be a nanny bee who looked after the little bees, who showered them with love, and most importantly, she could be a nanny bee who tries to answer any questions the young little bees might have.

So Spotted bee looked after the new little bees, she sings lullabies to them, and she talks to these little ones.
Spotted bee has never been out of the busy hive for she was neither a worker bee nor a soldier bee.
But she told stories of what she imagined the outside of the hive was like to the little bees.
She told the little bees of other hives. Hives which may not have any worker bees. Hives which may not have any soldier bees. And hives which perhaps the bees could decide what they would like to be themselves.
She also told the little bees of other bees. Other bees who perhaps never lived in hives. Other bees who perhaps never buzzed, or have stripes on their tummies.
Spotted bee has never seen anything outside the hive she was born in, but she had an imagination. And she could go where she wanted in her imagination.

And Spotted bee told the little bees. Never take for granted what you have. Never stop questioning who you are. Never stop asking, and never stop dreaming.

And Spotted bee brought up many many many little bees. Bees who became worker bees, bees who became soldier bees and bees who became nanny bees. But soon, Spotted bee knew she had to die. Just like all the rest of the bees. They were not meant to live long. Worker bees, soldier bees, nanny bees, they all worked hard, and died soon. Only Queen bee would go on and on. Making sure her hive was still exactly the way she wanted it to be. Making sure her bees were all the way she wanted them to be.

And Spotted bee passed on. The bees in the hive were still having the same stripes on their tummies. And they were still buzzing in harmony. Queen bee made sure of that.

But Queen bee never knew, in her hive now, the worker bees were flying a little further each day, exploring the world, looking at flowers further away, and listening to the buzzes of bees from other hives. The soldier bees were still standing guard over the busy little hive, but once in a while, when a bee from another hive would fly too near, they gently turned him away and escorted him back to his own hive. And the nanny bees told the little bees stories. Stories Spotted bee used to tell. And when the little bees had questions, the nanny bees would tell them, think, imagine, dream:

"We may never leave the hive, but we can go further than any bee with our dreams."

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